With just a long weekend to explore such a big national park, we have no time to lose! There is a small shop in our lodge that served basic breakfast items and the food wasn’t bad for a quick breakfast. I got the sausage and egg biscuit, basically pre-made and they heat it up in the oven once ordered.
First destination we headed to was Mammoth Hot Springs located in the northern side of Yellowstone National Park. Early morning on the road, there was almost no one except us and a bison!
And more bisons along the Grand Loop Road.
A waterfall along the route that we decided to stop for some quick photos:
We finally arrived and there were plenty of parking spaces as we were early. We started to drive around the Upper Terrace Drive loop to view the unique landscape of this section of the park.
When we were standing there, we head “ding” sounds from our phones, the sounds were notifications lol that means there was signal! Those three youngsters were super happy and they started to show off their incredible photos of Yellowstone in social media.
Alright kids, let’s go!
We didn’t walk down, we’ll save that for later. We drove the loop and saw a deer far away.
Orange Spring Mound:
There wasn’t much to see, to be honest, in the Upper Terrace Loop Drive. We drove down to park our car and then walk around the Lower Terraces Area.
I enjoyed the Lower Terrance more as there are those beautiful layered “cake” formations!
The yellow ones were wetted and white ones were dried and the amazing mountains as backdrops.
A closer look a those layered “ponds”:
The layers of colors: green-yellow-orange-white of Mound Spring!
I guess it was the dry season so not much cascading waterfall effect?
The Palette Spring, it was so hard to get a good angle of it…only able to view the colors from the top!
This strange cone is the Liberty Cap.
Palette Spring from the bottom, you don’t see the palette of colors at this angle:
The “black” formation that sticks out is the Devil’s Thumb:
And then tour group started to arrive when we were about to be done 😀
When we walked back to our car, the parking lot was full already so be there early! Next, we drove to Lamar Valley to see more wild animals! The landscape of the valley was so green, open, and relaxing…no more boiling egg smell! Another group photo 😀
The Bisons were hanging out on that area next to the river:
I didn’t bring my telephoto lens for the trip so I zoomed in at 70 mm:
There were plenty of pull-over area along the road so you can always stop and take wondering photos! More Bison!
After an hour, we decided to head back to Canyon Village as there were a lot more on our list to see! We made a stop at Tower General Store to use the restroom and then some photos of the Yellowstone River.
We took the Grand Loop Road and passed through mountains and valleys…surprisingly in the middle of nowhere up on the mountain, the cellphone signal was so good that first time ever 4G speed LOL! We made a quick stop for photos and those youngsters to update their Snapchat.
Once we got back to Canyon Village, we had a quick lunch in the cafeteria before heading to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone!
There is only one-way into the North Rim Drive and it was jam-packed with cars! We waited for a parking spot and then the Bison appeared OMG! We were super lucky that the spaces between the cars on the parking lot were too narrow for the Bison so we had a safe place for us to be close and take photos of the Bison.
A photo with it too haha!
There were plenty of lookouts and hiking trails and different parking lots for each, however, we were afraid that if we continued to drive down, we wouldn’t be able to find a free spot so better to park our car wherever we can and walk. We walked into one of the lookout spot and there it is the majestic Grand Canyon of Yellowstone!
Even though we were far away, we heard the powerful noise from the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone! The canyon is different than the Grand Canyon, it has more green trees and lighter shades of rocks.
The views were astonishing!
After the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, we drove all the way to West Thumb Geyser Basin, we skipped this yesterday because we wanted to get to Grand Prismatic Spring first thing. Along the way, we made a quick stop at the Mud Pots.
The Dragon Mouth Spring, where it was constantly blowing hot air out.
One of the many mud pots there:
Look at the Bisons there, having spa treatment? LOL!
Continued onto the West Thumb Geyser Basin where it is located right next to the West Thumb section of the Yellowstone Lake. After seeing tens of colorful spings yesterday, the geysers and hot springs at the West Thumb Geyser Basin weren’t that impressive, we were spoiled!
Black pool….hum…where is the black?
Some underwater geysers:
We still have time before the sunset so we decided to head to Norris Geyser Basin.
We walked around the boardwalk loop and this section of the park is very bleached.
The green color from the algae?
It was getting cloudy (no hope of a great sunset again sigh) but the colors were clearly visible. I like the pastel and milky colors in this section of the park.
Steamboat Geyser…plenty of steams…
This is Echinus, the acidic geyser:
It was a long day for us and we headed back to Canyon Village for an early dinner to avoid the crowds. Once again, the Asian stir-fried 🙁 I picked noodle this time and it was a little bit better than rice!
It was so cloudy that there was no chance for sunset or Milky Way so after dinner, we headed back to our rooms to take a good rest after a long day of walk! My favorite of the day…I’ll say it’s definitely the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone!