How To Enter Yellowstone On Your First Day

Scott and I love the thrill of looking for that unexpected grab-you-by-the-ass wonder.  There’s no cool kid way of describing how it feels when your soul gets tickled.  That’s why we travel.  Often places will do that to people and they talk about it with a reverence.  When you get there yourself… it just doesn’t happen.  Disappointment… even if the place is interesting.  Then there are places that exceed expectations no matter what the expectations are.  Machu Picchu was this for us.  Yellowstone did it for us too.

Here’s my personal recommendation – enter the park through the east entrance the first time.  

We’ve only been through the east and west entrances, so the north and south might be spectacular in their own way.  However, the east entrance looks like a bigger and better version of what you thought Yellowstone was going to look like.   It’s a 7% uphill grade for something like 15 miles.  You come in through Shoshone National Forest in a canyon that looks prehistoric.  Then you hit the caldera wall and it’s a comfortable downgrade until you come to the lake.  All lakes are stunning… but this one is something else.

Then you arrive at Steamboat Point.  Your first sense is that you’re inside an active volcano.  Steam is venting from the giant crack in the earth that you’re standing on.  Hello adventure!  It stinks! (and it sort of tastes bad).  It’s one thing immediately after another and I haven’t even talked about the wild buffalo wandering around or the grizzly momma and her cub that we came across yet.

Hang on to your britches… this is Yellowstone.

Day 1:




There’s a bison in this photo.  Little did we know we’d get MUCH closer.




A little beach + the aftermath of a forest fire in the background












There was a strong smell of sulphur.  Evie announced she didn’t like the park at all because of it.



A boiling lake of water and acid.


At the mud volcano.









Watching the helicopter practice take offs with a full fire-fighting load.



Maybe 10 feet from the car.  We slowed but didn’t stop.  He never even looked at us.


Scott waited 30 min to wake us up after we had arrived at the campground.



I’ll never go to another zoo or circus again.  The only way to see the animals is in their habitat on their terms – free.