Everything you never knew you wanted to do in Yellowstone
Have you ever been to Yellowstone National Park? Would you like to see a TON of animals in their
natural habitat? If you do, then you should move Yellowstone to the top of your bucket list! Animals are
so close you could touch them, even though you definitely shouldn’t, unless you aren’t attached to the
limbs you have left (see what I did there). Have you ever wanted to be stuck in a traffic jam due to wild
bison running down the road in front of you? Lucky for you, you most likely won’t have a choice in the
matter. You could always eat a bison burger in retribution afterwards though.
Early September is the perfect time of year to go visit Yellowstone. The crowds have died down, it’s not
too hot, and the roads haven’t closed due to snowfall yet. Make sure to pack some warm clothes in case
you do get caught on a mountain in an early blizzard like we did. September is also the beginning of the
rut for the elk so they are going to be EVERYWHERE! If you have never witnessed an elk bugle this is the
time to hear it!
Bison and elk are great and all, but you may be lucky enough to see some other wildlife such as: wolves,
moose, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, mule deer, whitetail deer, mountain goats, bear, and various big cats.
We were lucky enough to see all but one of these animals during our stay (which was only three days).
If animals aren’t your thing, there is always Old Faithful which still erupts just about every hour. The sign
board in the lodge shows the expected time of eruption give or take about 10 minutes. If you want a
good seat you will have to get there early as everyone flocks to the area for the eruption. You can always
find someone tall and beg to sit on their shoulders; I saw that work quite well for some people.
As much of a showstopper as Old Faithful is, make sure you don’t miss out on the geothermal pools in
the area. I have never been big on following the rules (and I gently bend them on occasion). With that
being said, this area can be very dangerous if you decide to venture off of the designated paths or
boardwalks. The ground is very unstable and the pools are about 199 °F (93 °C). Falling through the
fragile crust would be the end of your Yellowstone vacation to stay the least. The pools are a sight to
behold; the only downside being the rotten egg smell (sulfur) in the area. Don’t worry though you’ll get
used to it or you’ll become a mouth breather (your choice).
One of the things I love about Yellowstone is the variety of different things to see and do. You can enjoy
Yellowstone from the comfort of your vehicle but you will enjoy it even more if you get off your butt and
go for a hike (plus you can get away from a lot of the crowds). Mt. Washburn is one of the most popular
hikes in the park and is located on the Northeast side of the park. It is 6.4 miles (10.2km) round trip with
about 1400 feet (426.72 meters) of elevation gain. It was extremely windy and actually snowing
sideways on the day that we went. Luckily for us, the storm clouds parted long enough so that we could
snap a couple pictures at the top. The views from the summit and observation tower were well worth
freezing our fingers off (please pack gloves).
If you want to experience some of the back country, but don’t feel like walking, the park offers ATV
rentals as well as guided horseback riding. If you are excited about seeing wildlife I would not recommend
the ATVs for obvious reasons.
Alright it’s confession time… I am a waterfall chaser. I cannot travel someplace new and not attempt to
see every waterfall in the area. Yellowstone did not disappoint in these regards. There are over 45
named waterfalls that are over 15 feet tall (4.6 m) in the park. The larger falls still had plenty of water
even in September. If you don’t have time for anything else I would recommend seeing Tower Falls and
Yellowstone Falls, the views were stunning!
If you are going to Yellowstone I would plan on being there for approximately a week if you want to make
sure you have time to see everything the park has to offer as it is enormous. If you plan on entering and
exiting the park on more than two days during your stay I would recommend getting the “America the
Beautiful” pass. https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm.
The cost of this pass is $80 and allows entry into any U.S. National park for one year. The entry fee without
the pass is $15 per person or $30 per vehicle per day. If you are feeling overwhelmed you can always stop
at a visitor center and talk to a ranger. They are all super helpful and will point you in the right direction.
No comments posted.
Recent Posts24 hours in Greater Portland Guide to Havasupai Rafting - The Grand Experience Pack it 'Out' Pack it In, Let me Begin (Hiking 101) How I Beat the Winter Blues New Zealand Take Me Back! Southern Iceland and Beyond Angels Landing VS Observation Point Thoughts of a Sheepdog Ha’ikū Stairs the Ever Muddy and Legal Way