Today was our second day in Yellowstone National Park. We just stayed one night at the Kelly Inn West Yellowstone, so had easy access at the west entrance. I highly encourage staying in West Yellowstone! There are many hotels and restaurants, and it’s super easy to drive into the park.
Since it was night time when we arrived, here are some daytime pics of the hotel:
The rooms here were very nice and clean. There was a complimentary breakfast that was very good. Many different options available for everyone. Sadly I have no pics of it or the actual room!
Upon entering the park, we headed south towards the Midway Geyser Basin, which is where the Grand Prismatic Spring is located. When researching the trip, I knew this was one destination I definitely wanted to visit! This area was veryyyyy busy. The small parking lot was completely full and we waited in a long line of cars to park one by one as people left their spots. In hindsight, we left the hotel around 10 a.m. and finally were able to park around 11:30 a.m. If you are interested in this area, I would get there in the early morning!
This is one view of the Excelsior Geyser while walking over the bridge at the “You Are Here” on the map.
Next was the Grand Prismatic Spring!
It was everything I thought it would be! If you want to see it from above, there is a little trail you can walk on accessible from a different area.
This blew my mind:
Nature is actually amazing and at times incomprehensible! Here you can see some bison hoof prints just off of the boardwalk where we were walking.
It’s hard to believe that flowers can grow here!
We left here and headed towards Old Faithful, which was our other stop for this day. We caught this fella just hanging next to the road.
We had an exciting moment on the way to Old Faithful. There were tons of cars pulled over, and park rangers were out with cones directly traffic along. This could only mean one thing….
You can’t see it! But it’s a momma bear with her 2 cubs. I could not get a good pic sadly. We got to talk to a park ranger who was standing there. The momma bear was staying down close to the road because there was a male bear that was after her cubs.
We continued on to Old Faithful, and arrived here around 1 p.m.
We were just in time for the geyser to go off! We walked around to this side where we were pleasantly surprised by a bison just laying around in front of it. There was a park ranger standing here as well just keeping tabs on him and his movement.
What an amazing sight to see! This guy was so unbothered by everything…the crowd of people watching, the geyser going off, the oohhs and ahhs from the crowd…
We actually had NO idea that there were more geysers right around here. Had we not seen the sign I posted above by where we were standing waiting for Old Faithful, we would not have even known! We continued on around the trail.
You could see the Old Faithful Inn in the distance from the trail.
Here are just some of the things we saw along the trail:
This interesting insect landed on Kinsey.
It was about this point in our walk that we noticed some scurrying around. Tour operators who were leading groups of people starting briskly moving around. I caught wind of “this is like the trifecta, this rarely happens, we need to move over here, etc. etc.” What I learned was the Beehive Geyser was about to erupt. This geyser is taller than Old Faithful, and the eruptions last about a minute longer than Old Faithful. It usually erupts only two times per day, so we just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
We were exhausted yet again, but I was determined to see more wildlife. So we drove counter clockwise around the lower loop again so we could go past Hayden Valley.
This bird was practically flying parallel with us, but it was so far away. I had to use my good camera while driving in the car, so this is the best I could get!
Along the way, we hit a small bison jam.
We exited the park at the west entrance. Our next hotel was in Island Park just south of West Yellowstone. We stopped for dinner in West Yellowstone because we had not had time to explore there yet. There were many fabulous, reasonably priced souvenir shops, and several restaurants to choose from. We decided on this one, which had good reviews online, and was located right near the shops where we were.
The portions here were HUGE! For some reason I only have a pic of my daughter’s meal, which was the Turkey Dinner. Everyone was happy with their food. There was just so much of it! We left here, shopped some more, and found a fabulous candy store that also had ice cream.
Overall, it was a great day again!
This marks the end of our trip. This night we stayed in a hotel, got up early the next morning, and drove to Bozeman to catch our flight home. The drive from here to Bozeman was also so beautiful! So many ranches, different landscapes, and just nature’s beauty.
I am so glad we took this trip with our teenage girls. Even though they were dreading it from the beginning because they are so used to the beach, THEY LOVED IT! We all still talk about it.