A list of great hikes and sights for your trip to the parks!
There is something about big jagged mountains that could steal a persons heart with the blink of an eye. Trying to see as much as the West Coast has to offer, my girlfriends and I booked a trip to the Grand Tetons National Park and Yellowstone National park. With so many amazing things to see, you surely won't be disappointed.
Since we are all scattered throughout California, we decided flying into Salt Lake City, UT was the best option for us. After meeting there we grabbed our rental car and were on our way! With only having a few ideas in mind of what we wanted to see and do, we rolled the dice and ended up in some pretty awesome places.
The Grand Tetons
Our trip was in the middle of May and there was still snow on the ground on some of the hikes we did. We used Airbnb to book our accommodations, there are plenty of options outside of the park that are relatively cheap.
Things to do
We started our first day off with a 3 mile hike of the Hidden Falls Trail, with amazing views that we were not disappointed by! Not only were the views gorgeous, but there was a ton of wildlife out! Marmots, moose and bears are just a few of the animals we were able to see.
Another great hike I would recommend is the Taggart Lake trail which is about 3.8 miles. There were so many great photo opportunities! We woke up early for this hike and almost had the trail to ourselves. The water on the lake was like glass and had a great reflection of the mountains.
You can't leave the Grand Tetons without visiting Mormon Row. Not only is this a prime photography location, it is a great historical landmark!
There are several other more difficult or longer hikes, so you could spend a good amount of your day exploring many of those. Unfortunately these few things were all that we had left ourselves time to do, which is more than enough of amazing to hold us over until we arrived in Yellowstone!
Yellowstone National Park
There are so many great places to visit inside of this park, its hard to choose which take priority! I highly suggest you purchase a map of the park that shows the major roads and attractions.
There were a ton of bison roaming throughout the park, which caused some traffic delays. They certainly take their time crossing the road, driving motorists crazy. Please remember, these are wild animals and although they look docile, keep a safe distance.
Geysers and Hot Springs
These were some of the first things we saw when we entered the park so of course we had to stop. Plenty of footpaths paved the way through the geysers, guiding you to the best viewing spots. The rotten egg smell from the sulfur is not something you will get used to either!
There are several geysers located throughout the park, many of them located on the side of the road.
Of course a must see! We had arrived just as the geyser finished erupting and decided to wait until the next eruption, which was only about 20 minutes later. It was well worth the wait, watching the audience it had collected and their excitement only enhanced the experience.
After the eruption we followed one of the footpaths to some of the hydrothermal areas around Old Faithful.
After viewing these areas, there are other opportunities to explore nearby forests and fields.
Mystic Falls Trail
If you'd like a short and easy hike with a large reward, then this is the perfect one! The trailhead starts at the far end of the Biscuit Basin boardwalk.
To get there you follow the foot paths through some more amazing hot springs. Seeing these hot springs is part of the excitement! The gorgeous golds, oranges, and blues are quite a site. There are several hot springs and small geysers that make up this magnificent area and walking down the boardwalk is an awesome way to see all of it, even if you don't end up doing the hike. Just past the hot springs is the trail head. It is a relatively short hike coming in at just under 3 miles. The hike is lovely, taking you along the river all the way to the falls. You can get fairly close to the falls depending on how far you want to go and how much water you are willing to cross over.
Beaver Pond Trail
For a little longer hike you can try the Beaver Pond Trail. This trail had a little bit of everything, partially forest, some small ponds, plenty of wild life, a little incline, and some phenomenal views. You start the hike at the Mammoth Hot Springs and you end up behind one of the hotels nearby.
It is a loop, and we did get lost in one area where the trail seems to lead one way but you need to cross over a small river by the way of a log that we missed. Once we were able to figure it out and get onto the right track we were in good shape to finish the hike! Be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen, the portion of the hike that is near the hotel does not have very much shade cover!
Last but not least, a quick stop at Yellowstone Falls. The weather was rainy and windy which didn't set the stage for a great hike. Taking these into consideration we decided to just drive to the viewpoint. I suggest if you have the time, plan a hike to one of the many viewpoints. I don't think you'd be disappointed!
That concludes our trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone! I have added all of these places to a map you can access here.
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