Visit Montana & Wyoming... the details of our vacay to Yellowstone & Grand Teton

Visit Montana & Wyoming... the details of our vacay to Yellowstone & Grand Teton

So right out of the gate to the school year ending this year, my husband and I headed out west once again. We’re still on the whole “Tour de US National Parks” kick, and this time we headed to the beautiful states of Montana and Wyoming to see America’s first National Park: Yellowstone. When we told friends that we’d be visiting Montana and Wyoming, many referred to it as “God’s Country” and boy were they right- it did not disappoint!

Enlight1481.JPG
Enlight1418.JPG
IMG_1062.jpg
IMG_0865.jpg
IMG_0748.jpg

So this post will break down the specifics of our stay including: 

General/Planning Information+ Our Itinerary+ Hotel Details + Hikes/ Sights to See+ Places to Eat + and other things to consider while planning

Note: I HIGHLY recommend ALL of the accommodations we stayed at. They were absolutely gorgeous and I had zero complaints. They’ll all be linked below.


General Information about the Parks

Where is Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park ? 

From the NPS website.

From the NPS website.

Named after it’s famous Yellowstone River, Yellowstone was deemed America’s first National Park on March 1, 1872 and covers roughly 3,500 square miles in the north western part of Wyoming, but it also spills over into parts of Montana and Idaho. It’s an 1 ½ hour drive from Bozeman, Montana making Bozeman Yellowstone National Airport a popular option to fly in to when traveling to Yellowstone. For those of you local to Orange County, NY like me, Bozeman airport reminded me of Stewart Airport crossed with a Bass Pro Shop. Stewart is lower NY’s best kept secret- it’s one terminal, you can show up 45 minutes before your flight and get right through security. It’s like you’ve taken a step back in time to Pre-9/11 and is the closest we “paupers” get to luxury flying.

You can also fly into a much smaller airport in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but there aren’t any direct flights to it from the east coast- and it’s much more costly. There are 5 major entry points to Yellowstone National Park: Gardiner, MT; West Yellowstone, MT; Cooke City, WY; Cody, WY, and Jackson Hole, WY, with the two most popular being Gardiner and West Yellowstone. (Note: Not all are open year round).

Just 10 miles south of the Southern entrance to Yellowstone National park is Grand Teton National Park. Named after Grand Teton, the tallest mountain in the Teton Range, it is much smaller than Yellowstone at just 480 square miles. The most popular city to stay is Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which is just south of the park.

What to know before planning: 

1.     Size: Yellowstone National Park is absolutely enormous so when planning a trip there, plan to stay in different places because it could be 50-100 miles between certain points. For instance on nights 1 +2 although we spent most of our day in Wyoming, we came out of the park and stayed both nights in different parts of Montana.

2. Cost to get into the Park: The cost to get into the park is $35 which admits one single, private, non-commercial vehicle and all its passengers and that covers your entry into both Yellowstone and Grand Teton for 7 days. Or you can buy a National Park pass for $80. This covers all National Parks in the United States and a number of historical sites like the Statue of Liberty and Presidential Libraries for an entire year. Your national park pass also covers you and anyone you are with- so one person can buy the pass and all those with them can enter the park. You can even share the pass with one other person, and they can use it without you- as long as they sign the back of it. We bought this pass in August last year when we visited the Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion National Parks. Since we visited Yellowstone and Grand Teton in July- we were still covered under the same pass. Note: if you have a 4th grader in your home- the National Park pass is free for them and covers your entire family as well. If you are 62 and over it’s also free, and I believe members of the military either get a discounted or a free pass.

3.     Season + Weather: Because of the harsh winter landscape- parts of Yellowstone are closed during what would be “early fall” in NY through early spring. The best time to see Yellowstone is late spring and summer (which also happens to be it’s busiest time). Also plan for many different temperatures throughout the same day- we learned this the hard way. It’s extremely difficult to get a dependable weather forecast for the park because of it’s size and because of the different elevations. Depending upon where we were in the park- the temperature could differ by as much as 20 degrees. For instance when we set out in the morning of Day 2 in Lamar Valley it was 55 degrees. When we got to Mount Washburn, the weather changed to rain, and it dropped to the low 40’s. Mid-day we were hot in our pants and long sleeve shirts because the temperature had risen to 85 and we had to switch to shorts and t-shirts. So pack many pairs of clothing and a raincoat just in case!

