Yellowstone National Park (East Drive)

Waking up Sunday morning, I had decided that I was going to drive on the Eastern Side of Yellowstone National Park this time. I ended up driving the majority of what I had missed on Friday, taking in a great deal of sites. I then settled in to boondocking with a view of the Tetons.

IMG_5034Entering Yellowstone from the South Entrance this time, I followed much of the same path as I saw at the end of the day Friday, before arriving at the West Thumb area. I had the West Thumb Geyser Basin mostly to myself in the morning, save for just a few others who were out for the morning solitude in the park as well. It was quite pleasant.

Moving on, I followed the Northwest side of Yellowstone Lake before arriving in the Hayden Valley area, stopping to take in the Mud Volcano geothermal area. It didn’t take long at all, while I was here, for people to start coming in, and the park to start getting busier again. I enjoyed it while I could before heading up to Canyon Village.

IMG_5096The second I got a truly good view of the upper and lower falls and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, I fell in love with all of it. I knew that I was not going to be able to pass continuing the journey on and seeing as much of it as I could that day. I even grabbed my bear spray and took a short hike into the backcountry along the southern rim of the canyon.

I ended up traveling north to Tower Fall from the canyon, stopping to enjoy the scenery all along the way. Yellowstone is truly beautiful country, and I was thoroughly loving it, despite the insanity of the tourists on a holiday weekend.

As my loop took me West, I even took the time to drive on the dirt Blacktail Plateau Drive. I didn’t take many pictures during that drive, but I found it remarkably interesting and enjoyable. If for no other reason, it was great to find a spot with significantly less traffic than the majority of the rest of the park at that time.

As I got closer and closer to approaching Mammoth Hot Springs again, some thunderstorms rolled through, so I ended up not stopping along the way to see more sights. The lightning was a magnificent sight, but I decided to simply admire it from the respectful distance of my car as I passed onto Mammoth Hot Springs, following south to Norris again.

IMG_5151At the Norris junction, I also took the opportunity to take the road back East, stopping at Virginia Falls. This was another spot remarkably lacking the insane amount of people everywhere else in the park. Although the view of the waterfall was obscured by the rock and trees, it was a lovely area observing this more secluded spot in Yellowstone.

IMG_5161I then headed south again on the route that I came from, leaving the park, and going back into Grand Teton National Park again. I had scoped out a great looking spot in Bridger-Teton National Forest, with a wonderful view of the Tetons. Many people have taken to calling this spot, “Upper Teton View”, having passed the lower, and even more packed full of people, version on the way in. When I arrived, there was a great deal of people already camped out, but I was able to snag a spot that lacked some of the view but had a bit more privacy, tucked away in the trees.


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