Some tips for anyone going to Yellowstone NP
Yellowstone is huge! It is larger in land mass than Rhode Island and Delaware combined. If you can, plan to camp within the park to minimize driving time. If you decide to stay outside the park, Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone, Montana is just a couple of blocks from the west entrance to the park. Before you go on your trip, do a lot of planning to maximize the number of features you can visit.
Fishing Bridge is the only campground within the park that has hookups. The campgrounds that allow the use of a generator are Bridge Bay, Canyon, Grant Village, Madison, Mammoth and Norris except of course, during quiet hours. Of the campgrounds Iíve mentioned two donít have dumping stations, theyíre Norris and Canyon. I have been told that Bridge Bay, Canyon, Grant Village and Madison have accessible sites. Madison campground is our personal favorite.
Other smaller and more primitive campgrounds in the park are Tower, Slough Creek, Pebble Creek, Indian Creek, and Lewis Lake. Use of generators is not allowed at these campgrounds.
If you have a Golden Age Passport or an America the Beautiful Senior pass you can get into the park for free. You will also get a 50% discount on camping with the exception of Fishing Bridge.
When you go to Old Faithful (you know you will) take some time to go inside the lobby of the Old Faithful Inn. It is fantastic, the fireplace alone is worth seeing. Then walk over to the visitors center and pick up an Old Faithful Area Trail Guide. Walk the trail at least as far as Morning Glory Pool, on the way you will see a large variety of thermal features. We were lucky enough one year to see and hear Beehive geyser erupt.
When you leave Old Faithful drive just three miles north to the Biscuit Basin area. It contains Sapphire Pool which is one of the most beautiful blue pools in the park.
Be sure to visit the Grand Canyon area of the Yellowstone River to see Lower Falls, a must see in my opinion. We always visit in the morning on a sunny day because the falls produce a beautiful rainbow in the mist at the bottom of the falls. While in the area drive to the Upper Falls. It is just a short hike to stand right at the edge at the top of the Upper Falls.
If you plan to do some animal viewing, be sure to go early in the morning when the animals are the most active. Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley are excellent places to view wildlife. Youíll have to be lucky to see the Wolves, Grizzly Bear, and Black Bear, but Pronghorn, Mule Deer, Moose, Coyote, Bison, and Elk are easy to find. Come to think of it, I still havenít seen the Bighorn Sheep in the park yet. I guess Iíll have to take another trip. YEA!
You canít see everything in the park in one visit, so take your time driving and be safe. In most of the park, the roads are two lanes and if there is a bear or other interesting animal near the road it will create a traffic jam. At times the Buffalo like to walk down the middle of the road and this too will create a huge jam until they decide to move off to the side of the road. I always enjoy watching a herd of Buffalo cross the road, they put out road guards.
So much to see, so little time. Books have been written about all the things to see and do in Yellowstone, go to the local library and check them out.
Also, keep in mind that Grand Teton National Park is just 20 miles south and the entrance fee you paid to get into Yellowstone will get you into the Tetons. At least it did the last time we were there.
Yellowstone is the oldest, and in my opinion, the best and most beautiful of our National Parks but keep in mind, it is wilderness. The animals are wild (itís not a petting zoo) and the thermal features are dangerous, you are responsible for your own safety.
I can't go to Yellowstone this year, so those of you who do go, I don't want to hear about....I'll be too envious.