When visitors think of Yellowstone National Park lodgings, the classic Old Faithful Inn usually comes to mind. And truth is: Old Faithful Inn is the most requested lodging facility in the park.
But Yellowstone offers other wonderful choices, and none are as difficult to book.
One in particular is the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins—the only facility (besides Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins) that is open in the park both summer and winter.
Built in 1999 in the classic “parkitecture” style, the Snow Lodge features a light and airy interior, with golden wood-beams and a lounge with a rock fireplace. You don’t get the historical ambiance of the 1904 Old Faithful Inn, but as long as you’re not expecting such, the place offers a casual, woodsy warmth with a contemporary style and friendly vibe. There are lots of common areas where guests can relax, including a cozy area by the fireplace, along with more comfy clusters of sofas and chairs–and even a piano along the windowed hallway that leads to the lodge’s restaurant. (I did not eat there.)
Besides being open in the winter, one of the best benefits—in my opinion– of staying at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge is the fact that it’s only a 10-minute walk from the biggest attraction in the park: Old Faithful. This meant that I could (and did) wander over to the legendary geyser late in the evening (under the moonlight and minus the crowds). If you’re a morning person, early in the morning is also a great time for a much less crowded view of the eruption. It’s also a good time to take the boardwalk system that also goes through the Upper Geyser Basin.
While the lodge rooms are not what one might call luxurious, they do offer upscale comfort and quality—and the style, western accents and ambiance is also definitely not one of a chain hotel. Neither is the complimentary soft (small) stuffed animal (a bison!) that was sitting on the bed when I opened my door. This is an unusual room perk that all guests receive when staying here. (The stuffed animal is $20 in the gift shop.)
My room had two queen beds and a Keurig coffeemaker (always a welcome sight) along with a mini-fridge. Conservationists (like myself) are always happy to see no plastic but real cups and glasses in the rooms as well.
And whether you consider it a blessing or a curse, none of the lodgings in the park offer televisions or radios–and internet service is only free in public areas. (It’s available for purchase in the guest rooms.) There is no air conditioning in any of the park accommodations, but it’s rarely (although on occasion) necessary.
Besides the lodge, where a “premium” lodge room with two queens runs $295 a night, the hotel has less expensive and very basic cabins (there are 134 total rental units between the lodge and cabins). If you’re on a budget, or have a pet, the cabins are a great option (they’re pet friendly); cabin prices range from $114 to $163 a night.
Another nice amenity: In the winter season, snowshoe enthusiasts and cross country ski aficionados can take a daily airport shuttle from Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport to the park.
Review and photos by Donna Tabbert Long who was a guest of Yellowstone National Park Lodges. As always, all opinions are her own.