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West Yellowstone National Park

Updated on February 22, 2013

Yellowstone: A Great Family Vacation

My family and I took a little road trip to West Yellowstone, Montana. We don't get to take very many vacations, and this was probably the highlight of our year. Our children (ages 8, 4, and 2) really enjoyed the trip and are still talking about it! We are planning on going again this summer with our newest addition to our family, and to take lots more pictures! (My camera died during the adventure, we were sad).

A main attraction at West Yellowstone is the most famous geyser, Old Faithful. And yes, it is Faithful! Other attractions to find there are the beautiful wildlife, museums, IMAX theatre, playmill theatre, and our family favorite, the Howard Springs Wayside Area (a rest stop on the road to Yellowstone). I know what you are thinking. A rest stop? You'll just have to scroll down and find out why...

Another great attraction to visit while travelling to West Yellowstone is the restaurant, Big Jud's. All the locals are quite fond of it, as well as Adam Richman who hosts Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel.

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Useful Information

Free Entrance into National Parks on these Days

January 15-17

(Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday weekend)

April 16-24

(National Park Week)

June 21

(First day of summer)

September 24

(Public Lands Day)

November 11-13

(Veterans Day weekend)

Entrance Fees (valid for 7 days):

Remember to keep your admission receipt in order to re-enter the parks.

Private Vehicle Permit: $25

Individual Permit (For an individual entering by foot, bicycle or motorcycle): $12

Groups (Non-Commercial): $12/person

Individuals 15 years and younger: Free

Contact Information

Phone (Information): 307-344-7381

Phone (Camping & Lodging Reservations): 1-866-GEYSERLAND

Fax: 307-344-2014

Mail: P.O. Box 168

Yellowstone National Park, WY

82190-0168

Information found here

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Where is West Yellowstone?

The location that google sends you is the center of Yellowstone. You can follow Highway 20 to make it to the West entrance of Yellowstone.

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A markerWest Yellowstone National Park -
West Yellowstone National Park
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B markerBig Jud's -
Ashton, ID
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Old Faithful - It sure is faithful...

If you are like most of the visitors of Yellowstone National Park, you are wanting to see the main attraction. Old Faithful. There is seating about 300 feet away from Old Faithful where you can wait for it to erupt. To find out when it will erupt next, you can ask a person who works there to tell you when it is "supposed" to take place, or you can look at the prediction clock inside the main lodge, or just see the mass amounts of people that begin to form when it's about to erupt.

Old Faithful erupts every 35 to 120 minutes for 1 1/2 to 5 minutes. Its maximum height ranges from 90 to 184 feet. Information found here

To reserve lodging and accommodations, visit Yellowstone National Park Lodges

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When you arrive in the lodging areas surrounding Old Faithful and the other geysers, you will see the boardwalk. This is for tourists to walk along as they view the geysers. It's not safe to venture onto the ground surrounding the walk. It's way too hot!

I would guess that the walk around to see all the geysers surrounding Old Faithful is 2 miles. (Yes, my children were tired) Remember to bring sunscreen and lots of water!

There are many, many geysers in Yellowstone. The walk around Old Faithful is only a percentage of them.

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These geysers get pretty hot and stinky. Don't worry, you'll get used to the smell real soon and won't even notice it.

Yellowstone Wildlife

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This photo is of a Cow Elk grazing. There were lots of elk along the road through the park. Make sure you bring your camera! Because wildlife can be found all throughout the park. There are lots of beautiful creatures to see in their natural habitats.

Big Tip: If you see lots of cars stopped on the side of the road, there is probably an animal there to take pictures of!

On the way back we just about ran into a few buffalo on the road. Those things do not like to move!

For more photos and information on the wildlife, click here.

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IMAX Theatre

In this six-story theatre, you will see a beautiful look into Yellowstone's wonders, wildlife and it's history. This feature has been written and directed by Academy Award-winner, Keith Merrill.

Other films at the IMAX theatre take a look at the grizzly bear and the beauties of Alaska.

All information and photo can be found here

Howard Springs Wayside Area - Yes, it's a rest stop

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Don't worry, you don't use the rest area in this beautiful spring. There is a bathroom off to the left (not pictured).

As a child, my family and I would visit West Yellowstone and this is the place I remember the most. Yes, I remember the geysers, Old Faithful, and the animals. But this has to be my favorite. It probably has a lot to do with the memories my family created there.

There are many reasons why I love this place.

For one, there are hundreds of butterflies flying around. There are so many that it's quite easy to catch a few at a time, even for the 4 year old in the picture.

This spring is safe for drinking! We always fill up our water bottles with the cold mountain water.

There are some picnic benches to stop and enjoy a lunch, or just a snack while you enjoy the beautiful scenery!

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Don't worry, we let the butterflies go.

Howard Springs can be found in Island Park, Idaho. When you are travelling to Yellowstone National Park from Idaho, you go through Island Park.

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Great place to eat - a Big Jud Burger

This video features the Boise, Idaho location, but it all began with their first location in Ashton, Idaho. (On your way up through Island Park, Idaho heading towards Yellowstone)

Big Jud's is a local favorite with lots of delicious food to eat. Eating their famous Big Jud burger will get you pictured on the wall....yes, my husband is one of them.

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What do you think of West Yellowstone? - for visitors and Squidoo members

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    • LikinTrikin LM profile image

      LikinTrikin LM 6 years ago

      We'll be triking through Yellowstone and staying in West Yellowstone in August.. Really looking forward to it even more now that I've read your very helpful lens.

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 6 years ago

      We have a lot of British National Parks and I spent the Millemium years eve in a llodge at Yosemite under snow!

    • LissaKlar LM profile image

      LissaKlar LM 6 years ago

      Looks like you had a great vacation. I'd love to go there.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      If ever I revisit the States, I want ot see Yellowstone and Yosemite

    • rlivermore profile image

      rlivermore 6 years ago

      I've been a lot of places, but I've never been to Yellowstone. I'm sure it's beautiful!

    • JanieceTobey profile image

      JanieceTobey 6 years ago

      We traveled over much of the US when I was a child, but somehow, we never made it to Yellowstone. That's on my wish list!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      I remember visiting Yellowstone a few times when I was little. I would like to go back with my family.

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 6 years ago

      Looks like a great time was had by all :)

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      This is a beautiful lens, makes want to go there!

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image

      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      I think West Yellowstone would be a wonderful place to visit. Maybe someday.

    • I-sparkle profile image

      I-sparkle 6 years ago

      This is an excellent lens. I wouldn't change a thing. Really enjoyed the content and the placement of pictures and surveys was very well done. Great job!