A Yellowstone Park Road Trip

Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone

Reaching across Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, Yellowstone Park is America’s oldest national park. The landscape is simply breathtaking — from vast mountain ranges to grasslands, there is so much to explore. The best way to see the sights of this 3,472 square mile park is on a road trip. You can easily spend a week exploring the turbulent volcanic areas, enjoying the geysers, gurgling pools of hot water and sizzling cauldrons. Plus, if you’re looking for a new adventure that you’ve never thought about taking on before, it also makes for the perfect place for a Spring getaway with friends.

I’ve been to Yellowstone several times but not in quite a while. When I was young, our family traveled from California each year to our lake home in Saskatchewan, Canada, we often took the Yellowstone route.  We did have some adventures there!  My father, who was a character, rolled down his window to feed a bear a cookie (DON’T do that! I’m not sure there were warning signs back then about not feeding the bears, but there are now!). And once while we were camping in a tent, a bear opened a cooler filled with apricots from our tree, ate them all and stacked the pits in a pile. My father chased him away with an ax and we all decided to sleep in the car!

Choosing your vehicle 

If you are taking your own car to Yellowstone, it’s important to ensure that it is reliable and kept in good repair. There aren’t regular garages through the park, so it is also advisable to have at least one spare tire and a full tank of fuel. If you are hiring a vehicle, check ratings and reviews before you choose your car, so that you know that it is suitable for the rugged terrain. A 4×4, such as a Land Rover or Jeep, is always a good option since they have been built for rough roads and hard driving. Both Chevrolet and Cadillac SUVs have won awards for their reliability too.

Taking the Northern Loop

Your first road trip stop should be along the Dunraven Pass on the Northern Loop of the park. There are amazing views from here across to Mount Washburn, and you can take in the bowl-shaped landscape of the park that was carved out by volcanic activity millions of years ago. It is also worth taking a guided hike down to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone — from here, you can see the rushing waters of Yellowstone River. Another great stop on your road trip is Artist’s Point — from here, you can witness the splendor of the Lower Falls, frothing powerfully in a misty haze. You can also stand at the top of the Upper Falls, feeling the powerful waters beneath your feet.

Taking the Southern Loop

Old Faithful Geyser

The Southern Loop of Yellowstone Park is famous for volcanic activity. The air is thick with the smell of sulphur around the turbulent geysers. Old Faithful is, of course, the star attraction — you can almost guarantee to see it shoot a jetstream of boiling water into the sky, which it does every 78 minutes on average. Make sure that you stop at Yellowstone Lake on your road trip, where you can even take a boat ride on the crystal blue waters.

Yellowstone Park is an incredible reminder of the power of nature. A road trip is a perfect way to explore this fragile and precious landscape whether you go on a solo trip or visit with friends.


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