Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
A day of hooky inspired by the crisp autumn air and clear blue skies led us to Yellowstone late this Fall. With little plan before our departure, we figured we would move forward with spontaneity as our ally. We left around 11AM with Persephone sandwiches and Healthy Bean juices in tow and soaked in the beautiful drive as we traversed the base of the Tetons. We soon found ourselves pulled over at Jackson Lake for a photoshoot. With a sky absent of clouds, the Tetons starkly reflected themselves off of the lake further validating our choice to make this day trip. Another hour in and we finally reached Old Faithful and stretched our legs out as we watched the steam float and hiss above the earth. We left before the eruption due to just having missed the last blow, which occurs every 35-120 minutes. However, still felt the visit well worth our time due to the surreal nature of the landscape.
On our way to the Grand Prismatic Spring, we encountered a Bison lapping water from a nearby stream. Seeing this beautiful animal was one of the highlights of my summer. Always remember to keep a healthy distance from these inhabitants though! The animals are more afraid of you then you are of them and encounters that become dangerous are often the result of a human overstepping their boundaries.
Grand Prismatic Spring was only a few miles north of Old Faithful so it came up pretty quickly. There are two ways to go about it. You can either pull in at the first entrance at the Fairy Falls TH, park, and hike the out and back trail to the overlook. Or drive a little further and pull into a roadside viewing area. We opted for the hike as our legs were in dire need of some movement after the long drive.
The hike gradually rose 105 feet over a distance of 0.6 miles. Our 3 year old happily trotted alongside of us and sometimes even raced ahead! We did have to clearly specify to her that the tiny pools of water along the trail were dangerously hot and not to be touched though. It took us no more than 20 minutes to reach the viewpoint and boy was it worth it. The Grand Prismatic Spring and Midway Geyser Basin exploded with color and steam; a phenomenon i’ve never experienced before. The few visitors we saw took turns taking photos of eachother overlooking the views. We left feeling satisfied and overwhelmed by the absolute unfathomable nature of our countries very first National Park and arrived back to Jackson around 5PM.
It was a long day in the car for sure. 2 hours and 12 minutes to Old Faithful and another 8 minutes past that to the Grand Prismatic Spring. The drive is beautiful both ways but it’s definitely helpful for everyone in the car if you plan some fun car games for the kiddos. There are plenty of eye spy opportunities and also a bunch of self guided audio tour apps worth looking into as well.