Insider Tips on Yellowstone National Park from a Montana Native:Part Two
At the Lodge
Welcome back to the Park! I’m sure you’ve been enjoying yourselves so far, but there’s a lot more to see and do at Yellowstone National Park—including at the lodge itself. After a long first day of sight seeing and hiking, you’re probably ready to hit the hay and I can hardly blame you. Before you turn in for the night, however, don’t miss out on the opportunity to dine at the Old Faithful Lodge restaurant.
I recommend that you book this meal, like the hotel reservation, way in advance as well. The restaurant is extremely popular not only because dining options are limited within the park, but because the food really is spectacular. The meals I’ve eaten at the lodge have been some of the freshest I’ve ever had. Trout steaks, red pepper soup, buffalo and bison roasts, Montana beef prime rib, and decadent steaks are all a part of the menu at the Old Faithful Lodge restaurant. Even if you are traveling on a budget and are forced to order the cheapest items on the menu, don’t miss out on enjoying a meal in the Lodge’s grand dining room. Almost every seat has a view of the ever-reliable geyser and the surrounding forests and hills.
Get Some Sleep!
They turn the lights off Old Faithful at 10 p.m. so after you’ve gotten your fill of fresh food from the Lodge’s restaurant, make sure to get a good night’s rest. In order to get the most out of every day at the park, I recommend getting to bed early and getting out early the next day. You’ll have a lot of decisions to make on the second day so spend some time before bed planning on which route to take.
When you’re ready to hit the road for more adventure, you’ll find the Grand Loop just a mile from the Lodge at the Fountain Paint Pots. The Fountiain Paint Pots are hot springs filled with colorful mud instead of water that bubble and steam along the road leading to the spectacular Lower Geyser Basin. When you arrive at the Basin you can hike all day on a variety of nature trails that lead to volcanic attractions like the Great Fountain Geyser.
Once you’ve experienced the Lower Geyser Basin, head towards Madison Junction and the spidery and scenic Gibbon Falls. At Norris Geyser Basin you’ll be rewarded with a set of volcanic rock cliffs, crystal walls, and glaciers that will take you right back to the Ice Age. Spend some time at Norris Geyser Basin enjoying its six-foot-tall rock outcropping that looks like a massive mushroom and its walls of ice that are sure to impress. The streams flowing away from here will lead you right to Madison Juncation where you’ll have the option of heading towards West Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park, or Mammoth Hot Springs.
West Yellowstone leads to the Montana part of the park and world renowned hiking and skiing areas. At the Junction you may also head south and out of the Park via the Pitchstone Plateau to spend a day at Grant Teton National Park. With its fertile mountains, fantastic fishing holes and the unbeatable Grand Teton Mountains for a natural background, there is air up there like no other. Plus, if you’re camping, the cool evening temperatures in Grand Teton National Park promise a silent and dreamless sleep during your second night of the trip.
At the junction, you may also choose to keep on the Park’s Grand Loop and head straight north up to Mammoth Hot Springs. Lodged between Electric Peak and Gray Peak, Mammoth Hot Springs is the largest natural thermal spring facility in the world. The twin peaks feed the springs with their rain runoff and the geo-thermal underflow heats and enriches the water. Don’t forget to check out the Obsidian Cliff, the largest outcropping of jet-black rock in existence.
If this is your last stop of the day, consider staying at the Mammoth hotel. Be sure, however, to check Yellowstone’s website to know when the hotel is open for business. The weather in the park is unpredictable and strange seasonal patterns require accommodations to open and close irregularly.
The End of the Road
After Mammoth Springs, you’re nearly done with the park—going East will take you back to Cooke City and the Beartooth Highway. Alternatively, going North will take you to Gardiner and into the glories of southern Montana. Even though you’re done with Yellowstone, I promise Yellowstone isn’t done with you. Like me, you’ll be back again and again to revisit the natural wonders and thermal miracles of “Colter’s Hell.”
About The Author: This guest post was written by Teresa Fikes on behalf of AutoMax Preowned. If you missed the first part of her article, you can read it here.
Photo Credits – cc Flickr: #1 Mike Miley, #2 Alaskan Dave, #3 SeattleRay, #4 jmenard48