Travel

Act Now and You Could Live and Work In Yellowstone National Park

The best outdoors opportunity you've never heard of. | NS Photograph/Shutterstock
The best outdoors opportunity you've never heard of. | NS Photograph/Shutterstock

You’re familiar with Yellowstone. America’s oldest national park is also one of its most popular, and beloved by visitors year round. But perhaps you didn’t know that for a few weeks each spring and fall, you have the opportunity to not just visit Yellowstone, but to actually live in it. But you better act fast if you want a chance to call Old Faithful your back yard for a while. 
MORE: Check out Thrillist’s ultimate guide to Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park Lodges offers a seasonal program called Helping Hands. Here’s how it works. You put in 20 hours per week (between four and eight hours per day, though you can always do more if you feel like it) at various sites managed by the company, which include nine lodging facilities, five campgrounds, and 31 restaurants spread around the park. You’ll be assigned to either Old Faithful, Canyon, Lake, Or Mammoth.
MORE:Everything you need to know about the Yellowstone “supervolcano”

The season is short -- just a month or so -- but intense. Each day, you’ll be on deck to help with whatever’s needed by the lodging or food/beverage teams to help prepare for opening the summer season (if you’re there in the spring) or close it down (fall). That could mean helping the kitchen crew set up and restock the food-service areas, or helping the housekeeping crew clean and prepare or break down the guest rooms. For your trouble, you’ll receive $11/hour, dorm accommodations within the park, plus employee discounts and the privilege of actually calling one of America's most beautiful wildernesses home. 

It’s a lifestyle that’s definitely not for everyone, but it’s perfect for a few -- maybe younger folks, maybe in transitional periods, maybe on a budget. Maybe folks who can’t commit to a longer season. Maybe you. Yes, there is Wifi. You also get free access to the employee recreation program, which includes activities from hiking to film series to wildlife watching.
MORE:The best hikes in Yellowstone National Park

Applications for spring 2020 are currently open. You can apply here. Applications for the fall season are expected to open in July.

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Kastalia Medrano is Thrillist's Travel Writer. You can send her travel tips at kmedrano@thrillist.com, and Venmo tips at @kastaliamedrano.