Family AdventuresFamily Trips

Explore Yellowstone – Day 1

Castle Geyser Erupting at Yellowstone National Park

We had a blast in Yellowstone and it’s the perfect place for a family adventure. I don’t care how old you are or how many things you’ve seen, you will be in awe of the amazing natural wonders of Yellowstone. Our family was definitely in awe.

Our adventure began with a long, long drive to the southern part of Yellowstone. We were getting in late and had planned to stay in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for the night but we hadn’t made a reservation. And when we got there at 11:00 pm, there was not a vacancy in sight. So we journeyed on. We arrived at the Yellowstone entrance and decided to sleep in the car in the parking lot. It was an uncomfortable night to say the least. (Yes, I did sleep in the front seat. And, yes, it was awful. At least I’m short.)

Sleeping in the car

The next morning began bright and very early. The morning might have come a bit too early but it did have its perks. We got to watch the sunrise and we got a great camping spot.

Sunrise at Yellowstone National Park

Lewis Lake Campgrounds

We camped at the Lewis Lake campgrounds, which I definitely recommend if you like camping in a tent and having an uncrowded campsite.

Lewis Lake Campground
Kids exploring around our campsite

Old Faithful

After setting up camp we set off for the main attraction, Old Faithful! The old geyser didn’t disappoint. It still works like clockwork which makes it very convenient for the rest of us. It was our first of many geysers in Yellowstone and the kids loved it.

Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone National Park

We had so much fun at the Old Faithful Visitor Center. There was so much to do and it was a fantastic learning environment for the kiddos. We even got to participate in this cool Ranger class where the kids got to pet a wolf pelt, see different animal skulls, learn about the different animals in Yellowstone, and get some great safety tips, which they kept repeating our entire trip. “Mom, remember that the buffalo is the most dangerous animal in Yellowstone.”

Ranger Class at Yellowstone National Park

And then the geological wonder sightings began (Warning: Many pictures ahead).

Geysers, Pools, and More Geysers

We hiked around the boardwalk in the Old Faithful area and were surrounded by geysers, pools, fumaroles, etc., on every side. Within this area (about a square mile) there are more than 150 hydrothermal wonders. One of our favorite wonders was the Castle Geyser. And we just happened to see this one erupt on our return trip around the boardwalk, which we thought was pretty good timing.

Castle Geyser at Yellowstone National Park

We also loved the Morning Glory Pool, which is absolutely stunning. I wish that I could have seen it in its prime, but it is still so beautiful. The kids had fun sketching the pool in their Junior Ranger books.

Family at Morning Glory Pool at Yellowstone National Park

 

Morning Glory Pool at Yellowstone National Park

Riverside Geyser

While walking on the backside of the boardwalk we got to Riverside Geyser right around lunchtime. I happened to look at when it was predicted to erupt and saw that it could happen anytime within the next two hours. So we decided to grab a seat and eat lunch while we waited.

Lunchtime at Riverside Geyser

I honestly wasn’t expecting much of the little geyser across the river from me. It looked pretty small and I’d never heard of it before. But I was in for a surprise. That geyser was amazing! It went off shortly after we finished eating and it just kept on going. It shot up way more water than Old Faithful and it kept going for over 20 minutes! Plus, because of the river, the water, and the sun, there was a beautiful rainbow that kept appearing in the mist. Aspen called it the Rainbow Geyser and it was her favorite of the entire trip. It was “her best.”

Riverside Geyser at Yellowstone National Park
This geyser is awesome!

 

Return Trip on the Boardwalk

As we came back along the boardwalk we continued to be amazed by the sights.

Geyser at Yellowstone National Park

And as we rounded the tree-lined boardwalk we saw our first Buffalo!

Boardwalk at Yellowstone National Park

 

Buffalo Sighting at Yellowstone National Park

We weren’t super close, but I think that the kids liked it better that way. Then they got to use binoculars.

Back to Camp

Exploring the Old Faithful area took up our entire day. As it approached dinner time, we loaded into the car and headed back to camp. On the road back we crossed the Continental Divide, which led to a fun conversation with the kids about what the Continental Divide actually was.

Continental Divide Elevation 8262 at Yellowstone National Park

And we saw some more wildlife (yeah elk!).

Yellowstone National Park Wildlife
This may or may not have been taken from a car window

And after dinner we did what must be done on every campout; we built a fire, roasted marshmallows, and ate s’mores!

To be continued…

Roasting Marshmallows at Yellowstone National Park

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