Home Yellowstone National Park Our journey to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons day 1

Our journey to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons day 1

Yellowstone trip day 1

Our first-time trip to Yellowstone began with a late flight to Salt Lake City, we picked up our rental car and we stayed in a local hotel for the night.  We requested a late check out to get some extra sleep, then began our 4+ hour road trip toward Yellowstone.  Follow along with some great photos and our story!

This was supposed to be our first full family vacation in several years.  My wife’s work schedule often prevents her from being able to do many of our crazy adventures and park days.  We were excited as we sat down a couple of months ago to sketch out our activities.

Well, life gets in the way sometimes.  My son decided that he wanted to try out for football for his Senior year and guess when they begin practicing.  Yup, right during our planned vacation.  So, you’ll get a pirate and 3 Princesses on this journey.  This was our first time to visit the state of Idaho.  We have a deep affection for this state’s french fries, baked potatoes and potato chips!

Yellowstone Trip Day 1

We stopped several times along our journey north, including this place called “Hell’s Half Acre.”  It was about 95 degrees, but it is a much drier climate, so none of us were sweating.  We talked about how 85 degrees in Florida means you are pouring sweat as you walk outside.Yellowstone Trip Day 1 Hell's Half Acre

Hell’s Half Acre is a roadside area that demonstrates an area that used to have an active lava flow.  We walked up to the highest point and looked around.  We enjoyed finding different things within the formations.  I found a hidden Woody, my kids found a giant pirate and various other things.  We didn’t find any good hidden Mickeys though.  I’d share more photos, but I’m using my phone as a hotspot.  I’ll upload a ton more when I have good WIFI service.  Jordyn talked about how she had also visited “Tate’s Hell” when she visited her grandparents and she has no desire to visit the real Hell.  She said it was hot enough here.Yellowstone Trip Day 1b

We passed right through the city of Idaho Falls, so a one mile detour was in order to stop and enjoy the falls area.
Yellowstone Trip Day 1 Idaho Falls

If you live in Idaho Falls, you have a really beautiful area to have lunch!Yellowstone Trip Day 1 Idaho Falls

As we got closer to Yellowstone, we saw the Grand Teton mountains in the distance.  We plan to spend a couple of days there at the end of our trip.  Yellowstone Trip Day 1f

An arid land with majestic precipices jutting up from the green and brown landscape.  My daughter and I loved how my photo looks like you took two different things and joined them together with the blue of the sky, haze of the mountains in the distance and the low lying shrubs and train tracks in the foreground.  The center mountain is technically called Grand Teton.  Is that snow in July?

Yellowstone Trip Day 1g

Choo choo. Yellowstone Trip Day 1h

Here’s a bit of a landscape photo.  I love how the sky seems to go on forever in the West.  We’ve enjoyed our previous trips to places like the Painted Desert, Route 66 (stayed in a teepee), Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Sequoia, Zion and Bryce Canyon (real Big Thunder Mountain).  Its very relaxing to take in views of nature and feel overwhelmed by the sense how how big our planet and universe truly is.Yellowstone Trip Day 1i

We are renting a cabin on the north side of Island Park, Idaho.  My kids thought we were staying in Wyoming the whole time, so it was funny explaining how we will travel through 3 states each day in about 20 minutes.  After dropping our gear at the cabin we went into West Yellowstone for dinner and to go grocery shopping.

We decided to eat at a local Barbecue restaurant.  The BBQ was delicious, but the sauce was a tad spicy for some of my family.  Zantac, I’m yours!  We followed it up with some local “homemade” ice cream.  My kids really enjoyed the Huckleberry flavors and I went for Rocky Road and Mint Chip.  We walked around the small town enjoying some of the local stores.   Debbie loved the moose.  There’s many little posing statues like this in front of the stores.  We all stopped for crazy poses.
Yellowstone Trip Day 1j

There’s no big box stores like Walmart or Target.  It’s mostly local establishments with a couple of local markets.  We picked one and went in to find a large Asian contingent had bought out about half the store.  We ventured on to the other store to complete our purchases.

Our cabin has no air conditioning, so it was a bit warm when we first entered.  We slept with the windows open and the cool night air flowed in.  It was relaxing.  We can hear some birds in the trees, but we’re kind of close to the main road, so there’s a good bit of traffic noise.  The place we are staying is called Huckleberry Escape if you want to look it up some time.  I’ll present much better photos than their’s later.

Well, we are off to Yellowstone for the day!


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  1. I think it’s good that you are saving the Teton’s for last. I personally like the Teton’s better than Yellowstone. I do love Yellowstone, but it is SO BIG it is overwhelming to me. I prefer the smaller National Parks that don’t require so much driving. We still usually go to Yellowstone/Tetons about every other year because they are truly amazing and there is always something new to see. Enjoy! I look forward to your trip reports.

  2. Thanks for sharing. You will have a wonderful time in some of the most unique areas on earth. Please take several hours to walk the full basin area around Old Faithful as more than half of the world’s gysers are there and worth seeing. Also if you head to the far north east side of the park you can see buffalo by the thousands. It does deserve its nickname of “America’s Sarrngetti.” Enjoy!

  3. Sounds awesome. We are heading to national parks in mid-August- not Yellowstone but Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon.

  4. Wow, Last year we decided to expand our Disney Parks vacations to include National Parks…drove around the Grand Canyon from Vegas to Vegas…Today we are finishing up our Colorado/Utah Denver to Denver 12 day trip!! I will NEVER give up my Disney vaca time and follow your posts closely….I am SO excited that you are taking this trip because it is the one we are planning on trying it next July!!! I cant wait to see/read about ever part of it!!!!!! Have fun…..my tip to you (which may be nothing new)…take LOTS of pictures of signs. They help remember what is what when looking back and they are kinda fun. We also have fun taking pictures of all the different animal crossing signs. We noticed that there are skinny, medium and large deer crossings….LOL!!! Have fun!!!

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