Let me second, and third, what Ballpark says about staying in Bozeman

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Posted by Granite Head ( on 14:18:06 03/07/16

In Reply to: OOPS, I see your dates in your subject line! posted by Granite Head

It's a lovely little down, I live here, and Ballpark used to live here. It is just about 90 minutes to Yellowstone's north entrance and about 110 minutes to West entrance (mileage is roughly the same but the commute to West is slower due to road conditions) EACH WAY which means your trip will eat 3+ hours and lots of gas every day. Plus there's lots of wildlife on the roads at dusk and dawn, and while the same is true in Yellowstone, the speed limit is 45. If you stick to 45 outside of Yellowstone it will take you 4+ hours a day at least. I wholeheartedly agree that you can find a nice place to stay, at prices competitive with anything in Bozeman (except a friend's guest room, but the difference will be made up by the excess gas you will buy) in Gardiner (north entrance) or West Yellowstone (west entrance), both have plenty of decent hotels, some with kitchenettes, VRBO's, etc.

Speaking of West Yellowstone, it's worth a stop at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center there to learn about both creatures, which you're not likely to (or you hope you won't) encounter up close in the park. They also teach bear safety, it's worth an hour or two of your time there. Wolf photo taken there a couple of weeks ago.

If you can't change your plans to stay in Bozeman, do carve out time to visit Montana Grizzly Encounter, a few miles east of town on I-90, the bears are gorgeous and MGE also provides information on bear safety.

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