Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Driving Guide

Yellowstone Driving Guide

The Areas We have spent a lot of time in this amazing park. This is by no means a comprehensive list of things to do in this park. This is simply what we think some of the highlights are with suggestions of short or small hikes to do in each area. We hope this is helpful for anyone from first time visitors to seasoned veterans. If you have favorite areas that are not listed we would love to hear from you! For more up to date conditions and park maps please visit https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.html for the official website for the park to help plan your trip. Click on each individual link in blue for much more detail and many more photos of each area! Madison Junction to West Thumb The road from Madison to West Thumb is an interesting part of the park. It offers the least far off panoramic views but ...
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Yellowstone Driving Guide: Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City

Yellowstone Driving Guide: Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City

The Trail: For an overview of our entire Yellowstone National Park Driving Guide visit the overview page by clicking here. The road from Mammoth to Cooke City is my absolute favorite part of the park. It doesn't feature any of the ultra popular features which helps keep the crowds down a bit. Its your best chance at spotting wildlife, and the mountain views are the best in the park. You will want to head East out of Mammoth Hot Springs. You will quickly cross a large bridge over the Gardner river that is cool to see. The Mammoth terraces are visible behind you. Next you will see the small sign marking Undine Falls. This is a roadside fall but you will need to get out of the car to see it. It is 60 feet tall. Your next stop is a very short and easy family friendly hike to Wraith Falls ...
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Yellowstone Driving Guide: Tower to Fishing Bridge

Yellowstone Driving Guide: Tower to Fishing Bridge

The Trail: For an overview of our entire Yellowstone National Park Driving Guide visit the overview page by clicking here. The section of road between Tower and Fishing Bridge contains the highest road in the park, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and offers some of your best chances to see wildlife. (Especially Bears) Your first stop heading south from the Tower-Roosevelt Junction will be at Calcite Springs. The geology is very interesting here and the views of the Yellowstone River are gorgeous. Can you spot a Bighorn Sheep here? Your next stop should be Tower Fall. Be sure to at least take the 100 yard walk to the overlook of the falls. There is a longer hike as well that you can find here: Tower Fall Trek The area around tower fall is very popular with black bears such as this one we saw eating a deer. From tower fall ...
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Yellowstone Driving Guide: West Yellowstone to Mammoth Hot Springs

Yellowstone Driving Guide: West Yellowstone to Mammoth Hot Springs

The Trail: For an overview of our entire Yellowstone National Park Driving Guide visit the overview page by clicking here. The road from West Yellowstone to Mammoth Hot Springs offers a lot of different options and has some of my favorite areas of the park. The area from West Yellowstone to Madison Junction is a series of beautiful open meadows with cliffs on either side and the road follows the Madison River. This area is great for wildlife viewing where you can often find Elk, Bison, and Birds. From Madison junction you will turn left or North. You will quickly come to Gibbon Falls that is just a very short walk to the view point of the 84 foot falls the pour over the Yellowstone volcano caldera. Next up you will pass the Artist Paint Pots which make a nice short boardwalk hike that is great for families. Info can be ...
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Yellowstone Driving Guide: Madison Junction to West Thumb

Yellowstone Driving Guide: Madison Junction to West Thumb

The Trail: For an overview of our entire Yellowstone National Park Driving Guide visit the overview page by clicking here.  The road from Madison to West Thumb is an interesting part of the park. It offers the least far off panoramic views but is probably the most visited part of the park where it houses many geyser basins and the most famous spot in the park in Old Faithful. Heading South from Madison Junction your first stop should be the short one-way side road call the Firehole Canyon Drive. The river gets its name because it is warmer than other rivers in the area from the many thermal areas that feed hot water into the river. The drive will take you to Firehole Falls which in spring is a very powerful 40 foot fall. Just past the falls there is a nice swimming hole that is open in summer and fall ...
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Yellowstone Driving Guide: Fishing Bridge to Grand Teton

