Planning a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks? Need a place to stay?
My dad and I spent three nights at Headwaters Lodge at Flagg Ranch last summer. We planned to visit the parks while my husband and son were at Scout Camp nearby. The trip turned out to be memorable in unexpected ways.
We were three miles from Headwaters Lodge when my dad’s car broke down on a rural dirt road. Night was falling and it’s a remote area. Thankfully, we were able to flag down a young couple from Denmark and they drove us the rest of the way.
Instead of exploring Yellowstone, I was stuck at Headwaters Lodge for most of the next day while my dad managed the repair an hour away in Jackson. It wasn’t what we planned, but Headwaters Lodge is a lovely place to be stranded.
Here’s what to expect from a stay at Headwaters Lodge at Flagg Ranch.
Rooms and Camping
Headwaters Lodge at Flagg Ranch offers several types of lodging options, including cabins, camp cabins, RV sites and tent camping. Cabins have all the amenities of a hotel. Camp cabins are more basic, and located among the tent and RV sites.
We stayed in a camp cabin. It had two double bunks with mattresses, basic furniture and a big picture window. There was no electricity or heat/air. There was a fire pit and picnic table in front. We shared a communal bathroom – with showers and electricity. Bedding is not included, but you can rent or buy what you need at the lodge if needed.
Our camp cabin was perfect for 2-3 adults. It technically holds 4 adults, but it would have felt a little crowded. I would not have wanted to share the top bunk with another full-size person.
Headwaters Lodge at Flagg Ranch has a full-service dining room where we ate breakfast every morning. You have the option of a breakfast buffet or a menu. We chose entrees from the breakfast menu because they were less expensive for plenty of food. We liked the food and the service.
There is also a store onsite where you can purchase groceries, microwavable meals and other supplies for camping and hiking. There is a microwave in the store that you can use.
Things to Do
I spent most of a day at Headwaters Lodge while my dad’s car was being fixed. When I was finished reading and napping, I spent some time walking around the property. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place.
Look for a small National Parks Service office on the property for the John D. Rockefeller Parkway, which fills the space between Yellowstone and Grand Teton. You can get a lot of information about the area here. Another spot to look for is the amphitheater behind the cabins. It is quiet and has a gorgeous view.
If you’d like more structured activities, sign up for horseback riding, guided hikes and other activities at the front desk. These activities may require an additional fee, but would be a great way to enhance your stay at Headwaters Lodge.
Headwaters Lodge is located on the short stretch of Highway 191 between Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. If you plan to divide your time between the two parks, the location couldn’t be better or more beautiful.
Headwaters Lodge is isolated from just about everything else, which is good or bad, depending on your perspective. You will probably have no mobile phone service and hardly any WiFi. The nearest cities are over an hour away, on the other side of the national parks. Free public phones are available for guest use.
When to Go
Headwaters Lodge is open from early June through early October each year. Late spring and early fall are likely to be chilly for tent camping and unheated cabins, but less crowded. Because of its great location and limited availability, rooms and campsites can fill quickly. Book early if you want to be sure to get a room.
I booked my cabin only about a week in advance, and felt lucky to get it. By the time we pulled in, the resort was sold out and public lands campsites nearby were difficult to find. The couple that rescued us was planning to camp in their SUV and didn’t have a reservation anywhere. They slept in the driveway of our cabin and we were glad to repay them in a small way.
Wildfires have made big news throughout the western U.S. in recent years. They tend to be worst at the end of the summer and into fall, so you might avoid hazy skies by booking earlier in the season. A fire near the lodge or parks is the worst case scenario. This isn’t likely to happen during your trip, but it’s possible any time in the season.
My dad and I had a great experience at Headwaters Lodge at Flagg Ranch. It’s a great base for visiting both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. It’s also a pretty nice place to just relax and get away from everything.
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