Tag Archives: Yellowstone National Park

Complete 2012 Western Road Trip


Over a year later, I have finally finished my recap of our 2012 road trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Thank you for hanging in there with me as I wrote these last posts about our trip. I couldn’t start writing about this summer’s adventures without closing out last spring’s fun.

So here it is, in one post, our complete 2012 Western Road Trip!

The Badlands

Mount Rushmore

Devils Tower

Arriving in Yellowstone

Mammoth Hot Springs

Our First Grizzly Bears

More Wildlife and the Hayden Valley

Sulphur Caldron and Mud Volcano

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

The Lamar Valley

Evening Wildlife Watching

Artist Paintpots

Baby Bison!

Lower Geyser Basin

Old Faithful

Leaving Yellowstone

A Grand Visitor Center

Grand Teton Home Base

Mormon Row

Early Morning Drive

Wildlife in Grand Teton

Rainy Days in a National Park

2012 Western Road Trip: Leaving Yellowstone

After about two and a half days exploring Yellowstone National Park, it was time to leave. Our next destination: Grand Teton National Park.

Lucky for us, we had two more wildlife encounters on our way south. First, we saw our grizzly family in the same place again. But this time, they were SUPER close to the road. There were rangers overseeing the situation from both directions along the road to keep people from easily approaching the bears.

Grizzly Family 1

Grizzly Family 2

Grizzly Family 3

Grizzly Family 4

Down the road, we got caught in our final bison jam. It was a doozie. We were stuck for about an hour. As the herd would weave from one lane to another, traffic in the open lane would move. Traffic jams like this are a little less frustrating when you’re in such a beautiful place.

Another Bison Jam

Yellowstone is not a small place, so it was a long drive from Mammoth Hot Springs to the park’s south gate. Eventually, we caught glimpses of what awaited us.

More Mountains Ahead

Goodbye Yellowstone

Hello Grand Teton

Nothing could have prepared us for seeing the Tetons for the first time. I believe we were both in awe as we drove. Thanks to the breaking clouds, the scene was made even more dramatic.

The Tetons

There are turnouts all along the roads through the park, each offering a slightly different view of the mountains. We only stopped at a couple as we made our way to Moose, where we would be staying.

Mount Moran

Tetons 1

Tetons 2

And finally, we found our first Stephen Mather plaque. Maybe it was a sign that this was to become another special place in our hearts…

Stephen Mather Plaque in Teton

2012 Western Road Trip: Old Faithful

Finally, we arrived at the main attraction for our second full day in Yellowstone National Park – Old Faithful Geyser. We arrived about 5 or 10 minutes before it was about to erupt. Good timing!

Old Faithful Visitor Education Center

Side Note: We explored the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center after we watched the geyser erupt. It is a great visitor center. Even if you spend just a little bit of time viewing the exhibits, you come away with a much better understanding of how geysers work.

Now, back to Old Faithful…

Old Faithful 1

Old Faithful 2

Old Faithful 3

Old Faithful 5

Old Faithful 10

Old Faithful 11

Old Faithful 12

Old Faithful 14

I was really prepared to be underwhelmed by Old Faithful, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was actually pretty impressive to watch.

After watching two eruptions, we took a short hike to view some of the other hydrothermal features around the Old Faithful area.

Bear Warning

And found more comforting signage.


How Deep?

Another Geyser Erupts

Old Faithful Inn

I really wish we had been able to go into the Old Faithful Inn, but it was closed for renovations. At least from the outside, it looked incredible.

I was glad that we were visiting the park during the off-season for Old Faithful alone. To put it in perspective, there is basically a freeway interchange to get into the Old Faithful area. That should tell you something about what traffic is like during the busy season. There were definitely people around during our visit, but I’m guessing it was nothing by comparison.

Old Faithful Blows Again

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