Yellowstone National Park
- Submitted by: David Monteith
- Submission Date: 15th Feb 2005
(1) FAQ and URLs?
There is an informative FAQ about the geysers available by anonymous ftp from the rec travel archives. For ftp service: connect to ftp.digimark.net
The file is /pub/rec-travel/north_america/usa/wyoming/yellowstone_geysers
It can also be accessed via WWW at:
A very good URL home page on Yellowstone is at:
There is a geyser URL at:
(2) Telephone Numbers
Park Headquarters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (307) 344-7381 TW services (In park lodging, campground reservations,
dinner reservations, park tours etc.) . . . . . . (307) 344-7311
TDD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (307) 344-5395
Mistix (reservations at Bridge Bay campground). . . . . . 1-800-365-2267
(I) OLD FAITHFUL and the UPPER GEYSER BASIN: Of course, everyone goes to see Old Faithful but less walk even the short distance to Geyser Hill and very few spend time in the rest of the geyser basin. It takes time to explore the basin AND see anything. Besides the many geyser, the largest concentration in the world, there are also some very pretty hot springs.
A pamphlet of this area that describes some of the features and includes a good map is available at the visitor center and at the start of the bordwalks.
The must-see geyser is Grand. Eruption predictions for this and a few other geysers are posted in the Old Faithful Visitor Center. I have never talked to anyone who after waiting to see Grand did not think that it was well worth the wait. Grand is the largest predictable geyser in the world. It is larger and last longer than Old Faithful but, unfortunately, can not be predicted as accurately as Old Faithful so some waiting is required to see it. The other predicted geysers are also worth seeing but not if it means taking the chance of missing Grand. The geysers are most spectacular on a sunny day so try to see them then if the weather will cooperate.
If you are interested in seeing some of the other geysers, first check at the Old Faithful Visitor Center for some of the other geyser predictions. If you want to see even more or to see something unusual or just want to learn more about the geysers then look at a copy of 'The Geysers Of Yellowstone' by T. Scott Bryan (available in the visitor centers). This book gives the characteristics of hundreds of the geysers and information on what to look for before an eruption. Also talk to the rangers, making it clear you want information on more than just Old Faithful. Another very good source, if you can find them, are the 'Geyser Gazers'. These are visitors to the park, myself included, who enjoy keeping track of the current activity of the geysers. Geyser gazers can be a font of information and are USUALLY very helpful. My mother says that the easiest way to find a geyser gazer is to look for someone sitting in front of an unpromising looking hole and then ask them. This is a fairly accurate observation. If you see someone that has a day pack and is waiting on the boardwalk you might want to strike up a conversation with them. If they are a gazer they probably will have some ideas about geysers that you could easily see.
Other geysers, besides the must-see Grand, that are predicted, all are worth seeing, are: Daisy, Riverside, Castle and Great Fountain (the last is 8 miles north of Old Faithful on Firehole Lake Drive). Of course, Old Faithful is predicted and you will want to see it but it is also much more frequent and much easier to predict and thus much easier to see than the others so plan accordingly.
If you catch the geyser bug you will want to spend at least a day here, if not you will still need half of a day.
You can call the Old Faithful Visitor Center at (307)545-2750 to get current prediction times. This is very helpful if your time is very limited and you want to see Grand or one of the other geysers but also want to see some other area of the park and so need to decide how to plan your day. If you do call for the predictions also ask about the prediction ranges. The prediction times that they will give you are in the center of the range and it would be a shame if your missed the eruption because you showed up too late.
Many of the predicted geysers only erupt a few times a day. Remember that these are only predictions. Some of the predicted times have ranges of a couple hours or more. It is best to show up during the start of the range and wait. This will help ensure that you will see the geyser, give you a chance to meet your fellow traveler and slow your trip down and make it more relaxing.
(II) GRAND CANYON of the YELLOWSTONE: Take the North Rim Drive stopping at each lookout and then cross the river and go out to Artist Point and take the short level walk to the lookout. This will leave the most spectacular overlook until the last. I have enjoyed the walk down to the lip of the Lower Falls. The Red Rock Trail is almost as nice and gives you a good feeling of being in the canyon. I do not recommend Uncle Tom's Trail unless you really want to take it. There are also trails along both rims of the canyon that can get you away from the crowds. You can get a pamphlet about the canyon and some of the trails in the area, at the Canyon Visitor Center located in Canyon Village.
In the spring and early summer, a nice water fall, Crystal Falls, can be seen along the north side rim trail between the Lower Falls and Upper Falls. This falls is best during high run-off.
