Yellowstone National Park is a large park mostly in Wyoming but extending into Montana and Idaho. It is a beautiful area full of mountains, valleys, rivers, meadows, and wildlife. It is also known for its many geothermal features, especially the Old Faithful Geyser. The closest Yellowstone National Park West Entrance camping is at Madison Campground where we stayed for 8 days.
During our recent visit to Yellowstone National Park, we made a conscious effort to check off some of the things that we didn’t get to do during our previous trip. Our itinerary included several new adventures, such as hiking the picturesque Fariyfalls Trail, taking a scenic drive through Firehole Canyon Rd., admiring the stunning views from the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook, exploring the serene Firehole Lake Dr., and trekking the Artist’s Paintpot Trail and the Storm Point Trail. We also made sure to visit the Hayden and Lamar Valleys, which are known for their abundant wildlife and natural beauty, and spent a few days exploring the idyllic surroundings along the Madison River. To explore our 1st amazing trip to Yellowstone see 2 Amazing Weeks in Yellowstone NP.
We made the long drive from West Glacier to West Yellowstone in 1 day and entered the park at the West Entrance. We stayed in the Madison Campground for 8 nights and enjoyed our time here along the Madison River. The campground is located at the junction of Hwy. 191 and The Grand Loop Road.
This was the 8th stop on a 9-stop road trip. Go here for the start of this National Park Road Trip.
Our morning began with a refreshing hike on the Fairyfalls Trail, starting from the Trailhead. We were lucky enough to witness the spectacular sunrise views of the Grand Prismatic Spring en route. The colors were breathtaking, and it was one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen. We stopped for a few minutes to take in the view and snap some photos, and it was just the perfect way to start our day. I feel so grateful to have been able to witness something so beautiful and awe-inspiring. The Yellowstone National Park West Entrance is the perfect entry point for this drive.
After arriving at Goose Lake and the serene river, we were blown away. The lake is a hidden gem in Yellowstone National Park, and it was so peaceful and serene. The water was crystal clear, and the reflections of the mountains in the distance were stunning.
After this, we made our way back to the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook. On our previous visit, the overlook was closed for construction, so we were thrilled to finally witness the breathtaking view from the top. As we walked up to the overlook, we were immediately struck by the colors. The water of the spring is a deep blue in the center, surrounded by a ring of green, and then a ring of bright orange and red. It was truly a sight to behold.
From the overlook, we could see the entire spring and the surrounding landscape. The view is simply stunning, and it’s hard to fully grasp the scale and beauty of the spring until you see it in person.
We spent some time taking in the view and snapping some photos, and it was just the most peaceful and awe-inspiring experience. It’s definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Yellowstone National Park. While we’re unsure of the exact distance we covered, we estimate it to be around 5 or 6 miles, and it took us about 4 hours to complete the hike, with several stops for capturing beautiful photographs
Grand Prismatic Spring
Firehole Lake Drive
As we ventured through the Grand Loop, we decided to explore the scenic Firehole Lake Drive. The 3-mile one-way drive offers an exceptional view of geysers and springs visible from the road and the boardwalk. The Great Fountain Geyser was a highlight of the trip as we found seating to observe its eruption. Typically, the geyser erupts every 8-10 hours, and we were lucky enough to time our visit so we only had to wait about 45 minutes. It was truly a breathtaking sight to behold!
Artist’s Paintpots Trail
We embarked on the Artist’s Paintpots Trail, a 1-mile loop that predominantly comprises a shaded boardwalk. Along the way, we were captivated by the steamy environment and stunning views. Upon reaching the top, the sight was truly amazing.
Storm Point Trailhead
We parked at the Storm Point Trailhead, located on East Entrance Road, and set out for an adventure. The trail took us past Indian Pond and through the enchanting forest. The hike covers a distance of 2.5 miles and can take around 1.5 hours to complete if you don’t make any stops. However, we took our time and indulged in a delightful picnic lunch and multiple photography breaks, which extended our journey to approximately 3 hours. The view from Storm Point, overlooking the vast Yellowstone Lake, was absolutely breathtaking and made the trek totally worth it!
We took some time to explore the charming town of West Yellowstone and indulge in some shopping. This is where the Yellowstone National Park West Entrance is located. Additionally, we made multiple trips to the stunning Madison River, soaking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and golden-yellow meadows. Every evening, we were greeted by a herd of female and young elk who came down to the river, making for an unforgettable experience. The Madison River truly offered a serene and picturesque escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Hayden and Lamar Valleys
Our Yellowstone National Park experience wouldn’t have been complete without exploring the magnificent Hayden and Lamar Valleys. Both areas are incredibly picturesque and offer a serene escape into nature. One of the highlights of our visit was spotting bison in both valleys. The Lamar Valley, in particular, is known for its Grey Wolves sightings, and many visitors come equipped with their spotting scopes. However, we did experience some bison jams when they wandered onto the road and blocked traffic. At times, they even took leisurely strolls down the road, causing longer traffic delays. Nonetheless, the experience was still worth it and left us with unforgettable memories.
On our next to last evening in Yellowstone, I was talking to the man at the next campsite and he told me about all of the moose he saw in Grand Teton which was going to be our next stop anyway so we left a day early.
In conclusion, Yellowstone National Park is undoubtedly a nature lover’s paradise, and our visit was nothing short of remarkable. From hiking the various trails and witnessing the stunning geysers and hot springs to exploring the charming town of West Yellowstone and spotting wildlife in their natural habitats, the park offered an endless array of adventures. The breathtaking views of the mountains, valleys, and rivers are sure to leave anyone in awe. With so much to explore and appreciate, Yellowstone National Park is an absolute must-visit destination for any traveler looking to escape into nature and experience the world’s beauty.
Do you want to see a Moose Mob? See the last leg of this trip “Grand Teton NP and a Mob of Moose”
Lorna’s Tips and Lessons
As, I said in another Yellowstone post, get on the trails and off the roads. It is the difference between seeing Yellowstone and experiencing Yellowstone. Having good hiking boots is a must. My Keens were so comfortable that I wore them for years and probably one too many. It was here that they bit the dust and I got another pair. Also, remember your bear spray as you take the back trails.