Home Yellowstone National Park Our Yellowstone Adventure – Day 2 heading North

Our Yellowstone Adventure – Day 2 heading North


Our Yellowstone Adventure – Day 2 heading North

This was our first day to actually enter Yellowstone National Park.  As we entered, my kids said the entrance looked just like Fort Wilderness.  It’s a great deal cheaper though!  For $30 you can visit Yellowstone for 7 days for your entire family.  Add an extra $20 and you can enter Grand Teton too.  For only $80 you can receive an annual pass to every National Park for your entire family!  That’s crazy cheap.  Here’s our story and photos from our adventures to Beryl Springs, Artist Paintpots, Gibbons Falls, Norris Geyser Basin, Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces and Lamar Valley.

The 14 mile drive from the West Yellowstone entrance to the Madison Junction is absolutely stunning.  You’ll see mountains, streams, fly fishermen and animals.

Yellowstone Day 2 Entrance

Our first stop was at a little Hot Springs along the side of the road.  The parking area is right beside this beautiful little hot springs.  It is a very brief walk and you’ll follow a boardwalk along the short walk.
Yellowstone Day 2 Beryl Spring

The gurgling water is appealing and you’ll feel drawn to want to touch it, but don’t!  It’s usually over 180 degrees in all the hot springs in Yellowstone and there’s signs telling you not to leave the path and don’t touch!Yellowstone Day 2 Beryl Spring

But, of course, some can’t read or choose to ignore the posted guidelines and pay the price.  We had to hinder two young boys who stepped off the boardwalk and were about to reach into the beautiful pool.  The parents were no where in sight.  Yellowstone Day 2 Beryl Spring

It got this nice bee photo.  It was difficult because he was like a pirate, never standing still, always on to the next adventure.

Yellowstone Day 2 Bumble Bee

From there we stopped at Gibbon Falls.  There is a small parking lot and many people wanting to park.  That is a VERY common thing in Yellowstone.  It can take you up to 30 minutes just to find a parking spot at popular points of interest like Artist Paintpots, Norris Geyser Basin and many more.

It’s a 1000 foot walk down the hill to get the best view of these falls with a nice grade, so you’ll have a little climb to go back to the vehicle.

Yellowstone Day Gibbon Falls

I got this nice photo of my lovely Princesses at the falls.Yellowstone Day 2 Gibbon Falls

This hot spot made me think of the movie Inside Out, so I asked my kids to pose with their best anger face and steam rising from their head.Yellowstone Day 2h

Artist Paintpot was our next opportunity to explore.  Most guides say it’s a “short walk.”  It’s 1/3 of a mile to view the lower area and 2/3 of a mile to view the upper area with the Paintpots.  Add in the climb to the Paintpots and then walk back.  Handicap guests could view the lower area, but the upper area will require you to be ambulatory.Yellowstone Day 2 Paint Pots

These are the Paintpots of the upper area.  Debbie said some lady took 38 photos to get a shot of them popping up.  Not bad for my first shot, huh?
Yellowstone Day 2 Paintpots

It’s very beautiful, even in the lower area and there’s a few small geysers in the area as well.Yellowstone Day 2 Paintpots

We then drove to the Norris Geyser Basin.  We had to drive around and around and around to finally find a parking spot and as my lack of preparation would have it, my camera battery died here and I left the backup in the car.  I’d advise to see the Porcelain Basin Trail. It had many beautifully colored areas and several small geysers.  The Back Trail has the Steamboat Geyser, which shoots the highest of any geyser in the world, but is very unpredicatable.  It hasn’t shot since 2014.  That walk was mostly trees.Yellowstone Day 2 Norris Geyser Basin

Sheepeater Cliff is just off the road and there’s no walk from your car to see this.  It used to be a series of lava tubes that have eroded and collapsed over time.Yellowstone Day 2m