A nice picnic area is located along the river upstream from the canyon just after you cross the Chittenden bridge on your way to Artist Point.
You can see the canyon area in a half a day unless you stay with the car then you can rush through in an hour.
(III) FOUNTAIN PAINT POT TRAIL: This short 1/2 mile board walk is located in the Lower Geyser Basin. On the short walk you get to see good examples of most of the types of thermal features in the park. It takes about 1/2 hour to get around this area. Other than the benches around Old Faithful this is where you will probably meet the most people but it is still worth the hassle.
A pamphlet of this area that describes some of the features and includes a good map is available at the trail head.
(3.2) Some of the other interesting sights
The next 13 sights are presented in the order that you would come across them if you were traveling the Grand Loop Road in a clockwise direction starting at Old Faithful. For more on the road see section 7 below.
UPPER GEYSER BASIN: See (I) above.
OLD FAITHFUL INN: Although man made, this 1904 national historic building, located near Old Faithful geyser, is worth walking through. The lobby of the Inn is especially noteworthy. The Inn is the tallest building in the area.
BLACK SAND BASIN: This basin near the Old Faithful overpass has the prettiest easily accessed hot pools in the park.
MIDWAY GEYSER BASIN: This has two of the largest thermal features in the park. Grand prismatic pool is very pretty.
LOWER GEYSER BASIN: This is the most extensive basin in the park covering about 11 square miles. It is home to the Fountain Paint Pots (see above), Fountain Flat Drive (sometimes a very good place to see bison and other wildlife), Firehole Lake Drive and many other geysers and hot springs. Located along Firehole Lake Drive are Great Fountain Geyser (eruption predictions posted at the Old Faithful Visitor Center and in the summer at the geyser), other pretty pools and geysers and the 3 Senses Nature Trail.
FOUNTAIN PAINT POT TRAIL: See (III) above.
NORRIS GEYSER BASIN: The porcelain overlook trail overlooks an area unlike any other in the park. The back basin trail is also a must. Echinus (e-KI-nus) geyser, times are predicted in the Norris Visitor Center, and Cistern spring are well worth a look. The far side of Cistern is very pretty. Many that see Echinus enjoy its 1 to 45 minute eruptions more than Old Faithful. It will take at least 2 hours here.
A pamphlet of this area that describes some of the features and includes a good map is available just before you reach the museum.
MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS: The activity here changes quickly. The last time I looked the best activity was from a spring on the east side near where the road comes down the terrace. It is worth walking out to this area and around the terraces in general. A pamphlet of this area that describes some of the features and includes a good map is available at the visito center and at the trail heads.
TOWER FALLS: If you are driving past make certain to stop. The falls overlook is just a short distance from the store parking lot. I also like the view from the bottom but that requires a short hike.
GRAND CANYON of the YELLOWSTONE: See (II) above.
MUD VOLCANO AREA: This area is different than other areas in the park and worth walking through. A pamphlet of this area that describes some of the features and includes a good map is available at the trail head.
YELLOWSTONE LAKE: What can I say? Its a big lake. If there is a storm it can be fun.
WEST THUMB GEYSER BASIN: This basin is located on Yellowstone lake and with this back drop it can be pretty. A pamphlet of this area that describes some of the features and includes a good map is available at the trail head.
The next two items are located in all parts of the park.
WILDLIFE: You should see a lot of wildlife especially bison and elk. BISON are FAST and DANGEROUS so keep your distance from them and other wildlife. Each year a number of visitors get too close to some lazy looking bison and end up getting seriously gored. In the past good areas to see bison and elk were Hayden Valley and Fountain Flat Drive. Try to get out and drive in the early mornings and late afternoon to have the best chance of seeing animals. Look for white pelicans in the Yellowstone river above the canyon and in the lake. Look for trumpeter swans in the slow moving sections of the rivers in the park. Other animals that you have a decent chance of seeing, but it is not guaranteed are: moose, big horn sheep, coyotes, pronghorn antelope, mule deer, white-tailed deer, black bear, grizzly bear, osprey, eagles, hawks, porcupines, ground squires, marmots, beaver and many types of song birds. To get some ideas of where certain types of animals are currently being seen ask the rangers at any of the visitor centers. They might have some ideas. They tend to be hesitant because some people get mad if a wild animal is not exactly where the ranger suggested looking. At this point I will add a note about seeing bears. Before the mid-seventies it was common to see large numbers of bears begging for food along the roads. Starting about 1970 the park service became very serious about prohibiting the feeding of bears. This was done to return the bears to their natural habitat. The program has worked but it now means that it is unusual to see a bear. Bears are still seen but it is now an experience to be hoped for instead of expected.
