I’m not sure if a trip to the great state of Wyoming is on many people’s bucketlist but is should be.
Wyoming is one of my favorite vacation destinations. It’s filled with scenic wonders, historic trails, wildlife, amazing geology, and many recreational activities. If you love the great outdoors, and even if you don’t, you’ll find something in Wyoming to catch your interest.
Wyoming is home to 2 National Parks, 2 National Monuments, and several National Historic Trails. From star-gazing and animal viewing to hiking and rock climbing, and more whatever your passion you’re sure to find it at one of them.
|Courtesy of Wyoming Tourism|
Yellowstone National Park is home to a majority of the earth’s geysers. That’s the main reason it became a national park in 1872, thus becoming the first National Park in America.
Today Yellowstone National Park spans 3 states, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It’s a vast mountain wilderness that not only the preserves geysers, it is home to grizzly bears, bison, elk, wolves, and over 400 species of birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.
The park is the core of one of the final nearly intact natural ecosystems in the world’s temperate zone. It is definitely the crown jewel of the US National Park System.
There are 5 park entrances but not all of them are open to vehicular traffic year round. In fact the only one open to wheeled vehicles year round would be the North entrance near Gardiner, MT.
To check road conditions and entrance openings click here!
Yellowstone is so large it’s hard to see everything in one visit, that’s why we keep returning. There are so many things to see and do at the park no matter what season you visit. You can hike, picnic, bike, camp, boat, fish, view wildlife, snowmobile, horseback, and more; what ever your interest you’ll find it in the park.
There are 2 loop roads within the park that connect the major attractions, lodgings, trail heads, and other facilities. A drive along any road with in the park, and even outside the park gates, is a delight; along with beautiful scenery you’re sure to spot some wildlife. On several visits as we drove in from Cody, Wyoming we spotted grizzy bears right on the side of the road. You’ll always know when wildlife is around by the amount of cars parked along the roadside, specially if it’s a bear. You can observe wildlife at any time but you can’t stop in the middle of the road, and you don’t want get too close or make sudden loud noises. Always remember and follow safety instructions when around wildlife. That grizzly cub may look cute and cuddly, but mama bear’s sure to be close by and she is very protective! That bison may look lazy but when riled it will charge. Good thing to remember is that no matter how fast you can run, you can not out run the wildlife!
The park has several lodging facilities, from campgrounds to luxury hotels, there’s something to fit everyone’s taste and budget. We’ve stayed at a cabin at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins, it’s very comfy and convenient. The cabins do not have telephones, and televisions, radios, and air conditioning are not available at any of the park’s lodgings. Staying at one of the lodgings without modern day distractions helps you to really appreciate nature, at least that’s my opinion. I’d always heard the expression, “black as night” but never really experienced it until we stayed in a cabin at Yellowstone where there are no bright lights and the night is still and dark. You literally can’t see your hand held in front of your face at night!
There are many places to eat within the park, from grocery stores, snack bars, and even fine dining. If you can try to fit dinner in at the Old Faithful Inn Dining Room, it’s wonderful! The last time we dined there we were met by a lone wolf in the parking lot as we headed to our car, a bit scary, but amazing!
While at Yellowstone get off the main road and head for a bit of the back country. Whether you explore on foot, on horseback, or on a bike, you will find something amazing! There are many trails for every level of activity, just be mindful of the wildlife and leave no trash behind.
Remember to stop at the visitor center to check out ranger led programs and youth activities to make the most out of your visit.
To print a Yellowstone coloring book click here!
Click here for some Yellowstone online park fun including a website scavenger hunt, and online alphabet book!
To plan your visit to Yellowstone National Park click here!
|Courtesy of NPS.gov|
The John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway connects the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. This incredible drive showcases the natural characteristics of both parks, where the majestic peaks of the Grand Teton mountain range meet the rocks from the volcanic flows from the Yellowstone volcano. It’s a grand entrance to either park.
The Grand Teton National Park is home to some extraordinary wildlife, including black and grizzly bears, pristine lakes, the Snake River, and majestic mountains. There are many things to do at this park including backpacking, snowshoeing, hiking, horseback riding, and climbing on land; boating, fishing, swimming, and floating in the lakes and river.
Scenic drives and wildlife viewing and photography are more sedate activities for those who aren’t big fans of rigorous outdoor sports. There are several scenic drives inside the park that offer pull outs where you can safely enjoy the scenery and view and photograph wildlife. There are also exhibits and ranger activities in the visitor centers and ranger stations; take advantage of them to learn more about the park and the surrounding areas. Don’t forget to pick up your Junior Ranger kit while at one of the visitor centers!
There are several types of accommodations in the park, from camping grounds to cabins and a hotel.
I’m sure there’s something there to fit most everyone’s taste and budget. There’s also many dining venues within the park from grocery stores to restaurants and anything in between, but many of them are only open in the summer.
Click here to download and print your free Junior Ranger booklet!
Plan your visit to Grand Teton National Park click here!
|Courtesy of NPS.gov|
Rising out of the rolling prairies that surround the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyomig is this geological feature, the Devil’s Tower National Monument.
This site is sacred to the Lakota and other tribes with a connection to this region. It was made famous by the 1977 hit movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind where it was used as the setting for a secret government base where a UFO landed to bring home folks that have been missing for decades and to off with new human volunteers.
Today park visitors can enjoy hiking on one of the 5 trails, climbing the tower’s cracks and creases, visiting the park’s visitor center, watching the antics of the cute little prairie dogs, and picnicking.
We’ve been here a couple of times, but haven’t spent a lot of time there. For us it’s more of a side trip on our way from South Dakota to Yellowstone National Park.
There are no lodgings and restaurants within the park although there are several campgrounds and snack shops within minutes of the park.
To plan your visit to Devil’s Tower National Monument click here!
|Courtesy of NPS.gov|
Fossil Butte National Monument in south western Wyoming is home to some of the best preserved fossils in the world.
The abundance of fossilized plant life as well as many species of fish, insects, birds, reptiles, and mammals make this a must see for anyone interested in paleontology. Visit during the summer on Friday and Saturday and hike down the quarry trail, you may just see a new fossil revealed!
You can take a scenic drive, check out the exhibits and videos at the visitor center, take a hike on one of the trails, and participate in a ranger activity or two.
There are no lodgings and restaurants in the park, but there are some available in the surrounding areas.