Yellowstone NP Day Trip

So on one of our days off we headed north up to Yellowstone National Park.  It rained on us off and on all day, but we didn’t let it slow us down.  Shortly after we got into the park, we saw a few elk hanging out on one of the hills above the road.  We stopped to take a few pics of them before moving on.  IMG_3161 Since we’ve been there before a couple of years ago, we didn’t stop to see all of the hydrothermal features in the park.  We were mainly hoping to see some more wildlife that we haven’t seen near us yet, like wolves.  But it still is very cool to see all the steam coming up from the ground, especially across part of Yellowstone Lake.IMG_3163There were the signs of spring in a few places.  This Mimulus guttatus or Seep Monkeyflower was so beautiful!  IMG_3171It was amazing how calm the lake was in the morning.    IMG_3175At one point along the lake we could hear wolves on the other side.  We grabbed up our binoculars and looked and looked, but we could not find them.  So, we headed up the road some more and then walked down to check out the LeHardys Rapids.IMG_3208

During June and July, these rapids fill with Cutthroat Trout heading upstream to spawn near the lake outlet, but apparently we were there too early in the season because we didn’t see any.  We’ll have to try to return in a few weeks to see if we can see them then.  Peak season is in July and they say you can see fish jump every 10 to 15 seconds during that time!

After looking for trout, we drove through the amazing Hayden Valley.

IMG_3210IMG_3212 IMG_3222 We saw a lone bison and a lone elk hanging out in the valley.  This is normally a place for quite a bit of wildlife to hang out in.  It is just a gorgeous area!

After that we headed up to the Canyon area.  This is another incredible place within Yellowstone!  IMG_3241 This is looking up the canyon at the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River from Artist Point.  The colors of this canyon are simply magnificent!  The Lower Falls here thunders over the edge more than 308 feet.  Due to recent rains, the amount of water was unbelievable! 

Because of the bend in the river, you can’t see both Lower and Upper Falls at the same time.  So our next stop was at the Upper Falls Viewpoint.  IMG_3245 This falls tumbles 109 feet over a lip of volcanic rock.  The bridge in the back is the old Canyon Bridge and is now part of a trail along the North Rim of the Canyon. 

Our next stop was to check out the brink of the Upper Falls.  You could feel the power of the water as you stood there!  IMG_3273 After that, we headed over the other side of the Canyon to see the views from there.  As we were hiking down to the brink of the Lower Falls, we could see the Upper Falls from afar.  Still amazing!!  IMG_3290

And then looking down Lower Falls, through the mist was this incredible rainbow!!  IMG_3296 The canyon is about 24 total miles long and the colors are produced mainly from iron compounds in the lava rock.  It seems almost unreal!! 

Then a couple more views of the Canyon, the first from Grand View Overlook….. IMG_3350 and then our last view from Inspiration Point.  This is the northern end of the Canyon.IMG_3359 Next we headed further north over Dunraven Pass and saw this adorable little deer staring at us.  IMG_3369 After this, the weather was getting a lot colder and raining quite a bit more, so we started heading back home.  It seemed so fitting that we saw some more elk shortly before leaving the park.  They greeted us on our way in and “waved” on our way out to bring the day full circle.  IMG_3387 I know, I’m totally corny!!  Happy trails everyone!!

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