Oh man, it’s nice to getaway from society…
I recently took a trip to Yellowstone National Park in July with Mercedes and boy was it epic. It’s even more majestic than I remember in 2018! We were greeted with pretty moderate temperature the whole time, cloudy days and sunny days, and good weather.
We were lucky enough to have 3 days in the park, and we did mostly driving and sight seeing throughout the entire park. It’s insanely easy to only do driving tours and sight seeing here. The park is absolutely massive! We had a couple setbacks, the first being we arrived so late the first night that we didn’t get a map of the park – just a flimsy little 8.5×11 map of the roads in the park, and some of the attractions! Talk about unpreparedness…
We discovered that we were able to do so many things without ever needing a map. There’s so many turnouts and little things to do along the way as you drive from nowhere to nowhere! We planned a couple things we wanted to see, and checked most of them off, but we definitely missed out on some of the more populated areas due to Covid concerns. But, there’s plenty of areas to see that are not close to people in the slightest, so we were content with what we had.
We stayed in the Bridge Bay campground near the shores of Yellowstone Lake, and while I will do a better review of this campground in the future, this is definitely not a place to tent camp. It could have been our site, but there is little to no privacy there – we could see 4 different loops from our campsite – not ideal! Grant Village, Madison and Canyon Campgrounds are the most ideal for tents. More shade, spacing, and better campgrounds overall! Canyon Campground is also right next to Canyon Village, which has a small general store, including groceries, which is ideal for longer stays!
One thing that blew me away (again) was the amount of wildlife we saw. I remember seeing something about how wildlife in lots of National Parks, Yellowstone in particular, were teeming without interruption from visitors. We saw tons of bison, several deer, elk, and even a bear on the last day! We had moose about half a mile from our campground on day two, and then overnight moose in our campground! Make sure to keep your distance – we were lucky to see a bear from over 100+ yards. He was really moving across the plains before swimming across a river!
So, why did the bear cross the river?
To get away from the tourists!
One of the best scenic drives, called Firehole Lake Drive, featured lots of hot pools, some geysers, and a couple lakes. It’s seriously one of the coolest hop-in, hop-out drives you can do in the park, and from my experience, is not very populated! I’m not sure if a lot of people know about this, but now you do! Here’s some photos from that drive:
We didn’t get to see Old Faithful, mainly because it was so crowded and we got to see lots of other geysers, but that’s definitely on our to-do list for next time. We also didn’t do Mammoth Hot Springs – it wasn’t too crowded, but we didn’t get that far north in the park during our short stay. There’s just so much to see here, and it cannot possibly be done in only 3-4 days!
One of the beauties of the park is the ever-changing landscape. You can go from one end of the park to another and in only a couple hours drive through gorgeous, rolling hills to canyon drives, stinky mud volcanoes, and an evergreen forest. It’s absolutely ridiculous how much the landscape changes! It’s one of the not-so-hidden beauties about this place.
The extremes are there, ever present, and changing constantly. If you haven’t read anything about Yellowstone, there’s lots and lots of infographics and information at the various major stops along the way. It’s incredible how this landscape has been formed over so many millions of years!
I’ll leave some Yellowstone for another blog…so I’ll wrap it up here! We drove back to Utah by way of Yellowstone, and then Grand Tetons. It’s an easy way to hit both parks, as they’re both right next to each other! Luckily we’ve never had to choose to go one way or the other. National parks in close proximity is way too killer!
Until next time, Yellowstone!