Thursday, July 27, 2023

Trek through Yellowstone celebrates summer, never fails to delight

Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie" Meyers are all smiles at the iconic Roosevelt Arch in Yellowstone.


Tips on reserving a room to enjoy the park in a busy season

Bison graze peacefully in the park, awaiting thousands of views.


A TRIP THROUGH Yellowstone National Park, no matter how brief, yields pleasures and surprises with each visit.
Wintertime is a wondrous time in the park, although only
two of the hotels are open then. Still, worth considering.
In my decades on the planet, I've never missed an annual gambol through this eye-popping treasure, established in by President Theodore Roosevelt. Yellowstone was established 151 years ago by this conservationist president,  who is honored in a famous arch near Mammoth.
THE WONDERS OF "our" park unfold in glorious hues -- summer or winter -- and despite the crowds, it's a trip we never tire of taking.
Yellowstone is enormous -- 3,472 square miles. At first study, it seems a daunting undertaking to try to see it all. There are dozens of "main attractions" and hundreds of lesser known treasures. There is much to see and do, depending on your energy and interest.
The majesty of Grand Teton National Park is
 displayed in its dramatic jagged peaks.

Yellowstone turned 150 last year
 It's best to plan at least four days in Yellowstone. If you have less time, you can see highlights in two or three days. If you travel the park top to bottom, you'll be in three states. While the park is mostly in Wyoming, it spreads into Montana and Idaho.
You'll be keeping company with tourists from all over the world, and hundreds of animal species, including the famous bison and bears. Wolves in the northern Lamar Valley are making a comeback and elk and antelope roam, too, along with thousands of birds. You'll traverse lush forests, hot springs and gushing geysers, including the famous Old Faithful, the park's most crowded spot.
It's possible to see wildlife from the road,
here bison grazing near the river.

Figure a full week if you want to include Grand Teton National Park to the south. Well worth a visit if you've time for two stunning parks. Their wonders are different in many ways.
YELLOWSTONE HAS nine lodges with more than 2,000 rooms. Bookings are made early and many people reserve rooms a year ahead. That's possible because on the fifth of each month, rooms go on sale for that same month in the following year, making it possible to book ahead nearly 13 months. The park's lodges are open from late spring through fall, but only two are open in the winter.
A cow elk meanders close to the Roosevelt Arch.

Yellowstone's wildflowers abound after heavy rains this year.

STAYING INSIDE Yellowstone is more convenient for sightseeing, but hotel rooms are more expensive and often unavailable. 
We have stayed outside the park the last few visits -- it means a bit more driving, but lodging is cheaper outside the park and nearby towns have better restaurant selections and other attractions.
A few ideas to try are West Yellowstone, right at the west entrance; Cody, Wyo., a pleasant drive to the east entrance; Gardiner, at the north entrance; Big Sky,  a beautiful 50-mile drive to West Yellowstone,  along the west fork of the Gallatin River; and several places in Idaho, including a lodge we discovered last year, Sawtelle Mountain Resort.  It's a family friendly place, considerably cheaper than the closer motels and rentals, and a beautiful drive into West Yellowstone.  
More information to help you plan a park visit, even on short notice:; 

A packed house in Fishtail enjoys "The Three Musketeers," a lively 
touring production by Montana Shakespeare in the Parks. The troupe
tours two full, free shows from June into mid-September.
UP NEXT: Montana Shakespeare in the Parks is underway. This ambitious endeavor has been entertaining audiences in the Rocky Mountains for 51 years. This season's tour transits all of Montana and hits parts of Idaho, Wyoming and Washington states. On tap are two productions, "The Three Musketeers," adapted from the Dumas novel, and William Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure." The popular annual tradition is funded by grants and donations and is always met with a lively and grateful response.
For the schedule, go to:



  1. We love that park.

  2. Love Yellowstone...thanks! Fun piece & good ideas.

  3. Your beautiful piece of paradise is a highlight of our honeymoon last year.