This year we made 2 trips to Yellowstone National Park. The first was in July. There were 8 of us, ranging in age from 3 to 52. We took our bikes and a bike trailer.
Just past Old Faithful, there is Isa Lake on Craig Pass. It is also the Continental divide. There are 2 outlets, one flowing to the Gulf of Mexico and one flowing to the Pacific Ocean.
Of course, it is cool to say you straddled the water of the Columbia River.
We camped at the Bridge Bay Campground on the shore of Yellowstone Lake. To haul the bikes, we took our cargo trailer, which was a good thing as it rained quite a bit so we at least had a dry spot to sit rather than the tents.
There are several trails in Yellowstone that you can bike. One of our favorites is Lone Star Geyser. Years ago, you could drive into this geyser, but today it is bikes or walking. It is a short drive from the Old Faithful area, near Kepler Cascades. The geyser erupts about every 4 hours. Check at the Old Faithful visitor center for current eruption info. The eruption process takes about 1 hour, beginning with steam and bubbling. The actual eruption can last 20 minutes. We take a lunch to pass the time.
We had stopped to watch Old Faithful, but our grandson fell asleep, so we sent 5 to watch Old Faithful erupt. They then jumped on their bikes and headed down the geyser trail. You can ride on the paved path but not on the boardwalk. At the end of the pavement, there is a dirt path that leads to the highway. We arranged to have our bikers meet us at the highway as we let Wyatt continue his nap. After checking with the Old Faithful visitor center, we realized we were in luck to see Great Fountain Geyser erupt. This only occurs once every 22 hours. After meeting on the highway, we continued west and turned on the Fire Hole Lake Drive.
Since the eruption is approximate, we were about 30 minutes early. The eruption was impressive and put out a lot of water.
By the time we got back to Bridge Bay, the bison had invaded our campsite. The park asks that you stay 25 yards away from the bison, however, that proved to be a bit difficult. We kept a watchful eye as we enjoyed our foil pack dinners.
That night we attended the ranger presentation at the Bridge Bay amphitheater. It was on the re-introduction of wolves to the Greater Yellowstone region. It was very informative, giving information on how to identify a wolf from a coyote by behavior.
The ranger presentations are a great way to enhance your experience in the National Parks.
The next morning we headed to Artist Point to view the lower falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. We have viewed this falls many times and its grandeur never ceases to amaze us.
Next we headed over Dunraven Pass and made a stop at Tower Falls. There is a steep trail that leads down for a closer look at the falls. You can not get to the very bottom of the falls, but you can get to the shore of the Yellowstone River where Tower Creek joins it.
And of course you have to touch the Yellowstone River…
We continued our journey toward Mammoth Hot Springs. Our destination was Golden Gate. This is the beginning point of the Bunsen Peak bike ride. It was looking like rain, so we hesitated for a bit, finally deciding to go for it. It is not really a path but rather a maintenance road, however it is very over-grown and there are some very steep sections.
The rain finally came, making for an exteremly slick trail, with a few crashes and scrapes. Wyatt got cold, so we put him in the trailer to warm up. We stopped for lunch and enjoyed the scenery.
The rain finally stopped and we were rewarded with a rainbow, when we reached the bottom.
We stopped at Mammoth to enjoy an ice cream cone and also found a sticker that was appropiate, as the Bunsen trail had proved harder and more stressful than we anticipated.
We have several traditions when we go to Yellowstone, one being, barbecuing either in Hayden or Lamar Valley, while we look for animals.
The rain cut short our barbecue, but we did see a coyote and sand hill cranes.
The next day we jumped on our bikes at Bridge Bay and rode the short distance to the Natural Arch trail. Again, this used to be a road, but is now only open to bikes or hiking.
The view from the top…
The second traidtion we have is to write our names in the sand on the shore of Yellowstone Lake. We rode to Gull Point Drive. Everyone enjoys this activity, no matter how old.
On our way out of the park we stopped at Fishing Bridge. They had to ham it up with the Ranger pose.
Our last item of business was to turn in our Jr. Ranger booklets. Yellowstone allows the not so young to complete the booklets as well. They are $3 each, but we received a pencil, sticker, and pin when we turned in the completed booklet. Everyone enjoyed their ceremony and receiving their Jr. Ranger award.
Even though Yellowstone is only 3 hours from us, and we have been there numerous times, we still find something to explore. It is a fascinating and diverse place.