Wild West 2015: Yellowstone (Day 2)

by | Oct 27, 2015 | Travel, USA Travel

We decided to make the famous Old Faithful geyser our first stop for the morning, so we walked over from our cabin ~20 minutes beforehand to find a nice viewing angle. Thankfully we had enough layers as morning temperatures were in the 30s! A few minutes after predicted, but within the window published by the park service, Old Faithful erupted into the sky. Quite the sight to behold.

Old Faithful

After breakfast we loaded our gear into the car and began our all-day lower Yellowstone circuit. Our first stop was Biscuit Spring.

Biscuit BasinGrand Prismatic Spring

Next was Midway Geyser Basin, featuring steaming waterfalls and the famous Prismatic spring (too steamy to see well unfortunately). Even so there were plenty of colors at the other pools, and extra points for bison near the path.

Grand Prismatic Spring

a herd of bison

waterfall near Grand Prismatic Spring  waterfall Grand Prismatic Spring

We continued down the road that paralleled the Firehole River, when eagle-eyed Leandra spotted an osprey in tree. She pulled a NASCAR turnaround and got us back to the spot just in time for us to watch the osprey catching a trout in the river, then flying off.

osprey with trout

After passing Gibbon Falls, we parked and took a short hike on the Artist Paintpot nature trail for more geothermal activity, interesting colors, and our personal favorite, the gurgling mud pits with lots of sound effects (bloop, bloop… bloop). As a bonus we enjoyed a nice view of the mountains from the top of the loop trail.

Gibbon Falls  Artist Paintpot hike
Gibbon Falls and views from the top of the Artist Paintpot hike

bubbling mud @ Artist Paintpots
hot mud!

Our next destination was Virginia Cascades, accessed by the one-way Norris Canyon Road. Along the way a herd of bison caused a 25 minute traffic jam – they were really close! And taller than our car…

traffic jam

you shall not pass!

thanks goodness there was a windshield between us  bison calf

Unfortunately, Virginia Cascades lacked a pullout for photos due to some construction, so we continued on our way to the Yellowstone River canyon. We started along the north rim of canyon where we especially enjoyed the Red Rock overlook – lots of stairs, but a nice view over the canyon and fewer people than the other viewpoints. Simply beautiful.

staircase back to the parking lot  Upper Falls

We also stopped along the South rim, where we enjoyed the view from Artist Point, but felt it was too crowded by buses.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone  Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Driving south we stopped at Mud Volcano, where we had our first, and only, grizzly sighting of the trip.

The Hayden Valley, an expansive grassland, was beautiful to drive through with far ranging views and quite a few birds, including a sighting of a bald eagle.


Our final stop for the day was the West Thumb geyser area. It was quite interesting and different from the Old Faithful area, with lots of colors and a beautiful view of hot springs running into Yellowstone Lake. Even better, it was not too crowded in the late afternoon.

ysgt-57West Thumb Geyser Basin

Our Itinerary

2024 Trips

San Diego, CA (Jan)
Sarasota, FL (Feb)
Valencia, Spain (Mar)
Mallorca (Apr)
Croatia (May)
Faroe Islands (Aug)
London, UK (Sept)
Bari, Italy (Sept)</br />Rome, Italy (Oct)
Frankfurt, Germany (Oct)

2022 Trips

Florida (Feb)
NC Mountains (Apr)
Washington DC (Apr)
Valencia, Spain (May)
Hilton Head, SC (May)
Pacific NW (Jun)
Long Island (Jul)
Florida (Sept)
Chicago (Sept)
Poland (Sept)
NC Mountains (Nov)
Euro Xmas Markets (Dec)