One of my most cherished memories of my childhood took place in Yellowstone National Park. My parents had driven my brother and I from Southern California all the way up to West Yellowstone to show us the very first national park. The beauty was endless, the animals were majestic and the adventure was life changing.
Around every corner was another sign pointing you to a geological masterpiece. The signs kept coming and the curiosity of these “off the beaten path” treasures got the best of my father and I. My mom and brother don’t share in our adventurous spirit and decided to stay back in the car. We had no idea what we were looking for, only that whatever it was deserved a sign on the side of the road. Walking through thick brush, around trees and across small streams while laughing and talking with my dad, that was what family vacations were about.
After never seeing another sign we stopped to see some bubbles rising in a stream. Of course my dad would dare me to touch the water to see if it was hot (I do not recommend that) and of course it was. I would like to think that he had tested the water before he had me stick my hand in it but that was never confirmed, only joked about. Luckily I kept all my fingers and made this wonderful memory of walking around Yellowstone with my dad.
There are a few things to make sure to see while in Yellowstone and they are spread out through the park. One of the main things I wanted to bring my children to see is the wildlife. Showing them animals such as bears, bison and elk roaming in their natural environment will leave a lasting impression on them. On the NP’s website you can see various maps, one being the best areas to view the wildlife in Yellowstone. Here is the map and the link to view it on their website. https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm
Yellowstone is such an ideal vacation for the young, the old, families, couples and friends. No matter your age or who you are with, everyone will leave the park in awe. I am so happy that my husband and I now have had the privilege to take our children and the amazement in their eyes left me reliving mine as a child.
Road Trip 2017
Going into the park now 16 years later, I noticed how many things have changed. Places I remember seeing as a kid, now either don’t exist or are no longer marked. I felt as though I was seeing the same park but in a different light. I think this will be the same, no matter how many times I come to Yellowstone, it will be a new experience.
When entering the park, I let the ranger know that we had two children and they gave both of them a checklist with all of the animals they should see in the park. This was great because it gave them a goal and kept them on the look out for these animals. The kids were able to see all of them except a coyote.
Our trip being in mid May, crowds were minimal and traffic was the same. We were able to find parking wherever we stopped and had no trouble on hikes or finding places to picnic. There was however just enough cars on the road to alert us when something cool was coming up because everyone would stop to take a picture.
Although it was a fact that I tried to forget until we were well out of the park, Yellowstone is an active volcano that can erupt at anytime. When it does, it will be devastating to the United States. Signs of the volcanic activity surround you. From boiling mud to steam leaving mountains through crevasses, it is hard to believe that so much beauty can come from something so deadly.
Since we had so many places to stop on our road trip, we only spend a day and a half in Yellowstone. I do however suggest if it is your first time visiting, that you spend the better half of a week touring the park and its surrounding areas. There are many places to stay, eat and visit in West Yellowstone, Montana, as well as Cody, Wyoming.
Before booking your vacation you may also want to check https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm for any road closures or entrance closures. Certain times of the year are better than others for being able to see the most and is all explained on their website.