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).
Yellowstone Map, courtesy of NPS
 you may click the image above to enlarge
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
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  1. Wow..you did packed a full day of adventure to many different places! The Artist Paint Pots look incredible and stunning. I can't wait to see more.

    Fabulous photos, Betchai!

  2. I could just sit and look on the beautiful picture...
    nature is so wonderful...

  3. I love those waterfall photos. The rainbow at the bottom is beautiful.

  4. Again, your pictures tell its beauty so well.

  5. Betchai, what a fantastic journey and magnificent shots. I love the bison. I so much enjoy taking journeys with you via your blog and can't wait to read and see more.

  6. The more I see of Yellowstone, the more I am impressed. I didn't have a clue that they have a Canyon.


  7. Oh that milky blue pool is fantastic! It looks like art work and what an appropriate name for this place. Beautiful photos as always!

  8. Earlier today I took a virtual tour of this place. Such a beautiful place.

  9. weeeeeeeee, when can i ever get enough of your travel posts Beth? more, more, more please... everything is awe-inspiring! it's like you traveled so many times to too many places! sulit na sulit!

  10. sigh....catching my breath here wonderwoman!....speechless as always when I see your awesome adventure shots! and yes...all the blue hue here is making me feel like flying!....viewing the shots again :-)

  11. you got some really great shots Beth !!! amazing how brave those people standing next to the water falls !!!

    have been looking around here in your site finding a place to go for our family vacation. visited your death valley photos, but I think this is not a good time to visit that place -- it maybe too hot !

    will keep looking here --- your site is my "go to place" when I am planning for a vacation hahahaha


  12. I have never been to Yellowstone park but it looks amazing!

  13. All the sights are eye catching.The first one is my favorite being a country girl. I love animals sorrounding my place.Lucky you for visiting these places

  14. I didn't get a chance to go to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone so I am glad to see it in your post. That is quite a view! The sunset pictures are amazing, too! You can't get away from the Old Faithful diner? :D

    1. Hi Karen, yes :( can't get away from Old Faithful Diner, we always end up there, I guess they placed their location so strategically that hungry travelers end up in their place always.

  15. Here I am halfway across the world. I have yet to go to Yellowstone but I do want to visit, especially after seeing your fabulous photos. One of these days, I'm not going to be able to manage 24 hours of flying time so I think I'll really appreciate Yellowstone then and your wonderful preview. Thanks so much for always making me appreciate my own country - and you - so much.

  16. I have been dreaming going abroad but since I don't have money, I can't. if in time i have, i will definitely visit your country.

  17. You've got awesome pics! love the lake and the bisons. Wish I could go explore there too.

  18. It's so beautiful! I've always wanted to see this place, esp. Grand Canyon and Old Faithful. Lucky you! :)

  19. i think i need to have a default comment everytime i visit your blog miss beth. i just can't get enough. ;-) amazing journey each time i go here.

  20. The Artist Paint Pot sounds interesting!

  21. I wanna stand next to the Brink of the Lower Falls!

  22. Absolutely jawdropping. Can't stop staring at these photos.