4.     How much time should I plan for both parks? Yellowstone is a much larger park and there’s more to see, you could spend your entire vacation in Yellowstone alone. So at a minimum budgeting 3-5 days in Yellowstone will give you enough time to see the highlights. Grand Teton National Park is 1/7th the size of Yellowstone and 1-2 days is all you need to see the best of Grand Teton. (Note: we spent 3 days here to budget in some down-time after all we saw in Yellowstone).

5. National Park Accommodations: Need to be booked early. We prefer not to stay in National Park Accommodations because they tend to be expensive and aren’t always the nicest of accommodations for the price. We had originally booked one night in Yellowstone National Park in Grant Village- but at a whopping $400 a night, I changed our reservation a week prior and booked an extra night in a much nicer hotel in Jackson Hole, WY instead.


Our Itinerary:

We ended up spending 7 days out west this time: Our time was split between the two states of Montana and Wyoming- since Yellowstone takes up the most north western part of the state of Wyoming, but spills into the states of Montana and Idaho as well. We spent a good three days in Yellowstone and a good three days in Grand Teton National Park, which is just south of Yellowstone in Wyoming. Our trip was a combination of driving to different sites or points, with walks along boardwalks or small hikes.

Here is a brief overview of our itinerary and I’ll get into the details of each day below.

Screen Shot 2019-07-26 at 8.36.45 PM.png

As I’ve stated with travel blog posts, whenever I start planning trips like this- I start looking at maps of the state and important sites that I want to see. I normally draw out a “chicken-scratch” map of the state and start starring what I want to see- so I can determine what’s the best itinerary to make the most out of all of our days there. Yellowstone National Park can be broken up into two main areas: the Upper Loop and Lower Loop. The Upper Loop consists of what you would normally picture as Montana and Wyoming: mountains, valleys, rivers, and lots of open land to see wildlife. The Lower Loop is known as “Geyser Country” thanks to it’s popular tourist attractions like “Old Faithful”. By the way, did you know that Yellowstone National Park is home to half of all the geysers in the world? In fact Yellowstone is located on a super volcano and you’ll be absolutely amazed at all the different landscapes and geological features you’ll see all in the same park.

Grand Teton National Park is so much smaller that it doesn’t need to be broken up into sections.

Here are maps to both parks (which are also handed out when you enter the park itself):

Here is my highlighted map of Day 1-3 color coded with the short hand itinerary above:

Screen Shot 2019-07-26 at 8.37.08 PM.png


Day 1- Bozeman, MT to Gardiner, MT (1 hr 20 min drive)

5D317532-4093-4E0F-8F9E-B8C41F6DEF49.JPG

After flying in to BZN and renting a car, we drove 1 hour and 20 minutes south to Gardiner, MT which is the most popular northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Our flight arrived at 12pm and we were able to check in early to our hotel or should I say… tipi. We stayed at the Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel, located at 20 Maiden Basin Drive in Gardiner, and by far it was the highlight of accommodations for our trip (and I’ll get into those details below). The location was super convenient as well- we were just a 5 minute drive to downtown Gardiner, the northern entrance of Yellowstone. We went into town and first stopped to eat at the Iron Horse Bar & Grille which overlooks the Yellowstone River. I had a margarita and elk nachos- as recommended in the LP book I read. We then drove just a minute down the road to check out the famous Roosevelt Arch at the entrance of the park and then saw the following sites: Mammoth Hot Springs (traveled on 2 miles worth of boardwalks), Boiling River (which was too hot to actually soak in), and Obsidian Cliff. After that we headed back to our “hotel” because we were so excited and intrigued by it- because at 8pm they were having complimentary beer, wine and smores, by the camp fire.

