I love to travel, and this is one for your bucket list. One of those “things to see before you die” adventures. Everyone should go to Yellowstone National Park at least once in their lifetime. And while you’re there, say hello to one of their most impressive residents, the American Bison. They are magnificent. And the beautiful thing about seeing them in Yellowstone is that you not only see them in a completely natural habitat, you see them up close. I mean really up close. Once in a lifetime up close. And when you do, you’ll fall head-over-heels in love with bison. Furry, mangy coats and all. These beasts are awe-inspiring.
See that gray bar in the bottom left corner? That’s the frame of our car window. This guy was in the middle of the road and close enough to touch. We would never do that (without wetting our pants), but that’s how close he was. Oh, and for the city slickers – never fear! You can still
enjoy encounter traffic issues. Sometimes it’s due to the number of tourists in the park, but sometimes it’s due to a more specific type of traffic issue – a bison jam. And no, I’m not kidding.
And as if that wasn’t enough, those park rangers go ahead and throw in some spectacular scenery. Just for your viewing pleasure. They’re friendly like that.
NanaBread’s Yellowstone travel tips:
1. To beat the crowds, go in mid-May. As a bonus, it’s “baby” season in Yellowstone, and you’ll get to see all the new additions to the park.
2. We preferred the north and south entrances, but it doesn’t really matter how you get there. The important thing is to get there.
3. When you go, try to stay for at least a week and plan to spend each day driving a different section of this enormous national treasure. You should see it all.
4. For stunning mountains, stay near the south entrance and Jackson, Wyoming. For incredible vistas and bountiful wildlife, stay near the north or northeast entrance to the park. For shopping, museums and tourist attractions, stay near the west entrance of the park.
5. Pack your camera, your zoom lenses, and a spotting scope (if you have one) every time you venture out into the park.
6. Pack a picnic and a cooler of drinks each day; you never know when the perfect spot for a picnic may arise and it can be hours before you get to the next store or restaurant. That goes for gas stations, too.
7. Take advantage of the ranger talks, visitor centers, and locals for information on weather, animal sightings, photography gems, etc. Information is invaluable in a place this large.
8. Pack layers of clothing and rain gear; temperatures can drop and rise with elevation and storms. Always be prepared.
9. Invest in a good book or fold-out guide on the animals and plants you may encounter in the park; it helps enhance your experience, especially when traveling with children.
10. Take your time. Relax. Enjoy the gorgeous scenery and the clean air, and take a million photos. Once you’re gone, you’ll miss this magical place, and you’ll want to remember it forever.