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A Bozemanite’s Guide to Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park
Chandra and Ellen at the waterfall

Are you like me and you very rarely get out and enjoy the beautiful and great wonders we have right here in our state? Until about a year ago, I had only been to Yellowstone National Park once when I was four years old. Now that I’ve gone back, I feel safe calling myself a Montanan. For anyone else thinking about making a trip, here is my guide to making the most of it!

Visit Old Faithful

Not everyday do you get to witness hundreds of gallons of water spouting out of the ground naturally. people from all over the world visit Olf Faithful just for this very reason. You can even watch it live online with their 24/7 Old Faithful webcam. A little tip, don’t be like these tourists and get fined for getting way too close to the geyser. It’s dangerous too!

Bring a Camera

You will most definitely witness wild animals on the side of the road. Bringing a camera with a good zoom will help out a lot as you might be in the back of a long line of cars also taking photos. The photo will look nice in your wilderness themed bathroom too!

Go Camping and Hiking

Yellowstone is a great place to hike and camp. As seen in the photo above, we made our way along a trail to a beautiful waterfall. Most trail maps will let you know where you can find trails with waterfalls or lakes at the end of them. There is a Fire Arm Policy that allows you to bring fire arms along for protection but you must apply in person no more than 48 hours before your trip. You can also reserve back country campsites by submitting your application between January 1st and October 31st. They can be submitted by mail, fax, or in person. You can download the forms for application here.

Stay In A Hotel/Cabin

Maybe you would rather stay at a cabin or hotel during your trip to Yellowstone. There are luxerious suites and good ol’ rustic cabins to choose from. You can see what facilities are open during what months of the year in this handy online list. I myself would recommend getting a few friends together and renting a cabin. You’ll probably end up making it an annual tradition!

Bring a GPS

Whether you bring a phone with GPS or s stand alone device, these can be great to help you navigate the park’s roads. Be sure to have your co-pilot do the navigating so that you can pay attention to the traffic and animals that may cross your path.

Soak In The Boiling River

Located just a few miles from the Gardiner, MT entrance to the park, the Boiling River is convenient for anyone traveling from Bozmean or Livingston. This place is great! It’s called the boiling river because there is a natural hot spring that feeds into a river. Over the years, people have hand built a dividing rock wall to help trap in the hot water. The cool and hot water mix somewhat varied throughout the pools allowing you to find your sweet spot for temperature. Some visitors are even daring enough to go from cold to hot and vice versa. The signs at the river say food and beverages are prohibited but I would recommend bringing some sort of water bottle to be sure you stay hydrated. In the past, the boiling river was frequented by non-swimsuit wearing soakers, but now-a-days not so much. You never know what you might run into even though the signs warn against ‘lewd conduct.’

Winter Activities

Cross Country Skiing – during the winter you can get in some great cross country skiing. See a map of the routes right here.

Guided Tours – Whether on snow shoes, skis, snow mobiles, or a snow-coach, these tours will show you around the beautiful park with professional tour guides.

Summer Activities

Bicycling- While the bikes are prohibited on back country trails, you can travel the park’s roads on bike. You can bring  your own or rent one at Xanterra Parks and Resorts near the Old Faithfull area. There are even designated hiker/biker campsites that allow you to camp for only $5 as long as you only have your bike and no vehicle. See a list of areas allowed only to bikes and walking here.

The Boiling River – See above for details. The Boiling River is great year round as the cool river will help you not overheat in the summer.

Guided Tours - There are all sorts of things to do and see in the summer at Yellowstone. There are guided hikes, wildlife talks, night sky watching, campfire excursions and more. See them all here.

Did I miss something you absolutely love about Yellowstone National Park? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

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