Yellowstone National Park: 3 Days 2 Nights of Volcanic Awesomeness!

Yellowstone National Park. One of our most desired destination during our recent trip to USA. However, you wouldn’t believe the real story behind why we wanted to go there…

Yellowstone National Park 2bearbear
Yellowstone National Park 2bearbear

YES! It’s because, 20 years ago, Don, a music composer on sesame street, re-wrote the sesame street theme song to become

“Stormy night,
Not even a star in sight.
On my way to where the sky is dark.
Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Yellowstone Park.”

It’s really funny how the whole song was changed such that “Park” could rhyme with “Dark”. Also, the power of suggestion is really powerful as well. Something that we heard as kids (for all of 4 minutes), prompted us to splash out $1,500 over the 3 days and 2 nights to visit Yellowstone Park…So be careful what you tell your kids yah? (Tell them to “Like” 2bearbear’s Facebook Page!)


How to Get to Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Natinal Park gets its volcanic activity from the Yellowstone Volcano. Hence, you’ll be able to see features such as mud pots, hot springs , geysers and fumaroles (steam vents) because of the volcanic activities in the region!

There are 2 main ways to get to Yellowstone National Park.

By Road. However, be warned, the drive WILL be tiring.

By Air. The option that we chose. We flew into the Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody and took a 2 hours drive to West Yellowstone (cars can be rented by the airport). There, we stayed at Hibernation Station and used West Yellowstone (part of the state of Montana) as the base for our Yellowstone National Park trip!

Yellowstone Regional Airport, Cody Wyoming
Yellowstone Regional Airport, Cody Wyoming
Drive from Cody to Yellowstone National Park
Drive from Cody to Yellowstone National Park
Hibernation Station West Yellowstone Montana
Hibernation Station West Yellowstone Montana


Yellowstone National Park Day 1


Old Faithful Geyser, Upper Geyser Basin and Buffalo Bar

The plane landed at noon-ish and after we picked up the car, the first destination was to Lake Lodge, where we were suppose to have lunch. Unfortunately, the cafe closed at 2.30pm for lunch and we had an Old Faithful Ale and chilled on the patio of Lake Lodge instead.

Lake Lodge Yellowstone National Park
Lake Lodge Yellowstone National Park
Chilling at the Patio at Lake Lodge
Chilling at the Patio at Lake Lodge

Next, we headed to the General Store nearby to buy a gallon of water. Within Yellowstone National Park, you are able to top up water from any of the General Store, which can save travelers a substantial bit. Also, it is particularly important to keep yourselves hydrated during your visit to Yellowstone Park where the sun, altitude and low humidity can really keep you thirsty. That was where we caught this beautiful (partly cloudy) shot of the lake as well…

General Store Yellowstone National Park to Refill Water
General Store Yellowstone National Park to Refill Water
Yellowstone Lake Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone Lake Yellowstone National Park

Some people say that you have not been to Yellowstone National Park if you have not visited Old Faithful Geyser. It’s like

– Visiting Disneyland and not catching Mickey Mouse OR
– Visiting New York and not seeing the Statue of Liberty OR
– Visiting Singapore and not visit Chinatown, Little India, Kampung Glam and not tried fried carrot cake (an Olympic Champion’s Favourite), hokkien mee, char kway teow, chicken rice, nasi lemak, roti prata

You get the drift right?

So, we had to visit Old Faithful Geyser and the Upper Geyser Basin

Old Faithful Geyser Yellowstone National Park
Old Faithful Geyser Yellowstone National Park
Panoramic View Old Faithful Geyser Yellowstone National Park
Panoramic View Old Faithful Geyser Yellowstone National Park
Map of Upper Geyser Basin
Map of Upper Geyser Basin
Blue Star Spring Yellowstone National Park
Blue Star Spring
 Old Faithful Geyser River Yellowstone National Park
River
Pump Geyser Yellowstone National Park
Pump Geyser

Along the way, we saw this sign that suggests that there’s a good view of the Old Faithful from a vantage position up on the mountain. DO NOT BE DECEIVED! Firstly, we attempted the half mile walk and after 10 minutes, we were barely halfway there! Definitely not a trail you’d take for babies and elderly. Secondly, the view has an ascent of 200ft (or so the sign says). When we went back to Old Faithful, we saw the viewing point and it was actually quite far. So the best view is in fact, still, sitting right in front of it! ;)

Sign to Old Faithful Geyser Observation Point
Sign to Old Faithful Geyser Observation Point

According to one of the rangers, the best time to spot wild life would be in the mornings or evenings when it’s cooler for the animals to come out and graze. On our way back to West Yellowstone, we saw our first sightings of deers and bison!

