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Well, this one takes the cake. Either great thinking in marketing or a big tourist trap!!! Maybe both!
The Visitors Bureau Gift Shop at 107 Canyon St. may well be operated by the City of West Yellowstone and maybe it isn't. What it really isn't, is the City of West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce Visitors Bureau. The whole name of the store is the trick and "Gift Shop", written under the bold Visitors Bureau, let's the really PC people know it is a tourist gift store and not the place for information about the region. I must admit that the hundreds of Nick-knacks and shiny thing-a-ma-bobs do draw your attention to maybe pick up a little souvenir for someone back home. But, golly, miss Molly, Visitors Bureau? The Chamber of Commerce has a building with the Yellowstone Land Management Rangers inside, for all visitor information and that is at 30 Yellowstone Ave near the corner of Canyon St and Yellowstone Ave, on the way into the Yellowstone National Park.
Unique Suggestions: Look around inside and you just may find what you are looking for the children or that friendly neighbor back home.
Updated Jan 22, 2011
Although West Yellowstone is located at the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park, that doesn’t mean you are close to the main attractions in the park. You still have to drive 14 miles to the main park road, which is 142-miles in size. Yes, Yellowstone is huge, so expect a lot of driving. Plus the speed limit is slow, at 45 miles per hour in most areas, and even 35mpr in others. With bison, and rude tourist who stop in the middle of the road to look at something instead of pulling over to the side, it can take you a long time to get from place to place. To get to Old Faithful from the west entrance you will have to drive 30 miles, and to Norris Geyser Basin, it is 28 miles. To the Mammoth Hot Springs area you will have to travel 49 miles. You will want to visit the Canyon, and that is either 40 miles or 68, depending on if you travel south past Old Faithful (68 miles), or north to Norris, then turn east to the Canyon(40 miles). It is 67 miles from West Yellowstone to the Tower Falls area, and the beginning of Lamar Valley. And keep in mind that these are all one-way distances. So, although West Yellowstone is a very good location if you can not stay inside the park, it is not as convenient as lodging choices that can be made within Yellowstone in locations right AT some of the more popular sites.
My photos is a zoomed in detail of rock formations around Inspiration Point in Yellowstone’s stunning Canyon area.
Unique Suggestions: Plan ahead!!! Decide what you want to see, and find out their locations within the park. Then plan your driving routes carefully, so that you are not jumping all over the park, but are seeing places along your route. When planning, take into consideration how many days you will be in Yellowstone, and place a priority on the places you want to see the most. My Yellowstone VT pages can help you make these choices.
Fun Alternatives: If you are coming to Yellowstone specifically to spend most of your time exploring the northern road in the park, in particular, Lamar Valley, then either stay in the park at Mammoth Hot Springs, or outside the park in Silver Gate, Montana. You will find a lodging suggestion for Silver Gate on my Hotels & Accommodations section of my Yellowstone Pages.
Updated Nov 15, 2010
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