Located just outside the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park, the Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone (www.yellowstonevacations.com) offer a comfortable and convenient lodging choice for park visitors. Opened in 2013, this 50-unit property focuses on cabineering — a lodging concept which offers the comforts of home and the perks of a hotel in a remote natural setting. And the good news is, the complex boasts two accessible cabins, which makes the property an excellent wheelchair-accessible Yellowstone lodging choice.
Spend the Night
The cabins are grouped around communal fire areas, with barrier-free access throughout the complex. There’s no dedicated office for the cabins, so-check in is done at the Grey Wolf Inn & Suites in the winter and at the Yellowstone Park Hotel in the summer. Both properties have accessible parking in front and barrier-free access to the lobby. Luggage assistance is also available upon request.
Cabin 11 is one of two accessible models. Accessible parking is available in a nearby lot, with ramp access to the front porch. This modern log cabin is furnished with a 14-inch high sleeper sofa in the living room, and has a kitchenette with a refrigerator, microwave, cook top, sink and a full set of dishes and utensils. There’s also a gas fireplace to snuggle up to if you get chilly. And in keeping with the rustic ambiance, the cabin is pleasantly minus a television.
The bedroom is furnished with a 31-inch high king-sized bed, with 32 inches of clearance on one side and 26 inches on the other. There’s level access to the adjacent bathroom, which features a wide doorway and a five-foot turning radius. It’s equipped with a roll-in shower with grab bars, a hand-held showerhead, and a fold-down padded shower bench. Toilet grab bars are located on the back and left walls (as seated), and the bathroom also has a roll-under sink.
There is a table and a chair on the large front porch, but you can also enjoy the view through the floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room. The cabin also comes with some extra amenities like binoculars, walking sticks, flashlights and even a s’mores kit. It’s a perfect choice for a family vacation, and a great wheelchair-accessible Yellowstone lodging choice.
Explore West Yellowstone
As well as acting as a gateway to the national park, West Yellowstone offers a number of accessible attractions of its own. And the best place to find out about them is to drop by the West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center (www.destinationyellowstone.com), which is located on the corner of Yellowstone Avenue and Canyon Street.
There’s accessible parking in the large lot, with level access over to the visitor center. Inside there’s barrier-free access throughout the building, which features a plethora of local information. Be sure an pick up the free walking tour map of the historic district while you’re there, then follow the green paw prints on the sidewalk outside to take the tour. The two-block historic district is level, with wide sidewalks and curb-cuts at every corner; and the tour offers a good overview of the town, with an emphasis of its railroad history.
The Yellowstone Museum (www.yellowstonehistoriccenter.org/the-museum), which is located along the tour, is also worth a stop. Housed in the historic Union Pacific Railroad Station, the museum features level access and contains exhibits about Yellowstone, lots of old photos and even the original shoe shine stand from the depot.
Last but not least, don’t miss the The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center (www.grizzlydiscoveryctr.org). There’s accessible parking near the entrance and level access to the front door. Inside you’ll find interpretive exhibits about wolves and bears, ranging from ecology, poaching and bear safety, to a brief run down on the bears of the world.
Outside there’s level access to the enclosures, where you can get up-close-and-personal with the inhabitants. From bears, wolves and even a bald eagle, there’s certainly plenty to see. Best bet is to visit in the morning though, as the animals are more active then.