Herd of Bisons Yellowstone National Park
Herd of Bisons Yellowstone National Park
Deer Yellowstone National Park
Deer Yellowstone National Park

After checking into our hotel at Hibernation Station, we ended the evening with nachos and draft beers at Buffalo Bar…

Nachos + Buffalo ($16)
Nachos + Buffalo ($16)
Kettle House Cold Smoke, Great Northern Huckleberry ($5 each)
Kettle House Cold Smoke, Great Northern Huckleberry ($5 each)
Draft Beer List Buffalo Bar West Yellowstone
Beer List
Inside Buffalo Bar West Yellowstone
Buffalo Bar
Pump Geyser Yellowstone National Park
Inside


Yellowstone National Park Day 2


Gibbon Falls, Norris Geyser Basin, Mammoth Hot Springs, Roosevelt Lodge, Tower Falls, Canyon, Mud Volcano

On day 2, we started the day early and left Hibernation Station at 7am for our first stop, Gibbon Falls. But not before our morning wildlife treat…

Herd of Deer Yellowstone National Park
Herd of Deer Yellowstone National Park
Herd of Deer Yellowstone National Park
Herd of Deer Yellowstone National Park

As it turns out, what the ranger said about morning and evening sightings was true. We did catch them everyday in the mornings when we entered and the evenings when we left…

Gibbon Falls Yellowstone National Park
Gibbon Falls Yellowstone National Park
View from Gibbon Falls Yellowstone National Park
View from Gibbon Falls Yellowstone National Park

Norris Geyser Basin was where we visited next. Here, there are 2 main trails, the Porcelain Basin as well as the Back Basin. Porcelain Basin has great views of the fumaroles (steam vents) and springs in the area. While Back Basin is a trail into the forested area…

Norris Geyser Basin Yellowstone National Park
Norris Geyser Basin Yellowstone National Park
Coloured Springs Norris Geyser Basin Yellowstone National Park
Coloured Springs Norris Geyser Basin Yellowstone National Park
Steamboat Geyser Yellowstone National Park
Steamboat Geyser Yellowstone National Park

If you’re wondering how the springs at Yellowstone Park get their various colours, it is because of the micro-organisms that breeds within. The colours of the organisms also tells you the temperature of the springs. Red – about 50 to 60 degrees Celsius while Green is about 30 to 40 degrees Celsius.

At Mammoth Hot Springs, we didn’t really get many good shots. Partly because we have seen one of the best travertines at Pamukkale, Turkey. But mostly because of the ridiculous climb! Look at that!

Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces Yellowstone National Park
Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces Yellowstone National Park

However, you can do the “lazy way” as well. There is a one-way loop drive at the Upper Terraces of Mammoth Hot Spring. Here you’ll be able to see the main terraces as well as some travertines such as these…

Main Terrace Mammoth Hot Springs Yellowstone National Park
Main Terrace Mammoth Hot Springs Yellowstone National Park
Travertines Yellowstone National Park
Travertines Yellowstone National Park

For lunch, we headed to Roosevelt Lodge. We made sure that we arrived early! This is because, the restaurant is fairly popular and can be crowded especially during lunch hours. Make sure you get there at 11-ish to try out the bison burgers here! Don’t worry, according to the menu, they are farm-raised ones – “sustainable”.

Roosevelt Lodge Yellowstone National Park
Roosevelt Lodge Yellowstone National Park
Applewood Smoked BBQ Ribs Roosevelt Lodge Yellowstone National Park
Applewood Smoked BBQ Ribs Roosevelt Lodge Yellowstone National Park
Bison Burger Roosevelt Lodge Yellowstone National Park
Bison Burger
Menu Roosevelt Lodge Yellowstone National Park
Menu
Menu 2 Roosevelt Lodge Yellowstone National Park
Menu 2

Yellowstone National Park actually has a “Grand Canyon” of it’s own and it’s carved out from the Tower Falls. You can visit the Tower Falls from the north or south rim. However, the best (and possibly only) spot you’ll need to visit is the Artist Point on the south rim

Artist Point Tower Falls Canyon Yellowstone National Park
Artist Point Tower Falls Canyon Yellowstone National Park
Tower Falls Yellowstone National Park
Tower Falls
Menu Roosevelt Lodge Yellowstone National Park
Artist Point
Menu 2 Roosevelt Lodge Yellowstone National Park
Canyon

While watching a documentary at one of the visitor centers (there are many in Yellowstone Park), we saw mud pots and decided that it must be located at the Mud Volcano section. It wasn’t (we later found that they were fountain paint pots). But still, we had some awesome shots at Mud Volcano…

Mud Geyser Mud Volcano Yellowstone National Park
Mud Geyser
Churning Caldron Mud Volcano Yellowstone National Park
Churning Caldron
Mud Volcano Yellowstone National Park
Mud Volcano

Before we ended the second day, we had pizzas at Wild West Pizzeria and Saloon at West Yellowstone. Rounded off with ice cream at Arrowleaf – Vanilla Snickers Mix!

