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View Diary: Things to Know Before You Come to Yellowstone (124 comments)

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  •  Preferred way of approaching Yellowstone (8+ / 0-)

    Is up and over the Beartooth Highway (US Highway 212, which starts in Laurel, MT) from Red Lodge, MT. I don't have any pictures to share here but it's a truly awesome drive. You'll enter the park by way of Cooke City.

    As an alternative, try approaching from the east, from  Cody, WY, using US Highway 20. The Buffalo Bill Cody Museum in Cody is definitely worth a visit. Highway 20 will take you past Yellowstone Lake and Shoshone Lake.

    I confess that I have not hiked Yellowstone; both of my trips there thus far have been very quick day trips, so they involved a quick drivethru with time to see Old Faithful erupt, followed by mediocre fast food at Old Faithful Lodge.

    •  That route is only open a few months (6+ / 0-)

      The Beartooth Highway is generally open from late May/early June through October. I haven't made it up there yet, but will definitely have to hit it on a future trip. I've looked at the Google Earth imagery of it though. Lots of switchbacks.

      "So it was OK to waterboard a guy over 80 times but God forbid the guy who could understand what that prick was saying has a boyfriend."--Jon Stewart

      by craigkg on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 10:15:18 AM PDT

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      •  There's snow at the top year round (6+ / 0-)

        Not falling necessarily (though I suppose it could happen; it's that high up) but there are snowfields that don't disappear. It's sort of fun to frolic in snow while wearing shorts. I will have to do a Flickr upload of some of the pictures Trapper and I took on our 2004 visit so I can post them here.

        Or maybe we'll go back this summer. His family lives in MT and we're due for a visit.

        •  Truly an amazing drive. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          craigkg, JVolvo, birdbrain64, sfbob, coolbreeze

          We exited the park that way, and not only was the drive up, up, up through the Absarokas breathtaking, but we saw more wildlife going out via that northeast route than we saw in the entire park otherwise - including a bighorn sheep.

          FWIW, we saw tons of wildlife in Tetons on a leisurely hike around the lakes, too - definitely our best memory of the trip: beaver, osprey, trumpeter swans, and a much-too-close encounter with two female moose who insisted on lollygagging in the lily pond just yards from the trail; we had no choice but eventually to tiptoe with all deliberate speed around them, hoping for the best.

          I had to restrain my wife from killing ignorant tourists who sent their kids off the boardwalk and out onto the caldera to feed the marmots at Old Faithful. My wife is very passionate, and doesn't suffer willfully ignorant fools gladly. It was hard to miss the "DON'T FEED THE MARMOTS" signs on your way in to the geyser from the parking area - you had to have encountered at least 10 of the signs, minimum, and they were posted about every 15 feet once you got to the boardwalk seating area, not to mention the "DON'T GO OUT ONTO THE CALDERA" signs.

          Next closest narrowly-averted homicide victims: people who stopped on the Yellowstone loop roads to get out and photograph wildlife. Nature's way of selecting them out: inevitably one or two is gored each year by a bison who is not amused by the tourists' proximity. Presumed last thought to flash through said tourists' brain: "Gee, these Animatronic® buffaloes sure move like the real thing - "

      •  beartooth highway (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sngmama

        is slightly terrifying when you're doing your first mountain driving and you're by yourself. lol.

        absolutely a must-do, though.

        "Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." --Khalil Gibran

        by birdbrain64 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 12:14:40 PM PDT

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    •  Love the Buffalo Bill Museum (0+ / 0-)

      And a great stop after going up and over the Big Horns (with an obligatory stop at the Medicine Wheel).

      Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty. - Norman Douglas

      by Fossil on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 01:11:39 PM PDT

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