Set beside the world famous Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, the Old Faithful Inn is the most popular lodge in the park. Build in 1904, the lodge hotel has a log and wood shingle exterior, which helps to create a rustic, camp-like atmosphere. And though the Old Faithful Inn offers accommodations, a restaurant, park tour guides and a gift shop, guests are able to take advantage of all the other things to see, eat and do throughout the park. Open from May to October, the Old Faithful Inn is the perfect place to stay if you want to take advantage of everything Yellowstone National Park has to offer.
The original part of the Old Faithful Inn is called the "Old House" and features a large stone fireplace and a spacious lobby. In the early 1900's, the East and West Wings were added to the lodge, which is where you'll find guest accommodations. Rooms at the lodge range in price from $93 to $502 and come with or without a bathroom. Guests staying in rooms without a private bathroom enjoy the comfort of a running sink, but share a bathroom and private showers with other guests. Though this kind of lodging might not be for everyone, many guests appreciate this kind of camp-like atmosphere.
Mid-Range Rooms at the lodge are simple but very comfortable and come with one or two queen-sized beds as well as a private bathroom. High-Range Rooms are more modernized and feature contemporary furnishings, a private bathroom and a queen-sized bed or two double-sized beds. Guests who don't want to spend a lot but prefer some amenities often stay in Premium Rooms, which come with two double beds, a private bath and several hotel luxuries.
More spacious lodge accommodations can be found in the Old Faithful Inn Semi-Suites and Suites. Semi-Suites have a sitting area as well as two queen-sized beds and a private bathroom that includes a tub/shower, toilet and sink. The Suites, which were recently renovated, come with a refrigerator, two queen-sized beds and a private bathroom. Featuring modern amenities and comfortable furnishings, the Suites at the lodge are by far the most extravagant accommodations and can cost up to $500 during peak seasons.
And while the accommodations at the Old Faithful Inn are comfortable and cozy, many guests stay because of the historic value and proximity to the sites in Yellowstone National Park. Attracting thousands of visitors throughout the year, Yellowstone is the first national park in the United States and is still the most famous. Spread out across three different states (Wyoming, Montana and Idaho), the park was established in 1872 and is home to a variety of wildlife, including grizzly bears, bison, elk and wolves. The park is also home to an impressive collection of geyers and hot springs, the most popular being Old Faithful.
Coming in from all over the globe, Yellowstone National Park visitors can fly into various airports located near five different entrances. Guests entering the park from the east entrance, located 50 miles west of Cody, Wyoming, fly into Cody's airport, the Yellowstone Regional Airport, which is serviced by several commercial carriers. From here, they take a taxi or rent a car to drive the rest of the distance. The north entrance of the park is in Gardiner, Montana, about 85 miles from Gallatin Field, the Bozeman, Montana airport. From this airport, guests are able to rent a car or, as a more inexpensive option, take a shuttle from the airport to the north entrance.
The south entrance of the park is located about 60 miles north of the Jackson, Wyoming airport, where guests can pick up a taxi service. The Old Faithful Inn is located about the same distance from the west and south entrances. However, the closest airport to the west entrance is the airport in Bozeman, Montana, so many guests staying at the lodge fly into the Jackson, Wyoming airport and take a taxi to the lodge after entering the park through the south entrance.
After settling into their rooms at the Old Faithful Inn, most lodge guests head straight for the Old Faithful geyser, which is often populated with park visitors staying in various lodging accommodations spread throughout the park. However, there are plenty of other things to do and see, particularly in the summer months when the lodge is open. One of the most popular activities is biking. Located right near the lodge, Xanterra Parks and Resorts offers bicycle rentals if you haven't brought your own. Though bikes aren't permitted on backcountry trails and boardwalks, the park provides several maps with clearly marked bike trails so that guests can explore on their own.
Another popular activity for lodge guests is hiking. With over 2.2 million acres of land, Yellowstone National Park is a great place to hike and enjoy the outdoors. There are over 1,100 miles of trails available for hiking, though guests should be cautious of weather conditions and the wildlife. Guests can stop at a ranger station or visitor center for maps and information on hiking trails that are suitable for day outings. Lodge guests hiking in the Old Faithful area can choose from several different hiking trails, including Mallard Lake (a 6.8 mile trip), Observation Point (a 1 mile trip), Howard Eaton (a 5.8 mile trip), Lone Star (a 4.8 mile trip) and Mallard Creek (a 9.3 mile trip). Each trail offers beautiful scenery and a variation of terrains for every comfort level.
Lodge guests also enjoy boating and fishing throughout the summer at Yellowstone Lake, the largest alpine lake at about 7,000 feet. Offering 140 miles of shoreline, the lake is also a great place for families to enjoy a picnic and lay out in the sun. Guests at the Old Faithful Inn can drive to Bridge Bay Marina to hire a charter guide boat or rent a rowboat or outboard motorboat. Guests are also invited to bring their own boats, but they require a permit, which can be picked up at the south entrance before you reach the Old Faithful Inn for check-in.
Other outdoor lodge activities focus on appreciating the western history of the area. Yellowstone Stagecoach Adventures takes guests on half-hour stagecoach rides through sagebrush flats and are particularly popular amongst younger visitors. Various outfits located throughout the park also offer horseback riding while an Old West dinner cookout is held daily in Pleasant Valley, a large meadow located about three miles from Roosevelt Lodge. To get to the cookout, guests are transported from Roosevelt Corral via horses or covered wagons. Everyone then sits together at open-air picnic tables while dinner is served buffet-style under a canvas roof. Entertainment includes a cowboy singer and the menu includes steak, coleslaw, bakes beans, corn muffins, watermelon and more. One of the most popular activities in the park, the cookout lasts about two hours long and offers a real authentic look at old-fashioned western park life.
If you'd like a break from all the outdoor activity, take a moment to visit one of the many Yellowstone National Park gift shops. Located off the lobby of the lodge, the Old Faithful Inn Gift Shop offers a wide range of knick-knacks and souvenirs to bring back to friends and family. Here, guests will also find a variety of authentic keepsakes, such as Native American jewelry, drums, carvings, artifacts and bronzes, that reflect the Yellowstone environment and history.
There are also several dining opportunities available throughout the park. The most convenient for lodge guests is the Old Faithful Inn's dining doom. Featuring a huge stone fireplace below a stunning original painting of the Geyser Basin, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. For breakfast, guests enjoy both an a la carte menu as well as a buffet while lunch includes a range of sandwiches and salads and a western buffet. At night, a menu features signature specialties, such as pork osso buco or pan-seared elk medallions, while a dinner buffet satisfies everyone's pallet.
Since many guests enjoy picnicking in area throughout the park, the lodge also offers a take-out menu through The Bear Paw Deli. Offering fast service and delicious sandwiches, the deli seats 70 but is often empty as many lodge guests prefer to take their lunch to go and enjoy it during a hike, boat or bike trip in the park. The deli also serves a variety of fresh salads and ice creams for hot summer days in the sun. Other Old Faithful area dining areas include the Old Faithful Lodge & Cafeteria & Bake Shop as well as the Old Faithful Snow Lodge Obsidian Room & Geyser Grill, which are located in other nearby lodge hotels.