IMG_0527.jpg
IMG_0559.jpg
IMG_0494.jpg
Enlight1413.JPG
IMG_0574.jpg
IMG_2339.JPG

About our Tipi (also spelt teepee):

While searching accommodations on priceline I came across the Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel and booked it almost immediately. And just laying in our tipi that night going to sleep- I was so so happy that I had booked it because I felt like I was living out some childhood dream. These “glamping-style” accommodations were far from “roughing it”. Each tipi had either a king size bed, or two queen size beds within them. Since I booked late- our only option was two queen size beds- which were super comfortable. Our tipi was roughly an 18 foot circumference that had electrical outlets, a coffee maker, safe, chair, robes, fan, small heating stove, and two adirondack chairs to enjoy your wine in the evening, or coffee in the morning.

IMG_0486.jpg

FAQ:

Was there a bathroom in the tipi? No, but there was a building maybe 25 feet from our tipi that had 8 beautiful private bathrooms that were frequently cleaned.

IMG_0500.jpg
IMG_0503.jpg

Do the tipi’s lock? No.. they zip. We asked about leaving our luggage in the tipi itself while we went into town and the host assured us that they’ve never had a theft problem before. We felt safe enough leaving our belongings in the tipi and taking our wallets and jewelry with us. They also provide a small safe within it.

Can rain get in the tipi? This was a concern of ours- because the radar showed a 10 minute passing rain shower- however there is a catch at the top of the tipi to prevent water from getting in. A family we met at the camp fire told us the night before there were terrible thunderstorms and no rain came into their tipi whatsoever.

Where there privacy issues? Almost none. Quiet hours were 10pm and on. We did go to bed at 10:30pm although it was still light out, because we were waking up early to see the wildlife the next day, and two kids mistakenly thought our tipi was theirs and tried to unzip it (LOL). As soon as I yelled “not your tipi!” they apologized and zipped it back up.

Was there breakfast? Breakfast was served at the hotel, but it was not included in the price. However, breakfast wasn’t served until I believe 7:30, and we left earlier than that to catch the wildlife at dawn in Lamar Valley. There was a “breakfast tent” that served free coffee all day, and there was a “check-in” tent that had board games, ice, buckets, and sold alcoholic beverages as well as clothing and small gifts. However, every night there is complimentary smores, wine and beer around the camp fire that the host puts on.


Day 2- Lamar Valley and the Upper Loop of Yellowstone

Enlight1414.jpg

So on the morning of Day 2, we woke up around 5:45 am, enjoyed coffee on our adirondack chairs outside of our tipi, and then hopped in the car to head to Lamar Valley. Lamar Valley was noted as being the best place to see wildlife: bison, black wolves, and grizzly bears. The best times to see them are at dawn and dusk. So we headed for Lamar Valley by going back through downtown Gardiner, entering the northern gate, and driving towards Tower-Roosevelt. At the junction you have to turn toward the left to continue just 10 miles down the road to Lamar Valley. There are a ton of pull-offs on the way to stop and see wildlife- and all you truly have to do is look for tons of cars pulled over and photographers out- to know where the major wildlife is being spotted. I highly recommend heading out to Lamar Valley- despite it being just off the Upper Loop. Wear warm clothes and don’t forget binoculars (like we did, and I had to purchase some while in Montana)!!! We saw bison and black wolves, but unfortunately we didn’t get to see any grizzly bears (although many others at the camp fire the night before had stated they saw a ton).

Enlight1417.JPG
Enlight1419.JPG

After wildlife watching it started to rain, just in time for us to head back to Tower-Roosevelt and get breakfast at the Roosevelt Lodge.. I had the “Hiker’s Special” and my husband had the “Two Eggs Any Style”, both delicious. After breakfast we had planned a hike at Mount Washburn- the highest point in Yellowstone, but unfortunately the weather wasn’t cooperating and it was just too damn cold with the rain, so we stopped for pictures instead and headed down towards Dunraven Pass to see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone: another one of the highlights of our trip. We checked out all the short hikes on both sides of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone- my favorite being Artist Point, which gives you beautiful views of Upper and Lower Falls (Unfortunately the super popular Uncle Tom’s Trail- steep stairs that give you a great view of the falls- were closed due to the rain). On the opposite side of Uncle Tom’s Trail was the super steep “Brink of the Lower Falls Trail” that’s where I got the beautiful panorama below. It’s definitely a super steep climb with many switchbacks back up- but also short (.5 miles at the most), and so worth it. We made it down just in time for the rain to stop and the sun to start coming out. I sweat my ass off in the clothes I was wearing for the 40 degree weather that was going on just 30 minutes earlier.

