After an early start we packed up and headed to Wyoming and into our first US National Park. I knew it was going to be a pretty cool place but I had no idea just how extraordinary this next couple of days would be. The first thing that shocked me as we rolled into the park was how vast it was. It might sound ridiculous to the geographers out there but I just wasn’t prepared for the scale of it, I think I thought you’d be able to hike across it. A quick google search tells me it measures at just under 3500 square miles, thats bigger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined – you could literally spend a week here and not see it all and you most definitely need a car!
Thankfully, I was travelling with TrekAmerica and this wasn’t their first rodeo. They’ve picked out the very best bits so you can take in as much of this incredible park as possible in your 2 days here.
Accommodation – We stayed at Madison Campground, a lovely little site nestled within the towering trees of Yellowstone. You’re staying right in the heart of the park meaning you can really maximise your time there.
There is so much to be seen at Yellowstone National Park. The place is filled to the brim with geothermal activity, stunning lookouts, wildlife, canyons, waterfalls. If you’re heading there on your own you’ll need a well laid out plan to fit as much in as possible. I’m just going to list my favourite things we saw and did.
Grand Prismatic Spring – I think this was the most breathtaking sight I saw at Yellowstone. I could have stood and stared at this sight for hours. Its the third largest hot spring in the world and certainly the most colourful. It comprises almost every colour of the rainbow and it literally glistens in the sunshine. Its nestled in between a number of stunning aqua springs but this one really takes your breath away.
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone – We did a thoroughly enjoyable hike through dense forest to reach the edge of this incredible canyon. It just appears behind of the trees out of nowhere and it’s absolutely stunning and another completely unexpected gem of Yellowstone! There’s also a lookout which you can drive to to get a glimpse of the Upper Yellowstone Falls which are beautiful but unfortunately this particular lookout is awfully overcrowded which really takes away from the experience. I much preferred the deserted hike for our own little private viewpoint.
Wildlife Spotting – On our very last day in Yellowstone we got up at the crack of dawn, around 4am if I remember correctly, and headed out on a mission to spot some of Yellowstone’s famous wildlife. You see a Bison everywhere you turn in Yellowstone and they never get boring. They’re gorgeous giants and we were lucky enough to catch some chilling out really close to the road on a few occasions – especially on this early morning expedition. Unfortunately no wolves were spotted BUT we did spot ourselves some bears! Some were way off in the distance but one ran past us and into the water for a dip. Far too quickly to get a photo but seeing him was enough to make us all very happy. One of the most incredible wildlife experiences at Yellowstone was when we stopped off at Yellowstone Lake on a whim on our way out of the park. We hopped out for a quick wander and photo op and we were joined by the most beautiful Elk. We’d seen Elk in the distance but this elk was within touching distance. We stayed dead still admiring this beautiful creature and to our amazement, she jumped over the barrier and into the area right by us and started taking a drink from the water by our feet. I’ll never forget it. It was absolutely incredible.
The landscape – This is a bit of a cheat one really just to say that the entire landscape of the park is incredible. You can look out for miles and just see steam billowing into the air. There are geysers literally everywhere. Giant holes filled with boiling mud and clay bubbling away. Literally everywhere you turn you are reminded that you stood on top of a super volcano. Right under you feet is something so powerful it fills scientists with fear. It’s astonishing and mesmerising. Its just incredible.
Old Faithful Geyser – This actually wasnt one of my favourite spots at all, I just feel like it should be included as it’s definitely worth seeing. It’s named for its incredible predictability and I must admit its pretty fun sitting around with everyone in anticipation waiting for her to blow!
Clear Lake – We hiked up to this stunning peaceful spot. I’m not sure if this was part of our hike to the rim of the canyon or whether it was separate but either way it was stunning. None of the hikes in yellowstone are difficult and the thing with tourists is that most are a bit lazy. If it’s off the beaten track, they won’t go there. That’s why we had this entire lake to ourselves. As the name suggests, the lake is crystal clear and there is nothing more peaceful than finding a quite spot and taking in that gorgeous view.
I think that sums up my favourite things about our 2 (and a bit) days in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone took my breath away constantly. It was full of surprises and offered so much more than I ever expected. It is unique, mesmerising and surprising. Without a doubt this is a bucket list destination!
Top Tip – As I mentioned before, get off the beaten track! Obviously stick to the footpaths and routes planned out by the National Park Services but I promise, you’ll walk 2 minutes away from the popular drive up tourist spots, and lose 95% of the other visitors.
Stay tuned for the rest of the trip!!
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