After the previous day in Yellowstone we couldn’t wait to get back there and explore the northern “half” of the park. Little did we know that we would have the best wildlife and vista day of the entire vacation.
On our way to Yellowstone there was a big bear jam in Grand Tetons. A mother bear and 2 cubs were playing about 50 yards from the road. There I was with my little Canon ELPH surrounded by people with thousands of dollars of camera equipment. Once I realized that I’d never get a good shot I stopped trying and just enjoyed watching the cubs play.
There must be some photographer’s network. They all seemed to know each other and more and more arrived while we were there.
Fortunately we were rewarded about an hour later just north of the south entrance to the park. This bear was chasing a marmot on the rocks and everyone got some great photos….and no one tried to take a selfie. I took my photo from behind the car door.
Our first stop was on the other side of the Yellowstone River Falls. If you look at the end of the river and then straight up the canyon wall, that’s where we were standing yesterday when I took the falls photos. The walk down to this viewing spot is straight down on a switchback trail. The walk isn’t so bad but the heights really got to me. Little did I know that I was in for a day of “height issues”.
This is Chris right on the edge of the falls. The fall is directly under him and it’s hard to describe just how loud it is! I couldn’t really look down there.
I was more comfortable here just behind the falls. From the falls we headed north toward Tower-Roosevelt. We stopped at several places along the way and each spot had a different and awe-inspiring view.
This, I believe, was just beyond Tower Falls (not to be confused with the Yellowstone Falls). We weren’t going to pull off here but we saw a park ranger with a telescope so I made Chris pull over. I knew there must be something to see! He was checking on a Peregrine Falcon nest across the river. They had started hatching the day before. There was no way to take a photo but it was cool to see the falcon nest. This formation was right behind us.
From Tower-Roosevelt we headed west toward Mammoth Hot Springs. This is the Gibbon River near the Hot Springs.
Doesn’t Mammoth Hot Springs look odd plopped right at the base of the hill? You can see a little whiff of steam from one of the many springs. I’ll be honest. I was kind of over springs at the point and there are LOTS of people in this area. We drove around one part of the springs (it’s a very big area) and moved on. Also in this area is Fort Yellowstone that would be a fun place to explore but we didn’t get to that on this trip.
It was a good wildlife stop though! We saw this Mule Deer in the Hot Springs area.
and this female elk in the Fort area. There were several elk around the for this day. I think that Mammoth Hot Springs is one of the oldest parts of the park and it seems to stay pretty crowded. We didn’t stick around there because we wanted to drive the Beartooth Highway to the Northeast entrance. Chris had read that the Beartooth Highway is one of the most beautiful drives in the US and we agree. Next time we will drive it into Montana and Wyoming.
The Northeast entrance runs through the Lamar Valley. There are 2 bison herds in Yellowstone and one is here in the Lamar Valley. All those black dots are bison and I would need 3 photographs to capture the complete expanse of this valley. This herd has about 2500 bison and I think we saw all of them! So in your mind take three copies of this photo, put them side by side, and you will have some idea of the vastness of this area. It just went on and on and on.
I think this is near where the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek merge. I think that’s Saddle Mountain snow capped in the background.
This is an area called Pebble Creek. The variety of scenery in this part of the park is amazing and I bet it’s the least traveled too!
I even got to see an antelope up close in the Lamar Valley on our way back.
The drive between Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon Village is steep and windy. It challenged my “height issues”. You get the best views of some of the burn areas here. We were fascinated with them and spent time at each trying to guess (from the new growth) how long ago the burn happened.
Next time we will spend more time in the northeast part of the park. I think there’s more wildlife and so much more to see!
On the way back to our cabin Chris got to watch a storm com in over the Tetons. This was in Jackson Hole and was the perfect ending to a perfect day.