Enlight1425.JPG
Enlight1418 2.JPG
IMG_0614.jpg
IMG_0590.jpg
IMG_0675.jpg

We hopped back in the car and continued the Upper Loop by headed towards the Norris Geyser Basin to see the Artist Paintpots. The series of boardwalks around this geyser area was about 2 miles round trip- and the best paintpots were in the upper right corner (so head to the right when you enter the boardwalks, its an easier downhill walk back). From there we headed towards Madison and stopped at many spots along the way including Gibbon Falls. At Madison Junction we headed towards West Yellowstone, where we were staying for the night. Along that 14 mile stretch that followed the Madison River is where we saw tons of elk and bison.

IMG_0748 2.jpg
IMG_0723 2.jpg

We arrived in West Yellowstone, Montana, around 4pm and checked in to our accommodations for the night: Holiday Inn of West Yellowstone. Another popular gateway town to Yellowstone National Park, West Yellowstone had tons of little shops and places to eat. We ate at a place called Taqueria Malverde- they had awesome tacos.

Be sure to checkout the Pullman Railway Car from the early 1900’s which is located right in the Holiday Inn of West Yellowstone’s dining area.


Day 3- Lower Loop of Yellowstone: Geyser Country: our longest day

IMG_0847.jpg

We had breakfast at our hotel (which wasn’t included in the stay, but only totaled $20 for the both of us), and headed out early through the West Entrance of Yellowstone, which was maybe .25 miles from our hotel. One of my biggest tips is to get up and out early when you’re entering Yellowstone National Park because the summer is it’s busiest time and you can get stuck in miles of traffic-especially when people spot wildlife. We were reminded of this and how lucky we were to get out early- when on our last day we drove back through the park from Grand Teton and out through West Yellowstone, around 10am. There was literally 10 miles of traffic coming in the opposite direction from those who were entering the park from where we had stayed on night 2. We didn’t have this issue whatsoever when entering the park around 7:30am, compared to those who were entering at 10.

IMG_0821.jpg
IMG_0827.jpg
IMG_0865 2.jpg

Day 3 was our longest day of sightseeing and hikes. We walked/hiked over 12 miles this day, between the lookout points, boardwalks, and small hikes we took. At Madison Junction we headed right towards the Lower Geyser Basin and stopped at: Firehole Falls, Fountain Flat Drive, Fountain Paint Pot, and some other small look out points where we did many boardwalks around geysers. We continued to the highlight of my trip in geyser country: Grand Prismatic Spring located in Midway Geyser Basin. At Midway Geyser Basin we stopped at signed for “Grand Prismatic Springs” and took some boardwalks around the springs- ***however, for the best view of the springs- continue one stop further for Fairy Falls-*** and there’s a short 1 mile hike to an overlook where we took most of the pictures above. (BTW: Fairy Falls parking lot fills up fast). From there instead of heading back to our car- we decided to do a 5 mile round trip hike to Fairy Falls- Yellowstone’s 7th highest waterfall. It was a nice break from the crowds and an easy flat hike.

IMG_0908.jpg

We got back in the car and headed towards Lower Geyser Basin: to see the famous Old Faithful Geyser. Old Faithful is the most frequently erupting geyser in Yellowstone. Every 45 to 90 minutes Old Faithful erupts and can shoot water as high as 200 feet. Rangers predict eruptions with amazing accuracy- give or take 10 minutes and post it at the Old Faithful Lodge. You can also check predictions on the national park website. There are seats on the boardwalks surrounding Old Faithful. You can also get a great view of it from the deck at Old Faithful Lodge, or by doing a short strenuous hike up to Observation Hill via the boardwalks to the left of Old Faithful (when looking at the lodge). Shad and I decided to do the hike and sit on top of the hill to watch it erupt. Afterwards we had a great buffet lunch at Old Faithful Lodge- and enjoyed vodka and huckleberry lemonade (btw: huckleberry drinks are super popular in Wyoming and Montana). After lunch, we were able to catch Old Faithful erupt once again, but this time from the boardwalks- and then headed to our car to go towards Grant Village. We checked out Yellowstone Lake from the West Thumb, stopped at a lot of view points along the way- then drove down to Grand Teton National Park, which was about an hour and half drive.

