13 July, 2021

Yellowstone Itinerary #Day1

Time is just flying by and I couldn't get enough time to come to this blog post till now. 

Yellowstone National park with geothermal wonders and geysers is the first national park designated in the world. Yellowstone is not just an inactive volcano with hot springs and geysers, but a wonderful ecosystem with waterfalls, forests, mountains around, and a variety of wildlife. 

I am sure Yellowstone National park is a great place to visit for all ages and will meet the expectations of visitors. But, the traffic might be more than expected at most of the places. The trip becomes a bit overwhelming with a lot of places to cover and hike. So, it is recommended to plan the trip better and choose places to visit as per your interest. Check this post about the Travel guide to Yellowstone

We reached Yellowstone by evening from Jackson, Wyoming. Grand Teton National park near Wyoming is another beautiful park with zig-zagged majestic mountains which is worth a visit. Read the Grand Teton travelogue here

We took the accommodation in West Gate hotel in West Yellowstone near the West entrance. So many Wests :p The hotel is clean and great to stay with kids. The pool is well maintained and free breakfast options are great. 

This post covers the places covered in 1.5 days. On the first day, by the time we reached South Entrance, it's around 4 PM. On the way to the West thumb geyser basin, we saw beautiful waterfalls on the way. 

West Thumb Geyser Basin:

West thumb geyser basin is unique as the hot springs and geysers are on the banks of West thumb lake. The scenery is pretty amazing while walking on this boardwalk trail as we can see the vast lake and mountains too. 

The inner-loop trail is around 0.3 miles and the outer loop 0.5 miles. This trail is on Broadwalk and covers many hot spring pools, fumaroles, and geysers.

This is a good introduction to the park. Don't miss the abyss pool, Black Pool, and Fishing cone.

By the end of your trip, you will become familiar with these terms -

As per nps site,

This map is super useful to understand the places to visit and all the entrances. 


After visiting West thumb, we turned left to follow the route to the West entrance. We drove through the famous geyser Old faithful in the Upper Geyser Basin, Midway geyser basin, Lower geyser basin, Madison junction, the west entrance to West Yellowstone. We had dinner at Old faithful inn on the way to West Yellowstone and watched the Old faithful erupt while eating. 

We didn't cover anything on that day, but I suggest you cover a small waterfall - Keppler cascades near the upper geyser basin (no hike required) and Firehole falls on Firehole canyon road if you have time. 

Day #1 itinerary:

The next day we started after breakfast and reached the west entrance around 11 am. The traffic was ok till Madison Junction, but from there it was going bumper to bumper. Since the west part is more popular this is expected at this time.

We quickly changed our plans ad turned left from Madison junction to cover Canyon. We didn't stop by Norrison Geyser basin as we plan to cover it later.

We reached Canyon by 2pm and we could do a small hike to Gibbon falls on the way. These falls are beautiful and the paved trail is only 0.5 miles.

Gibbon falls

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone:

One of the beautiful parts of Yellowstone is Canyon. We reached Lower falls road through North rim drive. 

Brink of lower falls is 0.7 miles out and back trail which is a must-visit! Don't miss this! It's amazing to see the rainbow while the water is gushing down. But, the trail is steep and it takes time with children to go down. Carry lots of water and snacks.


Lower falls is the largest waterfall in Yellowstone. This 308-ft waterfall is the most photographed location in Yellowstone. Lower falls can be seen from different viewpoints like Inspiration Point, Grand View, and Lookout Point.

Brink of Upper Falls is 0.3 miles out and back trail. Brink of Upper falls is not as steep as the brink of lower falls. Uncle Tom's trail is tough but provides beautiful views of upper falls. 

Upper falls is an 110 ft waterfall, not as majestic as lower falls, but is completely worth a visit. It can be reached by south rim drive. 

Artist Point:

Whatever I say in words, it is very less when compared to the grandeur of Artist point. I realized why it is called Artist point after watching the falls from the viewpoint. 

You need not be an artist to get inspired by nature, after all. If nature can impress a common man, an artist can paint a great painting, right? 

It is one of the not-to-miss locations in Yellowstone. 

Artist Point

If you feel hungry, don't forget to stop by Canyon village. There are several options to dine in there. 

After the canyon, we drove towards the West thumb geyser basin on Grand loop drive. We drove along Yellowstone lake. Yellowstone Lake is the largest high elevation lake in North America at 7000ft above sea level. The Yellowstone lake continues to West thumb lake where there are multiple underwater hotsprings, geysers, and fumaroles. 

Mud Volcano and Dragon's Mouth Hot spring: 

On the way to Lake village, you can stop by Hayden valley where you can spot wildlife in the evenings. We returned from Canyon in the evening and we spotted a lot of Bison, Elk, and Moose. We stopped at Mud Volcano near Hayden Valley.


Mud volcano is a 0.6-mile loop trail on Broadwalk. One of the most acidic features of the park known as Sulfur Caldron is here. The strong pungent odor of rotten eggs can be experienced here. 

Dragon's mouth spring is a highlight of this area. It is a hot spring with water bubbling out from a cave releasing gases. While it releases gases, it produces a booming and gurgling sound like the growling of an animal. Since there is a lot of pressure, steam also vents out from the cave at the same time. Pretty amazing to watch!

On the way to Lake village, you can hike to the Natural bridge if you have time. It is a 2.5-mile trail through the forest. 

We continued on the Grand loop drive crossing the west thumb geyser basin towards Old faithful. We stopped by Old faithful lodge for dinner. They have good veg dinner options as well.

It took around 45 mins to reach West Yellowstone from Old faithful. Thus we completed the lower loop of figure 8 in Yellowstone :-)

It is good that we changed our plan to cover Canyon on the first day instead of covering Old faithful and others that are busier in the mornings.

As usual, we got stuck in traffic for at least 30 mins while returning to West Yellowstone near Madison junction. Usually, people stop to look at a wildlife or for river access near madison causing traffic jams. Sometimes, animals cross the road and of course, they have the right of way :-)

Without knowing we easily hiked 7 miles on that day covering all the above places.

The next day's plan is to cover the most famous parts of the Yellowstone - Lower geyser basin, Midway geyser basin, Grand Prismatic Spring, and Old faithful inn in the Upper geyser basin. Stay tuned for the #Day 2 itinerary.

Until next time,

Pin it for later!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for dropping by! please share your opinion :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...