Yellowstone National Park in 3 days – Day 2 of 3
In my last post, I covered West Yellowstone. This time we traveled south. For day 2 I am covering the best parts of Southern Yellowstone! Southern Yellowstone is home to the Grand Tetons and this area is very different from the rest of Yellowstone but this area is magical in its own special way!
The Grand Tetons
What can I say about the Grand Tetons? The landscape around the Tetons is surprisingly flat, the mountains rise up out of nothing and I think that is what makes this area so special.
Since we did have ‘littles’ on this trip, we opted to take the ferry across Jenny Lake, this saved us about a 4 mile round trip hike just to the base of Mount Teewinot where there are more hiking trails. The ferries come and go quickly ( about every 10-15 minutes) so it was a breeze getting across! The fares are listed below:
$ 15.00 – Adult Round-trip (12 yrs to 61 yrs)
$ 9.00 – Adult One-Way
$ 8.00 – Child Round-trip (2 yrs to 11 yrs)
$ 6.00 – Child One-Way
$ 12.00 – Senior Round-trip (62 yrs and over)
No Senior One-Way rate
FREE Under 2 years of age and over 80 yrs.
While we didn’t hike far, the hikes that we did go on were amazing! We first hiked to Hidden Falls (0.5 mi each way) and then on to Inspiration point (1 mi each way). As a mom of a little one, I say it’s doable if your child has the stamina or if you take things very slow. The hike wasn’t long but it is all uphill and that can be really hard on little legs (or your legs if you have to carry them the whole way!). Strollers won’t cut it here as there are no flat areas!
**Travel Tip** If you are looking for a place to eat near this location there is a pizza place (Leek’s Pizzaria) very close to Jenny Lake and while we didn’t stop we hear it’s delicious!
From the boat dock to Hidden falls I heard a lot of complaints about how she couldn’t make it and how her legs were tired. My hubby and I were just too excited to go on the hike that we forgot how much harder and faster her little legs need to travel to keep up, but we slowed down and let her explore a bit more.
The falls were a nice break from the uphill (.5 mi) climb. The trees offered plenty of shade and the cool mist from the falls made the rest of the climb up to inspiration point bearable for my little 5 year old. As soon as we made it to the falls area the complaints had ceased and she was jumping off of rocks and running everywhere. …Miracle?
When we finally arrived at Inspiration Point (1 mi) we praised our daughter for doing such an AMAZING job! She climbed the whole mountain all by herself! It was a pretty big accomplishment for her and she realized that when she was able to visualize just how far we had gone! She was able to see the gorgeous view of the lake and the top of the waterfall she had just played near. Her face lit up (but not too much, because she’s 5 now and obviously too cool to show too much excitement). Her prize for making it all the way to the top was a chipmunk munching on tourists snacks. It completely made her day!
This little stop wasn’t crowded at all and it’s where we caught a glimpse of why they don’t have railing on all of the walkways…for the migration of all of the animals! We walked the whole loop that leads to Lake Yellowstone, past all of the geysers before we spotted an elk eating! We were beyond thrilled. My daughter was in awe!
A little further down the trail, near the cars, we saw an elk walk right across the walkway! It was so cool! There were people taking selfies on the pathway and we watched as the elk startled them. It was pretty comical!
I do happen to live in California now, but I grew up in the wild part of Michigan (UP, eh!), where I constantly saw deer roaming, the occasional bear, and other small woodland creatures, however, this seemed more surreal. Maybe it was their size, the fact that I’ve lived in California so long, or maybe it was the fact that the surroundings in Yellowstone seem so structured in some areas that I just plain forgot that these animals are completely wild! Either way, remember that these incredible animals are WILD, make sure that you are aware of your surroundings at all times, make sure you keep your distance, and please don’t do anything to harm them. It might seem obvious, but, please, for the love of everything, please don’t pet the animals or try to take a selfie with it! How close can I get?