Where to Stay in Yellowstone

So you’ve decided to come to Yellowstone National Park? Before you set forth on your epic journey, you’ll need to figure out where to stay in the Yellowstone area!

And that isn’t always an easy task.

There’s a lot to see and do in Yellowstone, and chances are you won’t be able to squeeze every sight into your agenda. Choosing the right location for your lodging is essential to making your trip-of-a-lifetime successful! To make the most out of your time here, and see the most animals, geysers, hot springs, and scenery, you want to be in a position to access them.

So where is the best place to stay?

West Yellowstone is the most popular entrance for a good reason; we are the closest entrance to access all of the major attractions, and areas of interest. Old Faithful Geyser, and the Upper Geyser Basin, are only 32 miles from our front door. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is only 45 miles away. West Yellowstone is also the best entrance to access the “lower loop”, and the “upper loop” roads in the Park. Taking a “loop” tour, if done thoroughly, is a full day adventure! To maximize your time at each attraction, you’ll want to be driving as little as possible.


The first thing that people generally look at is price. At the City Center Motel , we try to keep our prices as affordable as possible, while still providing a clean, comfortable space to unwind and recharge each night. Location is also another consideration. As our name would suggest, the City Center Motel is centrally located in West Yellowstone, Montana. The entrance to Yellowstone National Park is 2 ½ blocks away, and the restaurants, gift shops, and other in-town attractions start right next door. Everything is within walking distance.

What do you plan to do during your stay?

Yellowstone National Park is obviously your main reason for coming to the area, but there are a lot of other activities that you might not have known about. For many people, the journey into the Yellowstone area only happens once or twice in a lifetime. Here is a list of highlights that you should consider.

The Lower Loop (132 miles)

Most hydro-thermal attractions, geysers, hot pools, mud pots are located on this loop, including the iconic Old Faithful Geyser. In addition, much of the park’s wildlife can be seen on this loop. Elk, bison, water fowl, wolves, bald eagles, and deer are just a handful of the species that are frequently seen on the lower loop drive. Plus, the iconic 308′ tall Lower Falls of the Yellowstone is a must see on this loop, from the South Rim Drive of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. To top it all off, the largest high elevation lake in the contiguous United States, Yellowstone Lake, can be seen on this loop.

The Upper Loop (136 miles)

The upper loop offers a much different experience than the lower loop. On this drive, you will be traveling through some of the geologically older portions of Yellowstone Park. Thus, you’ll get different vegetation, at different elevation, which attracts different animals. On this loop you’re chances are better to spot bears, especially in the spring. Other animals that might be seen here include elk, deer, bison, big horn sheep, and pronghorn. The upper loop also has a very unique hydro-thermal attraction; Mammoth Hot Springs. It’s the only area in Yellowstone that has geothermally heated water, that rises up through a 3.5 million year old ocean bed. The calcium carbonate creates beautifully grand, and brightly colored, travertine terraces. A site not to be missed!

Earthquake Lake (22 miles)

In 1959 there was 7.2 earthquake that rocked the entire region. The event change and altered much of the landscape, and even effected many thermal features in Yellowstone. Old Faithful was one these features that changed. Before the 1959 quake, Old Faithful had roughly a 60 minute interval between eruptions. After the earthquake, Old Faithful changed its interval to approximately 90 minutes between eruptions. One of the other things that happened from the event, was the collapse of a mountain side. The rocks and debris slid down into the Madison River, blocking its flow, and created Earthquake Lake. The beautiful drive takes you along the north shore of Hebgen Lake, and to a Visitor Center with displays an photos of all the devastation that happened.

Virginia City and Nevada City (82 miles)

The very much alive ghost town, Virginia City, Montana,is frozen in time. It is a remarkably well-preserved Old West Victorian gold mining town just 90 minutes west of Yellowstone National Park. When the gold ran out, there was still enough left so that homes and businesses were occupied, but there was not enough wealth to remodel the buildings. So it froze in time, and is now a live representation of an old west ghost town. Virginia City is the true and original Old West, complete with the original Boot Hill.

Lewis & Clark Caverns

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park is Montana’s first state park featuring one of the most decorated limestone caverns in the Northwest. These spectacular caves are highlighted with stalactites, stalagmites, and columns. They are electrically lighted, safe to visit, and provides an experience that won’t be forgotten.

Museum of the Rockies

View highlights of the country’s largest collection of North American dinosaur fossils consisting entirely of discoveries made in and around Montana. The museum has become world-renowned as a dinosaur research facility. Museum of the Rockies also houses the most T. rex specimens anywhere in the world – currently 13.

How will you enter the park?

Yellowstone’s West Entrance (West Yellowstone)
As Yellowstone Park’s most popular entrance, this portal puts you near the geyser basins, with approximately 150 geysers within a square mile. West Yellowstone is the closest entrance to the center of the Grand loop, making it convenient to visit the Upper and Lower loops on consecutive days.

Cost/Benefit Analysis

In some cases, the cheapest option isn’t always the best option, especially if it means sacrificing amenities and conveniences. The City Center Motel has tried to find a balance between affordability, and value. We strive to keep everything clean, maintained, and comfortable. While offering important amenities like refrigerators, in-room coffee, air conditioning, DirecTV, Wi-Fi, and a large community room with full kitchen.


As you compare different lodging options, here are a few things to keep in mind before booking your stay:

  • Air conditioning
  • Free High Speed Wi-Fi
  • Family oriented
  • Smoke Free
  • Free parking
  • Centrally located in town
  • Walking distance to restaurants and shops
  • Close to the park entrance

The last thing you want to worry about on vacation is your lodging. It’s important to find a comfortable room, in a great location, that is also affordable. At the City Center Motel, we strive to accommodate your needs.


We hope you choose the City Center Motel for your upcoming visit to Yellowstone National Park! As your hosts, we look forward to meeting you, and hope to make your stay as satisfying as possible. We both grew up here in West Yellowstone, and have an avid passion for Yellowstone National Park, and the surrounding area. We’ve raised our children here, and now we are blessed to be able to help raise our grandchildren here as well. Scott was a professional guide in Yellowstone for 16 years, and loves to share his knowledge with guests, to help them get the most out of their vacation to the greater Yellowstone area. Heather was the General Manager for a Yellowstone National Park tour company for 16 years, and takes pride in making sure that you get the most out of your once-in-a-lifetime adventure in our region. Our mission is to provide a clean, comfortable lodging option, for you to rest between adventures into Yellowstone. We love answering questions, helping to arrange other activities, giving advice on areas to visit, routes to maximize your time, and suggestions for other out-of-way attractions. Let us help you have a successful trip to Yellowstone National Park!