Yellowstone is a must see destination for everyone. It is on your bucket list somewhere. Instead of focusing on the easy places everyone knows about, these are 6 lesser known places that are still Must-See locations.
1. Firehole Swimming Area
This is one of the best kept secrets of Yellowstone. Don’t miss it. Your kids will love you for letting them out of the car. The water isn’t too cold, actually it feels rather refreshing. Bring a lifejacket if you wish to float down a small series of rapids. Even if you’re a terrible swimmer, you can find a spot without worrying about drowning.
They’ve even got a spot where you can jump from a 20 foot cliff into the water if you’re up for a little excitement. The drive itself getting to this area isn’t far from the beaten path, but it boasts a wonderful view of the canyon.
2. The Morning
If you’re like most people who visit Yellowstone you showed up at 11AM and left at 4:00PM. You’ve got to remember that the animals prefer to be out an about in the morning. You’ve got a much better chance of seeing a bear, wolf, or some of the other more rare animals in the morning.
Plus you can’t beat the picture and the morning fog that really get you excited. Your friends will be more impressed by your pictures if you grab some early in the morning or late in the evening.
3. The Yellowstone Lodge
Located right by the “Old Faithful” this is a gem not to be missed. Spend some time in this historic building. You’ll never feel more like you’re in the west than when you visit this lodge. Constructed almost entirely of wood, you’ll be amazed at the architecture of this 1904 wonder.
Check out the bathrooms too. Obviously they’ve updated them some, but quite a bit of them is still original. Since the lodge has been so well preserved, the bathrooms are immaculate.
The rooms here are interesting because most have a shared shower for many rooms. It’ll feel a bit like a hostel this way. You’ll notice that the building is still heated by the radiators that carry the geothermal water through them to heat up the place. Incredible!
4. Boiling River of Yellowstone
Just get it. Bring along your bathing suit, and plan on getting wet, not cooking food. These are found all over the West, and you’ve got to try one with your visit. They have a freezing cold river, and a boiling river that meet together.
This forms a natural hot tub as you strive to find the right temperature by diverting enough cold water to cool down the natural hot spring water. If you’re looking for directions, I pulled this from the NPS website
A little distance south of the sign, a parking area on the east side of the road is used by bathers in the “Boiling River.” Bathers must walk upstream about a half mile from the parking area to the place where the footpath reaches the river. This spot is also marked by large clouds of steam, especially in cold weather… Bathers are allowed in the river during daylight hours only… Boiling River is closed in the springtime due to hazardous high water and often does not reopen until mid-summer.
5. Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Please don’t leave out the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. With both an upper and lower falls, there is plenty to see here. Plan on spending some serious time hiking in the canyon. You can drop down into the canyon at a couple of different spots that will provide majestic views of this wonder.
The part that makes this unique is the lack of other canyons like it. The colors of the canyon change based on the geothermal activity of that area. While most of it is yellow, you’ll get to see some reds, oranges, and other blends. It may not be as deep as the Grand Canyon, or as long, but either way it’s pretty grand.
6. Church in the Park
Not all denominations have chapels, or meetings in the park, but for those who don’t mind attending a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meeting, they’ve got a few for you to attend.
For those who enjoy church in the open air, they meet at Grand and Canyon at 4:30PM. If your preference is indoors, you can meet at either the Old Faithful or Lake Lodge at 7:00PM. The meetings last 70 minutes, so plan accordingly.
Personally I’ve yet to attend, but it’s definitely something I’ll eventually do. I’ve always wanted to attend church in the outdoors, and now it looks like it’s possible.
Being from the Yellowstone location has caused me to overlook its beauty. I seek to travel to faraway lands, while it stares me in the face. I’ve only visited two times in the last 20 years. Each time I visit, it leaves me thirsting for more. People come from all over the world to check out these sites, and I need to be one of them.