Andy and I recently went on a roadtrip to Yellowstone & Glacier to celebrate our first wedding anniversary so this week for the blog, I wanted to do a quick recap! We left Thursday, September 9th and came back on the 19th. It was a nice getaway to celebrate our marriage! We were originally supposed to take this trip as our honeymoon but with COVID, we decided against it because we weren’t sure what would be open or closed. Here’s a quick outline of our trip!
Mammoth Springs- Boardwalk to look at hot springs. We went as soon as we got there, around 4 and it was HOT. I can not imagine walking this boardwalk when it's 90 in the summer but it was so interesting to see. We also got our first smell of the sulfur and I don’t think I could ever get used to smelling that everyday! We also got to see a ton of Elk in Mammoth and they were calling back and fourth to each other!
Wraith Falls- This was a short and relatively easy hike but because of the lack of rain this year, it was not much to look at with how low the water was.
Yellowstone Pizza Co- Their indoor dining was closed but we took it to go back to our hotel because we were ready for bed after our long drive but they have great woodfired pizzas.
Stayed @ Absaroka Lodge in Gardner, MT- This hotel is right on the river and it was such a pretty view I wished that we had stayed there more than one night.
Lamar Valley- We stopped here two mornings to watch wildlife. Definitely bring binoculars with so you can see wildlife better. There were plenty of friendly visitors with fancy binoculars set up that let us see what they were looking at though!
Beartooth Highway- This starts at the park and is a one hour drive to Red Lodge and an hour back. It goes up into the mountains on a curvy road and was one of my favorite things we did here!
We stayed @ Silver Gate, I would recommend staying at Red Lodge. They had cute little shops and restaurants and there isn’t much in Silver Gate. We didn’t have as much time as I wanted in Red Lodge so it would’ve been fun to stay there!
Steamboat Geyser- This wasn’t on our list of things to do but when we drove by it and saw it erupting we decided to stop. It turns out it had erupted the day before and was still going off when we got there. It had been 68 days since it’s last eruption and is very unpredictable so we just happened to be there at the right time!
Upper & Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone- There are some easy lookouts to get views of the falls, but if you are able to take the paths to the lower falls, do it! So pretty but the hike back is pretty tiring.
Mud Volcano/Dragon’s Mouth Spring
West Thumb Geyser Basin
Stayed at Yellowstone Lodge in West Yellowstone
Old Faithful- We also checked out Old Faithful lodge while we were here which was unreal! It would be so cool to stay here but they were booked fully at the time of our trip.
Upper Geyser Basin- Each basin area is similar but unique, but basically you’re in Yellowstone to look at geysers and hot springs. These three basin areas that we stopped at were all super close and easy walks!
Black Sand Basin
Drove to Glacier, stayed in Kalispell
Golfed at Whitefish Golf Course- We were originally going to go to a different course but that one only had 9 holes open so we opted for this one. It was so pretty with the mountains in the background and a really nice facility. This day was our anniversary so we slept in, golfed, and looked at a few shops in Kalispell!
Lake McDonald- SO clear and beautiful! We sat and skipped rocks for a while. There is a huge lodge on this lake that looks like a nice place to stay.
Trail of Cedars- Finding parking here was a mess. I think we drove around in a circle for a good 20 minutes waiting for someone to pull out of a parking spot but the trail is mostly boardwalk and very easy! I would say it was worth the parking hassle.
We stayed in Babb in a little cabin during our time in Glacier. After visiting there, I would recommend staying in a more touristy town like Apgar, West Glacier, or one of the bigger lodges inside of the park.
Sunrift Gorge- We ended up somehow taking the long way on this hike but it was fairly easy. We had a close bear encounter on this trail which was cool and terrifying at the same time. We definitely found out why they recommend carrying bear spray!
Rented Kayaks in Apgar- Apgar was such a cute little town! I think it was $40 to rent a two person kayak for 2 hours and that was more than enough time before our arms were shot.
Logan's Pass Visitor Center- This was hands down the hardest place to find parking. I think we drove around for 30 or 40 minutes. Once we finally got a spot and got to the visitors center, we found out that it was actually a tiny gift shop and because of COVID they only allowed 10 people in at a time and it was raining so we were not about to stand outside for that. This was a waste of time in my opinion, if we came back I would not stop here again.
Highline Trail- One of my favorite hikes of our trip, this trail was a narrow path on the side of one of the mountains with a steep drop-off on one side. It was a little freaky but such a cool view!
Swift Current Lake @ Many Glacier Hotel- On this trail we saw a male and female moose which was really cool! Many Glacier Hotel was closed for the season but looked like a neat place to stay if you are there earlier in the season.
Running Eagle Falls- Again, because of the lower water levels, only half of this waterfall was even there but it was an easy walk and interesting to read about the Native American history in the area.
Overall, this trip was amazing. It was so nice for the two of us to get away! A pro of going later in the season was seeing all the wildlife! From the sounds of it, people don’t usually see wildlife up close like we did earlier in the season. I thought there would be less people in the parks since it was later in the season and school had started for kids already, but judging by how hard it was to park at some places, that was not the case. Also, since we were there mid September, a lot of places were closing for the season already. Most restaurants had slim menus because they were running out of ingredients or places were already closed and a lot of the bigger lodges were already closed for the season. It was worth seeing it in the fall however, and if we were to go back we would go in the summer to experience that!