31 Jul Exploring In and Around Yellowstone National Park
An All-Day Tour of Yellowstone
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take a day long tour of Yellowstone. We started off in Mammoth then made our way to Norris to see the Steam Boat Geyser. We continued to Canyon Village to see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, then moved towards the Mud Volcano. We looped around Yellowstone Lake to West Thumb, where we saw a number of fascinating thermal features. After driving to Old Faithful, I walked around the Geyser Basin and was able to see Anemone Geyser in action (it looked and sounded like a toilet flushing!). We concluded our tour at Madison, where we listened to our tour guide talk about the history behind the first national park. The whole trip was amazing and I am so thankful that I was given the chance to learn more about Yellowstone!
Trip to Cody, Wyoming
I thought it would be fun to see how different the park is at each of the entrances. Since I had already been through the North and West entrances, I made a day of going through both the Northeast and East entrances. I decided to leave for the Northeast entrance from Mammoth, make my way to Cody through the Beartooth Highway, and come back to Mammoth through the East entrance. I saw so many wonderful sights! Lamar Valley, the Clarks Fork River, Buffalo Bill State Park, the snowy mountains and small waterfalls of the East entrance, and Yellowstone Lake were all absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to go back and visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West museums!
Now I only have one entrance left: the South entrance, where I will be able to venture to Grand Teton National Park.
Grand Prismatic Spring and Lower Falls
What’s a great way to beat the crowd? Wake up early of course! My friends and I left Mammoth at 7 am on a Saturday to check out parts of the park we hadn’t yet seen. Mammoth is close to the North entrance of the park and is about 5 miles from the town of Gardiner and an hour and a half from the city of Bozeman, Montana.
First, we went to the Grand Prismatic Spring, which is somewhat close to the West entrance of the park. It tends to get really busy really early and it can take quite a bit of time to secure a parking spot. To our surprise, it started snowing as we drove closer to Grand Prismatic. The snow continued as we got out of the car and walked towards the viewing point. Since it was so cold, there was a lot of steam coming from Grand Prismatic; admittedly, it would have been difficult to appreciate its enormous size had we not been able to look at it from a distance. On our way back, we saw a bison who didn’t seem to be bothered by the snow.
We then made our way to Old Faithful, where we ate Wilcoxson’s ice cream while we waited for the geyser to blow. After fueling up and caffeinating, we headed back to Mammoth for some lunch.
It still being early in the day, we decided to head over to Lamar Valley to witness the herds of bison that are known to be there this time of the year. Just before the Northeast entrance, we looped back around and made our way to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Instead of looking at the lower waterfall from a distance, we descended what seemed like 500 feet of continuous switchbacks to get a closer view. It was totally worth it!