RANGER WALK: Try to take a ranger led walk they are fun and informative and usually of high quality. Activities being offered are listed in 'Discover Yellowstone' available at the visitor centers.
This last item is located on the south entrance road.
MOOSE FALLS: The main reason that I am including this small but pretty falls is that most people miss it. It is located about 1.5 miles north of the south entrance to the park. If you are driving in or out of the park via the south entrance road keep an eye out for the small parking area. The falls is a short walk from the road. There are a number of other interesting sights around the park that are as easy to get to and as easy to miss as these falls so keep your eye out and you may surprise yourself with an interesting find.
I have listed most of the major sights but not all, so explore for yourself.
(4) How much time?
(4.1) In a more perfect world.
A nice length stay, for a first trip to the area, is about 4 days. It takes two LONG days to see most of the roadside points of interest. Four days allows you to take a day to explore the upper loop and then a day or two to explore the lower loop. Once you have done this you should have a good feel for the park and what areas you would like to explore in more depth. You can then spend the rest of your time exploring these areas. Four days also allows time for a short hike or two.
(4.2) If you only have one day.
If you only have 1 day try to pick one or two areas to spend most of your time and explore them thoroughly. By coupling this with an early morning or evening drive to spot wildlife you should get more out of your trip and have more fun than if you try to see the whole park. I've tried to see the whole park in one day and would not do it again and do not recommend trying to do it. An ambitious tour that is still doable, if you get into the park very early, is to explore the Old Faithful area, including the Fountain Paint Pots, and the Canyon area in one day. You will have to do a fair amount of driving and pass by some of other sights along the way but if you feel up to this option it is probably the best.
There are numerous hiking possibilities on the over 1000 miles of trails in the park. When you get to the park go to one of the visitor centers and look at the hiking guides. My favorite guide is Mark C. Marschall's 'Yellowstone Trails'. From this you can get an idea of what region you want to hike. You will also be able to get recommendations from the rangers staffing the visitor centers. Some of the visitor centers have maps of the more popular hikes in their area. These maps usually cost less than $.50 (1994). The rangers can give recommendations and warnings. I always try to spend some time in the back country when I'm in the park. It is a nice way to get away from the crowds and get a better feeling for the park but if your time is limited, remember that to get a good feel for the geysers and hot springs takes time and you can hike any place but you can only see geysers and hot springs so easily in Yellowstone.
If you are interested in mountain scenery you're pretty much limited to the east and northwest parts of the park. A better area for you may be either Grand Teton National Park just south of Yellowstone or the Beartooth area just outside the northeast entrance of Yellowstone.
Bugs in the backcountry (especially before things dry out toward the end of July) can be vicious, so be prepared.
Camping in the backcountry requires a free permit. These permits can only be obtained in person not more than 48 hours prior to use. You can obtain permits at the ranger stations or visitor centers.
Biking is limited in the park. Most trails are closed to bikes and the roads are narrow and seldom have shoulders. I have talked to people who were touring the park by bike and they were enjoying the experience but they also found it quite stressful.
Some of the trails in the Upper Geyser Basin (Old Faithful) are open to bikes. These trails are mainly along old road beds and cover about 5 miles. On these trails you can also ride out to Black Sand Basin and/or to Biscuit Basin but both of these basins can also be accessed by car. A word of caution, to see most of the features in the Upper Geyser Basin you will have to get off your bike and walk the boardwalks. For the first time through the basin I suggest walking as the bike will become more of a nuisance than a help and you will do as much walking with the bike as you would without it.
Another bike trail is out to Lone Star geyser (3 miles). The trail head is just above Kepler Cascades. This is a very nice ride along an old road bed that parallels the Firehole river. The trail is quite flat. Before you go check at the Old Faithful visitor center to see if anyone has reported seeing Lone Star that day. It is quite predictable. It has two types of eruptions, minors and majors. A major lasts about 30 minutes and is usually preceded by one minor which lasts about 5 minutes. It's about 30 minutes between minor and major and almost exactly 3 hours between majors. Splashing out of the cone starts about 1 hour before an eruption. If you do see an eruption please write it in the books at the geyser and at the trail head so that the next group can have an idea of when it might erupt next.
Other trails and good roads are: Natural Bridge; Fountain Flats Drive and on past the barricade and behind Midway Geyser Basin; Firehole Lake Drive.
