Ever since I moved to London, my travels back to the USA have focused on cities. From San Francisco to New York, Miami to Seattle, I have explored America’s urban highlights at the expense of its rural ones. But one of the highlights of my country is its natural beauty, and one of the best places to experience it is Yellowstone National Park.

Geyser at Yellowstone National Park

Why did I choose Yellowstone on this trip? A good friend from childhood moved there a few years ago and has always encouraged me to visit. Coincidentally, there are also direct flights from Minneapolis, where I was for my cousin’s wedding, to Bozeman, Montana, the closest airport to where she lives.

Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park

I cashed in some frequent flier miles, packed my telephoto lens, and got ready to experience the world’s first national park.

Sulfur Pool at Yellowstone

Lucky for me, my friend and her husband are experts in the area’s nature and wildlife. On my first day in Montana, they took me on a full-day tour of Yellowstone, complete with nature and wildlife sightings.

Great Blue Heron in Yellowstone National Park

As soon as we passed through the park’s west entrance, we came across a herd of bison. It was complete with little ones that frolicked in the meadows on their newfound legs.

Bison in Yellowstone National Park

As we watched, my friend explained that spring is one of the best times to visit Yellowstone, as the crowds are low and the wildlife sightings replete with cute baby animals. I love me some cute baby animals.

Bison in Yellowstone National Park

This includes the little black bear foraging in the woods with its mother. Not far from it was a herd of elk, and near there we watched a lone coyote hunting in the open grass.

Coyote in Yellowstone National Park

Driving through the Lamar Valley and the Hayden Valley, we spotted a giant Trumpeter Swan, a leggy Sandhill Crane, a Great Blue Heron, a grizzly bear, and plenty of antelope-like pronghorn.

Pronghorn in Yellowstone National Park

There were also grazing moose, hunting eagles, a nesting Osprey, and American white pelicans to round out the mix.

Herd of Bighorn Sheep in Yellowstone National Park

One of our most unique wildlife sightings in Yellowstone was a herd of bighorn sheep, which my friend explained was exceedingly rare. And my favorite animal of the day was a giant elk curled up in a field and slumbering away as tourists took photos of its impressive antlers.

Sleeping Elk in Yellowstone National Park

Away from the wildlife, we spent time exploring Yellowstone’s natural highlights. Chief among these was the famous Upper Yellowstone Falls.

Upper Yellowstone Falls

The waterfall itself was spectacular, cascading down the canyon in deep white swirls, but the walls of the ravine were even more awe-inspiring. Their deep yellow color glowed in the late afternoon sun, showing us how Yellowstone got its name.

Yellowstone Grand Canyon

Not far from Upper Yellowstone Falls was Lake Yellowstone, a beautiful body of water surrounded by snow capped mountains.

Lake Yellowstone

We drove along the edge of it and past the Lake Yellowstone Hotel, where I remembered staying as a teenager when my family took a road trip through Wyoming and Montana.

Lake Yellowstone Hotel

At the end of the lake we made our way to the best known part of Yellowstone: Old Faithful.

Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone

The geyser is one of the most popular places to visit in Yellowstone, not least because its reliable eruptions take place every 90 minutes or so.

Sulfur Pools at Yellowstone National Park

We arrived just after one such burst of water, so we spent an hour walking around the colorful sulfur pools and boiling steam vents until Old Faithful erupted again. It was worth the wait.

Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park

On our way back to Montana, we stopped by the Fountain Paint Pots, boiling mud puddles in vast stretches of dry baked land full of petrified trees. We then crossed over the steaming Firehole River and meandering Gallatin River, and ended up in West Yellowstone, Montana.

Petrified Tree in Yellowstone National Park

Our tour ended with a feast at the Beartooth Barbeque restaurant on the historic main street. Afterwards we headed home to Big Sky, where feats of nature and wildlife beyond those in Yellowstone National Park awaited. To be continued…

14 Comments on Lady in Yellowstone National Park

  1. Stunning! Yellowstone, in my mind anyway, has always seemed to be this other-worldly sort of place.

    You’re so very lucky to be so well travelled 🙂 Great writing, as always!

  2. I went on vacation to Yellowstone with my family and have to say it’s one of the most incredible places I’ve been! Everything is just so pretty and being so close to animals is crazy. Glad you got to go!

  3. Beautiful! I’m toying with the idea of a Yellowsone trip this summer after our ski trip to Big Sky this past winter. You have me convinced it would be a good choice! Were you based in Big Sky for the entire trip? My brother in law lives in Bozeman and I’m trying to decide if we should stay in Montana somewhere or in Jackson.

  4. We have had a huge family reunion in Island Park (just outside the park) for some 40 years now. I love how much the park has revitalized itself after the great fire. For ten years or so my family and I spent every Christmas/New Year’s week snowmobiling in and around the park. It is jaw dropping beautiful in winter! Loved this post, Lady 🙂

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