It's official: you need a Yellowstone vacation getaway that brings you face-to-face with boiling steam vents, 308-foot waterfall drops, some of the countrys most beautiful landscapes and a herd of roaming buffalo.
Fortunately, the West Yellowstone timeshare rental (Ask about availability at this Yellowstone vacation rental) gives you the perfect home-base for exploring this region thats so chock full of adventures you could come back year after year and not see the same scenes twice. In winter, the Yellowstone area is well-known as a wonderland for snow-sports, and in warmer months there are literally hundreds of things to do to get your heart pumping and your horizons widened. From strolling through art galleries to running the rapids, this is just the place to find your brand of high adventure.
Pick WorldMark West Yellowstone for your Yellowstone vacation. It's a a picture-perfect, lodge-style resort just one block away from the west gate of the countrys first and most awe-inspiring national park. From here youre just a short drive away from many of the parks most famous attractions, including Steamboat Geyser (26 miles), Old Faithful (31 miles), and the Upper and Lower Falls inside the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone (39 miles).
Park visitors love to go hiking during their Yellowstone vacation. Yellowstone offers more than 1,000 miles of hiking trails, 15 miles of boardwalks, and 92 trailheads!
But why hurry? Some of the parks best viewing is by the side of the road, where Yellowstones year-round animal residents bears, wolves, elk and bison often make appearances (sometimes even causing bear jams when drivers stop their cars to take a look and lots of pictures).
At the start of your Yellowstone vacation, youll want to get oriented; make your first stop at the West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center, located within walking distance of the timeshare rental (Ask about availability). There, youll find information on ranger-led programs (such as the morning Explore Yellowstone! talks and evening astronomy programs), hiking trail maps for all energy levels and other details on what to do and where to go in the park.
Once inside the gates, you wont want to miss the sleek new Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, which opened in 2010. Besides watching the famous geyser from behind floor-to-ceiling windows, you can learn all about the science behind the parks other-worldly hydrothermal features (steam vents, hot springs and mud pots) with interactive exhibits and displays. Young families should make a point of seeing the Young Scientists Room, where they can predict the next eruption of Old Faithful and get a little wet watching a life-size geyser model.
My husband and I recently enjoyed our own Yellowstone vacation. I put together this Yellowstone montage to show you what you're missing! (And to entice you to take your own Yellowstone vacation!)
As there is no public transportation inside Yellowstone National Park, youll need to drive your own car (a $25 entrance fee provides seven-day access to the park). However, if youd rather sit back, relax and just enjoy the view, a few local companies provide van tours of the park. Yellowstone National Park Lodges offers a variety of partial and full-day tours leaving from points around the park. They also offer Historic Yellow Bus Tours in open-topped yellow buses that harken back to the parks original means for seeing the sites. (touryellowstone.com, look under the Things To Do tab for all of their offerings.)
There are also a number of tour companies that leave from West Yellowstone most will even pick you up and drop you off at your Yellowstone vacation rental. They all offer a variety of tour configurations and prices just explore to find which is right for you. Tour operators include All Yellowstone Sports (allyellowstone.com, 406-646-9022), See Yellowstone (seeyellowstone.com, 800-221-1151) and
A car or van tour is a fine way to start your exploration, but many folks want to venture a little deeper into the areas natural wonders and the Yellowstone National Park offers many ways to get beyond its byways and walkways.
One of the parks most popular Yellowstone vacation activities is hiking. Yellowstone offers more than 1,000 miles of hiking trails, 15 miles of boardwalks and 92 trailheads! Before you begin a hike, the park rangers recommend you stop into a visitor information center to pick up maps, get information about elevations and trail difficulty, and hear advice on how to avoid a bear encounter. The park bookstores also carry a Day Hike Sampler which details 21 different day hikes for a longer experience on the trail.
Fishing is also a huge draw to those enjoying their Yellowstone vacation. WorldMark West Yellowstone Manager Luke Downs says that the nearby Madison River is one of the most well-known fly fishing rivers in the world. And Hebgen Lake, just nine miles northwest of West Yellowstone, offers some of the best float and deep-water trout fishing around. Be aware that you must have a fishing license before you go out and that there are special restrictions regarding area fishing, especially in the park. One of West Yellowstones many fishing stores can set you up with a license, equipment and information. Your fellow owners are especially complimentary of Bud Lillys on Madison Avenue.
And who can ask for a better way to explore mountain trails, wildlife and wild flowers than on the back of a horse? There are several horseback riding tours open to visitors in the area, including the Diamond P Ranch, just eight miles west of the timeshare rental (yellowstonehorses.com, 406-646-7246).
The Parade Rest Guest Ranch also offers mountain trail rides from one to four hours long and on Mondays and Fridays they have cookouts and hay rides (paraderestranch.com, 800-753-5934).
Who can ask for a better way to explore mountain trails, wildlife, and wildflowers than on the back of a horse?
White-water rafting offers a spectacular, white-knuckle way to see big sky country. The Yellowstone is the nations longest freeflowing river and the Flying Pig Adventure Company in Gardiner, Montana (37 miles from the resort), will provide you with the raft and guide to shoot the notorious Man Eater, Pickets Wave and Sleeping Giant rapids (flyingpigrafting.com, 1-866-807-0744). Youll also find calmer waters where the river flows through the national park, providing a unique vantage point for exploring Yellowstone. Geyser Whitewater Expeditions, near Big Sky, Montana (45 miles north of the resort), takes you into the Gallatin River and through Gallatin Canyon. Expect a good soaking as you raft through Screaming Left, House Rock and Mad Mile (raftmontana.com, 800-914-9031).
Not all the adventure in the area is to be had in the park, however. For a more low-key variety, try a stroll into charming West Yellowstone. This town has been around since the first Yellowstone tourists arrived around the turn of the last century, and it maintains its old-fashioned charm. Stop at the classic soda counter and order a hand-scooped ice cream cone, browse the many art galleries where you can find the work of local artists and discover the towns specialty shops and restaurants (as always, your friendly front desk staff at the timeshare rental can offer recommendations on where to eat in town). And take in a play at the Playmill Theatre, a community landmark for nearly 50 years.
There are also two one-of-a-kind museums in West Yellowstone worth visiting. The first, just across the street from the resort, is the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center (grizzlydiscoveryctr.org, 800-257-2570). The center gives visitors the chance to see live grizzlies and wolves at close range. Visitors with children can sign up for the Keeper Kids program, where they get to hide food for the bears and learn more about bear behavior from a naturalist. Dont forget to have your picture taken on the giant teddy bear couch! The regions IMAX theater is also part of the Center it shows Yellowstone, a movie which tells the parks history along with an upclose view of some of its greatest natural wonders.
Youve discovered and adventured to your hearts content. And now that the day is drawing to a close, WorldMark West Yellowstone is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. Take a dip in the resorts mammoth indoor pool open year-round or soak in the spa. Pop in a DVD and enjoy a night in, or curl up with a book in a cozy corner. Its just the right touch of civility out in the wild of West Yellowstone.
This article was based on an article in our timeshare owners magazine
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