Mixed Pizza at Wild West Pizzeria and Saloon West Yellowstone
Mixed Pizza at Wild West Pizzeria and Saloon West Yellowstone ($20)
Entrance Wild West Pizzeria and Saloon West Yellowstone
Entrance
Macaroni & Cheese Wild West Pizzeria and Saloon West Yellowstone
Mac & Cheese
Arrowleaf Ice Cream
Vanilla Snickers Ice Cream


Yellowstone National Park Day 3


Fountain Paint Pots, Midway Geyser Basin, Grand Prismatic Spring, Morning Glory Pool, Continental Divide, West Thumb Geyser Basin, Sylvan Lake

On our last day, we visited Fountain Paint Pots (the real mud pots) early in the morning and headed to Midway Geyser Basin to see the Grand Prismatic Spring

Fountain Paint Pots Yellowstone National Park
Fountain Paint Pots Yellowstone National Park
Midway Geyser Basin Yellowstone National Park
Midway Geyser Basin Yellowstone National Park
Grand Prismatic Spring Yellowstone National Park
Grand Prismatic Spring Yellowstone National Park

Turns out that the Grand Prismatic Spring is best viewed when the weather is warmer. We visited at about 8am in the morning. Although the sun was up, the temperature difference between the ambient air as well as the spring was great, so much so that a cloud of condensation was formed all over the pool. Even when the wind was blowing, the spring was not able to be seen clearly. Hence, a better time would be in the afternoon with a gust of wind. But while we were there, we also noticed several hats lying away from the board walk. So when the wind picks up, hold on to your hats y’all! ;)

After visiting GPS, we headed back to Old Faithful to take on the trail of Upper Geyser Basin. Before that, we stopped by the General Store to grab a bite and we chanced upon a delicious snack with bison, cranberry and bacon!

Bison Cranberry Bacon Snack
Bison Cranberry Bacon Snack

We headed back to Old Faithful again and this time we had a surprise visitor…

Old Faithful Geyser Yellowstone National Park
Old Faithful
Bison Old Faithful Yellowstone National Park
Bison Tom OFG
Old Faithful Geyser & Bison Yellowstone National Park
Bison OFG

Yes! A bison was basking in the warm volcanic sands just as Old Faithful was erupting. We even saw it “bouncing” its entire body against the volcanic sands repeatedly. A nice snippet of information about Old Faithful. It is neither the tallest nor the most regular erupting geyser. But combined, it is the tallest AND regular geyser, erupting every 1.5 hours. Apparently, “predictability” is also another term used to describe geyser eruptions. A geyser could erupt predictably but not regularly. For instance, the Grand Geyser is one such geyser…

Grand Geyser Yellowstone National Park
Grand Geyser Yellowstone National Park

When we reached the Grand Geyser, it was predicted that the Geyser would erupt between 9:15am and 12:15pm. So we waited from 11am to 12:25pm and it still did not erupt! As a couple of gentlemen left and said “there comes a time we should cut our losses”, we decided to follow suit and leave. That was a bad mistake. Apparently, it erupted within 10 minutes of our departure :(

So the main takeaway is that, if you see many people sitting in front of a geyser, join them and wait. Especially for the Grand Geyser, the next eruption would be about 8 hours away with a buffer of 3 hours. Nonetheless, we left and saw these amazing sights…

Grotto Geyser Yellowstone National Park
Grotto Geyser
Morning Glory Pool Yellowstone National Park
Morning Glory Pool
Bear and Morning Glory Pool & Bison Yellowstone National Park
2bearbear & MGP

After leaving the Continental Divide, we headed to the West Thumb Geyser Basin and caught this view of a very bluish pool, with Yellowstone Lake in the background…

Continental Divide Yellowstone Park
Continental Divide Yellowstone Park
West Thumb Geyser Basin Yellowstone National Park
West Thumb Geyser Basin Yellowstone National Park

To complete our trip, we did a “stake-out” for the legendary bear at Sylvan Lake. According to one of the souvenirs (always a reliable source of information), there are only about 200 grizzly bears (not sure about black bears) in the entire Yellowstone National Park. Hence, the probability of seeing a bear is actually pretty low. Nonetheless, we have conceivable information that a bear lurks around Sylvan Lake. So we did a small picnic there and looked around for close to an hour. Although there were no bears sighted, we still enjoyed our little picnic…

Sylvan Lake Yellowstone National Park
Sylvan Lake Yellowstone National Park
Picnic at Sylvan Lake
Picnic at Sylvan Lake

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Here’s the video of our trip to Yellowstone National Park!

Having gone through all the major attractions at Yellowstone National Park, we think that a 3D2N visit would be sufficient to cover them in a relatively relaxed manner. Having said that, we did start the day early at 7am each morning and slept at about 10pm. We hope you have enjoyed our review of Yellowstone National Park. If you have also visited Yellowstone Park, tell us more in our comments section below!

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