Editors note: Grant wanted to share the following from his June trip to Wyoming. Hopefully we will see more of his travel insights soon.
The Lewis river is located in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. We were driving to our campsite when we stopped to look at the river. I am still in awe that there’s still snow on the ground in June. Gk
Yellowstone National Park is an amazing place. I think you could spend a summer there and not see everything.
One of the things that surprised me was the amount of geothermal features, there must be thousands. It’s so impressive.
Here is a video and a few pics from our visit last summer.
This is in the Upper Geyser Basin
Don’t remember the name of this hot spring, but it’s pretty
Morning Glory Hot Spring
Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces
While cruising down Hwy 191 in Wyoming alongside the Snake River, I noticed due to mudslides that the river had suddenly turned to churning mud from the previously clear water. It reminded me of the chocolate river in Willy Wonka. After a while I stopped to observe the muddy Snake River join with another stream. The side by side juxtaposition of green and muddy water coming together made for crazy picture. rk
The Teton mountain range stretches for 40 miles and shoots thousands of feet straight up from the ground. It is one of the most impressive mountain ranges I have ever seen with the Grand Teton (the tallest mountain in the range) reaching 13,776 feet above sea level. We began our first hike in Grand Teton National Park at the south end of Jenny Lake. The Jenny Lake trail makes a loop around the lake with a side trail going into Cascade Canyon. We planned to go left (the shorter way) and up into the canyon to Inspiration Point. Unfortunately the section of the trail we had planned to hike was closed due to construction (and snow) so we had to take the long way around doubling the length of our hike. So we set off to reach Inspiration Point. The trail around Lake is fairly flat and follows alongside a scenic drive for most of the trail.
It was an easy hike despite downed trees and large piles of snow still surviving into summertime. The views from the trail are beautiful with the trees making a natural framing for the mountains in some places and Jenny Lake sparkling blue in the sun.
After about 2 miles the trail leaves the lake behind to follow a beautiful creek up towards the north Jenny Lake parking lot.
Once we reached the parking lot there was a cool bridge that crossed the creek and the trail headed back towards the lake and into he mountains. There were a lot of new growth woods in this section of the hike giving us unobstructed views of the Tetons. Right where the creek flowed into the lake we spotted our first ever Marmots running around in the brush. We stopped to take pictures and they seemed unbothered by us completely. One Marmot a little further down the trail even seemed like he was posing on a rock for us.
Along the way we saw loads more Marmots before trail started upwards a little more and into thicker woods. We soon reached the spur of the trail that lead up to Inspiration Point where half of us decided to turn back and half continued on up into the canyon (Me, Dad, Whit, and two year old Hasten on my back). The trailed gained elevation fairly quickly from this point and soon the entire trail was covered in snow. It was amazing how much snow was there in early summer and it even got so bad I considered putting my microspikes on so I didn’t slip down the mountain (the only reason I didn’t put them on is because I foolishly left them in the car). Somewhere along the way the trail became lost under all the snow and with the help of a few footprints and some fellow hikers we made our way over some fallen trees and into a large snowy opening with a beautiful view of the lake and the Grand Teton looming above our heads.
It felt as if we had climbed way higher than we actually did but we excitedly decided this was where we wanted to be (partly because we couldn’t find the trail in the snow and partly because it felt like the perfect spot). We let Hasten play in the snow and throw snowballs while we took pictures and made coffee on a nice large rock. There was a very cool waterfall up on the cliffs above us that I wish we could have gotten closer to but without any snow gear at all it was hard to make it up the steep slope. We made our coffee and headed back towards the parking lot where the rest of our family waited for us. We slid down the snow most of the way back which was so much fun. Once we reached the loop trail where there was no more snow we went as fast as we could to get back while on the lookout for a moose that somehow evaded us despite everyone else on the trail telling us they saw it. We reached the parking lot as it began to rain and excitedly told the rest of the family about our adventure before all hopping in the car to eat dinner. This hike is one of my favorite hikes I’ve done and I can’t say I’ve ever had coffee in a more perfect setting. There is nothing like being up on a mountain enjoying nature and coffee.
Thanks! – Josh
The Bighorn National Forest is one of our favorite National Forests (because of the great name obviously). We didn’t see and Bighorn Sheep while we were there but we did see a moose out in the middle of a field. I would love to spend a couple days camping and exploring this unique Wyoming National Forest!
Thanks! – Josh
The Tower Trail is the 1.3 mile loop trail through ponderosa pine forest around Devil’s Tower. After being cooped up in the car for much of the day driving across Wyoming, I was very excited to hike this quick and easy trail.
The trailhead is right at the visitors center. After a walk of a few hundred feet, you come to the rock scramble at the base of the tower. This is where everyone wants to take their pictures of Devil’s Tower. Apparently it is acceptable to climb through the rocks to the base of the tower. With a permit you can climb to the top as well.
We took the right fork of the paved trail and started our journey around the tower. There are some minor elevation changes but nothing to worry about. The views of the tower from each side are slightly different so it was good to go around. We saw climbers on the backside and that is what really made me appreciate the size of Devil’s Tower. They looked like specs about 1/3 of the way up the 867 foot tall volcanic rock formation.
As we followed the trail around, we ran into a few deer along with passing several prayer cloth bundles left by native Americans.
This was a very enjoyable trail and I recommend completing it during your visit to Devil’s Tower. Also set aside some time to check out the visitors center and climb some rocks during your visit. Thanks for reading. rk
If you are looking for a secluded and unique hike Yellowstone National Park, look no further than the Natural Bridge Trail. The trailhead is located just south of the Bridge Bay Campground on the Grand Loop Road with another trailhead leaving from the campground.
We were camping at Bridge Bay so we hiked the 2.8 mile round trip trail one afternoon right after we had dinner. The trail is mostly flat and takes you through the trees for .7 miles where the tree cover helps the winter snow not melt well into summer. After that the trail met up with an old service road that we followed most of the way there. The trail forks with the service road going to the left and the trail going right and in between was a small pond. There were some ducks floating around on the water and a huge porcupine drinking on the edge. We tried our best to get a good picture but once it realized we were there it took off with quills ready to fire. I don’t think I had seen a porcupine before this one so I’m not sure if they are all giant but this one was larger than a toddler.
Maybe 50ft after the fork in the trail we reached the natural bridge. It was quite impressive with a water falling flowing through it and it something we had seen anywhere else in the park.
There was a very cool but somewhat old sign that humbly compared this arch to two of Utah’s largest arches (Rainbow and Landscape).
The trail continues to the top of the bridge and gives you the only part of the trail that isn’t flat. At the top you could easily stand on top of the natural bridge (but you really should not because it will likely break). There is also what looked like the remains of a stone bridge over the creek to go look at the other side but it appeared to have washed away at some point.
After taking some pictures and enjoying the solitude of the trail (we had seen nobody else there) we hiked back and kept an eye out for our porcupine friend. Much of this trail seemed somewhat rundown and dilapidated as if it had once been a very popular attraction but fell into obscurity. We really enjoyed this hike and was one of the few we got to do in our short time in Yellowstone. Whenever I get to return to Yellowstone I will probably be hiking this trail again!
Thanks! – Josh