I know, lots of people have gone to Yellowstone, but Yellowstone will always have a soft spot in my heart because that’s the first trip I made with my wonderful husband Tyler!
We went mid-May, which I’ve decided is the ideal time to visit. The park hadn’t even been open for a month so there was hardly anyone around. We loved that we got front row seats to watch Old Faithful erupt and NEVER had trouble parking.
We stayed in West Yellowstone at the Clubhouse Inn, which was a pleasant little place. West Yellowstone, though not in the park itself, is (almost) as much of a delight as the park. Growing up, I actually thought that West Yellowstone WAS Yellowstone, because that’s where my grandparents would always take us when we visited them in Rexburg, ID. The little shops are worth an exploration. Tyler and I took a morning to stroll through every single one of them. A tourist-y thing to do? Maybe. But I can’t help loving it.
Of course, if you visit West Yellowstone too early in the season, you won’t be able to attend a production at the Playmill. It’s a small theater where they do some fantastic, interactive pre-shows and serve the best fudge I may have ever had. Favorite thing I’ve ever seen there? Beauty and the Beast. SO good.
Of course, I can’t just talk about West Yellowstone and not the ACTUAL Yellowstone park.
The best thing about going early in the season wasn’t even the small crowds. It was the abundance of wildlife.
It was migrating season, so everything was out and about, migrating to their summer lands. We saw the hugest herd of buffalo crossing a river, and were treated with an additional surprise: the buffalo had their calves with them! They were tiny and a bright rust red.
We were also privileged (at least, I definitely felt privileged) to see six bears! Grizzles and black bears! I love bears! We got to see them both from outside the car and inside, from mere feet away and from a few hundred feet away. It was AWESOME.
Tyler and I made sure to drive the entire park during the four days that we were there and pull over to every little hike and sight-seeing spot there was. It was because we did that that we made all our best memories (and saw most of our bears). The paint pots were something I had never actually seen, but they were beautiful. And of course, Yellowstone was majestic.
So I guess we had a kind of tourist-y trip, but it was fun all the same. The park is amazing and wonderful and an adventure whether you stay mostly in your car and just enjoy the sights, or if you back-pack for a week on one of its many hiking trails (which I dearly want to do!).
I highly recommend Yellowstone for a visit, but then again, who wouldn’t?