The Morgan family who visited Yellowstone Holiday in the summer of 2009 described their experience below with some photos, videos, and suggestions for fun things to do while you stay at a RV site or cabin at Yellowstone Holiday:
The Cabins & Resort
We stayed in the Elk Haven cabin at Yellowstone Holiday which sleeps 7 adults. Two sleep in the main living area on a fold out futon couch then in the bedroom there are two bunk beds. One has a double occupancy on the bottom and the rest are single beds. Our son, Eli, was really excited to sleep on the top bunk. There are other two other cabin options that we saw there including the Bear Necessities and Moose Cottages. The Bear Necessities are small and basic but more accommodating than a tent and less expensive than the other cabins available at Yellowstone Holiday. The Moose Cottages are bigger than the Elk Haven cabins in length by about 25% but sleep 6 (one less than Elk Haven) and are duplexes with two cabins per unit. The Moose Cabins would be great if you go with family and need two cabins next to each other. They have a little store on the resort and it actually has a lot more things than I expected, more stuff than a gas station but obviously less than a full grocery store. You do need to bring your own sheets, pillows, bedding, blankets, etc. You will also need to bring your own cooking stuff, plates, flatware, etc. There is a mini-fridge, but it is a larger mini-fridge than most and can actually fit a good amount of food. There is hot water and a shower which is nice and a small table in the kitchen of the cabin. There are fire pits outside, about 1 per every two cabins so there is usually one available. They do stock the cabins with garbage bags, soap, and toilet paper. Overall they are very comfortable, affordable, and a great location right on the beach of Hebgen Lake.
Boating & Fishing
Upon arrival, our family was instantly taken by the size and grandeur of the Hebgen Lake. The lake was a lot larger than we had expected and our cabin was right on the shoreline. Several fire pits were a glow with large crackling fire and good smelling food. Our first morning at Yellowstone Holiday was peaceful and visually breath taking. My wife and I took a few minutes (while our children were still asleep) to sit on our front porch to watch the sun rise over the cloud covered lake. It was nothing short of majestic. In fact, my wife took several pictures to capture the moment.
During our stay at Yellowstone Holiday, my family took advantage of Hebgen Lake two afternoons in a row. The first experience we had on the lake was in a good sized (seats about five-people comfortably)fishing motor boat that we rented on location. it was very convenient for our family. The store, located on the grounds of Yellowstone Holiday, provided life jackets, seat cushions, oars and gasoline for our afternoon adventure. We packed lunches and snacks to munch on while we got a “fish-eye” view of the lake. Our boys, ages four and six-months, had a great time bouncing over the small wakes we had created from quick turns in our boat.
Our second afternoon spent on Hebgen Lake was with some of our extended family (two of my wife’s sisters’ and their families). We had six children total ranging from six-months to fourteen-years-old. This time, we did a lot more activities. We rotated taking the children out on the motor boat. We also had some of the more adventurous go out on the canoes and kayaks. We didn’t take out the paddle boats (because of time) but have that on our priority list for next time we visit. A handful of our family went fishing right in the middle of the lake (thanks to the motor boat). We were not expecting them to have any luck, since it was right in the middle of the day, but to the children’s delight (and adults;)) they had caught a 15″ Rainbow Trout.
In the evenings, we had fun looking-at and catching several crawfish. In fact, if you ask the kids and my wife, catching crawfish was one of the big highlights of our vacation.
Yellowstone National Park & Wildlife
Yellowstone National Park was the major highlight of our vacation. Located just fifteen minutes away, we were able to conveniently travel to and from the park as we wished. Having two small children and a couple days of stormy weather made this 15-minute commute very much appreciated. Anyone that has not been to Yellowstone needs to go and those who have gone always yearn to go back. This is actually our family’s second time visiting Yellowstone National Park. Even though four-years have passed, our happy memories of Yellowstone was not tainted only rekindled. We were fortunate enough to view many animals right in their natural habitat. To name a few, we saw: individual and herds of buffalo and elk (in fact, we had a few buffalo walk right out on the road next to our car), deer, a baby black bear, a bald eagle, mountain goats, longhorn sheep, and big fat squirrels. Besides the wonder of wildlife, we enjoyed the many natural geological wonders that Yellowstone had to offer. My wife tells me that Yellowstone is unique because it has everything (geysers, canyons, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, mountains, plains, wildlife, etc.).
Our family liked dining and window shopping around the small town of West Yellowstone. The whole town caters to the needs of the tourists and it was great addition to our overall Yellowstone experience.
Mining Town / Ghost Town
My favorite part of the trip was visiting Virginia City.It is about an hour-drive from Yellowstone Holiday. It you are debating taking the drive out, let me tell you, it is worth your time. Virginia City is an old mining town that is now a thriving ghost town. The old buildings (most original) housed many shops, restaurants, and exhibits. Almost every building has a plaque located outside its front door with dates and descriptions of all who have lived or worked within its walls. Our family had a portable map (offered to all visiting tourists in each building) that we used to navigate where we went. The rich history of Virginia City was interesting and respected. My wife and children loved visiting two cemeteries that is home to many of Virginia City’s original residents.
Just outside of the city (about a 10-15 minute drive), we let our children pan for gold and garnet (January’s birthstone). The fee was nominal and worth the unique experience.