Hello, my cute little darkling! You may or may not remember that the hubs and I took a USA road trip back in 2014 to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. I published posts for every destination except two. Perfection paralysis much? Anyway, I never posted the photos from Yellowstone OR Yosemite National Parks. The two stellar destinations have not been done justice and it’s shameful! Below you will not only find gorgeous photos, BUT I’ll give you my tips on how to plan your trip to this amazing and wondrous natural destination.
Yellowstone was the best destination of the trip, hands down. If you haven’t made it to this other-worldy place, put it on your bucket list NOW! We entered the park in early May of 2014, and there was still heavy snow in northern Wyoming. There was so much snow, that the East Entrance to the park was CLOSED. Well, let me back up. It was supposed to be open, but due to the heavy snow, there was risk of avalanche, so we had a few hours to explore, be silly, and find snacks for the night.
Once you decide to make this trek, I urge you to plan out everything. Do your research. Here are some questions I wish I would have answered thoroughly before we went:
- Where are you going to stay?
- In the park? Out of the park? Which entrance will you use?
- What will the weather be like when we’re there?
- What sights do you want to see while you’re there?
- How are you going to get there, and what roads are you going to use? Will they be open at the time of your visit?
Yellowstone is a large park, and the speed limits are slow. Even if the mileage from point A to point B doesn’t seem that bad, it will take you awhile to get to your destinations. For you speed demons out there, it’s not that bad! The scenery is so gorgeous, you won’t want to go faster than the speed limit anyway. Just relax and take in the wonder of the beautiful sights you’ll see!
So, when you have all of these questions figured out, embark on your journey! My only regret with this trip is that we only had one day to view the sights. As a result, and combined with a lack of planning, we missed a spring that I desperately wanted to see – The Morning Glory Spring! Learn from my mistake, and take the time to really plan! Figure out exactly what you want to see, and what roads you’re going to take to get there. If you want to see everything, spend a week up there! That ain’t no lie!
These are some snaps from the journey from Colorado to Madison Campground in Yellowstone. This post is picture heavy, metalhead, so grab a cup of your favorite beverage, and enjoy the Midwestern United States!
Pitstops, plateaus and peaks! When you’re doing a road trip, those rest stops will save your life!
There were many tunnels and cool rock formations on the way.
The red rocks in this city reminded me of Red Rock in Nevada near Las Vegas. There’s iron in them there hills!
We went from I-25 in Boulder, Colorado to the 26, 20, 120, and finally the 14 would take us to the East Entrance of Yellowstone. But first, the city of Cody, a town which was founded by Frederick Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill.
We are still not quite to the East Entrance yet, but there were some mighty fine log houses dotted on the hills along the way.
Finally we made it to the East Entrance, and the first wildlife we see is this moose. Stunning, and scary! It seems to be normal, but being a city girl it took me awhile to get over it. Still, they are wild animals, so heed their warnings of keeping yourself at a safe distance. We had to sit at this entrance for awhile, because there was an avalanche warning, and the park wanted to make sure it was safe for passengers. During this time, we hung out, talked to the others waiting, and also talked to the park ranger, which ended up being a pleasant surprise! The hubbs is a disabled Veteran, and it turns out that disabled Veterans get a National Parks Pass for free, for life. So, if you’re a disabled Veteran and are planning a trip, make sure to get one of these!
Driving in was quite scary, as in some places the slope was steep, and snow was everywhere! I didn’t get many photos because I was the co-navigator, and we didn’t want to die. I did manage to convince the hubbs to stop so we could take a photo of frozen Yellowstone Lake. I had never seen a frozen lake before. In addition to the dampening of sound from all of the snow around, the frozen lake added to the eerie-ness of it all. Quite the stunner!
We were in crunch time to get to Madison Camp Ground, so we could set up camp. If you’ve ever camped before, you know that you only have so much time once that sun starts going down to pitch your tent and set up camp! With it being so cold, we needed to hurry, so unfortunately no pictures were taken. The Madison Campground had a nice office that we checked in to, and also sold us two bundles of firewood. We could have also bought bear spray for $40, but we opted not to. There is a very real threat of bears, bison, moose, and other wild life, so it’s important to follow all of the rules! This was the first day that the East Entrance was opened, and the season had just started for this particular campground too, so I was pretty scared about wildlife. Thank goodness for fire.
Nothing like using what nature gave you to keep the beers cold!
This is a look at the camp site. Half frosty, and half not. My toes had never been so cold in my life, but we managed to pack up the tent, and embark on our day in Yellowstone!
We took our time getting to our next lodging for the night, and indulged in wildlife photos. The whole place was surreal; I felt as if I were in an episode of Star Trek, where at every turn, the ground was erupting in a plume of steam. In order to save money, we decided to camp the first night, and then stay the next night at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. It had great big beams of wood all throughout the lobby, and was gorgeous. They had some great local beers there too, and Old Faithful was just a stroll away.
Before heading back out to check out all of the other geo-thermal geysers, springs, and other weird things, we fueled up on lunch and brews.
The first stop was a big one on my list, the third largest spring in the world and the largest spring in the United States, at a whopping 370 feet in diameter and 121 feet deep. The spring discharges an estimated 560 gallons of 160 °F water per minute. This un-fathomable and dazzling Earthly feature is the Grand Prismatic Spring! On the road to get there, we had to stop and take more pictures of Bison, and pass other springs, but with only one day to spare, I HAD to see this with my own eyes. Had we more time, I would have taken a whole day to take one of the hikes to see it from above. As you’ll see from the pictures, you can’t see the razzle-dazzle much. The experience being on that walkway was breathtaking, and scary at times because the wind was so forceful. I was afraid of being blown right off that walkway!
We really did hit quite a few spots in under two days. The rest of the geo-thermal wonders were icing on the cake! I’ll just let you be to check out the rest of the photos, and if you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to contact me.
And there you have it! We finished the day with a sunset at Old Faithful. This time he wasn’t so faithful, and was late. I was hoping to get a sunset while it was hurling itself in the air! I guess I’ll have to go back!
View USA Road Trip: Yellowstone in a larger map
Follow the links to experience the entire USA Road Trip!
USA Road Trip #1: Tombstone & Bisbee, Arizona
USA Road Trip #2: Odessa, Texas
USA Road Trip #3: Austin, Texas
USA Road Trip #4: Fort Worth, Texas
USA Road Trip #5: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Denver & Boulder, Colorado
USA Road Trip #6: Yellowstone