A Tenderfoot’s Guide to Yellowstone

You have packed up the SUV, seat-belted in the kids, and just opened a fresh pack of Teriyaki Beef Jerky. So you are on your way to Yellowstone National. You are ready to see bears, explore the great outdoors, and you have your binoculars ready. Well, here is a quick guide on things to keep in mind.

Expect traffic. Yellowstone is one of the most visited parks in the world with thousands of tourists everyday. Expect to be around a lot of people, and be prepared when the car in front of you slams on the brakes. Wildlife is everywhere. Also, know that many bison inhabit the park. When a bison sits in the road, it might take time to move; some bison are known to back up traffic for two hours.

Wear bug spray. My wife and I live in the Southern West Coast, and we only have a few mosquitoes in these parts. On a road trip through six National Parks in three states, my wife was chewed apart. One bite swelled to the size of softball. If you want to enjoy your time in Yellowstone, you will want to be comfortable.

The weather is strange. Again, it is good to be prepared. In the summer time, Yellowstone averages high temperatures, but rain showers are common. It also cools down in the evening and sometimes in the daytime. You need to pack a wide array of clothing from shorts, pants, raincoats, and light jackets.

Spend at least a week in Yellowstone. In order to enjoy all of the beauty of Yellowstone, you will need time. You can spend a whole day visiting the geyser section of the park. Yellowstone has so many interesting locations from Yellowstone Lake, the Yellowstone Grand Canyon, and Mammoth Hot Springs. Each section has its own unique wildlife, and you will want to have time to enjoy the sights as well as get a full perspective of Yellowstone.

Go hiking. The best parts of Yellowstone are seen out of the car. There are several trails throughout the park that lead to spectacular views. Make sure you bring food, the right clothing, and also check a map to configure the amount of time you want to spend. There are also many ranger hikes that you can explore where you have a guide to explain the park’s features. One of my favorite moments in Yellowstone occurred as we hiked through a forest and an Elk walked right past us.

Bring binoculars. Some of the best wildlife is only seen from afar. Also, some animals, such as grizzly bears, should only be seen from afar. Having binoculars helps you understand what you are seeing. For instance, black bear and grizzlies look similar, but with the aid of binoculars, you will notice that a grizzly has a slight hump above their front shoulders (grizzlies are known for digging which develops the muscles around their shoulders).

Make a list of the animals that you want to see and learn where they like to roam. Buy a travel guide to Yellowstone before you leave, and this should explain where to see bald eagles, mule deer, and antelope. There is no guarantee that the wildlife will be in any section that is expected; however, it helps to have a general sense of what you are looking for.

Go horseback riding. Riding a horse was my favorite experience in Yellowstone. There are many excursions from day rides to week rides. Riding gets you away from the packs other tourists, and knowledgeable guides usually accompany the rides.

With summer time winding down, now is a great time to visit Yellowstone before the fall and winter set in. Hopefully, this set of rules offer good advices, and there are many other great travelling guides to this park as well. Enjoy your time.

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