Just a heads up about this post – the photos do not do it justice at all! Yellowstone went beyond my expectations with its’ beauty and ‘wideness’. I’m sitting here now finding it hard to describe but I guess that’s a good sign? When something is so impressive I guess there are no words to describe it. The pure matter of how big it is and how varied the landscapes are within it is incredible. Then you add in amazing wildlife and views that are found on desktop screensavers and postcards – it’s ridiculous. This whole paragraph is a muddle of words haha.
So Yellowstone National Park is huge and it takes a good few hours to get from one end to the other. That’s the first thing I was surprised about so therefore take into consideration you’ll definitely need a few days to see it all and you’ll be driving quite abit between places. Because of the size there are different entrances into the park. From Billings, MT there is a North and Northeast entrance. We opted for the Northeast as it’s only open during the summer months due to snow being on the road in the winter and blocking it. The highway you go on through that entrance is called the Beartooth Highway and is considered the most beautiful drive in the US – it was definitely that and more! If you get the chance do this drive, do it. You pass mountains galore, open acres of trees, animals roaming the roads and eventually ascend up the mountains to a high altitude and see snow. The drive is around 69 miles long but is absolutely breathtaking. I have photos of it but they look rubbish compared to what it is so you can just have this one haha.
We went first to Tower Falls which was a very beautiful waterfall. There were hikes around it but at that point we’d been driving for ages and were eager to see the canyon. The Yellowstone Canyon is really picturesque and looks fake, it’s just like a painting. There are walks along the sides of it with different viewpoints but being able to hear the water crash through the gorge and see the birds flying over the top is what makes it. It really is a full sensory place to experience.
At this point it was starting to get late so we headed to Norris which is near the West Entrance (and where our accommodation was for the night). At Norris there are a few geysers (and boy geysers are intriguing). The heat that comes from them is astonishing and the smoke and smell is very poignant. You can walk amongst them but don’t get close as it is really hot! It’s a definite contrast to the open green valleys of previous parts and felt very Game of Thrones meets Lord of the Rings.
From there we drove to West Yellowstone which is a town just outside of the West Entrance in Montana. It has a few shops/gas stations/motels and is a good, cheapish place to spend the night if you can’t get lodging in the park (everywhere was sold out when we went). We just hit up a bar for dinner/drinks and then had a relaxed night in our beds to get ready for day two!