West Yellowstone: A Drive to Remember

posted in: Road Trip, Wyoming, Yellowstone | 2

Welcome to West Yellowstone and the Lamar Valley!

Last year we drove through Yellowstone after entering from East Entrance Road. If you don’t recall, check out my blog post entitled Exploring Wyoming. While we understood the draw to Yellowstone, we just didn’t fall in love with it at the time.

Well, this go around was a completely different story. Yellowstone is too busy to be wild but it is grand beyond all measures. The area is a breathtaking, geological wonder far too large to see in one visit. You could spend a lifetime here and not experience it in full. It’s a must see, but for us, it’s just too crowded to be truly appreciated. Often, the drive feels like a chore. But that said, it’s a chore worth doing. I do believe if you can hike out far enough, it could be a genuinely magical and wild experience. Perhaps someday we can make that dream a reality, but for now, the glorious drive will do.

Instead of a full-on story, I’m just going to let the photography do the talking.

Enjoy the ride. We did!

West Yellowstone

Not long after entering West Yellowstone.
Stunning rock formations
Can you spot the silhouette of a moose?
A brief story:

During the drive we sat for about 20-30 minutes in a line to see 2 moose. The most annoying part of driving through Yellowstone is that people can’t just appreciate nature, they have to stop and each person has to take 1,000 photos before letting the next car do the same. Everyone sees everyone else doing it, so-we-wait. No fun but it’s part of the game. I of course obviously took this photo, but I did it as we drove by. I didn’t wait for the most opportune time while halting traffic. *Rant Over* Please remember, respect wildlife AND respect your fellow human. The moose I remember most was the one we say with NO cars around. The one that I appreciated in nature and didn’t get one single photo of.

It was super cool to see moose though!

Gibbon Falls
We couldn’t have asked for bluer sky, whiter clouds, or greener grass!
These pictures don’t even do the area justice!
One of my favorite areas!
Alpine lakes everywhere!
A birds eye view from a bridge

The Lamar Valley

I should have taken more panoramas. The views are so vast!
Just so spectacular. Even from inside the cab!
Gorgeous. I even took this pic through the dirty van window!
This was another area I would have loved to roam.
Speaking of roaming! There were hundreds upon thousands of buffalo.
Another brief story:

Eric and I saw buffalo countless times during our travels last year. There was Custer State Park, Yellowstone (East), and Antelope Island. It seemed like they were everywhere. That said, we NEVER saw buffalo the size of these. The photos do not do their size justice, but trust me, these were some big behemoths. It was fun to see the young running around as well. Don’t tease them about being ugly little ones because they will grow up big and tough!

Unfortunately, this was another 20-30 minute stop, but several bison were attempting to cross the road so it was slightly more tolerable. Have you ever seen a TWO-THOUSAND pound buffalo roll around in the dirt on a steep hill approximately 20 yards from a car-filled road? Somebody got some action shots! We were only 2 car lengths back but I refused to photograph the show. Instead, I sat back and wondering what kind of balance and stamina that raging buffalo had. Apparently, he was quite fit despite his remarkable size. Fortunately, everyone stayed safe and no cars got mangled in the process. Eventually, all 8-10 bison did cross the road and the cars started moving again.

After passing through the valley, the landscape became more mountainous again.
The colors were astounding!
Almost spent the night here. Front view.

After much deliberation, we decided not to stay the night in this paradise. Mainly due to the water near camp—It was a mosquito haven! They were already buzzing around in the heat of the day so we imagined we’d be like two caged birds dreaming of exploring the nearby river. It was also extremely close to a heavily trafficked road. So, we moved on.

Side view of our ALMOST camp spot.

The end.

I hope you enjoyed the views of West Yellowstone and the Lamar Valley almost as much we did. It’s truly a must see place even with the hoards of people. Practice good manners, pack loads of patience, and remember to be kind and you to can survive the Yellowstone experience!

Until next time friends.

Next stop…Shoshone National Forest.

2 Responses

  1. Debbie

    Wow! Dan and I need to get back here! We went to Yellowstone one winter while we still lived in Tennessee. We were snowmobiling with a group. There was a herd of buffalo blocking our road. We waited a while, but they didn’t move. So, our guide finally told us all to drive through the herd slowly, but not to stop. Well, of course the snowmobile right in front of us stopped. So, we were forced to stop too. Oh my gosh, those buffalo are humongous!!!! We finally were able to continue on. But, you talk about scary and exhilerating all at the same time!!

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