Getting Around Yellowstone
The best way to get around Yellowstone National Park is by car, especially as there is no public transportation system. You can rent a car at any of the nearby airports, including Yellowstone Regional Airport (COD) in Cody, Wyoming, Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) in Jackson, Wyoming, Yellowstone Airport (WYS) in West Yellowstone, Montana, and Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) in Bozeman, Montana. However, that doesn't mean that you should spend your entire vacation behind the wheel. Each of Yellowstone's eight regions has an area to park, allowing you to leave the car behind and explore by bike or on foot. Guided tours and limited airport shuttle services are also available.
A car is necessary for visiting different regions and attractions. Yellowstone consists of 350-plus miles of paved roads that make getting around fairly easy. Roads often close for heavy snowfall and construction, so it's best to check advisories posted on the National Park Service website before you hit the road. Also, keep in mind that gas stations are limited inside Yellowstone and GPS devices may provide incorrect directions, so you'll want to pick up a handy road map at any of the park's five entrance stations.
You can rent a car from any of the airports that service the park. When entering Yellowstone by car, you'll have to pay a $30 fee (or $50 for a combined pass for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park). Your park pass is valid for seven consecutive days. Keep track of your entrance record to re-enter the park at different locations.
There are several trusted companies that offer guided bus and van tours of the park. These tours depart daily from the park's visitor areas and gateway communities like West Yellowstone and Jackson. Tour fees vary by company and departure point, but basic tours generally cost less than $100 per person, per day. Some tours do not include park entrance fees in their rates. Consider the "Yellowstone in a Day" tour – offered by Xanterra Parks & Resorts – which hits all the major sites.
Xanterra Parks & Resorts also offers an airport shuttle that travels between Bozeman's airport and the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. However, this service is only provided once daily each way from mid-December to early March and costs $75 for adults and $37.50 for kids ages 3 to 11. Reduced rates are available for guests who book winter packages and are staying at one of Xanterra's hotels.
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