IMG_0919.jpg
IMG_0935.jpg
IMG_0945.jpg
IMG_0957.jpg

Once we entered Grand Teton, we stopped at a ton of view points to see Jackson Lake Overlook, Colter Bay Village, and Willow Flats Overlook. At Jackson Lake Junction, we headed to the left towards Moran Junction, and stopped at Oxbow Bend Turnout. Once we got to Moran Junction, we headed right on 89/191 towards Jackson Hole, and we saw a ton of Bison at Elk Ranch Flats Turnout. From there, I wanted to stop at the iconic Mormon Row, a community old houses from Morman settlers dating back to the 1890’s- which we got to by taking a left onto Antelope Flats Road, which comes up directly after Menors Ferry Historic District. After taking some beautiful pictures of Mormon Row with Mount Moran in the background, we headed back the way we came and continued into Jackson Hole, WY.

IMG_0992.jpg
IMG_1029 2.jpg
IMG_1062.jpg

After a long day, checked in to our hotel called the Mountain Modern Motel, and ate great tacos at a restaurant walking distance from our motel called: Hatch. While the food was great- the staff wasn’t very friendly- and seemed more interested in their cell phones than chatting with us. So if you’re anti-social and love tacos, this is the place for you. We each had steak tacos with huckleberry margaritas- which were satisfying, and then we retired for the night.

Pictures from our cute motel that was walking distance to everything in downtown Jackson Hole:

IMG_1081 3.jpg
IMG_1080.jpg

IMG_1072.jpg
IMG_1082.jpg
IMG_1138.jpg

Day 4- Jackson Hole, WY + Scenic Drive through Grand Teton National Park

Enlight1496.JPG

We were literally pooped from the day before- it was a long 14 hour non-stop day that included 12 total miles of walking, hiking, and sight seeing. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen more in one day in my life. So I was super happy we had decided to change our stay in Grant Village Yellowstone, to taking the straight drive to Grand Teton National Park, and waking up there instead. We slept in late this morning- woke up and had breakfast in the cute little town of Jackson Hole at JH Coffee Roasters, and caught the 4th of July parade outside from our table as we ate breakfast. Jackson Hole is an awesome ski town- they had TONS of shops and restaurants, and we spent the greater part of the morning exploring after the parade. History dork: Did you know that Wyoming was the first state to give women the right to vote? The offer of free land was offered to women and used as an incentive to get them out west because it was thought that women would civilize “the wild west” (haha, ain’t that the truth). Anyways, it was the 150th anniversary of women getting the right to vote (a whole 50 years before the 19th amendment was passed), and it was represented in the 4th of July parade.

IMG_1142.jpg

Everything was walking distance from our hotel (which was awesome by the way… I loved every part of the decor there). So we had originally planned for a hike on this day, and kayaking the next day, but frankly my calves were burning from the previous day’s itinerary- so we settled for a scenic drive instead.

Screen Shot 2019-07-26 at 9.28.22 PM.png

On our scenic drive we basically did a big loop around the park- headed back up 89/191, the way we came the night before towards Moran Junction, to Jackson Lake Lodge, then came back down Teton Park Road. Along the way we stopped at almost every spot you see marked on the map below: Glacier View Turnout, Schwabacher Landing, Teton Point Turnout, Snake River Overlook, Cunningham Cabin Historic Site, before stopping at Jackson Lake Lodge for huckleberry margaritas at the Blue Heron bar- overlooking Jackson Lake.