The road system was designed in a figure eight configuration that provides access to most of the major sites as shown below:
| Tower Cooke City
| UPPER LOOP | Dunraven Pass
Norris |------------------------| Canyon
| | Mud Volcano
West | LOWER LOOP |------------------Cody
Yellowstone ---| Madison | Lake Yellowstone
|--------o---------------| West Thumb
Old Faithful | Grant Village
Grand Teton NP
The entire loop is 142 miles long.
The upper loop is 70 miles and links (clockwise from Mammoth) Mammoth, Roosevelt, Tower Falls, Dunraven Pass, Canyon, Norris and back to Mammoth.
The lower loop is 96 miles and connects (clockwise from Madison Junction) Madison Junction, Norris, Canyon, Hayden Valley, Mud Volcano, Fishing Bridge, Yellowstone Lake, Lake Hotel, Bridge Bay, West Thumb, Craig Pass, Old Faithful, Biscuit Basin, Midway Geyser Basin, Lower Geyser Basin and back to Madison Junction.
The maximum speed limit is 45 mph but in summer you will be lucky to average 25 mph because of traffic, wildlife and road conditions.
The roads in the park are bad. Most of the roads are narrow, winding and very rough. The Park Service is currently in a program to bring the road beds, surfaces and shoulders up to modern standards. Thus, there are road closures scheduled for the upcoming years. When you enter the park you will be given information about the current road work being done. Attempts are made to schedule the closures so that they are as unobtrusive to the tourists as possible but you should read about the work being done to see if it will cause you any hardships.
For the most part the roads have no shoulders. This coupled with people stopping in the middle of the road to see wildlife and the potholes can make for slow and aggravating travel. Expect this to happen and prepare yourself mentally so you don't have a heart attack. Take pity on the people behind you, if you stop try to pull as far off the road as possible.
A way to avoid the worst traffic is to try to arrange your sight seeing so that you do most of your driving in the morning and late afternoon and evening when the traffic is less and spend the middle part of the day exploring an area that won't require much driving such as the Canyon or the area between Old Faithful and the Lower Geyser Basin. The traffic tends to be worse on the southern loop than the northern loop.
In the Spring and into July, potholes are a severe problem. They do their best to fix them but the winters are severe and the traffic can be very heavy in the summers when they are trying to do the repair work.
Only the road from Gardiner MT through Mammoth and onto Cooke City MT is open all year to wheeled traffic. The park service tries to have the other roads open on the following schedule:
Mid-March: Mammoth to Norris
Mid-April: West entrance to Madison, Madison to Old Faithful, Madison to Norris, Norris to Canyon, Canyon to Mud Volcano
Early May: Old Faithful to West Thumb, Mud Volcano to Lake, Lake to East Entrance, Lake to South Entrance
Early June: Tower to Canyon
The roads are usually closed by early November.
Of course, these dates are subject to weather but the park service rarely opens the roads early because the services don't open early. To get a recorded message of current road conditions call the park headquarters at (307)-344-7381.
On an up note: Most of the side roads (usually one way) are worth the drive. They usually take a little longer than the main road but also have some unique or interesting sight to see along the way.
In the winter, once there is enough snow pack (about December-March), the roads are opened to tracked vehicles (snow mobiles and snow coaches).
I have not found a spectacular restaurant outside the park but they are probably there. In the park I have enjoyed the Old Faithful Inn dining room (as opposed to the Lodge Cafeteria) for breakfast and dinner. There is no view but the ambiance is great. I have enjoyed the dining room at the Lake Hotel for lunch. Here you do get a view of the lake. The dining room at the Mammoth Hotel is also good but here you get no view and little ambiance. All of these places require reservations for dinner. Reservations can be made in person or by contacting TW Services.
For cheaper food a safe bet is the Hamilton store lunch counter. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have had good luck at the lower Hamilton store at Old Faithful. The cafeterias in the lodges are ok but you can easily spend as much as at the main dining rooms which are much better. The only place you can eat and watch Old Faithful erupt is the Old Faithful Lodge cafeteria and this fact alone makes me recommend it for lunch. If you do go there try to avoid the rush right after Old Faithful erupts. If you wait 20 minutes there is usually almost no line.
There are a number of campgrounds in the park. You can ONLY camp at designated camp sites. Starting in 1995 three of the campgrounds are being turned over to TW Recreation Services, a park concessionaire. These three Madison, Grant Village and Canyon will take reservations starting April 1, 1995. You can make reservations by contacting TW at (307)344-7901 or (307)344-7311. Since this is a new procedure I do not know how it will work. A person at TW said that they would be taking and ENCOURAGING reservations. The policy will be to reserve all sites if possible; none will be held out for 'drop ins'.
