Three miles past the Soda Butte Trailhead, look for a small parking area on the right. Mid June to late July the cutthroat and rainbow trout are spawning, and enter into a mating frenzy.
For a comic look at this event, check out Jeff's Yellowstone Wild film for National Geographic in the video library at the cabin. In trout lake they can be found fishing, wrestling, spinning spirals, and eating tasty cutthroat on the logs nearby.
Don't forget to look up; Osprey overhead put on a show with wild acrobatics before they dive into the lake to snag a tasty trout. It's a fun treasure hunt, because the scattered bits of snow look just like the white fur of the goats and sheep.
I highly recommend grabbing a scope or a strong pair of binoculars for your time in Yellowstone. In the winter Marionette makes for an easy 3.5 mile BC ski trail.
This a perfect spot for a shady picnic and a short stroll that offers spectacular views in all directions. From the picnic area continue on the ridge beyond the Yellowstone River bridge going east from Tower Junction.
We don't go very far before taking the short loop back to the parking lot, but you see beautiful flowers, great views into the canyon and of the river plus close range views of the basalt columns above the Yellowstone River. While this is a good family outing, portions of the trail follow cliff edges so keep a close eye on the little ones.
We recommend renting bear spray because it saves on unnecessary waste. Click here to rent bear spray by the day or week at Canyon Visitor Center.
Escape the waits in Yellowstone and take an authentic Rocky Mountain horseback ride in the Barefoot Wilderness. You'll cross the beautiful Clark's Fork river, meander through meadows, and navigate scenery so spectacular it's hard to keep your hands off the camera and on the reigns.
Skyline has strong, gentle horses fit for riders of all ages and abilities. Here we spot osprey, ravens, swallows, and bald eagles, which nest along the canyon wall.
Mud comes to life in this hike, and the addition of brightly colored geothermal features makes for the stuff of dreams. This hike appeals to all the senses: the sound of the mud is both funny and soothing, the sulfuric smell of the geothermal features makes for great jokes, and the steamy, colorful fume roles are so beautifully out of place.
You can usually first hear them though, and their beautiful high-pitched rattling call means spring has finally come. Once the colts hatch, the family can be seen with your scope on the far side of the lake hunting.
Floating Island Lake is also a good spot to watch black bears. You will love visiting the geysers and geothermal features spread throughout the 2.2 million acres of America’s first national park.
Plus the surrounding cities, activities and landscape have a lot of awesome things to offer. Since this is the ultimate vacation we are recommending you plan for 12 nights so you can truly explore both the park and the surrounding area.
Get ready for activities including rock climbing, horseback riding, Having, outdoor adventure and more! Bozeman has an awesome downtown area, great restaurants and plenty of activities that you can do.
They are all about making you feel like you are a friend stopping for a visit and not just a customer. From their warm welcome to afternoon appetizers and treats offered throughout the day you will feel very welcome.
With so many options in Bozeman it can be hard to pick where to head for dinner. If you are in the mood for Thai with a fun drink menu then Sweet Chili in downtown Bozeman is the place for you.
A great selection of fresh food and pastries along with good coffee. A unique spot with delicious scones and coffee and a great selection of local pottery to purchase.
Before planning your day make sure to check the schedule for the Planetarium shows at the Museum of The Rockies. The museum has a great collection of dinosaur bones along with a section on the Yellowstone area and a changing exhibit.
There is a cool renovated area in Bozeman called The Cannery District where they took an old Canning Companies warehouse and factory and turned it into a hip restaurant and shopping area. Located just 1.5 miles from main street in downtown Bozeman it is an awesome place to grab lunch and do some shopping.
You meet at a designated location, they provide all the equipment and then take you out to the rock wall. (Pick from the list above) Sweet Chili, Mountains Walking Brewery, or Montana Ale Works.
Now a city filled with history and art galleries and located right along the Yellowstone River. Check out whichever place you didn’t visit yesterday in Bozeman before you head to Livingston: Daily Coffee and Eatery or The Coffee Pot (details listed above).
If you are looking for a nice float down the Yellowstone River (and if it is warm enough the kids can jump off the boat and swim) there are a couple options: A great museum to go to continue your history of Yellowstone and the surrounding area.
They have a variety of hands-on activities for the kids and take you from the past to the present for Livingston, Yellowstone and the surrounding area. A family friendly bar with a restaurant that participates in “Taste Our Place” so you know you are getting local Montana food.
