After an eventful few days in Jackson (my mum broke her wrist on our 2nd day which needed surgery to correct it!) we arrived in Yellowstone.
We stayed for 8 nights in West Yellowstone which suited us and the drive in and out of the park each day wasn’t too bad (except for the Bald Eagle nest area – see below) especially as both my husband and I shared the driving. We saw animals on the way – the bald eagle and deer everyday and on one occasion a coyote and on another a bison.
We headed into the park early every day (around 7am) taking our breakfast/snacks in the cooler we had purchased in Jackson. We took the advice from other travellers and stocked up in Jackson as it was cheaper and also as the supermarket was a lot bigger than the 2 in West Yellowstone there was more variety. Also by leaving at 7am we were pretty much first in the queue for the road to open which was always opened promptly at 8. We spent the 10 mins or so we had waiting each time enjoying the scenery with the sound of running water in the stream while sipping hot chocolate! I too, like the other poster – found myself nodding off on one occasion as it was so relaxing.
We explored an area each day starting off with the visitors centres which are very interesting and informative. We then took our time to see the main “attractions” in each area. The boardwalks were great and the 50c guides you can purchase were very good and informative.
We were fortunate enough to see a black and grizzly bear on our last day (just past Tower on the way to Mammoth) and lots of bison, elk and deer. Sadly I did not get to see a moose ....
Each day we headed back to West Yellowstone early afternoon so my mum could rest and also so we could eat early (the good restaurants in West Yellowstone get very busy later on). As we wanted to experience a bit of American culture - we went to the Rodeo one night. It was brilliant – an hour and a half of very good entertainment – the audience participation was also very entertaining. I would recommend it.
Our one biggest disappointment though was the standard of driving in Yellowstone. Many cars and trucks were exceeding the speed limit, ignoring road marking (ie when not to overtake) and other signs posted – particularly the sign on the West entrance for the Bald Eagle which clearly stated not to stop or get out of your vehicle. Every day there was a queue of traffic as people had stopped in the road and got out to take a photo! There were many other occasions when vehicles had stopped in the middle of the road to take a photo of scenery even when there was a pull out nearby. When we saw the bears the road looked like a major highway accident – there were cars everywhere and the rangers were shouting for drivers to return to their vehicles as they were blocking the road. Sadly these people not only put themselves and other tourists at risk but the whole reason why they are in Yellowstone ie the wildlife and the environment. So please if you are planning a trip to Yellowstone obey the rules and regulations – they are there for a reason.
With this exception we thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Jackson and Yellowstone – we saw a programme on Yellowstone in the UK and this led to us booking this trip. We were certainly not disappointed – it was everything and more that we had imagined. We even saw one of the Geyser Guisers that was on the programme!
Thank you to everyone who replied to my questions on trip advisor and everyone else who has posted a question – your questions also helped me plan our trip. For those of you still to have your vacation – have a great time. I will be looking at our photos and video for years to come.