Reservations for Bridge Bay can be obtained through MISTIX at 1-800-365-2267 and reservations at Fishing Bridge RV park (hard sided campers only because of bear habitat in the area) can be reserved from TW at (307)344-7311. Fishing Bridge campground is scheduled to be removed and when you read this it may already have been removed so, if you are planning to use this campground, you may want to call and find out if it is still open.
All other campgrounds in the park are run by the National Park Service on a first come first served basis. These campgrounds fill early so try to get to them by no later than 10:00 a.m. and even that might be too late.
Camp Ground | # sites |cost*| approx. dates open | Comments**
Bridge Bay | 420 | $10 | late may-late sept |R,DW,FT,S,FG,DS,
Canyon | 280 | $8 | early june-early sept|R,DW,FT,S,FG,DS,
Fishing Bridge| 345 | $19 | late may-early sept |R, ,FT,S, ,DS,H
Grant Village | 403 | $9 | late may-late sept |R,DW,FT, ,FG,DS,
Indian Creek | 75 | $6 | early june-mid sept | ,DW,pt, ,FG, ,
Lewis Lake | 85 | $6 | mid june-late oct | ,DW,pt, ,FG, ,
Madison | 292 | $8 | early may-late oct |R,DW,FT, ,FG,DS,
Mammoth | 85 | $8 | all year | ,DW,FT, ,FG, ,
Norris | 116 | $8 | mid may-late sept | , ,FT, , , ,
Pebble Creek | 36 | $6 | mid may-early sept | ,DW,pt, ,FG, ,
Slough Creek | 29 | $6 | late may-late oct | ,DW,pt, ,FG, ,
Tower Fall | 32 | $6 | late may-mid oct | ,DW,pt, ,FG, ,
Price as of 1994 ** R -Reservations possible (See explanation at the top of this section) DW -Drinking water
FT -Flush toilet
pt -pit/chemical toilet
S -Showers (See note below)
FG -Fire grates
DS -Disposal site
H -Hook ups
Showers at Canyon, Fishing Bridge and Grant Village campgrounds and Old Faithful Lodge (not the Inn) and Mammoth Hotel (I have not used this one but have not had problems with the others) can be used by anyone at a small charge.
There are numerous free places to camp in the national forests around the park.
Camping in the backcountry requires a free permit. These permits can only be obtained in person not more than 48 hours prior to use. You can obtain permits at the ranger stations or visitor centers.
Lodging in the park fills fast so try to make reservations early. Accommodations in the park range from very nice and modern with tub and shower to rustic cabins with only a sink to canvas walled structures with no plumbing. All lodging does have nearby access to restrooms and showers but none has televisions or radios. My favorite is the rustic Old Faithful Lodge cabins. It is relatively cheap (the park service regulates the prices so they are comparable to the surrounding communities) and centrally located to many of the sights in the park. I always enjoy seeing an eruption of Old Faithful on my way to the shower in the morning. The other lodging at Old Faithful also has the benefit of excellent location. Other good locations are at Lake, Grant Village and to a lesser extent Canyon.
If you can't find rooms in the park try the gateway towns. West Yellowstone is the closest to most of the sights and has over 50 motels. The unfortunate thing about the gateway towns and the lodging at Mammoth and Roosevelt is that they all are a long distance from most areas of interest in the park so you will be spending a lot of time driving just to see anything. But if this is all you can get don't worry too much because you won't notice the difference unless you've stayed in the park on a previous trip.
Motels in West Yellowstone and Gardiner Montana are listed at the travel Montana URL site:
http://www.mt.gov/commerce/travel/tmhome.htm Phone: 800-541-1447 or 406-444-2654
The elevation along the roads of Yellowstone range from about 5500' near Gardiner to 8800' at Dunraven Pass. Most of the park is on a plateau ranging from 7000' to 8000'. On clear days in the spring and fall temperatures can range from freezing in the morning to near 80F in the afternoon or can be consistently cold. In the summer it can be hot or cold and conditions can change quickly (the summer of 1994 temperatures were commonly in the 80's, a couple of years ago it snowed on the Fourth of July). The best bet is to be prepared for wide temperature variations.
April, May and June have the most rain. July and August are the driest and warmest. September and early October are cooler but can be very nice.
