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  • Writer's pictureMick McMurray

1st Trip to Yellowstone

Updated: 7 days ago

Yellowstone National Park

From our friend's house in Washington, it was a long drive to Rivers Edge RV Park in Alberton, Montana. When we are just stopping overnight before going to our next destination we don’t usually unhook the trailer if the site is fairly level. It is a very nice park along the Clark Fork River in western Montana. All the sites have full hookups.

The next day we drove to Gardiner Montana and entered Yellowstone National Park at the North Entrance. This was our 1st trip to Yellowstone.

The Roosevelt arch at the north entrance to Yellowstone national park
Yellowstone Park Roosevelt Arch

In Yellowstone, there is a volcanic caldera and super volcano which last erupted in 1350 BC however it is not overdue for the next eruption. That is why it has all of the geothermal activity.

We stayed in the Canyon Campground by the Canyon Village at site #170 for 14 days. We met our son, daughter-in-law, and our granddaughter there and they had the site next to us. That made our whole experience in the park a great family affair and our downtime at the campsite a lot of fun. We thought it was kind of centrally located in the north-central part of the park.

This is our campsite at the canyon campground in Yellowstone national park
Campsite at Canyon campground

It was a short drive to The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone with the Upper & Lower Falls. My favorite views were from Artist Point and Lookout Point.

It was 12 miles from the campground to the Norris Geyser Basin, 30 miles to the Lamar Valley Ranger Station, 33 miles to Mammoth Hot Springs, and 42 miles to Old Faithful.

The Norris Geyser Basin has many geysers & attractions. It is a large basin with many boardwalks running through it.

We explored the Midway Geyser Basin with the Grand Prismatic Spring. The Grand Prismatic Spring overlook was closed at that time for new construction but we did get up there at a later visit. See our "West to the Rockys Again" trip report.

The drive through the Lamar Valley is just gorgeous with its scenic views and abundant wildlife. We have been to Yellowstone NP twice for a total of 4 weeks and have yet to see a wolf or grizzly bear. We have seen bison, pronghorn antelope, moose, and a black bear.

The Lower Geyser Basin around Old Faithful is a popular location and gets crowded so plan accordingly. Old Faithful was loyal to its name, erupting within a couple of minutes when advertised.

Mammoth Hot Springs is another polar area. It is located in the northern part of the park closer to Gardiner, Montana, and the North Entrance. There are many geothermal features and nice boardwalks.

Another short hike was out to Cascade Lake. It was 5.5 miles total out and back and mostly flat. It starts in a pine forest but most of the hike is through meadows with wildflowers.

The Camera backpack that I have is no longer available but this is a similar one

Our favorite times in the park were early mornings for sunrise with a lot fewer people out and about. Also, be prepared for bison jams when bison decide to block the road. They can take anywhere from a few minutes to upwards of an hour to clear.

Another nice hike to avoid the crowds is out to Lost Lake. We did this hike 2 times. Once in the middle of the day with the family and once at sunrise with our son. We accessed the trail from the Petrified Tree parking lot. The Petrified Tree is a vertical fossilized redwood trunk about 10 feet high. The hike from the parking lot to the lake is .7 of a mile one way. It’s a nice hike, mostly flat with a beautiful lake with lily pads.

We had a lot of fun in Yellowstone with Mick, Marisela, and Sirena.

Be sure to check out our 2nd trip to Yellowstone in the “West to the Rockys Again” blog

Lorna’s Tips and Lessons

Get off the road. Everyone hears about the crowds in Yellowstone. However, I have read 90 Percent of National Park Visitors never leave the road. We found once you are on the trails there were no crowds. I am sure you have heard it before to bring plenty of water. I prefer a backpack with an internal hydration system. I currently use an Osprey Hiking Backpack which has been the perfect size for all my needs and fits well. Don’t get a backpack for hiking (whether it has a hydro system or not without a hip belt that helps with the distribution of weight. I made that mistake previously on a long hike. A fellow hiker let me try their backpack and my Osprey Backpack was soon purchased.

On to Grand Teton National Park


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