Nah, it's all real boring...

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Yellowstone Up Close and Personal Chat Page Version 1.60 ] [ FAQ ]

Posted by Granite Head ( on 11:05:49 04/16/15

In Reply to: Yellowstone n p posted by Judy phillips

...unless, of course, you like watching wildlife (bring a camera with a long lens and binoculars) such as bears (grizzly and black), bison, elk, deer, moose, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelopes, wolves, coyotes, foxes, bob cats, badgers, marmots, pine martens, beavers and muskrats, eagles (bald and golden), sandhill cranes, ospreys, western tanagers, various owls, falcons and hawks and lots of interesting water fowl. People standing at the pullouts looking through spotting scopes will always share what they're watching if they sense your excitement! June is a terrific time to see all the animals with their new babies, too. And wildflowers will be abundant in some areas.

Maybe you would also like a wide variety and very large number of geothermal features like geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, mud pots and the one giant volcanic eruption (the caldera on which Yellowstone sits) just waiting to blow up. There are quite a few designated thermal areas in Yellowstone with very safe boardwalks from which to enjoy these remarkable works of nature. The big one is the Upper Geyser Basin where Old Faithful and many other geysers and springs are. Smaller and quite lovely areas on the opposite side of the park include West Thumb, on the shore of Yellowstone Lake with glorious views of the Absaroka and Beartooth mountains on a clear day, and Mud Volcano, which is just above the Yellowstone River a little bit north of the lake. The famous Mammoth Hot Springs thermal area is readily accessible at the north end of the park.

Or perhaps hiking appeals, either the easy flat kind (for example, to Lone Star geyser or Fairy Falls in Yellowstone, and to the shores and relatively flat trail around Phelps Lake in the Tetons, starting from the Laurance Rockefeller Preserve) or the long, athletically rewarding kind (intermediate 3-mile hike to the top of Mt. Washburn or to Phelps Lake Overlook and beyond to Death Canyon in the Tetons), or many longer similarly fun hikes all over both parks), but if you venture far from the trail head, you must acquire and know how to use *bear spray* on the small chance you startle a bear and it gets angry. Like wearing seat belts in your car, it's a long shot but you sure want it if you need it. Oh, and take it easy the first couple of days, all of this is at high elevation.

Maybe you like to be on the water? Take a leisurely scenic float trip down the Snake River in the Tetons, or the short sweet ferry across Jenny Lake to the Hidden Falls trail head, or rent a kayak on the lake or the river. Or rent a boat in Yellowstone to explore the lake. Or take the guided cruise from Bridge Bay marina. Or, go for a swim (ONLY IN DESIGNATED AREAS!!) of the Firehole or Gardiner rivers. Or go fly fishing (catch and release only, and park fishing license required) in the rivers.

How about interesting historic structures? I think there's a tour at least once a day of the architecturally and historically fascinating Old Faithful Inn and of the historic Yellowstone Lake Hotel, as well as ranger-led tours of the historic district at Mammoth. In the Tetons make your way to the old White Grass Dude Ranch which is being restored along the road to Death Canyon (don't be put off by the name) trail head. Speaking of man-made pleasures in the Tetons, I strongly recommend a top at the Laurence Rockefeller Preserve visitor center there, it's wonderful in an almost Zen way. And so is the National Wildlife Art Museum at the north end of the town of Jackson.

Scenery, what can I say, it's everywhere. If you get a spectacular clear day in the Tetons, take an early afternoon Jackson Hole Aerial Tram ride to the top of Rendezvous Peak from Teton Village, the ski resort just outside the south entrance to GTNP. If you're so inclined, you can take the 7-mile hike back to the village, or ride down. It's quite lovely and gives you a perspective you'd otherwise not be likely to see. Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is another must-see, as well as all the pretty stuff you see everywhere as you drive around the parks. Another nice way to see scenery is by horseback, there are concessionaires in both parks. If you don't ride the big beasts yourself, you can reserve a spot on the chuck wagon dinner that starts from Roosevelt Lodge in Yellowstone, it's a gorgeous area and offers up an enormous amount of decent food(though very all-American, and don't know about vegan or gluten-free options but it's not hard to find out.)

Both parks have concessionaire-run tours which might be a good start, and both offer ranger-led programs during the day and often around campfires in the evenings, which can be excellent. Do stop at least briefly in the visitor centers, most have good exhibits and rangers full of information and guidance.

Oh, one strongly recommended purchase is Janet Chapple's book, Yellowstone's Treasures - it's a great stop-by-stop guide (that includes a section on Tetons geology) for those driving through Yellowstone. Don't know of the equivalent for the Tetons, alas.

Grizzly bear and cub, right along the main road, Grand Tetons last June.

Follow Ups:

Post a Followup

Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL:
Please enter the following value as your Submit Key:     
Submit Key:
Note: The Submit Key is Case Sensitive. Do not Copy and Paste!

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Yellowstone Up Close and Personal Chat Page Version 1.60 ] [ FAQ ]