IMG_1193.jpg
IMG_1191.jpg
IMG_1214.jpg

On our way back down we took a right at Jackson Lake Junction, and hung out at Jackson Lake Dam for a while, where tons of people including a park ranger had told us they spotted grizzly bears. We unfortunately didn’t see any- and continued on to Signal Mountain Road- where we drove 5 miles up to the top of Signal Mountain for a great overlook. We then continued back down Teton Park Road and hit: Cascade Canyon Overlook, Jenny Lake Overlook, and Teton Glacier Turnout. At Moose Junction we turn right to head back towards Jackson Hole- and had a late lunch at a place called “Noodle Bar” where we had THE best beef noodle bowl I’ve ever had- (I got mine without the jalapeño). We both loved it SO much, that I canceled our anniversary dinner reservations for the next night- which we had previously made for a fixed 5-course meal at Jenny Lake Lodge. The bartender from Austria ( I forget his name) was super nice and we had great conversation.

Enlight1495.JPG

That night we had some drinks at different bars in town including the famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, where a bunch of Clint Eastwood movies were filmed, and we caught the fireworks right in the center of town. We met a ton of locals at the bar who told us about great places to see wildlife, and told us about what life was like in general in Wyoming.


Day 5- Jenny Lake Hike in Grand Teton

IMG_1311.jpg

On the morning of Day 5 we got breakfast from a great little burrito window a couple blocks down from our hotel called D.O.G. From there we filled up our water packs and headed to Jenny Lake to do a scenic hike around the lake for our anniversary. We had originally planned to rent kayak’s at Colter Bay Marina at the larger Jackson Lake instead, but it was just too cold to be in a kayak when we set out in the morning when the rental time started. The parking lot fills up super fast- so you might have to park way out on the road like we did. The Jenny Lake Loop is a 7 mile loop around the lake, but if you wanted to you could do a 3 mile loop (if you head to the left), or a 4 mile loop (if you head to the right), and take a ferry ride back. Or if you didn’t want to hike at all- you could take the ferry both ways. Round trip ticket was $20, $10 for a one way. We hiked to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point and then took the ferry back.

IMG_1335.jpg
IMG_1332.jpg

Note: everywhere in Yellowstone and Grand Teton they warn you that you SHOULD carry bear spray with you. Bear spray is like mase- except it can shoot up to 30 feet and be sprayed at a grizzly or black bear, should one try to attack you. There were stories posted EVERYWHERE about grizzly attacks. The problem is- owning bear spray in NY and many other states is illegal, and it can’t be transported in your luggage- regardless if you check it. So basically you have to buy it in Wyoming and Montana, and leave it there as well. It’s $50… and the entire time I hemmed and hawed over whether we should buy it or not. We weren’t doing any “deep back country” hikes- and my husband assured me we wouldn’t need it. So instead our strategy was to hike behind a family who had it- and they also had small children (which my husband lovingly referred to as potential bear snacks… lol). This worked for us… but I don’t recommend you do this.

We spent the greater part of the day at Jenny Lake and then headed back to Jackson Hole and again had tacos (I feel like all we’ve eaten on this trip is tacos… lol) at a place called Merry Piglets Mexican Grill. Food was great, bartender was super friendly. We shopped around town… took a nap… then as we started to get ready for our 5-course anniversary dinner at Jenny Lake Lodge…. we didn’t know if after late lunch we could eat 5 courses for dinner… and we also loved our dinner the night before at the Noodle Bar so much. So I canceled our reservations and we had the same dinner we had the night before- and did NOT regret it one bit.

However, if you’re interested in the Jenny Lake Lodge Dinner (reservations suggested), you can find out details for it here:

And if you plan to kayak or rent a small motor boat on the marina, you can check it out here:


Day 6- Bozeman, MT

39883D2A-319C-4CB6-8A95-AE48803213DE.JPG

On the morning of Day 6 we woke up, packed up the car, and had breakfast at Dooran’s Chuckwagon on our way out of Grand Teton. We decided to drive back through Yellowstone and out the west side of Yellowstone through West Yellowstone, MT. We wanted to get one last taste of both parks before spending our last day in Bozeman, Montana- and we stopped at a bunch of view points along the way. Once we were out of Yellowstone, we stopped at a bunch of spots along the Gallatin River and watched a lot of white water rafters. We headed back up to Bozeman, a 4 hour in total car ride, and arrived in Bozeman around noon. We stayed at the beautiful Lark Hotel, which allowed us to check in super early at noon, and we explored the town.

