Last updated: 10:00 PM ET, Fri May 29 2015

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  • Michelle Bucher | May 29, 2015 10:00 PM ET

    Road Tripping to Yellowstone National Park

    Road Tripping to Yellowstone National Park

    I was recently watching a documentary on Yellowstone that truly sums up the park’s weather: There are only three seasons in Yellowstone – July, August and winter. This rang true for us when road tripping around the park.

    Yellowstone is a mere 13-hour road trip from our house, so last spring during the May long weekend we set off to road trip Yellowstone. We chose the May long weekend, as I’ve read online that the summer months can get extremely busy in the park, and we’re not ones to wait in line or deal with traffic, so we generally choose to travel during the off-seasons. May seemed to be the perfect time to explore Yellowstone, so off we went.

    Tips for road tripping to Yellowstone National Park:

    Before heading out on your road trip, be sure to check the status for the park’s roads. We were planning on heading east on US-287, then passing through the park on the I-14 to carry on to South Dakota. We learned while in the park that the US-14 was still closed for winter, so we had to head south through Grand Teton National Park, then head east from there. Luckily it wasn’t too far off course for us, and we enjoyed a beautiful mountain drive through Grand Teton National Park.

    When we first entered the park (in the west entrance), we immediately started seeing wildlife. We don’t see wildlife often while road tripping, so I get quite excited when we do see them. Along the side of the road were deer grazing on some grass. Not too far into the park, we also noticed a big herd of bison heading towards the road. We chose to pull over and wait for the bison to get closer to our car. One bison was actually heading straight for us, so we made sure to position our car so that the bison would cross directly in front of us. This was a really cool experience to see one up close, but I wouldn’t recommend doing this. I’ve heard of bison and other animals charging at cars if you get to close.

    We spent most of the day exploring the different basins and geysers in the park. From the west entrance, if you head south on US-287, you will hit most of the popular basins and geysers, and will eventually lead to the famous Old Faithful.

    Travel Tip: Make sure to stop in at the visitor center down by Old Faithful, as it’s full of helpful information on different parts of the park worth seeing, and what might be seasonally closed. This is also a great place to stop and grab some coffee or hot chocolate to warm up after a chilly day exploring the park.

    On day two, we hit the park again. Today we were planning on heading north to Yellowstone’s lower and upper falls, but the road was closed.  We later learned that we could have joined a tour group in one of Yellowstone’s snowcoaches.  This is where a little research and pre-planning would have been helpful. Since the road north was closed, we chose to head back to the basins and geysers and explore some of the ones we missed the day before. In the late afternoon, we headed south through Grand Teton National Park and carried on with our road trip.

    I’ve seen Grand Teton National Park come up on many “must-see” lists, and I’m happy that we were able to enjoy the beautiful mountain drive. We will hopefully be back in this area soon, and will get to enjoy this part of the park a bit more.

    Road trip tip: Try to spend more than a few days in the park. There a lot to see, and we found that only spending two days in the park wasn’t enough time. I also found it extremely fascinating exploring the different geysers, as it seems each geyser or basin was a little different from the last.

    Click here for a map of Yellowstone National Park. This will hopefully help you plan out your trip a bit better.

    Have you been to Yellowstone National Park before? What was your favorite basin/geyser/part of the park? Leave your comment below; we’d love to hear your travel experience. 


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Michelle Bucher Road Rules From the Road Trip Blogger

Michelle Bucher Michelle Bucher is an avid road tripper, travel writer and social media marketer from Vancouver, British Columbia. Michelle has spent the past six years on various road trip adventures around North America. She's road tripped through 48 states, 10 provinces and several other countries. Michelle runs a fun travel blog,, showcasing stories from her random road trip adventures.
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