West Yellowstone appears to be a cute little town. Most of the time I was driving through to get to the park, or I was in a motel room, or I was in the airport waiting to fly out so I really didn't get to see much of it. The airport is about 2.5 miles from town.
I can tell you exactly what is in the airport (bathrooms, food counter, one gate (photo 2), two car rental kiosks, check in desk, baggage inspection place, TSA scanner (photo 3), private plane parking), but not much about the town itself.
As far as I can remember, I have never been to the state of Idaho. So I wanted to make a little jaunt over there, just so I could say that I had been. From our hotel it would only have been about 9 miles down US 20 to the state line. Our rental car had an Idaho license.
Some of Yellowstone National Park is in Idaho, but it is the southeast corner and not accessible by road from inside the park.
But in the end, I didn't go - no time and no energy
NEXT DOOR TO YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
"West Yellowstone is a great place to stay"
I'll start off by saying, I enjoyed staying in West Yellowstone and visiting Yellowstone National Park each day and returning to the hotel in West Yellowstone before sundown. I found that the restaurant choices were greater and less crowded than in the park itself as was the price for gasoline a lot lower than the park stations. If you like to shop around for a souvenir or a great gift, the town is full of specialty stores. Walking around the town is easy and the shop owners are very friendly. Yes, it may be nice to stay right in the park, but for my money, I prefer West Yellowstone rates for the lodging as well as more choices of where to stay.
The amazing thing is the travel time to get to each area of the park is only a short time to be going in the direction you want. I do know that many of the entrances do close for winter and the West entrance is one of them that closes to all except snowcoaches and snowmobiles of which there are several companies in town to use. In summer, the park gets crowded and leaving from West Yellowstone to get into the park allows you choices as to which way to go during your stay. One area may be more crowded than another, so take the road less used. Closing road date for regular vehicles is usually in early November and opening is around the middle of April. Another plus is that there is a Yellowstone National Park Visitor Information Center right in town, just before the entrance to the park. This way you can obtain a map for the entire area and you can ask a Park Ranger for the areas of interest like exactly where to see the animals or how far to a certain geyser or waterfall. Yes, for me, West Yellowstone is the place to stay.
QUAKE LAKE NEAR WEST YELLOWSTONE, MONTANA
"ON THE MADISON RIVER"
The largest Earthquake in Montana history caused an avalanche of rock, soil, & trees to slide from the south wall of the Madison River Canyon. Below the Canyon was the Rock Creek Public Campground on the Madison River. The Earthquake caused (28) deaths in 1959..... people camping below the Canyon were buried. A grim reminder of what happened at Quake Lake.
When we arrived, my grandson was extremely impressed with the smallness of the airport (one gate, two rental car places, a snack bar, and bathrooms was about it.)
I had a rental car waiting and they gave me a white Sonata with Idaho plates similar to mine that I had at home. I didn't take the insurance or any of the extras.
One thing that was a little different (if I understand it correctly) was that if I drove less than 75 miles, they would charge me extra for gas whether it was full or not. We got a map of West Yellowstone from the car rental place.
My grandson dragged his wheeled bag and my computer bag across the gravel/sand parking lot (gravel is not good for wheeled bags - you need a hard surface for them to 'wheel') and we put the stuff into the trunk.
I was thinking it was time for lunch, but we were too anxious to get to the Old Faithful Inn to stop in West Yellowstone and went directly to the park entrance.
We got in free with my Golden Age passport. The permit for a car would be $25.00. My grandson thought that was cool.
The lady manning the entrance booth gave us a lot of useful information and told us how to get to the Old Faithful Inn where we would be staying. I asked her when check-in time was and she said she used to work there and it was 1400 but they would probably have our rooms ready because we wouldn't get there until about 1300. This was correct.
Next: Driving to the Old Faithful Inn