In June, we spent a total of 7 days in Yellowstone National Park with my in-laws. Because it was such a long trip and the park is so very diverse in its sites, I’ve breaking up the trip into three parts based on where we stayed – Lake Yellowstone, Teddy Roosevelt, Old Faithful
Due to the very large size of the part, we broke up our trip by stating three nights at Lake Yellowstone (in the much-cheaper cabins rather than the hotel), two nights the Teddy Roosevelt Lodge cabins, and two nights at the Old Faithful Inn. If you remove the distance we drove from the airport and around Grand Teton – you can see photos from that part of the trip here – we drove nearly 500 miles in the park. While it seems a little strange, I admit, to move three times, it really was all of that unpacking.
Cheapskate Tip – Pack a Cooler
Oh, a big tip before we get started. At the start of our trip, we did a big run to a local Super Walmart and picked up a cooler, breakfast foods (cereal, milk, bagels, cream cheese), lunch foods (bread, lunch meat, chips), and drinks (soda, milk for Lizzie, beer for the adults). Yes, we bought a cooler which we then gave away to a surprised yet happy hotel employee at the end of the trip. It saved us soooo much money eating nearly all of our breakfasts and lunches “from the van,” as Matt’s dad put it.
Teton to Lake Yellowstone
Because the park borders literally touch (northern border of Grand Teton, southern border of Yellowstone), it took us only a few hours to make our way to the Lake Yellowstone area from where we’d stayed the last few nights in Teton.
We started by stopping at the very first of the geyser basins. We had Lizzie in our carrier backpack for this one as we had no clue how she would be about staying on the boardwalks and paying careful attention that no one else, well, knocked her off of them.
(These signs are everyone for a reason!)
(That’s Matt in the blue shirt, with everyone else who was staying carefully back from the elk that was hanging out, having a snack.)
Driving Tour – Girls Only
Our first full day in the area, Matt and his dad went on a photo tour, so his mom, Lizzie, and I did our own tour of the area, driving from the Lake Yellowstone Hotel down to the Canyon area, about an hour if you drove straight there.
Our main stop was at the Mud Springs area, full of gysers and springs full of, well, mud. And, whew, was it smelly!
(This little guy is Moosey who Lizzie was given by an employee for not begging to have her Mom-Mom buy her everything in the gift store. In an attempt to keep her engaged, we took photos of and with him on our drive.)
(Named “Dragons Mouth Spring” because, well, it sounds like a dragon when the water comes rushing out of it)
(Walking with Mom-Mom)
(Required “I made it here!” sign picture)
Matt got us reservations in the cabin area at the Lake because they’re literally right behind the hotel and significantly cheaper. We chose units with en suites as Lizzie was just starting potty training and, well, his parents are late 60s/early 70s.
There’s a canyon that’s known as Artist’s Point (or something like that, where did my notes go??) famous for it’s colorful rainbow display that happens a few times a day, when the light is justtt right.
(I was too busy chasing Lizzie around to get a photo of that magical moment, but the scene was lovely enough with no special colors.)
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
We followed the suggestion from a guidebook and went back the first few places you can park to see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. While still crowded, we were able to find a spot after not much driving around.
Next time: Teddy Roosevelt Lodge area