Roadtrip: July 2017
One thing not mentioned yesterday-- the beautiful rivers and meadows that make up so much of Yellowstone. The Madison River and the Firehole River provided some great scenery. Should've gone fly fishing yesterday evening and saw Old Faithful this morning, but alas... that said, fly fishing in the Madison River, not far from a thermal vent, was quite relaxing, fish or no fish.
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone lives up to its name. Took the time to descend to Lower Lookout Point and soak up the view, and wished we had more time to explore!
Instead we began our drive around the north loop, ended up in the mass of tourists near the north entrance (aka park headquarters). Our stomachs demanded that we skip the Mammoth Hot Springs (cursed stomachs!), but soon enough we were on our way. Passed one massive jam of cars and people off the road (assume it was some animal sighting), but we elected to continue on to the rather disappointing Tower Fall instead.
While Tower Fall itself was underwhelming, the scenery was still amazing, and even right around the corner from Tower Fall was so beautiful that we stopped! The drive out the northeast exit didn't look too promising, but the Lamar Valley soon proved us wrong, complete with hundreds of bison saying goodbye to us on the way out.
Beartooth Highway (US-212) was almost as beautiful as Yellowstone. It's a crazy drive, something like 4,000 feet of elevation gain over a few miles of hairpin turns, and there was still plenty of snow. Stopping at Rock Creek Vista just past the summit then lead to 4,000 feet of elevation loss (!) in something like a mile (!!!). Well worth the drive, and the stops we made just to enjoy the view.
Spent the night in Billings, complete with a surprisingly delicious prime rib at Jake's Steakhouse. Easily the best meal of the trip, although the cheese curds a few days later were a close second...