IMG_1387.jpg
IMG_1408.jpg
IMG_1392.jpg
IMG_1399.jpg
IMG_1393.jpg

We had planned to go to the Museum of the Rockies- but by the time we got through many shops and bars it was almost closing time for the Museum (which closes at 5pm). So we spent the day exploring downtown Bozeman, which was all walking distance from our awesome hotel. I had great frozen mint chocolate latte from Wild Joe’s Coffee, we checked out a bunch of little shops- including the Montana Scene (which was my favorite for different tourist Montana attire). We had lunch at Naked Noodle- which had a ton of gluten free options, continued to a few bars, such as Bozeman Spirits Distillery (right across the street from our hotel), the rooftop bar at Bozeman Taproom- and decided on dinner at Dave’s Sushi (which was an hour wait, but well worth it). The morning of Day 7 before packing up and getting ready to go back to the airport, which was only 15 minutes away- we ate breakfast at: Jam! and it was delicious.

IMG_1406.jpg
IMG_1419.jpg

If you’re interested in checking out the Museum of the Rockies:


Tips for your trip:

  1. Book early! I hemmed and hawed over whether we were going to go to Montana and Wyoming this summer or to the Caribbean- so booking late meant my flights went from $550 a person to $720.

  2. Get into the park early! Start early, avoid the crowds and traffic because of the size of the park you’ll be doing a lot of driving! We were in the park around 7am every morning and out usually around 4- so we also beat the crowds in the gateway towns at eating establishments . 

3.     Bring a light backpack with a water bladder, binoculars, as well as a couple varying weather outfits as I mentioned above. (You can get one from Dick’s Sporting Goods on sale for $25 in the spring time (and it’s on sale as I write this post for $20!) - which makes it much more reasonable than the camelbak brand). Here is the one I’ve been using for years:

 4.     Bring a snacks- something sweet and something salty to replenish yourself during hikes and in between stopping points which can sometimes be miles and miles apart.

5. Don’t be dumb like us, purchase BEAR SPRAY! Your life is definitely worth the $50 purchase (although I was too frugal to do so myself). You can not transport it via your luggage, regardless of whether it’s checked, so buy it once you get to Montana/Wyoming.

6. Be respectful of our beautiful parks: Please take everything you bring into the park out with you if you can’t find a trash can! I can’t tell you how many diapers we saw on the side of the road while driving through Yellowstone. And follow all signs when it comes to staying on boardwalks: it’s actually illegal to walk on the thermal grounds because it can ruin them. Recently a tourist was brought up on charges for stepping off the boardwalks and on to the thermal features at Yellowstone.  

7.     Check the National Park’s website or social media before solidifying your itinerary for the day. Some trails may be closed from weather or for other reasons and you can then adjust your plan. On our second trip to Zion National Park in Utah rained for an entire day so we had to adjust our itinerary and days .

8. Don’t be puzzled by their weird toilet signs in the bathrooms warning you not to climb and stand on top of the toilet : on my last day in Montana I asked a gas station attendant about these strange signs in all of the bathrooms. He told me that the visitor center across the street went through over 10 toilet seats and 5 completely broken toilets in the last week alone ( I shit you not… haha) , because Asian tourists had a history of getting on top of bowl, due to customs in their country where they swat over holes to use the restroom.

IMG_1217.jpg

Planning Resources :

IMG_3790.JPG

And lastly for more information on these parks be sure to buy the ultimate planning guide book that I always purchase when planning out these types of trips: Lonely Planet’s Guide, which includes maps, recommendations on itineraries, restaurants, rentals, etc:

And I also purchased Fodor’s Guide which isn’t as comprehensive and informative as what I mentioned above, however it gave great illustrations explaining the science behind thermal features and geysers in Yellowstone:


  

And as always, thanks for stopping by, reading, and supporting me! Feel free to comment below or share with a friend!

<3 Barbra


If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy my other posts:


Hey Friends, I spend a lot of time putting together these posts, and I would love it if you’d show some love back and followed me on Instagram. Click on any of the pictures below from my current feed, and follow me! Thank you so much!! <3

Ideas for Kitchen Countertop Decor

Ideas for Kitchen Countertop Decor

5 Tips To Get the Most Out of HomeGoods

5 Tips To Get the Most Out of HomeGoods