Recently we had an email conversation with a reader who wrote in via our contact form. With his permission, we are reproducing it here, lightly edited. You may find it helpful when planning your own trip.July 23, 2018
I am reading your book Yellowstone Treasures. It’s very nicely written and packed with tons of information. Thank you from a first-time visitor like me.
I will be traveling for the first time to the park in the first week of August with my family and friends. The location we chose to stay in that was affordable is outside the west side of the park. I am coming over from Canada.
I will be staying for five days. Is this time enough? I have divided the park in 4 segments, and each day I will be entering the park from the west. Is this approach right? What are some of the things that I must absolutely need to know? Does the park have wheelchair facilities? My friends’ parents are in their 80’s and won’t be able to do long walks. Does the park have rentals for golf-cart-type vehicles?
I will really appreciate your guidance and help. Thank you in advance for your response.
July 26, 2018
Thank you for your kind comments about the guidebook. I put your questions to the author, Janet, and she asked me to write back to you.
There is never time enough to see everything, unless you stay all summer! However, the most essential sights are on Yellowstone’s west side. Be sure to allow one or two days for the area between Norris Geyser Basin and the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, where there are so many fabulous thermal features to stop for. “My other personal favorites are the Mammoth Hot Springs area and the Lamar Valley,” says Janet. Don’t try to see everything since you need to allow time for travel and meals. Rather than seeing all your four segments, maybe choose two or three? If you do want to see the east or south sides of the park, look for lodging in Cody or Dubois, Wyoming, since those can be cheaper than lodging in the park or Jackson.
You will be in the park at its busiest time, so expect bumper-to-bumper traffic on some of the roads. If you can start very early in the mornings, you will do yourselves a favor. It’s always a good idea to check the official NPS Park Roads page the map showing current road status and for the closing dates of various roads. Another way to beat the crowds is to bring picnic food and drinks in a cooler for your lunches and snacks. Yellowstone Treasures tells you about the picnic areas.
You also asked if the park has wheelchair facilities and if the park has rentals for golf carts. The visitor centers at Old Faithful, Canyon, and Mammoth will loan you wheelchairs, or you can rent them at the medical clinics (Old Faithful, Mammoth, and Lake). See the NPS Wheelchairs & Mobility page for more information. But there are no golf-cart vehicles. One of the most rewarding short walks is around Black Sand Basin, the nearest short side road to Old Faithful Village, and of course Yellowstone Treasures has a list of more short walks on pages 366-68. And be sure to check the guidebook’s maps for the wheelchair symbol on trails and restrooms.
Another option to look at for your friends’ parents is one of the many yellow bus tours (see Xanterra’s Land Adventures page).
Enjoy your trip!
Editor and Publisher
Granite Peak Publications