I'm going to be honest. Writing this blog intimidates me. It may because of the incredible amounts of history on this park. It may because this park is located on a volcano with mind blowing scientific information. It may also be because this park is massive n size and there are so many working parts to it. Whatever it is, bare with me in I'm going to do my very best to help you navigate as a family through this incredible National Park!
Pro Tip One: Before getting started we highlight recommend getting "Gypsy Guide" app for this park. He walks you through step by step and even shares about the history of the park. We had to rewind and re listen to so many things because the knowledge that is shared is so cool! Pro Tip Two: Do some research ahead of time! We are notorious for planning things last minute in our family. But with this park we would highlight recommend mapping out and planning things out ahead of time. This way you don't miss a part of the park you were wishing to see.
Did you know? Yellowstone National Park was the first National Park! Yellowstone became a national park on March 1, 1872. When President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act into law, it protected more than 2 million acres.
Things you need to know before getting started:
Yellowstone has five entrances to the park: north, northeast, east, south, and west. We came from the Grand Tetons area which is about 60 miles from Jackson, WY where most people base camp. We explored the southern parts of the park on the first day, stated in Yellowstone and then did more of the west and northern parts on the next day. This worked out great for us and we got to see everything on our list :)
So much wild life: We saw so many amazing animals while we were here. Bufullo, Bear, Foxes, Moose, Elk but: This goes without saying you'd think... but stay back! The animals are wild and aren't trained for our entertainment or pictures. (especially watch out for the pictured:))
Old Faithful General Store: We found some great chili and ice cream right at the store near "Old Faithful". Mammoth Hot Springs General Store: We also found deli sandwiches and ice cream! There was a restaurant near here as well but it's only open seasonally. Very beautiful place to sit and have a small lunch or snack. (gas and restrooms too!)
Dornan's: is going down as one of our favorite restaurants of all time!! ! If you like wood fire pizza, devious drinks and a view that is like non other - it'll be your favorite too!
W Entrance: Sawtelle Resort - Nice, clean well priced hotel! And a free breakfast :)
S Entrance:The Lodge at Jackson Hole: We spoiled ourselves this trip staying here. the girls loved the indoor/outdoor heated pool and we loved coming back to an outdoor hot tub, after our days of hiking:) Amazing breakfasts too!
You'll see many geysers and hot springs throughout the park. it's an incredible experience to know you you are traveling around on a volcano and can see the way it's working. *More info on how a geyser works HERE.
Old Faithful Trail: this is an easy 0.7 mile trail will take you around Old Faithful GeyserOld Faithful is called this because scientist have gotten pretty good at predicting when it is to go off. As someone asked us when we are there "Hey, do you know whens the next show is?" ... it is nature. It's not exact :) So be prepared to wait a while if you are wanting to see Old Faithful or any of the other geysers go off. You can check out the info on all the geysers in the information center and also HERE !
Observation Point Trail: this is a easy/moderate 1.7 mi trail. You will be on a trail, board walk seeing many different geysers! We loved this trail. You'll see many of the Hot springs on this trail as well - check it out more info on these below.
Porcelain Basin Trail:0.9 mile loop - Easy but does have some steps. one if the most interesting hikes to our family. You'll see many steaming geysers. To be able and see so much texture and dramatic terrain in one area is just incredible. You'll also find lime-green Cyanidium algaethrive in warm water flowing from the Geysers.
Emerald Pools: The most photographed pool in the park. There are a few ways to see it -
Lower Emerald Pool Easy Walkway around the Hot Spring pool.
Then there are a few ways to see it from above -
Fairy Falls Trail/Grand Prismatic View Point:
Fairy Falls Trail is a 4.8 mile easy to moderate in and out trail.- This trail is beautiful and a friend we made on the trail saw black bear.
You can also take the Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail which is a 0.8 mile. hike *We did part of fairy falls ( about .5) to see the hot spring pools and then the 0.8 to the overlook and got to see everything besides the waterfall.
This area is so cool to drive around and check out. There are also a few board walks you can walk out and see everything. There's a close by small town area (see dinning) that is a nice pit stop as well!
Inspiration Point was our favorite view point! All of the parking lots and area are busy but worth it! one of the most breathtaking areas of the world! Be sure and read all the history behind this area.
Viewpoints:Upper Falls Lower FallsLookout point
Fun idea: Inspiration Point is one of the most painted place in the world! This is because before photographs people wanted to remember what they saw. We took a picture and the girls were able to pain their version when we got home :)
Well, we could go on and on about this park but we hope this gets you in the right direction! We highly suggest stopping by early to get your Jr. Ranger book as it's a hefty one that you learn so much from! Also we suggest this to be sure the Rangers can share if there is road closures, because there are a lot.
HAPPY SAFE TRAVELS to one of the coolest areas in the world!