Yellowstone National Park is the happiest place on earth for me when it comes to the National Parks. This was one of the first National Parks I visited after getting my lifetime pass. If you haven’t heard of the different kinds of park passes you can head on over to my blog for helpful info to get you some awesome deals in the parks.It has been my favorite park because of all the amazing memories I made with my husband and the park is very accessible. Also, the scenery is just magical and phenomenal.
Grand Prismatic Spring
There are two hikes that are absolute musts at the Grand Prismatic Spring. The first allows you to see the spring itself up close. There is a boardwalk that is about 0.8 miles long and it runs from the parking lot to right next to the spring. If you’re lucky, there won’t be much steam from the spring and you can see across the breadth of the spring itself. There are a few small springs located along the boardwalk. Two of these smaller springs are called the Opal Pool and the Excelsior Geyser Crater. The whole boardwalk is wheelchair accessible and the views are so beautiful.
The second hike is the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook Trail. To get there, you drive just up the road past the main Grand Prismatic Spring parking lot. The trail itself is about 1.6 miles long and there is a total elevation gain of 135 feet. I would say that this is my top spot in Yellowstone because of the amazing view of the Grand Prismatic Spring from above.
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Seeing the lower falls in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone from both Lookout Point and Artist Point is definitely a must. Getting to Artist Point is just a short walk along a paved trail. Then, you can drive down the road a bit to the Lookout Point trail. This trail is paved, but it isn’t very accessible. There are steep switchbacks and stairs to navigate. However, if it is in your abilities then the view at the end of the trail is definitely worth it. If you have time after these hikes, head to the Canyon Village close by and get a huckleberry milkshake from the Canyon General Store. We got them when we went in 2018 and they were an AMAZING after-trail snack.
Old Faithful is a classic of the park and one that you definitely shouldn’t miss on your first visit to Yellowstone. They have a paved loop that includes a boardwalk around the geyser that is kid and wheelchair friendly. The whole loop is approximately 0.7 miles long. I would recommend going early in the morning as the parking lot fills up fast and it gets very crowded. If you have time, stop by the visitor center located next to Old Faithful. It was pretty chilly in the morning around Labor Day weekend in September when we went. While we waited for Old Faithful to erupt, a bison came over and laid close to the geyser. It was so cool!
Mammoth Hot Springs
Don’t forget to take a scenic drive to Mammoth Hot Springs; you may even get lucky and see a lot of wildlife on the way. We saw lots of bison, elk, foxes, and even a bear from a long distance away. I would recommend bringing binoculars so that you can see the gorgeous wildlife. We had never been to Yellowstone before and we forgot to bring ours. We missed out on seeing some wildlife that were a bit further away; your camera phone can only do so much with zooming in to see the animals.
West Thumb Geyser Basin
There are so many beautiful blue geysers on the West Thumb Geyser Basin loop trail and it is just a mile long. Since my legs were so tired from the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Lower Falls trail I didn’t make the whole loop. I still was able to see a few of the geysers and I’m so glad that I did.