Family Trip to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons

One of the cutest things that happened as we were planning our trip to Yellowstone occurred while my parents were visiting me in Dallas. One night, we Facetimed my sister and the twins and started talking about the trip. We asked Alexys where we were going and she responded with “Yellow……rock.” It was so close and so cute! It still makes me smile when I think about it. I actually had to check myself when talking about the park to friends because I would catch myself wanting to say ” Yellowrock.”

We arrived in Yellowstone after spending time in SD and MT. I had the impression that Yellowstone was flat – I could not have been more wrong. It is very mountainous with so many amazing views. We loved seeing all of the different areas of the park and the wildlife too.

Obligatory photo by the Yellowstone sign.


The beautiful mountain views the greeted us after we entered the NE entrance of the park.


Our first major animal sighting – bison! There were so many of them in the park. As you can tell, they were shedding their winter hair while we were there.


The photo below is of a petrified tree in the NE corner of the park. Around 50 million years ago, this area of the park was flourishing with many different kinds of trees, including redwood trees, maples and magnolias. A volcanic eruption from the Absaroka Mountain range buried the forest in ash. As the organic materials of the trees began to decay, groundwater began to seep into the wood cells of the trees. This preserved the buried forest by “freezing” the wood and halting its decomposition. The sad thing is that due to bad behavior by past visitors, this one partial tree is all that is left of the petrified forest.



Mammoth Hot Springs – Mammoth Hot Springs is Yellowstone’s only major thermal area located well outside the Yellowstone caldera. The terraces change constantly—sometimes noticeable within a day.



More animal sightings. We were so excited to see the wildlife. Unfortunately, we did not see any moose or bears in Yellowstone.


We spent a night while we were in Yellowstone at a campground called “Yellowstone Under Canvas.” It is located in West Yellowstone, MT, just outside the park. It was totally glamping (the tent has a flush toilet and sink) but it was a fun experience. This was the first night the kids slept well throughout the night, possible because it was cool and raining while they were cocooned in their sleeping bags. We didn’t use the wood stove much because the wind was blowing in the direction that caused the smoke to blow back into the tent.


The large tent with the peaked tops was the lobby for the camp.All cars had to be parked by the lobby. They transported luggage via golf carts but otherwise, we walked back and forth. Mom had a blond moment when she asked for the keys as the girl helping us with our luggage was getting ready to head back to the lobby. She gave Mom a puzzled look and responded “It’s a tent.” Haha! Oops.


Old Faithful is a cone geyser located in Yellowstone National Park. Old Faithful was named in 1870 during the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition and was the first geyser in the park to receive a name. It has its own Twitter page now that let’s people know the next time it is expected to spew and it is pretty accurate.


The black bird below picked its seat for the Old Faithful eruption early and it picked one of the best seats. Smart bird!


One of the prettiest parts of the park was Yellowstone Lake. It was so peaceful and the views were so beautiful.



After leaving Yellowstone, we headed south to Jackson, WY. Along the way, we drove through Grand Teton National Park. Once again, the views were amazing. DSC_0826DSC_0832DSC_0851DSC_0854

The view from our hotel room in Jackson, WY. It was the only outdoor pool we encountered. Thankfully, it was heated.


Is this heaven? No, it’s Idaho, not Iowa. Yes, they grow millions potatoes there, as pictured below. Iowa is known for its corn. I wonder how many times I have answered questions along these lines? And check another state off as well.



And then we drove to Utah (check) where we spent the night in Ogden before heading to Denver.


We finished the family portion of my trip in Denver. I have a couple of really good friends in the Denver area and I was lucky to be able to see them both before I boarded the plane to Anchorage. On Friday night, we were able to visit my friend Crystal and her girls, where we had pizza and then made homemade ice cream. The highlight for the kids was the swing set and their dog Cooper’s doggy door. They must have gone in and out of his door 15 times each.


The trip to Yellowstone with my family was a lot of fun and I am so glad I had the opportunity to spend all of that time with them. Sure, everyone had their moments but that is to be expected when you are with anyone in such close proximity for 10 days. Below are a few additional photos that I think are worth sharing.

The highlight of the trip for the twins was swimming. We made sure there was a pool at every hotel so they could practice their skills and expend energy each night.


This photo makes me chuckle because I scared Alexys when I walked out of the bathroom with this mask on my face. It took her  few moments to figure out who I was and what that was on my face.





1 Comment

  1. Julie
    July 31, 2016 / 11:05 pm

    What an awesome trip! These are amazing pictures!

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