3 Days In Yellowstone National Park

3 Days in Yellowstone National Park

Following our time in Red Lodge, Montana, we made the drive to Yellowstone National Park.  Our drive was GORGEOUS, following the switchbacks of the Beartooth Highway.  I had my eyes closed for a good portion of that drive, as our RV was literally curving on a two-lane highway hanging on the edge of 12,000 foot cliffs.  We stopped at an amazing lookout point, where it’s clear that the thing to do is to feed chipmunks.  The kids LOVED it.

We made our way into Yellowstone National Park, driving through the Lamar Valley, where wildlife sighting was at it’s best.  We saw hundreds of bison, and, our favorite, a mama grizzly bear and two of her cubs.  This was one of the wildlife we were most hoping to see, so we were thrilled!  

 We stopped for lunch at one of the many gorgeous waterfalls along our journey.

After driving through Lamar Valley, we stopped at Mammoth Hot Springs, a historical village that was once an Army fort before Yellowstone became a National Park.  We did the Boardwalk Hike along Canary Spring to view the travertine terraces.  They were unlike anything we’d ever seen before!  There was also a giant herd of elk just chilling on the grass throughout the village - the kids got such a kick out of seeing them so close!

Cone geyser

Travertine terraces

As we made our way toward our campground, we stopped at Norris Geyser Basin, the Park’s hottest, most dynamic geyser basin.  We hiked to Steamboat Geyser, the world’s tallest geyser, which unfortunately only erupts very sporadically (every week sometimes), so we saw it smoking.  Literally the entire way on the hike, we were surrounded by geysers, hot springs, and fumaroles.

The kids thought the sulphur smell was crazy, so Yellowstone quickly earned its name, “Smellystone.”

Our evening concluded at our home in the park, the Madison Campground, which we just LOVED.  We made dinner and roasted some s’mores before bed.

Day Two began with a drive to Old Faithful, where we explored the Visitor Center, watched a movie about the park, and then watched Old Faithful do its thing.  Hayden, after questioning the wait, exclaimed,  “Well, that was TOTALLY worth it!”  

After Old Faithful, we did the Geyser Hill Loop Trail, seeing Anemone Geyser, Doublet Pool, Beehive Geyser, Castle Geyser, and many others.  We saw a bison literally in front of our eyes, which came out of nowhere!

The kids were so great, we checked out the historical Old Faithful Inn and got some ice cream afterward!

We then headed to the Fairy Falls Trail, and did a 3 mile hike to the Grand Prismatic Pool.  We had a stunning viewpoint of the pool from our vantage point of the hike, and we all loved how Brady’s shirt that day was the color-reverse of the pool.

On our way back to our campsite late that afternoon, we stopped for a swim in the Firehole River, a true heart-bursting experience.  I will never forget the joy of the kids getting into the hot-spring warmed water, swimming around happily, and playing football on the banks.  Hayden even threw his goggles on to get a closer look at the bottom of the river.  It was a STUNNING location.

Day Three began bright and early, and we headed straight to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, where we hiked the South Rim Trail to Artist’s Point.  The views of the Lower and Upper Falls from there were remarkable, and the kids managed the three miles really well.

On our way out of the park, we drove through Hayden Valley (Hayden, especially, loved this), and then visited the Mud Cauldron (picture a hot, bubbling mud pool, boiling and steaming like crazy), and the mud volcano.  Both were so bizarre!  We hit up the Visitor Center for the kids' Junior Ranger pins...

We then visited Yellowstone Lake, and had some ice cream served in Junior Ranger hats for our little Junior Rangers!

Yellowstone, you were so great to us!  Onward to Jackson Hole and Teton National Park!


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