Most people would feel like they had missed something if their vacation package did not include at least a day in Yellowstone National Park.
The World's First National Park, Yellowstone National Park attracts millions of visitors from around the world each year. View the park from your vehicle on the grand loop, or for a more active visit, the park has thousands of miles of trails.
Our resort is the perfect distance from the west entrance, close enough for easy access and far enough away to escape those "millions" of annual visitors.
Old Faithful at Sunset
We can help you plan the perfect day trip, entering the park at West Yellowstone, Montana and choosing either the North Loop or South Loop, you will experience natural beauty and wildlife like never before. Make sure you are prepared with a good camera, binoculars, decent walking shoes, a good jacket and head covering (it can snow in YNP even in July), and snacks.
When you return to the comfort of Elk Lake Resort, stop in for a drink at Jakeistan and a game of pool. The perfect resort location and landing spot for your Yellowstone National Park adventure!
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK SOUTH LOOP OVERVIEW
Yellowstone National Park's famous southern loop offers geysers, mud pots, Old Faithful Lodge, Yellowstone Lake, Hayden Valley. The seventeen miles from Madison Junction to Old Faithful Village is probably the most famous real estate in Yellowstone National Park. With three geyser basins and a few little known treasures, you'll have plenty to keep you busy.
Sidetrips can take you past Rhyolite, near the location of an 1915 stagecoach robbery, and offer views a pretty water fall. The more well-known Lower Geyser Basin offer 17 hot springs most easily viewed from the Fountain Paint Pot Loop. Midway Geyser Basin offers several 'must sees' including Turquoise Pool and Grand Prismatic Spring.
Black Sand Basin, just a short distance from Old Faithful Village, offers a walking tour which is worth your time. Especially look for spouters, beautifully colored pools, and the formerly famous 'Handkerchief Pool'.
While you wait for Yellowstone's most famous feature, you will want to visit Old Faithful Inn. This century old building has undergone several years of extensive restoration and is a 'not to be missed' part of your tour. From Old Faithful Village to West Thumb there are some lesser known but lovely sights: a series of small waterfalls dropping about 100', another faithful geyser, and a lake, which feeds both the Atlantic and the Pacific.
Gaze across America's highest large freshwater lake into the lovely Absaroka Range and the Red Mountains. The West Thumb Geyser Basin offers beautiful lake views, paint pots, pools, a geyser, and a few hot pots. An easy walk to a graceful rhyolite lava arch isn't far away.
An often passed-over volcano area nearby offers a dragon's roar and bubbling mud. Hayden Valley, home to elk, moose, deer, coyotes, grizzly bears, and numerous birds comes next. The 'Second Most Popular' sight in Yellowstone National Park, The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, offers a variety of colors - yellow, orange, red, pink, off-white, brown, green and black - from an array of minerals and living organisms. The Upper Falls drops 109 feet. The lower, 308 feet. The canyon is 800 - 1200 feet deep and reaches widths between 1500 and 4000 feet.
Artist's Point is the most commonly visited viewpoint - and for a good reason! However, Lookout Point on the North Side is also an impressive overlook. Another less visited waterfall nearby drops 192 feet in three stages. The next 11 miles have fewer 'well-known' treasures, but keep an eye out for wildlife. Norris Geyser Basin will likely be your next stop.
With 50 interesting hot springs, geysers, and mud pots, you will not want to pass this by. Watch for elk as you pass through Gibbon Meadows and traverse the winding road alongside the Gibbon River. Stop to view the oranges, reds, pinks, greens, and yellows in Artists' Paintpots. Gibbon River Falls, a much photographed beauty, drops 84 feet and its unusual width gives a 'lacy' appearance.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK NORTH LOOP OVERVIEW
Turning north your route will follow the Gibbon River to Norris Geyser Basin. Continuing north from Norris Geyser Basin, you will have a chance to examine the 'Hoodoos', and explore Sheepeater Cliff's natural amphitheater. Walk the 1925 masonry steps to Apollinaris Spring, marvel in the light refracting off Obsidian Cliff, and peruse the Cliff's exhibit in a unique gazebo built from columns of quarried volcanic rock in 1931.
Next stop Mammoth Hotsprings. Here you can stare into the face of 'The Howler'. Take the little side trail which leads to Canary Hotsprings - once extremely yellow, it is the most active hotspring at Mammoth today. Wonder at the water and chemicals which built this magnificent multi-layered terrace.
Watch the elk nap where boiling water used to flow. Stop to visit an old stone chapel built in 1913. Gaze in awe at the painted and stained glass windows which depict Old Faithful, Lower Falls of the Yellowstone, and the area's flora and fauna.
From here your route crosses Sheepeater Canyon Bridge 200 feet over the Gardner River. A little while later a short walk will take you to Wraith Falls. A few more miles and you can drink in the 120 degree panoramic views near Hell-Roaring Creek and even follow sections of the old Bannock trail. Then stop for a look at the lone surviving petrified tree.
A short side trip into the Lamar Valley gives you a chance to spot a wolf or catch a glimpse of a black bear near. Turning south you will drive past basalt columns which dwarf your car. Upper Tower Falls is spectacular and really worth the short walk! Heading on, you will cross over the highest paved point in Yellowstone National Park. Keep your eyes peeled for the bears which frequent the area. Dropping back down to the valley floor watch the Washburn hotsprings panorama unfold before your eyes.
For the next 11 miles, keep an eye out for wildlife as you travel this short section to Norris Junction.
For the final leg of your journey, stop at the Norris Geyser Basin. This basin is generally both hotter and more acidic than other Yellowstone geyser basins. It reflects the underground forces by constantly changing. Additionally, some special springs exist in this basin. One deposits a material, which may be a previously unknown form of arsenic sulfide. And, if you happen to visit in mid-July to early autumn, you may witness some unique disturbances which occur seasonally in this incredible basin.