Yellowstone Driving Guide: Fishing Bridge to Grand Teton

The Trail: For an overview of our entire Yellowstone National Park Driving Guide visit the overview page by clicking here.  The section of road between Fishing Bridge and the entrance to Grand Teton National Park is surprisingly one of the lesser traveled areas because there are none of the super famous tourist stops but I think there are some great things to see. Fishing Bridge itself is a famous historical spot and is great to get out and take the short walk across the bridge and see if you can spot any trout in the river. If you take a 45 minute round trip side trip east of fishing bridge you can go to Lake Butte Overlook. This area gives you a birds eye view of the giant Yellowstone Lake. Back at Fishing Bridge you will head south to get to the South Entrance at the North Entrance for Grand ...
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Woody Falls - Yellowstone/Cooke City

Woody Falls – Yellowstone/Cooke City

GPS Coordinates: Trail Head:45.01770 N, 109.93359 W Woody Falls Turn:45.01617 N, 109.93165 W Small Waterfall Turn:45.01486 N, 109.93126 W Small Waterfall:45.01401 N, 109.93179 W Woody Falls:45.01301 N, 109.91427 W Trail Map Driving Directions The Trail: Woody Falls is a nice fairly short hike located in Cooke City right outside the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone. I have never seen another soul on this hike. It holds snow late into spring making this a great summer or fall hike. It is also great when hot because it is mostly in the shade. You will turn south onto republic road off the highway and will quickly take a left on the dirt road and go a block or so to the unsigned trail head. You will see the road quickly heads uphill. You will park at the bottom. You will hike a short distance up the road and you will see the singletrack ...
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Best Hikes in Yellowstone: Waterfalls

Best Hikes in Yellowstone: Waterfalls

The Countdown: This is my list of the best hikes to waterfalls in the Yellowstone area. I am sure this list will be constantly changing. It was very hard deciding a countdown. Most of the hikes are very family friendly. To make the list a hike had to start within an hour of Yellowstone. Each choice is accompanied with a link for the much more detailed individual Treks. Have you done any of these or do you have different favorites? Comment and let us know what your favorites are! 12: Wraith Falls A cool little waterfall from a small creek that spreads to make a very wide fall. Wraith Falls Trek 11: Bridal Falls Bridal Falls is unique in the fact that it makes a 90 degree turn mid plunge before making a 40 foot drop into a great little pool. Bridal Falls Trek 10: Fairy Falls  Fairy Falls is ...
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Osprey Falls - Yellowstone National Park

Osprey Falls – Yellowstone National Park

GPS Coordinates: Trail Head:44.93227 N, 110.72813 W Osprey Falls:44.92902 N, 110.68070 W Trail Map Driving Directions The Trail: Osprey Falls is in my opinion the best overall hike in Yellowstone. You get a very powerful waterfall, sweeping mountain views, the chance to see wildlife, a deep canyon, and a river. This is a great area!   You will start your hike at the Bunsen Peak trail head which is a couple miles south of Mammoth Hot Springs. Keep in mind that this is bear territory. You will want bear spray. It is wise not to hike alone.  From the trail head you will follow the Bunsen Peak road. The road is no longer open to vehicles but you can ride bikes on the portion of the trail that follows the road which would make it a quicker trip. We did this hike in late May on a slightly higher than average ...
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Black Sand Basin - Yellowstone

Black Sand Basin – Yellowstone

Driving Directions The Trail: Black Sand Basin is one of the lesser known Geyser Basins in Yellowstone. It is located just west of Old Faithful. This is a nice one because the tour buses rarely stop here making it less crowded. It is also very short making it great for all ages. Total hiking is less than a half mile. The board walk makes a Y shape.  There is plenty of parking. The river was beautiful. There are several small geysers. Cliff Geyser was my favorite. There are two large hot springs. The largest is Rainbow Pool. The prettiest is Emerald Pool. Personal Thoughts: This is definitely worth a short trip to stretch your legs.  ...
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Silver Falls - Cooke City/Silver Gate/Yellowstone - Montana

