Wyoming is a very empty state and public transport links aren’t good, so you really do need a car to get around. If you don’t live within driving distance you’ll need to hire one. We used Alamo who we’ve used several times before – the rates are good though the downside can be that their lot is often a long way from the airport terminal. For this trip we flew into Denver and found all the hire car lots are in a line in the same spot, so Alamo is as good as any other.
Also, make sure you have a map. We used the free one you can get from the state’s Official Travel Website (click on "Order a guide" on their homepage). We found this more than adequate – with so few roads you don’t need such a detailed map as you do elsewhere where the potential to get confused is so much greater!
Wyoming is a big state that pretty much requires you to drive your own vehicle. Mass transit is spotty at best and getting around individual national parks necessitate some type of transportation due to their immense sizes.
Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone are fairly close together in the northwestern part of the state, only 100 miles or 2.5 hours from the top of Yellowstone to the middle of the Tetons. Jackson is just 20 miles south of the middle of the Tetons. So, these area are very easily combined on one trip.
Devil's Tower is in the far northeast corner of the state, about 11 hours from the others and actually more easily combined with a trip to Mount Rushmore which is only 2.5 hours away.
While Wyoming has several airports, none of them is a major international hub and most visitors from overseas will probably find, as we did, that it’s easier and cheaper to fly to an airport in a neighbouring state and drive from there. The best options for convenience and choice of flights seemed to be Salt Lake City and Denver, and after shopping around we found that we could get a much better deal flying to the latter (we saved over £100 per person).
Choosing Denver did dictate our itinerary to some extent, meaning that we spent more time in the eastern part of the state than we might otherwise have done, but that turned out to be a good thing as it led us to some of my favourite places and sights: the Big Horn Mountains, Devil’s Tower and the various Oregon Trail sites in the south east.
There are lots of good value hotels within very easy reach of Denver Airport which was another plus as we were arriving in the evening and didn't want to drive far - I've included a link to a useful website below.
From early fall to late spring it might happen that roads in Wyoming have to be closed because of winter weather conditions. On the picture shown here I was in Cheyenne and wanted to go back to Laramie. That wasn't possible because of the results of a snowstorm - or in other words: a new layer of 8 inches of snow. The Interstate was closed and all the vehicles had to wait in Cheyenne for hours. Dozens of trucks just parked roadside until the roads reopened again.
Did anybody say public transportation? What's that? Something that does almost not exist in Wyoming. The photo shows my old Jeep Cherokee. I drove 34,000 miles in two years with that car. It was a very emotional moment for me when I had to sell it before going back to Germany. The paper below my car is a speeding ticket. I was 4 miles too fast. No fine, just a warning...
If coming to the Northern regions of Wyoming your best bet is to fly into Jackson Hole, WY. It is quite an experience to fly over the Grand Tetons and drop into the valley. In Jackson, you can rent a vehicle to explore Dubois, Lander, Yellowstone National Park, or the many other places located in this part of the state.
I flew into Salt Lake City and rented a car from the airport. I made sure it had unlimited mileage on it. From there I drove just across the border into Nevada, then headed north back up into northern Utah. Spent the night in Logan, Utah, then headed up to Jackson on Hwy 89. Spent a couple of nights in Jackson, then headed to Waipiti, WY (between Yellowstone's East Gate entrance & Cody). Stayed there several nights at a Lodge, then drove up Chief Joseph scenic highway (spectacular views) into Montana, then back into Northern Yellowstone. Headed into Montana again and then dropped down south through Idaho, and then back to Salt Lake City. In one week I put 2,852 miles on the rental car...so you can see why unlimited mileage is extremely important.
The closest major or International Airport is Salt Lake City, Utah. All the major airlines fly into Salt Lake.
There are closer smaller airports in or near the gateway cities. You can rent vehicles at Salt Lake or any of these airports. The following airports are listed according to their proximity to Yellowstone.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Idaho Falls, Idaho
You Will Need a Car once inside the Park. Though During Summer many people choose to ride on Bicycles through the park. It is to be Noted that there are Wild Animals (grissly bears, wolves etc.) in the Park.
Air Travel - The major airport that serves this area is Denver International [DIA] in Denver, Colorado with several smaller airports through out the state. ---Arriving by Bus - Powder River Trailways with connections from Denver, Colorado and Billings, Montana.
You really need a vehicle to get around in the state and especially the parks and the National Forests. Interstate 80 goes east and west in the southern part of the state, Interstate 90 goes east and west in the northern part of the state and Interstate 25 goes north and south in the center of the state.
Flying Js rule!!!
Come on, people! You know you love Flying J plazas as much as me. After all, where as can you color a felt poster while talking on the phone at your table waiting for your food, then take a shower after you're done there? LOL
By plane from the towns of Idaho Falls, Bozeman, Billings, Jackson Hole or further south from Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City can be a less expensive alternative both in terms of airfare and rental car rates. Salt Lake City can be a good alternative if you want make a circle trip and visit places like Idaho, Montana, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.
Driving is certainly an option, since there are four entrances, you should consider the direction you plan to enter the park.
Yellowstone is BIG, while you can ride a bicycle and there are lots of motorcycles that come through the park, your main choice is by car. The roads in Yellowstone look like a figure '8' and completing a full loop can take more than day. You travel between area's by time not distance, it takes a LOT longer to drive on these roads than the mileage. If you get information from the National Parks Service they will send you a map with approximate travel times. Watch out for highway construction this can greatly increase travel time. Summer traffic can get busy and the 'animal jams' block traffic in many places.
Flew into the airport at Billings, Montana. The airport is on a bluff higher than the city so it got fogged in when it was time for me to fly out. I flew out from the smaller airport at Cody, Wyoming. Next time I think I will try to fly straight in to Cody and back again because it is closer to the things I wanted to see.
Wyoming is a big state and things are spread out. You will definitely need a car or truck. In the Winter time when I was there the roads had snow on them in many places so keep that in mind.
You can travel to Wyoming by car, bus, or air.
Once you are in Wyoming you really nead a car to get a good idea of what Wyoming is like. Drive out into an area that is not well traveled and get out of your car. Enjoy the vast aloneness that only a state like Wyoming can offer.
The American West is BIG and a lot of the sights are far away from each other. You pretty much have to have a car. Unless you're part of some organized tour group by bus, sort of thing.
North Rim Drive, Wyoming, United States
Good for: Solo
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