Summer and road trips go hand in hand. If you’ve been thinking about hitting the road, travel enthusiast Dana Rebmann mapped out an itinerary to Yellowstone National Park.
Dana says for the sake of time, most folks fly into Salt Lake City, Utah, and start the adventure from there.
If you just hit the pedal and go, Yellowstone is about a five-hour drive. But half the fun of a road trip is discovering new places, so Dana started her animal spotting at Utah’s Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. (It’s just under an hour’s drive.)
The refuge stretches 80-thousand acres and is used by more than 200 species of birds. A 12-mile driving loop, with some stops where you can get out, makes it simple to explore.
With Yellowstone road trips you can theoretically wind up in a different state at every meal. So let’s soak in some of Idaho’s charm at Lava Hot Springs.
Open 363 days a year, there are five mineral pools ranging from 102 to 112 degrees. You can relax all day for just $8. Now that you’re fully relaxed, let’s get to Yellowstone.
Watching Old Faithful erupt is arguably the park’s best-known feature, but it’s just one of many things you’ll want to do.
Take your time driving, going slow is the best way to see the wildlife (like bison) that call the park home. Spring visits come with the opportunity to see newborn animals as well.
When you’ve had your fill of bison watching, head to the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring. At points, it might feel like you’re walking through a powerful steam bath, but the wooden boardwalk leads the way to the park’s largest hot spring.
That said, it’s the colors caused by microorganisms in the water, not the size that impresses most folks. Just down the road, the almost alien landscape continues at the Fountain Paint Pot stop where bubbling mud and more geysers dot the landscape. The walk is less than a mile along a wooden boardwalk, so easy for just about any age.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Yellowstone without a waterfall stop. Firehole Falls isn’t the most popular waterfall stop in the park, but it’s Dana’s favorite. It’s a 40-foot waterfall.
Access comes via a one-way road, so it can take a little longer than other stops depending on traffic, but it’s worth your patience. And during certain times in the summer, there’s a stretch past the falls where you can climb down a set of stairs and swim in the water as well.
Many folks don’t realize or simply forget how close Grand Teton National Park is to Yellowstone. A couple weeks ago, it took me less than 10 minutes to drive from Yellowstone’s South Entrance in Wyoming to the welcome to Grand Teton National Park sign.
So while you’re here, how can you say no. Bring layers, this was the snowy scene waiting for me. For more about Dana’s adventures and writing, follow her on Instagram @danarebmann and Twitter @drebmann. You can also visit her website.
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