Exploring Yellowstone – Highlights of the park – South and West Yellowstone NP

Yellowstone is the world’s first national park and is located on top of a volcanic hot spot.  It was established in 1872 and is located in the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.  For our trip, we entered the park through the south entrance located in Wyoming.  This gave us the opportunity to pass through Grand Teton National Park as well.

As mentioned in another post, we visited Yellowstone as part of a bus tour.  In this post, I will describe the places we were able to visit within the park.  We visited during the month of May, around the middle of the month.  The reason I mention this is so that you have an idea of the type of photographs you can take around this time of the year.

Day 1

First stop:  We entered via the South Entrance and drove towards West Thumb Geyser Basin.  The road is along the Lewis river and the views are pretty cool.  West Thumb Geyser Basin is located on an edge of Yellowstone Lake.  We spent about an hour at the basin walking on the boardwalk, exploring both the basin and admiring Yellowstone lake. 

A cool thing about Yellowstone is that you see baby geysers everywhere!

Second stop: Midway Geyser Basin.  It was already late in the afternoon, so we went to the midway geyser basin to check out the Grand Prismatic Spring.  Due to the temperatures, there was steam/fog in the area and we were not able to capture the vivid photographs you normally see on the internet.  Nonetheless, walking on the boardwalk gave us an opportunity to enjoy basin thoroughly.

Third stop: we headed to Old Faithful.  We reached there about 15 minutes before the next eruption.  Watching Old Faithful and exploring the Visitor Education Center was nice. 

Final stop: we checked out the Fountain Paint pot.  This is again a very cool area to explore, especially around sunset.

We stayed outside the park in West Yellowstone.  We spent the evening exploring the town and had an amazing Italian dinner. 

Note:  There are several options inside the park to stay as well.  Book ahead.

Day 2

First stop:  This time, we entered via the West Entrance.  Our first stop was Gibbon Falls where we spent about an hour exploring the area and clicking pictures.

Second stop:   Norris Geyser Basin.  Here we spent some time walking on the boardwalk exploring the area.  The weather helped make the area look spooky cool!

Afterwards, we headed back to West Yellowstone for an early lunch before heading to our next stop.

Thoughts about our trip

Yellowstone is a nice park to visit.  As you saw from above, we explored only half of the park.  There is a lot more to explore and we might go back someday. 

West Yellowstone is a nice option for  a night halt.  The place we stayed at had only the basic amenities but was neat and clean.

If your main objective is to take pictures, then make sure you understand the weather patterns of the area and plan accordingly.

Bisons, bisons, bisons… they are aplenty.  Be aware that herds might be exploring the area and traveling on the roads inside the park the same time you are.  This means, you need to be patient and wait for them to clear a path for you, which can take quite a bit of time.  Be prepared not to schedule your visit too tightly and expect it to go like clockwork!


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