Explore the wonders of the Earth. In this site, you will find some information about hiking trails, some of the natural wonders in the places we explored, some itineraries of our travels, some road trip information, some health and fitness tips to enjoy the outdoors, and more of the simple joys from our natural world. Life, like hiking, has lots of ups and down, rugged and steep terrains, switchbacks, and beautiful scenic turns.- Betchai
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Exploring Glacier-Yellowstone-Grand Teton National Parks (Part 2 of 4)
This is the continuation of the summary of our Yellowstone-Grand Teton-Glacier National Parks trip. If you missed the first part (which is more on planning for Glacier-Yellowstone-Grand Teton exploring), you can go to Part 1 by clicking this link.
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone ( view from the brink of the Lower Falls)
Exploring Yellowstone is much easier because there are 3 road loops in the park that bring visitors to its majestic places of attractions. Let me call these loops: north loop, south loop and east loop ( refer to image below).
Because of limited time, we only had explored parts of north, south and east loops. In part 1 of the series, we drove from North to Grand Teton via the eastern portion of the north and south loops (or western portion of east loop), and then explored the Old Faithful area on our way to West Yellowstone. In this post, from West Yellowstone, we explored the south loop by going clockwise from Madison Junction. However, we observed later it probably would have been easier had we done the counterclockwise direction (going south of Madison Junction), because most of our stops were in the opposite side. In this post, I will be summarizing what we have covered in the southwestern loop in one day until sun down, and what we had missed in the loop that we needed to go back the next day.
Going clockwise of the southwestern loop....
1. Our first short stop was along the meadows on Highway 89 just a mile or two north of Madison Junction to observe Yellowstone wildlife.
Herd of Bison on a Meadow Along Highway 89 ( about 2- 5 miles North of Madison Junction)
2. Our second short stop was at Gibbon Falls, still on Highway 89. The overlook to Gibbon Falls is only a very short walk from the parking lot.
Gibbon Falls from the Overlook
( this is a handheld shot since we did not bring our tripod so we could avoid checking in our luggage)
3. Our third stop was at Artist Paint Pots, about 3 miles South of Norris Junction or 11 miles North of Madison Junction. This is a short easy hike, about 1.5 miles total. I will write a post solely about Artist Paint Pots in my later posts because this has a lot of interesting geothermal features.
Milky Blue Pools at Artist Paint Pot
4. From Artist Paint Pots, we turned right on Norris Junction to continue to Canyon Village. We reached Canyon Village about 1:00 pm, so it was really about time for late lunch. Canyon Village has dining room, cafeteria and grille for breakfast, lunch and dinner choices.
5. After lunch at Canyon Village, we continued looping South to Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. We took another short but steep hikes to the Brink of the Lower Falls (0.4 mile one way, 675 ft elevation loss-down/gain-up) and Lookout Point (0.5 mile one way, about 500 ft descent/ascent).
Brink of the Lower Falls
It was amazing to be that close to where the water fall drops and hear its powerful splurge below. The view from the brink was also equally beautiful.
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, View from the Brink of the Lower Falls
More details about exploring the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in my later posts.
6. After Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, we continued driving clockwise of the southwestern loop, and our next short stop was at Hayden Valley.
Trout Creek at Hayden Valley
I will be discussing more details about Hayden Valley in one of my later posts.
7. Next short stop was at Lake Village in Yellowstone Lake.
Yellowstone Lake @ Lake Village
8. Then, we had a longer, easy hiking stop at West Thumb, still in Yellowstone Lake.
Hot Spring Pool @ West Thumb, Yellowstone Lake
Because this is only a summary of the trip, I will be featuring more details about Yellowstone Lake and West Thumb in one of my later posts, and will add the links here later.
9. After West Thumb, it was almost 7:30 pm, and our stomach were asking for food already. Our option was to continue exploring the south loop while there is still light, or stop for food. We decided to stop at where the closest food was, thus, we ended up in Old Faithful area again for dinner. After dinner, it was getting darker, so we decided to just take a walk at Geyser Hill in the Old Faithful area for sunset.
Plume Geyser @ Geyser Hill, Upper Geyser Basin
Sunset @ Old Faithful
Geyser Hill has a lot of geothermal features, and it is actually one of my favorite walks in the park. I will be sharing more about this place in later posts.
For a full day exploring of southwestern loop, we missed the Midway and Lower Geyser Basins. However, the next day, we started our exploring in these two geyser basins before we proceeded to continue exploring the western portion of the north loop.
If you only have a day, and if you want to cover most of the interesting places in the south loop, maybe, you avoid some of the hiking. Yellowstone is still pretty without the hikes. However, if you have more time, definitely, pick your hikes from the many hiking trails in Yellowstone National Park. It's really a wonderful experience to see the park up close from your hikes.
I will continue with Midway and Lower Geyser Basins in my next post, and some parts of the northwestern loop in Yellowstone National Park for Part 3 of this series, and from Yellowstone to Glacier National Park for part 4 of this series.