Later I thought, I have a lot of insider info from working two seasons in the park that might help people prepare for a better time. So here are my top four points to make your visit less stressful!
Plan Ahead - Way Ahead
|Main Entrance - Gardiner|
For camping: you will need to know exactly what size tent you have or they won't let you make a reservation. There are also a few National Park campgrounds (most are run by a concessionaire) that are first come first serve, but you'd better plan to be there at exactly 11am or have a backup!
The lodging concessionaire is called Xanterra Parks and Resorts.
Take your Time
|Bison in Hayden Valley|
There is also usually major road construction on one or two segments each summer.
Besides, this is vacation and there are lots of little things to see along the way like stinky mud pits and picture perfect waterfalls!
Whether you're camping or not, please be aware that no food or food preparation items can be left outside unattended at any time. This is for your safety and so that bears don't learn to come where the people are.
|Mammoth Hot Springs|
In terms of clothing, layers are your friend. The majority of the park is located at 6,000 feet or above in elevation. It can get quite cold in the morning and evening and sometimes even snow. There was a reason we had Christmas in August celebrations when I worked there!
The elevation also affects how much sun you get. When it does get warm and you shed your layers, be sure skin is covered with sunscreen, especially if you are fair. And don't forget the bug spray!
Remember you are in a National Park!
Some of the funniest questions I got while working there related to the amenities (I worked as a front desk agent at one of the lodges). There are no swimming pools. No TV's in the rooms. And most places don't even have phones. Your cell phone will not likely work in most areas although there is now some wi-fi available in the lobbies with pay as you go service.
Some of the accommodations are very rustic, especially for the price. But you're also paying for the location since having to stay outside the park means quite a bit of extra driving each day.
|Lower Falls at Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone|
You can also read more about our recent (camping!) adventures and see more photos here and here.
Have you been to Yellowstone National Park? What are your top tips for a good vacation here?