Pet-friendly plus dog treats and bowls for food and water
No dining area in cabins
Some cabins near road may pick up street noise
No grilling allowed; fire pits are for s'mores only
No restaurant on site
The three-pearl Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone opened in 2013 with a collection of 50 cabins in the heart of West Yellowstone, near the famous park's west entrance. The cozy country-western cabins have everything a guest needs for a park vacation, and each comes with a kitchenette. The biggest hit with guests is the free daily s'mores kits that are put to use at the communal fire pits, and Bridgers -- a food shack with outdoor tables -- is open during the summer. The cabins are a bit more expensive than most hotels in the area, but for independent travelers who don't mind the lack of amenities, they are hard to beat.
Simple hotel comprises cabins and homey communal vibe
This hotel is actually a collection of cabins that are clustered in five groups named after early pioneers and explorers of Yellowstone National Park: Washburn, Colter, Bridger, Russell, and Langford. The groupings are well suited for families or groups traveling together, and are designed to encourage a sense of community. Each group of cabins has an outdoor gas fire pit with Adirondack chairs around it. Separate wire baskets hold clean and dirty roasting sticks. The cabins are connected by lighted paved walkways. The setting is peaceful and relaxed, and draws plenty of families, couples, and groups of friends who enjoy being independent.
Heart of West Yellowstone, close to west entrance of the park
The cabins are located in the heart of West Yellowstone. Guests check in at the Yellowstone Park Hotel at 201 Grizzly Avenue from mid-April to mid-October and at the Gray Wolf Inn and Suites at 250 S. Canyon St. from late October to mid-April. The cabins are surrounded by other hotels, and it's a busy area for tourists. The west entrance to Yellowstone National Park is three blocks away, and dining and shopping are within walking distance. Parking is near the cabins. A convenience store is located in the Yellowstone Park Hotel, and Old Faithful Geyser can be reached by car in less than an hour. The Jackson Hole Airport is about two hours and 45 minutes to three hours away by car. The closest major airport is Salt Lake City International, and it's four and a half hours away by car.
Cozy cabins with kitchenettes and furnished porches
Cabins come in three layouts: Montana, Old Faithful, and Yellowstone. All have kitchenettes with a sink, granite countertop, two-burner cook top, coffeemaker, mini-fridge, microwave, toaster, glassware, cookware, dishes, and utensils. They all also have modern features, including heating and air-conditioning, flat-screen cable TVs, phones, and alarm-clock MP3 players. Ice is available upon request. The Old Faithful and Yellowstone cabins have a living area with a ceiling fan, sofa bed, leather chair, and gas fireplace. Old Faithful has one bedroom with a king-size bed. Yellowstone has two bedrooms, with a king in one bedroom and a queen or twin bunk beds in the other. Montana cabins are studio-style with no living area, but they have two queen-size beds, flat-screen TVs, two leather armchairs, and TV trays for dining. All cabins have small private bathrooms with granite countertops, tile walk-in showers, bathrobes, hairdryers, and toiletries in large eco-friendly containers. Front porches are furnished with a table and chairs. The Western-style decor is tasteful, with pine moldings and doors, neutral color schemes, brown patterned carpeting, white bed coverings with gray-blue toppers, and dark wood furnishings. Artwork of the park was created by local artists. All cabins come with walking sticks, binoculars, flashlights, Yellowstone-themed books, a journal, and a card game called Yellowstone Jack. A stuffed lumberjack named Yellowstone Jack also is in each cabin, and guests are encouraged to take him along on outings in the park and take photos to post on social media. Owing the property's in-town location, some rooms near the roads do pick up a bit of traffic noise.
Summetime dining, greenhouse, daily s'mores, and communal fire pits
The property doesn't offer much in terms of features, but there is a restaurant on site. Bridgers Cookhouse serves dinner during the warmer months. Cuisine is "open range," with a variety of burgers and sides, including beef, bison, salmon, turkey, and veggie. A nearby greenhouse grows ingredients for the restaurant, and guests have access to fresh herbs, vegetables, and flowers. Each cabin gets a bag of supplies for s'mores each day to roast outside at the gas fire pits. Activities include hiking, sightseeing, and wildlife viewing in Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding Gallatin Forest. Cabin guests also can use the pool, hot tub, fitness center, and laundry facilities at the nearby Yellowstone Park Hotel.
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