Yellowstone National Park was the first National Park to be established. It amazes me that people in 1872 were concerned about preserving land for future generations to come.
I visited Yellowstone National Park with my parents and grandparents back in 2005 and this year I decided it was time to visit again and focus more on hiking and less on telling my grandfather not to get so close to the wildlife (it was a very stressful trip).
I started planning this adventure in December 2016 / January 2017 and already most of the hotels in the park were booked for August; which was okay because they are out of my price range anyways, but still, it is a great example of why you have to start planning way in advance when visiting Yellowstone National Park if you’re going to visit during the peak season – summer. According to their website, on average nearly 800,000 people visit Yellowstone in August alone, making it the second busiest month to visit.
When visiting Yellowstone (or any national park for that matter), pay attention to the park website and talk to Park Rangers about road construction because it can add 20-30 minutes to travel time.
Because Yellowstone National Park is so large and I plan to visit it again, I’ve divided up the activities I did, places I slept, and where I ate by location in the park in order to bring some organization to the chaos that is my road-trips.
Watching Old Faithful erupt was just as exciting as when I saw it the first time at 12 years old. There is lots to see in the Upper Geyser Basin Area and I was able to see a good portion of it. Learn more about the Upper Geyser Basin Area here.
Grant Village / West Thumb
I’m not entirely sure why I chose to stay at the Grant Village Campground, but I think it had something to do with a review on Trip Advisor saying that the Grant Village Lake House Restaurant offers great hot breakfasts…anyways, that’s where I car camped for two nights. I never did try the Lake House Restaurant for breakfast, but I did eat there for dinner. The chicken tenders were good and the view of Yellowstone Lake is excellent.
When you camp at the Grant Village Campground, 2 showers are included in the campsite fee per night, so I got to take my first shower in 3 days! There’s no time limit on the showers so I even got to wash my hair!
It’s easy to get distracted while driving around Yellowstone, whether it be by wildlife or signs with intriguing names. The latter is how I ended up at the Mud Volcano. Learn more about that adventure here.
On my way out of Yellowstone in 2018 I stopped at the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center and Museum to stamp my National Park Passport. It is definitely small compared to some of the other Visitor Centers but still worth a stop to see the wildlife displays in the museum. I enjoyed the drive from Fishing Bridge Visitor Center to the East Entrance of Yellowstone and onto Cody, WY. It is very scenic.
The views from Mount Washburn are absolutely incredible – and I was there on a cloudy day. I can only imagine what it is like on a clear day. Read about that adventure here.
On my 2018 trip I was able to hike most of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. It had been under construction when I visited in 2017. I highly recommend seeing the Canyon at Sunrise, it is absolutely breathtaking. To see more photos click here.
I camped at the Canyon Campground this trip. With it being Labor Day Weekend it was completely full and somewhat noisy, but I liked my spot and the bathrooms were clean. So overall it was a good experience.
Also, on my 2018 Yellowstone trip, I earned my Yellowstone National Park Junior Ranger Patch! I really enjoy becoming a Junior Ranger at the parks I visit because I learn so much more about the park than I would otherwise. The Park Ranger at the Canyon Visitor Center was very amused by my excitement in earning my patch – what can I say, it’s the little things in life that matter 🙂
To be explored.
Mammoth Hot Springs
The Mammoth Hot Springs Area includes the upper and lower terraces of the hot springs, Fort Yellowstone, lodges restaurants and hiking. In September 2018, I walked the lower Mammoth Hot Springs Terrace and did the self guided tour of Fort Yellowstone. To read more about that adventure click here.
Artist Paintpots is worth the short walk. See more photos of it here.
On my 2018 visit to Yellowstone, I got to stop at the Museum of the National Park Rangers! It houses a lot of great pictures and memorabilia. There’s a Park Ranger on site to answer any questions and there are also videos shown about the history of the Park Ranger and Yellowstone.
I also explored the Norris Geyser Basin Area on my 2018 visit. You can read more about that area here.
This post will be updated as I visit Yellowstone more – as you can see below, I have an extensive bucket list for this National Park 🙂
- Boiling River Trail – 1 mile (to a popular swimming hole)
- Bunsen Peak Trail to Osprey Falls and back to Glen Creek Trail-head – about 8 miles
- Canyon Rim South Trail
- Sevenmile Hole Trail – 9.8 miles
- Cascade Lake Trail – 4 miles
- Fairy Falls Trail – 4.8 miles
- Lone Star Geyser Trail – 5.4 miles
- Elephant Back Mountain Trail – 5.2 miles
- Union Falls Trail – 16.2 miles
- Horseback Ride in Yellowstone NP
- Stop at the Gibbon Falls Overlooks
- Stop at the Tower Fall Overlook
- Biscuit Basin
- Black Sand Basin
- Sepulcher Mountain – 11 miles
- Garnet Hill Loop – 7.6 miles
- Yellowstone River Picnic Area – 3.7 miles