YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Yellowstone National Park is in the far northeastern corner of Wyoming, overlapping Montana and Idaho. It was established as our first National Park in 1982. You can see from the video the yellow, sulpher-stained rocks that you’ll find throughout the park. But the park’s name came from the yellow rocks of the Grand Canyon of the YellowstoneYellowstone, like all of our National Parks is beautiful – a place no RVer should miss. During our trip, we came in from the south entrance taking the east loop up to highway 287 and left by the east entrance, on our way to Bozeman, Montana. On the way back we cut across the park to take the west loop back down to the south entrance. So, we really missed half the park. I’d encourage anyone to stay for several days and take in the whole place. It’s so hard to find time to get back there when there are so many other wonderful RVing trips we want to take.
There was so much going on that I just kept the camera poised, ready to shoot. Reindeer and elk were everywhere, but the buffalo (bison) seemed to stay in one area, near the water. Hardest to spot were the bighorn sheep that blended so completely into the rocky terrain. Coyotes were out in broad daylight, which is not all that common. If you’re a bird watcher, you’ll stay busy here. You might also see grizzly bears, lynx, gray wolves, black bear, moose, pronghorn, mountain goats and mountain lions.
Yellowstone has an RV park near Yellowstone Lake, but dozens are just outside the east entrance. In addition to sightseeing, you can hike, camp, fish or go boating, spend your day(s) taking endless nature photos or videos, or learn about all the different kinds of geothermal activity that is so active all around the park. You’ll need a fishing license to fish, and you should know that all native fish are catch and release, and some waters are fly-fishing only. The park is open during the winter, but is accessible by snowmobile or snow coach via a guided tour.
Old Faithful, while the most famous of the geysers, is one of 300 geysers in the park. Just the biggest. Many of the others are predictable and equally spectacular in their own ways. Most of the park is forest, with only about 20% grassland. Watch carefully when you go past the grassy areas. It’s teeming with well-camouflaged wildlife.
Yellowstone Lake is 400 feet deep in some places, so keep your car keys tucked away, safely. This is no place to drop them. There’s a marina at the lake, which is the most popular boating area. Boating is prohibited on almost all of the creeks and rivers.
Another feature within the park is the Continental Divide. On the west side of the Divide the Snake River waters flow to the Pacific Ocean, and the Yellowstone River waters on the east side flow to the Gulf of Mexico.
Here’s something you’ll want to know-the average altitude in Yellowstone is 8,000 feet. That’s something to keep in mind. In case you get a little winded, you’ll know why. Also, there are thousands of small earthquakes in Yellowstone every year. Most are not detectable by people, but, again, if you feel a little unsteady on your feet, maybe you’re just sensitive to the normal daily activity at Yellowstone. With so much forest, wildfires are to be expected. Undoubtedly you will pass areas where the forest has burned, leaving charred tree trunks standing like eerie skeletons.
Summer is a nice time to visit Yellowstone as day temperatures are usually under 80°F, but do get down to below freezing (remember, you’re at 8,000 feet elevation.) So, unlike most summer RV camping trips, you’ll want to pull your jackets and sweaters out of storage for this one.
Other than that, Yellowstone is a one-of-a-kind vacation. You won’t see these sights in this concentration anywhere else in the world.