Yellowstone – home of Yogi Bear and the most visited park in the USA; last year was a record one with about 4,2 million of visitors.
The one is sure and obvious that there is no option to go around this beautiful place in just one day. Thankfully we had possibility to extend our stay there. This what I know today is fact that you can meet there many unpredicted surprises. First for us was weather. We’ve checked it many times and it seemed like a spring season. Few days before it came out there would be snowing, so I went for some shopping to buy scarf, warm hat and tights. I felt I was ready for the adventure and additionally we planned to stay there just 2 nights. When we reached finally west entrance of the park (we were going from Salt Lake City so this one was the most appropriate) we had heads full of ideas what we would see on our way to Mammoth Hotel like at least Norris Geyser. But we’ve just got an information that way to our hotel inside the park is closed partially due to weather conditions and partially due to reconstructions. Here I can recommend to be updated with road status, which can be checked on page…The only solution as we had booked already accommodation was going outside the park to another entrance from the north, which was located near our hotel (just add it was something like 3 hours away). It’s worth to mention that night’s lodging inside the park is very hard to get and needs to be reserved long time before like half year; conditions aren’t perfect and prices are really high. So, we didn’t give up at this point with our good moods and after getting into our hotel we’ve started to plan our 1 day in Yellowstone. Plan was very ambitious, but again was based on 1 important way, of course other than last night closed one. We’ve got up very early and at the check out desk we’ve got information our way is closed, damn… of course the reason was snow, which was everywhere like during ski season! That meant for us just one – we needed to take back our 3 hours again to the west entrance 🙂 When we got there weather was suddenly sunny and there was no snow anymore! However this time we knew we couldn’t make everything this day, so we’ve decided to divide our visit and one day we made Norris Geyser and way through Grand Canyon to West Thumb. For another we left all most famous Geysers like Old Faithful or Grand Prismatic. Second surprise, which can appear on your way are animals, the most popular one are buffalos. They can come into the street or walk very close to it. Both actions lead to huge traffic jams. Especially when some animals are nearby, crowd of people slow down or jump out of the cars following them with giant lenses or binoculars. It doesn’t matter if it is buffalo or doe, they gather crowds of rubbernecks people. It means that few miles can take an hour.
Our second night we’ve spent in small city named Victor (2 hours away from the park) as at first we didn’t plan to come back again to Yellowstone. Of course our adventures influenced on plans change. However f you have more time for visiting park I recommend to stay in this kind of town as Victor. Why? Accommodation is with much higher quality in better price. Our small hotel Fin&Feather (it included only 4 rooms) was like heaven. Instead of fact it was beautifully designed inside and morning view for mountains was stunning our host Ann served fresh breakfast made by herself. I really felt there like at home or even better. I also would like to recommend restaurant, which we’ve found in the town. It was called Spoons Bistro. First of all it had great atmosphere, everyone knows each other and waitress was extremely friendly. Secondly it was I think first place since 1 week, where I could eat something more than hamburger with glass of great house wine. So finally how many days is really needed to discover Yellowstone? In my opinion it depends on what you are planning to do like trekking, fishing or just visiting beauty spots… I think you can spend there even 2 weeks like American families coming with fully equipped campers to be glad about ambient nature. However for sure you need at least 2 days to visit the most important points. My favorites are: Grand Canyon, which took my breath away and Grand Prismatic Point as I’ve never seen so colorful geyser before!