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A Great Vacation: Yellowstone National Park

Updated on March 28, 2019
GeckosTrails profile image

Billy is a hiking and outdoors enthusiast. He is also the Owner of Ravenshire Creations and host of the YouTube channel Gecko's Trails.

America's First National Park - Yellowstone

In March of 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant created the United States' first national park when he signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act into law. This national park existed even before the National Park Service Organic Act was passed in August of 1916 by Woodrow Wilson which gave birth the jobs of Park Rangers. Yellowstone has a long, vibrant history which be found here: https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/historyculture/yellowstoneestablishment.htm

Swan Lake Landscape
Swan Lake Landscape | Source

A Family Vacation - Billings, Montana to Yellowstone

My wife, Michelle, took a travel nursing assignment at a hospital in Billings, Montana so that our family could visit some of America's best vacation destinations. On this particular outing, my wife, myself, and our 2 teenage daughters, Kieran and Dorthea, left Billings and travelled west on I-90 to Laurel, Montana where we turned south onto Highway 212, which is also called the Beartooth Highway. We travelled south through Red Lodge, Montana and then through Beartooth Pass to the Yellowstone border.

Rock Creek along the Beartooth Highway.
Rock Creek along the Beartooth Highway. | Source
Waterfall near the Beartooth Highway.
Waterfall near the Beartooth Highway. | Source
Mountain vista on the Beartooth Highway in Beartooth Pass.
Mountain vista on the Beartooth Highway in Beartooth Pass. | Source
Another mountain vista in Beartooth Pass.
Another mountain vista in Beartooth Pass. | Source
Crossing into Wyoming in Beartooth Pass
Crossing into Wyoming in Beartooth Pass | Source
We made it to Yellowstone!
We made it to Yellowstone! | Source

Into The Park!

Our first order of business was lunch. We stopped at the Soda Butte picnic area a few miles into the park on the Northeast Entrance Road and ate sandwiches and drank sodas while soaking in the beautiful surroundings of Soda Butte Creek and the valley it runs through.

Soda Butte Creek @ Soda Butte Picnic Area
Soda Butte Creek @ Soda Butte Picnic Area | Source

After eating, we continued farther into the park until the local wildlife stopped the traffic for a photo op.

Bison X-ing!
Bison X-ing! | Source
A herd of Bison by the Lamar River
A herd of Bison by the Lamar River | Source

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River

Once we reached Tower Roosevelt we turned onto the Grand Loop Road, Canyon-Tower by the iconic Roosevelt Lodge and Cabins. We stayed on this road passing Tower Falls and Mt. Washburn to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River area. We turned onto North Rim Drive and stopped at various lookouts and trails such as Grand View, Lookout Point, Uncle Tom's Trail, and Artist's Point.

Yellowstone River Upper Falls
Yellowstone River Upper Falls | Source
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River | Source
Upper Falls and Yellowstone River in the Canyon
Upper Falls and Yellowstone River in the Canyon | Source
Looking downriver
Looking downriver | Source
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River | Source
Above the Falls on the Yellowstone River
Above the Falls on the Yellowstone River | Source
Canyon wall in evening sunlight
Canyon wall in evening sunlight | Source

Traversing the Geyser Basin

After traversing the N. Rim Dr. we ended up back at Canyon Village where we headed west on Norris Canyon Road. Eventually, we ran into the west side of Grand Loop Rd where we turned south into the geyser basin area. Our first stop was the Artists Paint Pot area.

Steam geyser at the Artists Paint Pots
Steam geyser at the Artists Paint Pots | Source
Artists Paint Pots
Artists Paint Pots | Source
Artists Paint Pots
Artists Paint Pots | Source
Artists Paint Pots
Artists Paint Pots | Source
Artists Paint Pots
Artists Paint Pots | Source
Artists Paint Pots
Artists Paint Pots | Source
Artists Paint Pots
Artists Paint Pots | Source
Artists Paint Pots
Artists Paint Pots | Source

After the Paint Pots, we continued south on Grand Loop Rd. to the rest of the geyser basin eventually ending up at the iconic Old Faithful geyser. We stopped at the areas known as Beryl Springs, Firehole River Swimming Area, Grand Prismatic Springs, Dragon Springs, and Old Faithful.

Beryl Springs
Beryl Springs | Source
Beryl Springs
Beryl Springs | Source
Road along the Firehole River Swimming Area
Road along the Firehole River Swimming Area | Source
Grand Prismatic Springs
Grand Prismatic Springs | Source
Grand Prismatic Springs run-off into the Firehole River
Grand Prismatic Springs run-off into the Firehole River | Source
Grand Prismatic Springs
Grand Prismatic Springs | Source
Grand Prismatic Springs boardwalk
Grand Prismatic Springs boardwalk | Source
Grand Prismatic Springs boardwalk
Grand Prismatic Springs boardwalk | Source
Grand Prismatic Springs
Grand Prismatic Springs | Source
Grand Prismatic Springs
Grand Prismatic Springs | Source
Grand Prismatic Springs
Grand Prismatic Springs | Source
Grand Prismatic Springs
Grand Prismatic Springs | Source
Grand Prismatic Springs
Grand Prismatic Springs | Source
Dragon's Mouth Springs
Dragon's Mouth Springs | Source
Dragon's Mouth Springs
Dragon's Mouth Springs | Source
Dragon's Mouth Springs
Dragon's Mouth Springs | Source
Dragon's Mouth Springs
Dragon's Mouth Springs | Source
Old Faithful geyser
Old Faithful geyser | Source
Old Faithful geyser
Old Faithful geyser | Source

Last Stop...Mammoth Springs!

After we watched Old Faithful do what its known for we traveled to Mammoth Springs before leaving. It definitely was huge and absolutely beautiful to look at!

Mammoth Springs Overlook
Mammoth Springs Overlook | Source
Mammoth Springs
Mammoth Springs | Source
Mammoth Springs
Mammoth Springs | Source
Mammoth Springs
Mammoth Springs | Source
Mammoth Springs
Mammoth Springs | Source
Mammoth Springs
Mammoth Springs | Source
Mammoth Springs
Mammoth Springs | Source
Mammoth Springs
Mammoth Springs | Source

Until Next Time, Yellowstone!

After leaving Mammoth Springs, we travelled south again past Old Faithful and made our way out of the park past Yellowstone and Lewis Lakes to the town of Dubois, Wyoming. From there we travelled, over the next few days, back to our home in Texas.

We will never forget the spectacular time we had in Yellowstone National Park and we can't wait go back. Since Yellowstone is about 2.2 million acres of wilderness, you could go every year of your life and never get to see all of it. I take that as a challenge!

Comments

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    • Emmy ali profile image

      Eman Abdallah Kamel 

      6 months ago from Egypt

      Interesting article and a very beautiful place.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      6 months ago from UK

      Amazing photos and a really interesting article. I don't know why, but I always associate the cartoon character of my childhood, Yogi Bear, with this park.

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