On May 15th, 2019, we drove to the Yellowstone’s Edge RV Park, 35 miles north of the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. It’s a beautiful RV park located on the Yellowstone River and our site was on the banks of the river. Every morning driving to Yellowstone we would stop at the Wild Flour Bakery & Cafe in Emigrant, in the heart of Paradise Valley, for a delicious breakfast of Prebird Scramble or Hipster Toasts. On our first day into the Park we stopped at the Roosevelt Arch, a “rusticated triumphal arch” at the north entrance; to take photos of this magnificent stone archway without crowds of people. Construction of the arch began on February 19, 1903, and was completed on August 15, 1903, as President Theodore Roosevelt laid down the cornerstone. The top of the arch is inscribed with a quote which reads:
“For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People”
Then we headed to the Lamar Valley, along the Lamar River, it is often called America’s Serengeti because of the extraordinary diversity of large wildlife living here. We were not disappointed in the wildlife viewing, for we saw herds of bison, grizzly bears, badgers and pronghorn sheep. Among its famous inhabitants are the wolf packs: we saw wolf enthusiasts with spotting scopes to see these canines in action. Unfortunately we missed seeing the wolves in action. However, the new born calves were a treat to see as they frolicked next to their mothers. The reddish-brown calves, known as “red dogs” stand out from the other bison due to their brighter color. Calves can keep up with adult bison two to three hours after birth. We drove out to the Northeast Entrance at Silver Gate and Cooke City where we stopped for lunch at a cute restaurant called the Log Cabin Cafe. We continued up to the Beartooth Pass to see incredible views and alpine vistas and even another grizzly bear. Stopped at the top of the pass to take a photo of the sign buried in snow. Then we headed back through the Park and to Yellowstone’s Edge RV Park. Click on thumbnail to view images
Today we explored the Mammoth Hot Springs area, a large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine. We drove through the quaint, little town of Mammoth with the Albright Visitor Center, the Mammoth Hotel and Terrace Grill, Fort Yellowstone, and a large employment housing community. The Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces are one of the major geyser basins in Yellowstone. As we walked along the boardwalk trail that runs the entire length of the lower and upper terrace, 1.75 miles, we marveled at the colors of the travertine formations ranging from a pristine white to pink to dark red. The most famous feature at the springs is the Minerva Terrace, a series of travertine terraces. Back on the road we encountered a bison roadblock slowing down the traffic on our way to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. This impressive canyon is the first large canyon on the Yellowstone River downstream from Yellowstone Falls. The canyon is approximately 24 miles long, between 800 and 1,200 feet deep and from .25 to .75 miles wide. As we drove back out of the Park we saw a coyote hunting for food in the snow along the side of the road. Then rounding a corner we spotted a grizzly bear and her three cubs right beside the road, on our side of the road. So we had a great view of the mom and her cubs playing together, as we took lots a photos. Never have we been that close to a grizzly bear family, what a spectacular close-encounter. May, before Memorial weekend, is the best time to visit Yellowstone because of all the new born animals and less crowds.
Today we drove to the Midway Geyser Basin to view the Grand Prismatic Spring, one of the most iconic features of Yellowstone. The spring is the third largest hot springs in the world. The brilliant blue water of the spring is ringed by colorful algae that surrounds the spring in vibrant greens, yellows, and oranges. We viewed the spring from the boardwalk but were not able to view it from the overlook as the Fairy Falls Trail was closed. It is an impressive site no matter where you view it from. It was a short drive from here to see the Old Faithful Geyser erupt on schedule. It has erupted every 44 minutes to two hours since 2000. It was the first geyser in the Park to receive a name in 1870 by Nathaniel Langford. Eruptions can shoot 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of boiling water to a height of 106 to 185 feet lasting from 1 1/2 to 5 minutes. We stayed to watch Old Faithful erupt one more time and then headed back to the RV, spotting a mother elk and calf crossing the road. We have never seen so much wildlife in this Park before.
Days 4 and 5
Today was another day of wildlife sightings as we drove to West Yellowstone to visit the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center. Here we could get an unobstructed view of grizzlies and watch their behavior from a distance. We also saw wolves and birds-of-prey. We stopped on the way back to view the Firehole River along the Firehole Canyon Drive. We saw the 40 foot Firehole Falls from the roadside overlook. The falls were said to be the result of a large pool of lava that once filled the massive Yellowstone Supervolcano’s caldera. The lava eventually hardened into a more erosion resistant layer over which the falls dropped. There is even a swimming hole further upstream along the Firehole River, where one can bathe in the geothermally-heated water. However, after a long day driving through Yellowstone we visited the Chico Hot Springs for a nice warm-up and a glass of wine. Great way to end another fabulous day experiencing the beauty and wonders of Yellowstone National Park.