2012 Summer Trip with friends to Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Bear Lake Vally – WY, Idaho state, Salt Lake City – UT.
Trip to Yellowstone National Park around 4th Of July weekend (3rd – 8th July – 6 days/5nites). We were 7 of us 4 friends flew from west bay area and 3 of us flew from east bay area. It was exciting fun and adventurous trip as we all met after 5-6 years recollected all old sweet memories. At the end please scroll down for amazing remaining picture gallery of the park ( most of the picture credits to my friend Vannie Lu. She captured amazing shots of the park.)
Accommodations and Rentals:
We all flew into Salt Lake City, Utah. We reserved hotel “Comfort Suites” near Salt Lake City Airport for two nites (3rd & 7th). They even had free pick up and drop off shuttle to and from airport. We rented a family size SUV “Chevy – Suburban” to fit us and our baggage’s. We rented a cabin in West Yellowstone called “Cozy Cabin” at 141 Grizzley Bear Dr., Yellowstone Village, West Yellowstone, MT through West Yellowstone vacation rentals. It was nice cozy and spacious rental.
- If you are driving from Salt Lake City you have choice of two routes to go through to West Yellowstone.
- Drive on I-15. Drive through Idaho State and get into West Yellowstone. (5.5 hours)
- Drive on Route 89. Scenic drive through Wyoming State that takes you to Grand Tetons and into south entrance of Yellowstone. (8hours)
- We choose to take Route 89 while going to West Yellowstone and on our return we drove through I-15 thru Idaho State.
- Pack your own lunch and water bottles while in the park.
- Pack a jacket or sweatshirt, umbrella or rain coat as weather is unpredictable.
- Bring Mosquito Repellent and Sunscreen lotions.
- Old faithful and Mammoth Spring are the only two places in the park where you will find food, ice-cream and souvenirs.
- Best Wildlife spotting at Hayden Valley.
- Spotted Grizzly Bear at Mt Washburn.
Day 1 (3rd July) – We all flew into Salt Lake City, Utah almost till midnight. Checked in to hotel. But we were all so hungry, luckily we found Denny’s around the area within walk able distance. And slept around 2am.
Day 2 (4th July) – We got rental car and started our Road Trip towards West Yellowstone around 11pm. We decided to take longest scenic route through Route 89 via Wyoming State which roughly takes 8 to 9 hours without any breaks. It took us roughly 12 hours to reach including all the restroom, restaurants and scenic place stops.
– First stop was at Bear Lake Valley, Wyoming. We had lunch took some pictures from over look area and down in the valley as well. Overlook view of Bear Lake Valley is amazing.
– Our path took us to next stop – Grand Tetons National Park, we were amazed by the breath taking view of Tetons. Mountains spread wide across standing tall and bracing the nature (blue skies with hue of sunset, snowdrifts on top of mountains, pine forest and beautiful lake at foothill. Pictures don’t do much justice but it was just an outstanding view.
– Last Stop – Jackson Hills– We did some grocery shopping for oursurvival for next few days in the park.
– Arrived at Cozy Cabin – West Yellowstone National Park.
Day 3 (5th July)- It was our first day in west Yellowstone so we wanted to get started early, we left house around 9ish. We had breakfast at Running Bear Pancake house one of our friend suggested (TA ranked 4). Service was slow and they have regular American breakfast “iHOP” types. We entered park from west entrance around 11ish. Weather was kind a gloomy and cloudy. Thunderstorm was expected in the late afternoon. We decide to do first lower grand loop of the park which covers mainly various world famous Geysers and Fountain Paint Pot. I am not going to write the neat details of every point in Yellowstone as there’s lot of information floating on internet to grab from here the park website http://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm
– Lower Geyser Basin
– Fountain Paint Pot
– Midway Geyser Basin
– Upper Geyser Basin
– Old Faithful (main attraction check out eruption timing before hand as it erupts after every 90 min interval)
– West Thumb Geyser Basin
We returned back home as weather was getting worst due to thunder storm.
Day 4 (6th July) – Second day in the park decide to do the upper Grand loop. Weather was beautiful today unlike yesterday. Day light was there almost till 9:30pm. We had a long day almost covered the ¾ th of the park.
– Artist Paintpots
– Norris Geyser Basin
– Roaring Mountains
– Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces
– Tower Fall
– Mount Washburn (highest peak in Yellowstone) we spotted Grizzley bears
– Yellowstone Grand Canyons
– Lower / Upper Falls (lot of hiking)
– Hayden Valley (best area for wildlife spotting)
– Sulphur Caldron
Day 5 (7th July) – We started our drive towards Salt Lake City by taking via Route 20 to merge to I-15. Driving through Idaho was fast and quick. Several stops on the way.
– Yellowstone Bear World, Idaho (http://www.yellowstonebearworld.com/) – Its roughly 2 hour drive from west Yellowstone. Here you can enjoy the wildlife sightseeing its drive thru park and you can take your own time to see them and take pictures. Best thing in our entire trip.
– Idaho Potato Museum, Blackfoot, ID– http://idahopotatomuseum.com/ – Its like 45min drive from Bear World. We were amazed by seeing Potato history. Never knew Potato has its own history.
– Mormon Temple, Salt Lake City, UT – Temple was under construction so we couldn’t go inside the temple. But we visited auditorium both the new and old one. Also we got a sneak peak at Temple model inside the visitor center.
– Temple Square – We stroll around Temple square and walk towards downtown in search of Himalayan Kitchen (http://www.himalayankitchen.com/ ) which had good rating.
Day 6 (8th July)– Back to Airport. Happy Ending Trip with wonderful friends!! Please Enjoy the remaining park pictures ( most of the picture credits to Vannie Lu. She captured amazing shots of the park.)