The Lewis River in Yellowstone National Park

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

Friday Favorites: Geysers & Hot Springs in Yellowstone NP

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

Old Faithful

Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces

Picture of the Day: The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

This picture was taken last summer. You can see the Yellowstone Falls in the background as the Yellowstone River flows through the canyon. I have a few more pictures below of different perspectives. rk

Picture of the Day: Bison in Waterton Lakes



A baby bison and it’s mom enjoying the views! 

     Yellowstone’s wolves are one of the most popular examples of a successful species reintroduction in North America! Another popular example would be the California Condor who was once considered extinct in the wild and now has a population approaching 500! I have been lucky enough to see both the wolves of Yellowstone and a California Condor (at the Grand Canyon!). On our recent trip to Waterton Lakes in Alberta we got lucky again and saw a small bison herd that was reintroduced into the Canadian plains in 2014! Still being quite the small herd and an ongoing process of reintroduction I am excited to see how the bison thrive in their old Canadian home! 
Thanks! – Josh

The Ten Best National Park Gateway Towns:

The National Park gateway towns are more than just a place to grab a quick meal or a shower.  Many of them have become full fledged tourist destinations of their own.  Of course, as they become more hip and popular with tourists, they can lose some of the vibe that made them popular in the first place.

Any list like this is subjective of course.  I have visits to several of these gateway towns scheduled in the next 60 days to possibly change my opinion and move up or down the list.  Without further ado:

Honorable Mention) Key West FL:  Key West is the jump off point to Dry Tortugas National Park. This town can get overwhelmed by partying tourists from the cruise ships that stop here.

10) Springdale UT:  Located at the west entrance to Zion National Park, this small town is as beautiful as it is congested.

9) Gatlinburg TN: Gatlinburg is known for having the most pancake houses per capita almost as much as for being the gateway to ultra popular Smoky Mountains National Park.

8) Gardiner MT: Located at the north entrance to Yellowstone NP, near Mammoth Hot Springs.  This small town feels more authentic and less tourist trap. I had some great pizza here once at Yellowstone Pizza Company.


The Roosevelt Arch as you leave Gardiner and enter Yellowstone NP

7) Williams AZ: This iconic Route 66 town is almost an hour to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. That’s a little farther than most on this list, but the Grand Canyon Railway runs daily from here to the Grand Canyon Village.

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Williams AZ on a snowy day.

6) Port Angeles WA: This small seaside town is a great base to explore the massive Olympic National Park. Port Angeles also features a ferry to beautiful Victoria BC.


Olympic National Park Visitor Center near Port Angeles

5) Durango CO: This wild west town is the gateway to Mesa Verde National Park. The historic Main Street is a great place to explore.

4) Whitefish MT: Whitefish is the gateway to gorgeous Glacier National Park. Wander Main Street and visit the many coffee shops and enjoy the lively art scene.

3) Moab UT: Moab is not the gateway to one National Park, but two: Arches and Canyonlands. This small desert town on the Colorado River is popular with bikers and off-road jeep enthusiasts.


My son Grant near “Tow-Mater” in Moab

2) Jackson WY: Jackson is ideally located at the southern entrance to Grand Teton National Park. The town square with elk antler arches is a great photo op before dining in one of the many fine dining establishments.


An arch made of elk antlers in Jackson WY

1) Bar Harbor ME: This quintessential New England coastal town is the gateway to Acadia National Park. Combine fresh Maine lobster and the unique low tide trek to neighboring Bar Island for a great time. I love the vibe here.


Beautiful Bar Harbor as seen from Bar Island

rk

Picture of the Day: Mammoth Hot Springs 


I couldn’t decide on just one picture because Mammoth Hot Springs is such a cool and unique place so here are four of my favorite pictures from Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park! 

Thanks! – Josh

National Park Half Marathons! How did I not know about this before?

During my recent visit to Yellowstone NP, I was made aware that they had a half marathon weekend in the park planned for the following weekend.    My wife is an avid runner (while I am more of a hiker), but we were shocked that we were not aware that this was a thing.   After doing some more research, we found that there are races in many of the National Parks.   Having said that, it is difficult to find information about National Park races online.   The NPS website doesn’t even mention them unless you want to scroll through long lists of activities which could take a lot of time.   No one organization seems to sponsor the races either, so there is not one central place to find out information about the races.

We are considering doing the Joshua Tree Half Marathon which is on November 4th 2017, and matches up well with our anniversary trip we do every year.   Also, it is a night race so the opportunity to stargaze during this race will be incredible.  If you’d like to join us at this race then check out:  https://runsignup.com/Race/CA/JoshuaTree/JoshuaTreeHalfMarathon.

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I will say that I am not familiar with runsignup or Vacation Races (which I am not sure if they are separate organizations or just link to each other).  I will have to update you after I participate in one of their races with how they handle the logistics of the race.   This group does offer a long list of half marathons that they sponsor in or near the National Parks (I noticed that some are not technically in the NP’s so check for that carefully).   You can find more information here:   http://vacationraces.com/.

Now some of the National Park’s seem to have locally sponsored races.   For example, Acadia National Park in Maine just had their annual race sponsored by the Mount Desert Island YMCA:  http://www.mdiymca.org/index.php?page=acadia-loop-half-mara.   That looked to be a gorgeous race following the rocky coastline of the Park.   Think of all the lobster rolls you could eat after burning off calories doing a 10K or half marathon!

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Rocky Coastline in Acadia National Park

If you like to participate in these kind of events, then I encourage you to do some research online or reach out directly to the National Park you want to visit and run through.   This does seem to be a great way to experience a National Park in a new way.   As always, thank you for reading.   rk