Silver Falls – Cooke City/Silver Gate/Yellowstone – Montana

GPS Coordinates: Silver Falls:45.01157 N, 110.00111 W Driving Directions The Trail: Silver Falls is a nice little hike located 1 mile outside the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone in the small town of Silver Gate. The trail appeared to be rarely used and was a little difficult to navigate so you can avoid private property. You will park on the west end of Silver Gate and hike a very short distance up the last road on the North side of the highway. There is a small house.  After a couple hundred feet you will see a power line turn to the west. Break off the road and follow the lines for a short distance. You will only go about 100 feet before an orange arrow will point you to the right. There are several of these arrows that will generally lead you in the right direction but don't solely rely on ...
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Gallatin Canyon - Yellowstone/ Bozeman Montana

Gallatin Canyon – Yellowstone/ Bozeman Montana

Driving Directions The Trail: The Gallatin Canyon drive is a beautiful drive that takes you between West Yellowstone and Bozeman, Montana. The highway passes through Yellowstone National Park for several miles of its length.  As you start your drive from West Yellowstone the river is calm with huge open valleys. Keep your eyes out for wildlife. We spotted several Bald Eagles in this area. The further up the canyon you get the more forested it gets. The river begins to show a lot of its world famous whitewater. This is a great area for a guided raft trip. We passed a large group of Bighorn Sheep Rams that paused for some fun photos! A little more than half way through the canyon you will see the signs for Big Sky. I highly recommend a short side trip to the top and if you have time you should hike to Ousel ...
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Best Hikes in Yellowstone: Thermal Attractions

Best Hikes in Yellowstone: Thermal Attractions

The Countdown: This is a list of the best hikes to see the amazing thermal features of Yellowstone. These include Geysers, Mud Pots, Fumaroles, and Hot Springs. All of the hikes listed are very family friendly. At the end of each section is the link for the individual treks for each hike that have much more in depth information. I have visited all of them many times and it was hard to number this list. Enjoy! 11: Artist Paint Pots The highlights of this are the colorful mud pots, and the great views of the surrounding valley. Artist Paint Pots Trek 10: Black Sand Basin This is a very short and scenic board walk with lots of little geysers and two pretty pools. Black Sand Basin Trek 9: Biscuit Basin Biscuit Basin is a very easy and short hike with several different colorful pools and several fumaroles. Biscuit Basin Trek ...
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Beartooth Highway

Beartooth Highway

Driving Directions The Trail: Beartooth Highway is simply put, one of my favorite places on earth. It takes you through the middle of some of the most gorgeous, and rugged country in North America. It is one of the highest roads in the US at just a few feet below 11,000 feet. You could make the drive in a half day with the basic stops but you would be doing yourself a diservice to not spend at least one full day with many more possible. There are many campgrounds on the highway. The road starts just outside the northeast entrance to Yellowstone and its difficult to drive the highway without going through Yellowstone. For this reason I will be including this area in the Yellowstone driving tour that we are working on. The road takes you between Cooke City and Red Lodge Montana with a whole lot of Wyoming in ...
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Sawtell Peak Road - Island Park, Idaho

Sawtell Peak Road – Island Park, Idaho

GPS Coordinates: Trail Head:44.53559 N, 111.35664 W Peak:44.56193 N, 111.44474 W Trail Map Driving Directions The Trail: The Sawtell Peak road is a great destination for anyone that enjoys sweeping views. It takes you over 9,800 feet to great 360 degree views of 3 different states. This makes a perfect unique stop to anyone visiting nearby Yellowstone. It is a very well graded dirt road. It is open to all vehicles. I have been here on anything from ATV's to a family sedan. If the conditions are bad you obviously would need something with 4x4 but most of the time it is not at all necessary. The road is not technical at all but could still be challenging for those afraid of heights since there are several exposed areas. The mountain always holds snow well into July making this a great stop for summer or fall. The area is also ...
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Trout Lake - Yellowstone National Park

