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Amber asked

Handicap friendly itinerary for touring Yellowstone

Heading to Yellowstone. Staying first night in Cody Wyoming and starting the next morning. Can anyone help with a handicap friendly touring plan? Husband has limited mobility. We have no schedule but planning to spend 2-3 days in Yellowstone. Also going to try to find different lodging closer for the 2nd & third night.

Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)   Cody (Wyoming)

1 Answer
answered first by
Matt from Allentown, Pennsylvania
Coming from Cody, I recommend you take route 296 to the park's northeast entrance. This will take you through the Lamar Valley, which is one of the best areas for viewing wildlife in the park. Try to time it so you arrive early morning before there are too many vehicles there. There will be many scenic pullouts but your husband will be able to see most things without leaving the car.
At Tower Junction you can turn right and head to Mammoth Hot Springs, but he probably will not be able to navigate the boardwalks and stairs that afford the best experience of the travertine terraces and geothermal features here. The main reason for you to drive all the way here near the park's northwest entrance would be to visit the Albright Visitor Center to learn all about the park.
Heading south from Tower Junction, you can stop at Calcite springs overlook – it's a short, level walk to a magnificent view of Yellowstone Canyon and river, and just south of there is Tower Fall (path to overlook is a little longer).
Next after this is Canyon Village which may be a good spot to stay for the night – plenty of accommodations options, food and services here. In this area are the iconic Yellowstone Falls but he may have difficulty walking the trails to the outlooks. Drive to Inspiration Point if it's open, he may be able to see the falls from the car.
Continue south and you'll pass through Hayden Valley which is the second best area for wildlife viewing. Be prepared to stop at any time, bison often roam across the roadway here. It make for traffic jams, but also great photo ops (but please heed the warnings about not approaching the animals, they can be dangerous).
Next you'll arrive at Lake lodge on the north shore of Lake Yellowstone. This is a beautiful historic hotel, another good option for accommodations. Even if you can't get a room, stop here for a meal in the restaurant. The historic Yellow Bus Tours depart from here, which would be a nice option for both of you, but with only 2 or 3 days in the park you may not have time for that.
Stop at West Thumb Geyser Basin for an up-close encounter with the geothermal pools the park is known for. The most iconic one is Grand Prismatic Spring but your husband may have difficulty on the boardwalk there, so I'd recommend West Thumb instead, it's generally easier and safer to walk around (you could probably take him on a wheelchair if necessary).
Old Faithful is a must-see, even if it's over-rated and touristy. You can enjoy time in the historic lodge and the geyser is easily accessed from there – there is bench seating all around on one side and a paved walkway that will accommodate wheelchairs. Probably the most accessible part of the park.
Heading back to Cody you can take the more direct Route 14 from Lake Lodge.

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Lamar Valley (attraction)
  2. Albright Visitor Center (tourist attraction)
  3. Calcite springs overlook (tourist attraction)
  4. Tower Fall (attraction)
  5. Canyon Village (city)
  6. Yellowstone Falls (attraction)
  7. Hayden Valley (attraction)
  8. Lake lodge (hotel)
  9. West Thumb Geyser Basin (attraction)
  10. Grand Prismatic Spring (attraction)
  11. Old Faithful (attraction)

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