Yellowstone was one of the places that I could not wait to visit, and it did not disappoint! We spent 3 separate days exploring, and still did not get to see everything. For some reason, I pictured Yellowstone as a relatively flat area, with intermittent spouting geysers.
But, I was mistaken. Yellowstone was filled with mountains, trees, petrified forests, waterfalls, and hills and was home to bears, bison, elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and chipmunks to name a few.
Upon our arrival to the North entrance, through the city of Gardiner, our first sight was these huge elk sitting on the grass right in front of the main buildings near the visitor center. People were hopping out of their cars and trucks, running up close to these guys, snapping away with their phones and cameras. At the same time, the poor security people were trying to keep spectators at a safe distance, so they would not get hurt.
Apparently Elk are very feisty during mating season, and have been known to send people flying. Nonetheless, we were very excited to get a close up look. The next day, there were about 8 of them sitting near the doorway of another building, and security was preparing to “chase” them away. We did not stay to witness that.
Our first stop was in the Mammoth Hot Springs area of the park. We spent close to two hours meandering the walkways of this awesome area, and quickly realized that at this pace, it would take us weeks to see all of Yellowstone. It was about an hour drive between each of the main 8 areas of the park. We made it to 4 of these areas over 2 separate days, because there were so many great opportunities to hop out of the car and see amazing geysers or scenic views in between.
Luckily the boys did not fall off any of these walkways.
The landscape was so different, and the colors were amazing:
There was a little bit of everything in Yellowstone:
And of course, the Bison. It was always a thrill to see one..on the roadside, behind a tree, in a field:
It’s actually the microbes (bacteria) living here that make all of these brilliant colors.
We stayed overnight at The Old Faithful Inn, an amazing hotel that is over 100 years old:
The lobby was just amazing, but my picture does not do it justice:
We just happened to be heading to the Inn, and could not resist stopping the car to explore the lower Geyser Basin at sunset and snap some nice photos:
There was so much to see at Yellowstone, that next time I would either allow another day or two, or try to camp or stay at a hotel within the Park for at least two nights. Because it took about an hour to drive between each section of the Park, and we stopped often to see geysers or waterfalls, it was a couple very long and exhausting days.
Click below to read about the Kids experience feeding the bears in West Yellowstone while staying in Big Sky.
For more information, visit Yellowstone National Park.