A Day Trip to Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National ParkSo one of the best things about living in Bozeman is how close we are to “The Park”.

I love this. When I first moved here, people suggested we “go to The Park”.

Of course when this was spoken, I didn’t realize it was capitalized. So I was like “What park? Some park downtown? Huh?”

No silly. Yellowstone National Park!

It takes about an hour and a half to drive to Yellowstone for either the West entrance from Big Sky or the North entrance from Livingston.

Yep, there are two ways we can easily get there, meaning it is super easy to do a beautiful loop into the park from Bozeman. If you don’t mind a lot of time in the car!

yellowstone map day trip from Bozeman

There are so many things to see from the car, it is amazing. The first thing I noticed (and probably most of you will) were…

Bison in Yellowstone

The bison (or buffalo).  They were everywhere!

bison fighting yellowstone

We got to watch the two above fight a bit (whether they were playing or really fighting, I couldn’t tell, but it was cool).

And because it is spring time, that means there were baby buffalo! Can I get a group “awwwwwww”!?

Baby buffalo in Yellowstone

It was funny, because about the first 30 minutes in the park, we were all excited about the buffalo. But really, there were so many of them, afterwards we were like “Oh, another bison? Bleh, move on please!”

many bison in yellowstone

Luckily, there are many animals to see in Yellowstone. And how do you spot the animals? As you are driving, you will see cars pulled over. That means there is an animal siting, you should stop, get out, and ask what is going on!  We were lucky, because we caught a small group of cars tracking… a wolf!

(Edit: Not a wolf! A coyote!  How can you tell? By the bushy tail!)

Lone Wolf in Yellowstone

My camera isn’t the best. Can you spot him? Here is a blown up view.

Lone Wolf in Yellowstone close up

Pretty cool, huh? A lot of animals you see are just spots in the binoculars or in my crappy camera. There were some people with high lens cameras which got amazing pictures!

But hey, my gray dot still counts!

We continued on and this time headed to the painted pots, which is the geysers or basins or what are they called? Evidence that we are driving on a super volcano!

Painted Pots

Doesn’t this look like a place you would want to bathe in? I love the color!

Blue painted pot

It is boiling water though, so not recommended. Remember.  Yellowstone = Super Volcano.  Yep! I didn’t really connect it, but it is the most likely way the world will end. The good part? People in Bozeman will be vaporized with the explosion and won’t have to suffer the dying earth and trying to survive. For some reason, that does not make me feel any better! But it seems to comfort most people of Bozeman, so I should get on that band wagon!

There was more evidence of this volcano we were walking/driving on that could blow any minute (ok, now I’m being extreme!)

Yellowstone geyser

Oh, and we saw the prettiest blue bird!

Mountain blue bird Yellowstone

I thought it was cool at least.  And my mom is getting old and retired, and started bird watching. Apparently that is what you do when you get old and retired, so I had to take a pic, right?

Our next stop? Old Faithful! Now everyone should know Old Faithful, right? This is the famous geyser that goes off every hour and 20 minutes like clockwork. Except it doesn’t go off exactly at the allotted time. I was kinda expecting it NOT to go off :D  But she did!

Old Faithful Yellowstone

We watched Old Faithful on the deck of the Old Faithful Inn, with some very expensive wine and beer. Well worth it though. The Inn itself, was founded by President Roosevelt, is beautiful!  It feels like you are in a tree!

Old Faithful Inn

After Old Faithful went off, we left and headed onward for more animal watching and more volcano evidence.\

As we drive our route, we can check more animals off of our list. Like the pelicans!

pelicans in Yellowstone

And finally, some elk! But they aren’t as cool right now because they have no horns :(

Elk in Yellowstone

We continue on and soon we see another group of cars. Staring this time at some brown spots.  Now most likely it is not bison (at least we hope not), but we have to find out what it is.

One guy says it is wolves. Wrong…

Brown specks in Yellowstone

Can you tell what it is?

How about with a close up?

A mama Grizzly bear and her cubs! Awwww! About as close as I want to come to a bear, but still very very cool!

We headed on, and saw a waterfall. What makes waterfalls so cool?

Waterfall in Yellowstone

Soon we saw a huge group of cars. We knew something amazing was happening. We got the gossip and freaked out to find parking to get pictures. The story? Another bear.  But this was even cooler because it just killed a elk calf. The elk mother was there all sad while the bear munched on the meat.

Sad mother elk

Can you see her sad face?

Bear in Yellowstone

And see how satisfied the bear was? I think my mother almost started crying when the elk kept on looking back and not running away. Alas, the circle of life is cruel!

We headed on, and our last stop was Mammoth.  Just beautiful!

Mammoth Yellowstone

I wish we had more time to get out and walk around, but other family members were antsy to get going.  But I did get some great pictures from the car!

Mammoth Yellowstone

We headed out of the North Entrance. I had no idea President Roosevelt had such an influence in Yellowstone. Apparently he had the arch built in the North Entrance to make some jobs, and to make the North Entrance the official entrance to Yellowstone.


Yellowstone North Entrance

It was a fabulous day in Yellowstone. And to end it? A partial solar eclipse!  Bears, bison, elk, pelicans, birds, geysers and a solar eclipse? Who could ask for more?

Solar eclipse



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