Trout Lake – Yellowstone National Park

GPS Coordinates: Trail Head:44.89893 N, 110.12296 W Trail Map The Trail: Trout Lake is a short, steep and popular trail located in Lamar Valley close to the northeast entrance of the park. It can be very busy because the lake is very popular with fisherman. It still makes a great, short scenic hike even if you don't fish. The trail head is well signed off the road and has a small parking lot with info signs. This area is in heavy traveled bear country. Do not hike here without bear spray and its best to have more than one person. This is a great hike for wildlife because Bears, Otters, Bison, Deer, and Elk all frequent the area. The trail immediately enters the trees and climbs steadily about 250 feet before dropping back down just a bit to the lake. There are some huge pines in this grove. There are ...
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West Thumb Geyser Basin - Yellowstone National Park

West Thumb Geyser Basin – Yellowstone National Park

Trail Map Driving Directions The Trail: West Thumb Geyser Basin is a short, easy, and fun hike that is great for people of all ages. The entire figure 8 is less than a mile and has some really cool features. There are lots of colors here. There is slight inclines but really just about anyone could do this. It is one of the more unique thermal areas in the park since its right on the shore of Yellowstone Lake. Here are pictures of some of the smaller features and different colors available to see. Part of the trail is right on the shore and some of the thermal features right in the water. I caught it on a beautiful day where the mix of clouds and sun made for some awesome photos! There are two pools here that are really famous and really beautiful. The first is called the abyss ...
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Midway Geyser Basin - Yellowstone National Park

Midway Geyser Basin – Yellowstone National Park

Trail Map Driving Directions The Trail: Midway Geyser Basin is one of the most famous, and by nature, the most crowded of all Yellowstone's thermal areas. It contains the biggest and prettiest spring in the park called Grand Prismatic Spring. The whole trail is on easy boardwalk with very minimal elevation change. The trail starts out by crossing a bridge over the Firehole River. You can see the huge amounts of water coming from Excelsior Geyser as it pours water into the river. Excelsior Geyser is a huge crater full of water. It dumps 4000 gallons of water into the river per minute. The day we were there it was so steamy I was not able to get any good pictures. It has very pretty blue water and is very large. Next up is the second most famous thermal feature in Yellowstone behind Old Faithful. Grand Prismatic Spring is absolutely ...
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Beartooth Falls - Cooke City/Yellowstone

Beartooth Falls – Cooke City/Yellowstone

GPS Coordinates: Trail Head:44.93872 N, 109.60056 W Driving Directions The Trail: This waterfall technically is not in Yellowstone. It is located just outside the northeast entrance about an hour. Since it is so close and the vast majority of people will need to drive through Yellowstone to reach it I included it with the Yellowstone hikes. With that aside this is one of my all time favorite hikes in the Yellowstone area. When visited in late spring, through about August this is one of the most spectacular falls I have seen. The hike is still pretty in fall but the water drops off severely. Do NOT attempt this hike if there is still snow and ice on the ground. It would be too dangerous and risky of a fall. This is not a great one for kids because there are some (fairly easy for most) rock scrambles that are exposed ...
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Mystic Falls - Yellowstone National Park

Mystic Falls – Yellowstone National Park

Trail Map Driving Directions The Trail: I had heard that Mystic Falls was one of the busier hikes in Yellowstone because it is so close to the busiest feature in Old Faithful. I had also seen pictures of the falls and come away unimpressed. We did this hike the first weekend in October. We saw very few people and I came away very impressed. This is definitely a waterfall where pictures do almost no justice. The falls are much larger and more powerful than they appear and we visited in the low water season. In spring I bet they are awesome! The route described here is the quickest route to the falls and then we came back the same way. ( I had an 8 month pregnant wife ready to kill me for making her hike at all) I tracked just over 2 miles out and back the short way ...
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