If you like lots of driving, Yellowstone is the place for you! Our first day on the road we loggged almost 8 hours of driving, and didn’t even make it to Yellowstone haha our first destination was the Lewis and Clark Caverns about 2 hours from the park. It was only supposed to be a 6 hour drive but with food, gas and pee breaks, it was longer. We found a crappy little campground on the side of the highway for the night and were totally outraged when it turned out to be a $50 fee for one night. This campground had absolutely NOTHING to offer, not even fire pits. Oh and any children under 16 had to be constantly supervised. Needless to say, I threw a bit of a fit and let them know what I thought of their prices, lack of amenities and ridiculous rules. No way was I escorting my 15 and 13 year old boys around an open field they called a campground. Word of advice, don’t ever camp behind the gas station in Cardwell, Montana. Unfortunately we were in a hurry to catch the last cave tour of the day so we had no time to find another place to sleep.
The caves were a quick drive down the road and we made it just in time for the last time slot of the day. It was quite the hike from the parking lot to the cave entrance but the view on the way was beautiful.
After a little history lesson from our guide, we headed down into the huge caves. It was so totally worth the hike to get there. We spent the next few hours heading deeper and deeper into caves and learning about stalegmites and stalecites until we came out the bottom about 300 ft lower than we went in. It was easily one of my favourite parts of the trip.
The next morning we were on the road bright and early so we could find a camp spot for the rest of the week. We found available spots in the park but decided to stay at the Bakers Hole campground just outside of the West Yellowstone town. We loved it there! We found a prime spot by the river and set up camp. And guess what! It was only $60 for 4 nights! We couldn’t resist comparing it to the last place for the rest of the trip haha After a quick lunch we loaded in the vehicle and headed into the park to see what we could find, wild animals were at the top of our list. The park is beautiful but I couldn’t believe how spread out all the main attractions were.
We drove for over an hour before finally seeing smoke from a geyser and decided to pull over and check it out. Turned out to be a little boardwalk tour around a few geysers and pools, the kids thought it was pretty awesome but the smell, oh the smell! The sulphur made our stomachs churn.
We continued on until we found the legendary Old Faithful. Just our luck, it had just gone off and wouldn’t be going off again for another 90 minutes. We did some browsing in the gift shops but decided we didn’t want to wait so we headed back to camp to play lawn darts and swim in the river before eating dinner and calling it a night.
We woke up Sunday morning to cloudy skies but decided to stick with our plan to head to Cody, Wyoming to see the ghost town. We weren’t on the road long when it started to pour. It made it hard to see and since we only have one windshield wiper, it was even worse. A couple hours into the drive we finally saw a buffalo! We pulled off the road and Brad, Dylan and I braved the cold rain to run down the road and get some pictures. Once back in the vehicle, we weren’t far up the road when we saw a sign for a mud volcano, the rain had stopped so we pulled in. While admiring the bubbling mud we heard there were a ton of buffalo just up the hill a bit and it was totally worth the hike!
Back on the road we finally exited the east entrance of the park and headed for Cody. I spent the whole next hour gawking at the red mountainous hoodoo looking landscapes. It was like something out of an old western. I loved it. By the time we hit the Old Trail Town the kids were more than happy to get out of the vehicle and check out the old houses and buildings.
I grew up on Loise Lamar books and old westerns so this town was right up my alley but the highlight was seeing the grave of the legendary Buffalo Bill!
We also strolled through a house that was once a hide out for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, seriously so cool.
We finished up just as a tour bus full of kids pulled up and I figured it was perfect timing. We hit a traffic jam on the way back thanks to a couple buffalo that thought they owned the road.
We made it to camp about 9:30pm for a late dinner and then off to bed as everyone was exhausted from a long day in the car.
More of our Yellowstone adventures to come!