Yellowstone: Exploring a Giant Park in One Day!

Yellowstone: Exploring a Giant Park in One Day!

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Lucas and I have already experienced some really cool things on our travels this summer. In June, we visited Yellowstone National Park. We had one day to see all that we could see. One day is enough to be amazed by the natural wonders inside the park but not enough to see it all.

It was getting dark by the time we got close to Yellowstone. Having never been there before, we did not want to enter unfamiliar territory in the dark. So, we knew we had to find somewhere to spend the night. We were fortunate to find a great place at the last minute, the Absaroka Lodge.

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We eventually learned that Absaroka has a reservation list a mile long during their peak season; there are people who wait up to a year just to stay there.  We happened to snag the last cabin!  After a very long drive, Lucas and I were famished.  We made it to the Lodge’s restaurant just before they stopped seating customers for the night.

Although dinner was great, nothing could compare to the amazing breakfast Absaroka serves each morning. The quaint atmosphere only complimented the great food. A huge fireplace roaring; the cozy atmosphere was a beautiful way to start the day. And let me tell you, we needed every calorie we consumed at breakfast, because the day ahead would be long and full of hiking. We had one day to explore the giant wonder that is Yellowstone, and we wanted to see as much as possible.

We left the lodge and drove twelve miles to the Park. Despite it being June, it was still very cold outside. Snow was dotted on the ground in various locations. A Park employee at the eastern entrance gate greeted us and confirmed that it had been snowing a few days prior, so much snow in fact that a few of the roads had been shut down on the northeast side of the Park. We were also reminded of the possibility that we might see some Grizzly Bears!!  Sadly, two of them had been run down by speeding motorists the day before.  We were cautioned to watch the posted speed limit signs like good little park-goers.

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The scenery was breathtaking, and the roads were winding.  We were so happy that we decided not to try and drive in late at night! Our first stop inside the park was Mammoth Hot Springs.  On the drive there, we got a great view of Yellowstone lake which was partially frozen over.  Snow lingered on the ground in patches surrounding the lake; it was really a beautiful site.

We parked at the Hot Springs and walked up the path of plateaus.  Pictures of the pools of water in the plateaus at Mammoth Hot Springs are famous because of the beautiful colors they create.  To our surprise, all of the springs were completely white and empty until we reached the very top. It was quite a hike but well worth the view we were greeted by when reached the top.

Next on the list.. the mud volcanoes at Dragon’s Mouth Spring. The smell of sulfur was very strong and stinky, but the sight of the mud bubbling up to the surface of these small volcanoes was amazing to see. Dragon’s Mouth is a huge crater in the side of a hill located right near the center of Yellowstone itself. It’s called Dragon’s Mouth because water is sucked into a cave and then spewed out by force within. This water blown out with sulfuric steam , reminds you of a dragon spitting out fire. We took a long hike along the mud volcanoes and got to see some bison close up relaxing in the sunlight on our hike. Tours of this area are available, even during the winter season when the Dragon’s Mouth area is only accessible by snowmobile or some other similar form of transport.

Tower Falls was next. The waterfall drops 130 feet off the mountain. The Falls were so great to see, but we only got a chance to take a few good pictures and stay for a little while because the weather was starting to turn on us. Lightning was hitting in various areas and I have a huge fear of lightning and do not like it one bit.

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During our drive through Yellowstone, we experienced animal life along the road and the Yellowstone tourist ritual of traffic jams each time a creature is spotted by someone in a car. Everyone ends up pulled over to look and take their photographs. We were proud to cause our own traffic jams, as we sighted a Black Bear, Bald Eagle and a coyote. The Grand Tetons and Old Faithful are on the list for next time!


  • Be careful on the roads, and lookout for wildlife, you just might find it like we did.
  • Plan your lodging in advance just in case! We highly recommend Absaroka Lodge.
  • If you plan on stopping by other national parks on your trip, consider a multi-park pass. You’ll pay in advance but save lots of money in the end.

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