No matter when you go take sun screen. The high elevation causes many to burn easily.
Recorded weather forecasts are available by calling the park headquarters at (307) 344-7381.
(12) Books and Pamphlets
There are interpretive pamphlets that describe the Upper Geyser Basin, Canyon, Norris, Fountain Paint Pot, Mammoth and Mud Volcano areas. These pamphlets are available at the starts of the trails through these areas and at the visitor centers. You can keep the pamphlet for $.25 (1994) or just borrow it at the trail head for free if you return it. All of these pamphlets are worthwhile and will help interpret some of what you are seeing. They also make a cheap souvenir.
One of the best tour books of Yellowstone that I have found that does not go into too much detail is 'Fodor's National Parks of the West'. Another good book that also contains information about the surrounding areas including some lodging in West Yellowstone and Gardiner Montana is Moon Publication's 'Wyoming Handbook'. The problem I have with the handbook is that it goes into way too much detail for my tastes. A guide devoted entirely to Yellowstone that not only has good information but also has many nice pictures is 'Hamilton's Guide to Yellowstone National Park'.
A good book of trails is Mark C. Marschall's 'Yellowstone Trails'. The geyser reference book is T. Scott Bryan's 'Geysers of Yellowstone'. An interesting account of the first formal expedition into the park, at least after the first couple of chapters, is Nathaniel P. Langford's 'Discovery of Yellowstone National Park'. A good presentation of Yellowstone history before and after the parks formation is Aubrey L. Haines' two volume 'The Yellowstone. These and many other books of interest can be found at the visitor centers.
(13) Entrance Fees
Admission to the park costs $10 per personal vehicle or $4 per person for those entering on foot, bicycle or commercial vehicle. The pass is valid for seven days and covers both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. An annual pass valid for both parks costs $15. The Golden Eagle pass is an annual pass covering all national parks, monuments etc. (except tours such as Carlsbad Caverns). It can be purchased at the entrance gate for $25. Those over 62 and the passengers in their vehicle get into the park for free. This was called the Golden Age Passport but the park service has stopped issuing the card and now just looks at proof of age. The Golden Access Passport for disabled individuals also provides free access to the card holder and those in their vehicle. Those with Golden Age and Golden Access Passports are also eligible for a 50% reduction in campground fees. All prices are as of 1994.
(14) Miscellaneous comments:
The crowds are largest in Summer between about the third week of June and the end of August. Spring and Fall are less crowded than the summer and the weather can be nice. In Spring and Fall the crowds are the largest on the weekends especially on three day weekends. In the Summer the crowds are the largest during mid-week especially on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
A nice SHORT WALK is out to Artist Paint Pots.
A nice BIKE RIDE is from Kepler Cascades to Lone Star geyser. It also makes a nice half day hike but the bike is better.
A 3 MILE LOOP HIKE that shows the affect of the 1988 fires is to Mystic falls and onto the Upper Geyser Basin overlook.
A nice RELAXING EVENING is dinner at Old Faithful Inn followed by sitting in front of the fire in the lobby.
My favorite PICNIC SPOT is at the end of Fountain Flat Drive past Goose lake. It is located between Feather lake and the Firehole river at the very end of the road. Other nice picnic spots are: across the Chittenden bridge just upstream from the canyon; across the road from Undine falls (between Mammoth and Tower) along Lava creek; on the south side of Dunraven pass; and many nice spots around Yellowstone lake.
West Yellowstone is the CLOSEST TOWN to most of the sights.
Prepare yourself for SLOW TRAFFIC at times. People that come prepared for the traffic usually handle the situation much better.
Try to get out onto a back country trail for some peace and quiet. The most IMPRESSIVE ENTRANCE to the park is the northeast entrance through Cooke City. This entrance traverses the Beartooth highway which has a maximum elevation of 10940' and goes through beautiful alpine scenery. It is not a fast road. Of course, the south entrance through Grand Teton National Park is also very impressive.
The BUFFALO BILL MUSEUM in Cody is considered one of the best museums of western art and artifacts in the world. Even avowed museum haters have said they liked this one.
Definitely try to see Grand geyser erupt. It is bigger and lasts longer than Old Faithful and you are closer to it than you are to Old Faithful.
Be adventuresome. Use these recommendations to get started and then take your own advice and make the adventure your own.
I have no affiliation with Yellowstone N.P. or any of the businesses mentioned above. All opinions are my own.
David Monteith * *
firstname.lastname@example.org * A watched geyser may erupt *
* Pullman Washington * *
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