In the previous post The Best of Yellowstone a 2-Day Guide (Part 1) I shared some basic tips about Yellowstone and guided you through visiting the best parts of the southern loop. If you haven’t read it yet you will want to check it out here.
Now, I will share with you tips on getting the most out of your second day and we will be driving the northern loop.
Start your day out early again, there is so much to see and so little time! From West Yellowstone you will head into the park and once you hit Madison Junction you will turn left which will take you north for a bit. Your first stop will be Gibbon Falls.
Artist’s Paint Pots
Once you are finished taking your pictures of the water falls you will continue north to the Artist’s Paint Pots. This is one of my favorite area’s of Yellowstone. If you go in the morning it is not crowded at all and you will have the boardwalks all to yourself. I love how the trees look so eerie with all of the steam surrounding them.
If you are familiar with the TV series The Walking Dead I teased my husband that it felt like we just stepped into the zombie apocalypse.
There are also great views of the valley from up at the top of the loop here.
Norris Geyser Basin-
From here you can head to the Norris Geyser Basin and check it out before it gets too crowded. This is an area where they allow bus parking and because of that the parking lot gets really packed. We stopped during the afternoon and couldn’t even find a parking spot so we didn’t get the chance to see it. Hence, no pictures. 🙁
Here is a pic of a buffalo instead. 🙂
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone-
After visiting Norris, head East towards Canyon Village to see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Here you will find that the Canyon & Falls are only visible from overlooks but there are quite a few to choose from. You can visit the North Rim and hike down to the Brink of the Lower Falls. This is a fairly easy hike on a paved trail with a decline down some short switchbacks. Getting back up the trail is a bit tougher because of the incline but it’s not too bad. The view over the falls makes it worth it.
As you make your way along the North Rim Drive you can take a side trip out to Inspiration Point for a nice view looking back up the canyon to the falls or another choice is to take the South Rim Drive. Here you can get a view of Upper Falls, hike Uncle Tom’s Trail or drive out to Artist Point.
After leaving Canyon Village head North to Tower Fall. On your way you will pass over Dunraven Pass. Notice how the scenery and landscape changes throughout this drive. Watch for Grizzly Bears & Black Bears along this route. They are known to populate this area. We came across a small black bear playing in the fall sunshine and searching for food.
Once you get to Tower Fall take a lunch break, check out the beautiful waterfall, try some delicious huckleberry ice cream in the gift shop or purchase a souvenir to remember your trip by.
Continue North around the loop from here, and be sure to watch for Big Horn Sheep along the roads. We came across this big guy as we rounded a tight curve. Luckily there wasn’t much traffic and we were able to slow down and get a picture.
If you have never seen a petrified tree you may want to take the short jaunt to see the one along this route, although you can only view it from your vehicle and the parking is tight. Otherwise continue on to Mammoth Hot Springs. It was too crowded when we went to get a good picture, so you will have to check it out for yourself. 🙂
Mammoth Hot Springs-
In Mammoth you will need to find a place to park and then walk around the boardwalk to see all of these beautiful and amazing hot springs. The hot springs were created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled leaving deposits of calcium carbonate.
Once you have visited Mammoth your day is complete, now make the drive back to your hotel and take a nap!
If you are staying in West Yellowstone there are some nice souvenir shops to wander through in the evenings. Another fun evening activity to do in the summer is to go to the Playmill Theater to see a live musical. The shows are put on by students from BYU-Idaho, and locals alike, and are surprisingly very good! Be sure to book tickets in advance, online, because they sell out fast due to popularity.
I hope you get the opportunity to visit Yellowstone and can enjoy the beauty of this National Park.
To read more about Yellowstone head on over to this post on 5 Reasons to visit Yellowstone in September.
Until Next time……Travel On!
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