Oh, Yellowstone, with its’ colorful pools bubbling from the earth, erupting geysers, abundant wildlife, waterfalls and never-ending, awe-inspiring landscapes. One could spend months here and still not see it all! We actually met a guy that was here for his 20th time. It was definitely our favorite national park so far.
We were quite amazed seeing steam and water and smoke and mud bubble from the earth. It created such unusual landscapes, especially at the terraces in the Mammoth Hot Springs area. The upper terrace drive was quite surreal. Some places looked as if it were winter.
I never realized that the area of geyser activity was so vast. We spent quite a bit of time exploring the boardwalks and geyser basins. The artist paint pots was about a mile hike and definitely worth the time spent. It gets very hot in the afternoon, so hikes or walking the boardwalks were much more enjoyable early in the day, or evening.
Waterfalls are something you’ll want to stop and see also. There are several right on the main road, or easily accessible on a short hike. Gibbon Falls was a gorgeous stop right off the road with a great viewing area. We caught a rainbow on one stop on the Yellowstone River.
We spend several days exploring the park and did drive the entire grand loop, but there was so much left unseen. The park was still quite busy while we were there. We were hoping the crowds would have calmed at the end of the summer season, and they probably did some, but it was still a challenge in certain areas to find a parking spot near the bigger attractions.
Of course, you will also see lots of wildlife here! We were treated to such a picturesque view of the bison and a coyote along the road. We saw a female elk with her little one crossing a river also, but unfortunately didn’t have a place to pull over and get a picture. We constantly scanned for wildlife as we drove, but did not find a grizzly bear or a moose anywhere. Maybe next time!
Our home base while exploring the area was in West Yellowstone, MT. We booked 3 nights at Yellowstone Grizzly Rv Park to scope out the area and then were able to find a site in the Gallitin National Forest for 3 more nights, at a much more reasonable rate. It was quite an interesting experience. I never saw more bear warnings at a campground! The sign upon entering stated “Grizzly bear frequent this campground.” Uh, How frequent?? We found some kind of critter hair, along with several sizes of claw marks on the picnic table, markings on all the trees around the fire pit from larger animals and decided to hang out in the camper after dark. Lol. Beautiful campground right on the Madison river, but a bit scary in grizzly territory. We are used to camping and the outdoors, but are used to doing so in Wisconsin, no grizzly bears there!
We could have spent much more time exploring, but after several busy national parks, we were ready to slow down. I know we will be back there again! Here’s a few more of our favorite photos.