We saw this awesome Yellow-bellied Marmot on the rocks. He seemed to love having his photo taken and posed many different ways for us.  He was about halfway up the rock pile on the left.  He stayed there until the tour group arrive and children inundated the hill.Yellowstone Day 2 Marmot

We continued our Northbound excursion by stopping at Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces.  It looks like a series of steps.  You can look it up for more info about limestone, hot springs and blah, blah, blah.  It’s really pretty.  We parked at the Upper Level and walked down.   To see this part of the Terraces, you’ll have a very steep hike up and down along the boardwalk.Yellowstone Day 2 Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces Yellowstone Day 2 Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces Yellowstone Day 2 Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces Yellowstone Day 2 Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces
Yellowstone Day 2 Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces

My wife spotted this little deer hidden among tree branches.Yellowstone Day 2 Deer at Mammoth

You can see this view of the Terraces from the road.  It looks like ice flowing down the hill.

Yellowstone Day Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces

We saw a group of Elk just lying around enjoying the afternoon sun in the town of Mammoth.Yellowstone Day 2 Elk at Mammoth

The lady at the local store told us we should visit Lamar Valley before the sunset or early in the morning to see the most wildlife.  We ventured over from Mammoth and found several fun species.  Here’s a pronghorn.
Yellowstone Day 2 Pronghorn in Lamar Valley

A ground squirrel is playing hide-and-seek with Jordyn.Yellowstone Day 2y

An large heard of Bison decided to cross the road.  It created a traffic jam for a while, but it was worth it to most people to sit and enjoy seeing these massive animals.  Some kids were in an SUV and one of the Bison walked up to their car and licked the car.  I’ll post a photo of the kid’s face on my Facebook at a later time.  It was priceless!Yellowstone Day 2 Buffalo in Lamar Valley

We had an awesome, yet exhausting day.  We walked and climbed many miles and saw some amazing sites.  We learned that the Lamar Valley is a 1 1/2 hour drive from the West entrance and we didn’t return to our cabin until close to midnight.  Needless to say, we slept in today.  We’re off to Old Faithful!

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  1. Just arriving in Yellowstone today! FYI – there is a pass available through the National Parks “Every Child in a Park” program we are taking advantage of. Any 4th grade child can sign up for a free annual national parks pass. Very easy to sign up and print out at home. We were given a hangtag and laminated pass when we turned the paper in at Badlands National Park.


  2. We were in Yellowstone last week also (for the first time). So unbelievably gorgeous – I like that one minutes it’s rocky and mountain views, but 10 miles down the road, it’s a completely different landscape altogether. Our absolute favorite were the completely blase elk in Mammoth Springs area. They were laying in front of the post office when we came in last Tuesday in the morning and then in the medians when we were leaving the park through the north entrance. What an awesome trip!

  3. Thanks a lot Kenny, you are making my obsession with The United States get worse & worse! It’s such a long way from Australia and there is so much I want to see, just need to win a massive lottery! Looks like you are having an amazing family holiday, gotta love the great outdoors.

  4. Thanks Kenny. I enjoyed reading this and looking at all your beautiful photos! Looking forward to the next installment.

  5. I hope you ate at the Mammoth hotel. It is our favorite place to eat in the park. I was able to see the Mammoth Hot Springs at sunset my first time there and it ruined seeing it at any other time of day. I’m glad you encouraged people to follow directions on the signage. I’m sure you’ve heard the story of the people putting the baby bison in their vehicle this year. I have actually seen people chase down grizzly bears to get a good picture of them. I always hope the bear will turn around and get them. One less dumb person on earth!

  6. Stunning photos!

    We saw a lot of stupid human trips on our trip last year including a couple of kids playing near a hot spring. In our cabin there was a book “Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the country’s first National Park” Unfortunately, my 14 year old son read it and it freaked him out. Also didn’t help that there was a fatal bear encounter while we were there. But there is power in numbers- there have been no attacks on groups of 3 or more people. So stick together.

    Can’t wait for more

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