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Dorm Life in Yellowstone

Dorm Life in Yellowstone

Written by: , July 28th, 2017
Categories: Working

Updated April 1, 2020

Yellowstone Employee Housing

If you’ve ever wondered if you could live in Yellowstone, the answer is “yes!” And Yellowstone National Park Lodges can make it happen. If you work in Yellowstone, you’ll be one very important part of a huge ecosystem of critical interrelated parts. For example, you’ll be part of the 3,500 seasonal team members that deliver amazing experiences across the 9 hotels, 5 campgrounds and more than 30 dining outlets we manage.  And while you’re here in the 2.2 million-acre wonderland, you’ll join 10,000 hydrothermal features including more than 500 geysers, approximately 4,000 bison, more than 900 miles of hiking trails, 67 species of mammals, about 100 wolves, 7 native ungulates, 150 named lakes and 278 named streams that also make for amazing experiences.  Needless to say, you’ll be part of something much bigger than yourself.

While you can read a job description to know what your job will be, it can be hard to know what it’s like to live in Yellowstone. Here is some insight into life in the world’s first national park.

Aspen Dorm in Mammoth Hot Spring

Mammoth

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding working a job in the park is: what is Yellowstone employee housing like? The Human Resources (HR) team provides employees with a clean, comfortable, and safe place to live. There are several options regarding Yellowstone National Park employee housing, but the most common option is a dorm. There are a limited number of RV sites available and those are typically assigned to our Campground positions. Dorm life can be a great opportunity for bonding with employees from all over the world and creating friendships that last a lifetime. Community living does come with some challenges, and being prepared can help your transition.

To help you prepare for what to expect for living in the dorms, we’ve compiled a list of a few expectations.

Roommates: who will I live with?

First and foremost, you will have at least one roommate. Singles housing is not available but we do have some rooms set aside for couples housing if you are coming with a partner.  For some people, this may not seem like an issue, but for others, sharing a bedroom can be quite an adjustment. You will share your living space with other people. But keep in mind those people are likely there for similar reasons you are, and your roommate(s) can become some of your best friends. One more thing to keep in mind is that all our Yellowstone employee dorms are pet-free (with the exception of service animals).

Two employees chat in a dorm room

Bathrooms: where do I go?

Most dorm buildings have community bathrooms, meaning everyone shares the same restrooms (the plus side to this arrangement is that a dorm custodian cleans the community bathrooms, meaning you won’t have to worry about it). There are few dorms with two rooms sharing one bathroom and fewer dorms that have private bathrooms.

Noise: will I ever sleep?

Every dorm building enforces quiet hours, some only for evening hours, some 24/7. This is to help ensure that residents can get proper rest for their working hours. The quiet hours are enforced by a Resident Coordinator (RC) and local area security.

Cell Phone & Internet: how will I keep in touch?

WiFi is available in almost every employee residence (Roosevelt Lodge is an exception), but comes through a third-party provider with limited bandwidth, meaning your internet connection won’t always be stable or reliable. There are cellular towers located within the park at Canyon, Mammoth, Grant, Old Faithful, and Lake. Reception varies based on your provider and the service plan you choose

If you’d like to take a peek at our Yellowstone dorms (inside and outside), check out our Living in Yellowstone page.

If community living appeals to you, read on for more benefits to living in the dorms.

For one, things like toilet paper, sheets, blankets, and pillows are provided for you (though keep in mind you will have to provide your own toiletries). Better than that, all of your room and board costs are automatically deducted from your paychecks. This deduction includes room, utilities, laundry facilities, limited internet, and three meals a day in the employee cafeteria.

Matt Rafferty, a former employee who lived in the dorms, explained the ease of living in the dorms offers to residents. He quit his job back home and came to Yellowstone looking for something different, and said he loved how simple it was to live in the dorms because he never had to worry about it.

Grant Village Dorm

Grant

“To get to live in a place like this, and yet having housing taken care of, food taken care of, it’s so easy,” Rafferty said. “Any place else, you’re trying to find your own apartment and you have to figure out how you’re going to make ends meet. Here, it’s like, that’s all taken care of, and you can just work and then get outside and have fun.”

Full disclosure: this experience, no matter how incredible, isn’t for everyone.

If you can’t go without stable WiFi, constant cell phone service, and having a private bathroom, you might not find a home here.

But remember: you aren’t here to stay in your dorm.

You live and work in one of the most amazing places on earth and Yellowstone’s 2.2 million acres are just begging to be explored. Why waste your time in this wonderland by sitting in a room only intended for you to sleep in? Get out there and have the adventures you can’t have anywhere else.

Bison Herd Hayden Valley

While Yellowstone itself is 2.2 million acres, it is located in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem which is 10 times that size. It includes state lands, two national parks, portions of five national forests, three national wildlife refuges, and more across Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. You will be living among the largest concentration of wildlife in the lower 48 states including one of the largest elk herds in North America, the largest free-roaming, wild herd of bison in United States and one of few grizzly populations in the contiguous United States. Don’t be surprised if you spot an elk or bison outside your dorm window or on your walk to work. Working in Yellowstone is a rare opportunity to share your living space with some of America’s most iconic animals.

Community living is part of the adventure. Like all experiences in life, it is what you make of it. So choose to make the most of it.

Have more questions about living in Yellowstone? Send us an email (ynpjobs@xanterra.com) or give us a call (307.344.5324) and we’d be happy to tell you more.

Explore Yellowstone Jobs

Contributors to the article include Karley Nugent & Kelly Burns

Want to experience Yellowstone in-depth? See what makes Yellowstone National Park a great place to work for a season or longer!


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