If you are visiting Yellowstone for the first time or even if you’ve been multiple times, you’ll most likely have the well known Top Things to See and Do on your list; including Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, Wildlife Watching and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, but what about if you’re looking for something a little different?
Here’s our list of some fun unique experiences in Yellowstone;
In late July through September a number of locals get fixated by a little blue berry. Black and grizzly bears as well as huckleberry hunters in West Yellowstone gorge on this delicious late summer treat.
If you haven’t tasted one before, they have been described as a blend of blueberry and cranberry.
And we keep adding to the list of products you can the flavor in including;
ice-cream, chocolate and jelly beans, jam, cheesecake, margaritas, milkshake, lemonade and soda, lattes and tea, fudge, pancakes, liqueur, syrup, pie, licorice and even lip balm.
Make sure you seek it out when dining.
Want to get a workout while also viewing Yellowstone Lower Falls up close?
Then take the marked trail from the Artist Point Road parking lot leading to Uncle Tom’s Trail.
What was originally a part of an exhilarating, if not slightly terrifying tour in early 1900’s led by “Uncle Tom” Richardson. It combined a ferry ride across the Yellowstone River and then descended down a series of steps and rope ladders for a picnic lunch with a view.
Today you’ll find 300 steel steps built into the south wall. Although it’s only a 0.7-mile round trip hike (with around 500 feet of elevation loss/gain) the trip back up will have you puffing and perhaps making use of the rest benches.
Look forward to this one opening up after reconstruction project completed.
Walking to the many geysers can be tiring and also be a little repetitive, especially for the little ones in the group.
So mixing it up and renting a bike to ride the permitted paved paths (never on boardwalks) is a fun alternative.
Stop by the Visitor Center to check in on predicted geyser eruption times.
Arrive early, or late, at the Upper Geyser Basin (Old Faithful) to avoid the crowds walking the path. Bike rentals are available at Old Faithful Snow Lodge.
Take your time to explore the 2 mile round trip paved path from Old Faithful Lodge to Morning Glory Pool, stopping at Castle Geyser, Daisy Geyser and Riverside Geyser along the way.
Riverside Geyser erupts every 6 hours and is sustained for around 20mins. Your viewing location is from the other side of the river and photographers will love to catch the rainbows that form in the spray.
Lone Star Geyser
A slightly longer ride is just south of Old Faithful Village. This trail follows the Firehole River to Lone Star Geyser. It’s a flat 5 mile (8km) round trip. Lone Star Geyser erupts every 3 hours or so up to a height of 45 feet. Please note bikes are not allowed past the geyser.
Much of your time in Yellowstone is deservedly spent outdoors admiring nature’s creations.
But you should spend some time inside national historic landmark, Old Faithful Inn, if you haven’t been fortunate enough to capture a room for your stay.
One, if not, the largest log structure in the world, along with a four story lobby, massive 85 foot rhyolite stone fireplace and hand crafted clock you’ll understand why it’s beloved as one of the Great Lodges of America.
Spend some time listening to live music, connect with local artists or dig deeper with a guided tour.
With all the stories of gruesome deaths in Yellowstone, I bet a number of people wonder if there is anywhere in Yellowstone you are permitted to soak in the hot springs.
Boiling River is one of only 2 areas where you can soak in Yellowstone. It’s located on the road between the Gardiner, Montana entrance, and the Mammoth Hot Springs area.
Walk about half mile from the car park and you’ll see signs and a fence indicating the area that you can enter the river. Soaking is not permitted in the hot springs where temperatures fluctuate between 100 and 140F (38-54C).
The hot thermal springs pour into the Yellowstone River and hot and cold water mingle.
Find a spot where the temperature is perfect for you and lower yourself into the river. You’ll be sitting about waist deep.
It is closed in Spring/Early Summer due to the fast current and dangerous high water and only open during daylight hours otherwise. There is no lifeguard and some microorganisms live the warm water, so be sure and check current conditions with NPS before you go.
The other potential location to soak is the Firehole Swim Area, on the Firehole River, which is close by the Madison Campground area, where the West Yellowstone Entrance road meets the Grand Loop Drive.
Conditions are less predictable at this location, so please obey any closures which NPS puts in place for your safety. And be aware the water is not hot here, so it’s more of a summer cool down location.
Tip: Take some water shoes as the entry points in and out of these locations are rough, uneven and slippery.
Each year on the fourth Saturday in September, hundreds of thousands of people come together and roll up their sleeves for National Public Lands Day.
Lovers of the outdoors will work on projects in national parks, monuments, recreation areas and other federal sites that include clean ups, trail maintenance or even tree planting.
It is also a free day with entry fees waived with hikes, bike rides, paddling and other excursions and outdoor activities planned, and a great way to meet and work alongside volunteers.
Check out National Public Lands Day site for information on events and areas targeted each year.