A nice and clean option for your night in Livingston and close to all the activities. Livingston is a cool historic town with a great story to tell.
It is definitely a place worth stopping as you learn more about this area of the country and the history of Yellowstone. Now it is time to head southeast, but up in elevation to the mountain town of Red Lodge.
For a fun way to explore the surrounding area rent a UTV from Red Lodge Power Sports. One of their resident artists spent 2 hours with us teaching the kids how to make cups and bowls.
The food was good too with a variety of Mexican dishes plus pizza and salads. Located right in The Pollard Hotel they offer a delicious menu of steaks, burgers, pasta and salads.
If you are feeling like checking out a brewery then Red Lodge Ale is the place to go. They also offer a variety of sandwiches: smoked, Rubens, panini, and baked Sammie, plus burgers, tacos and salads.
We have gone horseback riding in other flat locations, but going in Red Lodge where we were climbing up the side of mountains and through streams was quite the experience! We met Gary the owner who is also the author of the Who Pooped In The Park Books.
Choose from the many options listed above for lunch or dinner to eat before you head out on the Bear tooth Highway! Hit the road to drive the Bear Tooth Highway to get into Cooke City (Count on 2-3 hours).
It is pretty common to be stopped on the road while you wait for a Bison to cross or a slowdown for people pulling off to watch a bear or an elk. If you plan on visiting more than 1 national park this year it is well worth it.
We recommend downloading the GYPSY Guide for Yellowstone before heading into the park. Set your GPS to the Tower Falls hike in the Roosevelt area of Yellowstone.
A newer restaurant in Gardiner that is part of the Taste Our Place program that focuses on local ingredients. We loved the atmosphere here and the great variety of fresh food options.
The pizza was good, and they had a nice drink menu along with a big TV for the kids to watch while we waited for our food. Located just 15 minutes from downtown Gardiner and up in the mountains it is the perfect Yellowstone Vacation lodging option.
Today you will get up early for an amazing Wildlife tour and then head out to the Hot Springs to relax in the afternoon. You will meet your guide from Yellowstone Wild and will jump into their van to head out to Lamar Valley before sunrise (when the animals are most active).
Your guide will start right out of the gate sharing all sorts of information with you about Yellowstone and the animals. When we reached Lamar Valley we got out and our guide set up our scopes and right away we spotted a Grizzly Bear then Elk then a pack of wolves.
Our guide then brought out fresh baked huckleberry scones, hot chocolate and coffee for breakfast. After that we continued throughout the north end of the park looking for more wildlife and found a mountain goat, more bears, more elk, bison and birds.
The Yellowstone Grille has salads, burgers, pastries and a variety of different coffees. It is a great place to grab a light lunch before heading into the park.
Make sure to stop and get out to walk through the doors of the arch and be on the lookout for Elk around the area. The Boiling River is located in Yellowstone a few miles before the Mammoth Hot Springs area.
If you put in the Boiling River in your GPS before you leave Gardiner you can get an idea where you are going. Head back to Mammoth to visit the Albright Visitor Center where you can talk to the rangers, the kids can get their junior ranger books and you can explore the small museum there.
You can park at the bottom walk among the lower terraces then drive up to the top and walk among the upper terraces or you can hike the whole thing from the bottom to the top and back down. If you have an extra night, then add in a stay at the beautiful Sage Lodge and head over to Chico Hot Springs to play disc golf and visit the historic Hot Springs.
If you can’t stay the night then see if you can squeeze in an extra day to visit Sage Lodge for lunch and then head over to Chico for a few hours. Time to head over to West Yellowstone to explore the geysers and more of the thermal features.
Drive over to the Artist Point lookout to take in one of the iconic Yellowstone views. Uncle Tom’s Trail is a great way to really get a feel of the “Grand Canyon” of Yellowstone.
It is a staple in West Yellowstone and serves a variety of different pizza options and pasta along with a yummy Huckleberry Margarita! Taquería Las Palmists For a unique experience head to Taquería Las Palmists which is located in a renovated Bus in downtown West Yellowstone.
Kelly Inn has a nice pool and hot tub area. It was really nice to end each night sitting in the hot tub while the kids played in the pool.
We didn’t know what to expect when we went to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, but we were pleasantly surprised and actually wish we had more time to explore! They offer a variety of different talks throughout the day and videos so it is good to check the schedule ahead of time.
The rest of the day will be spent exploring the western side of Yellowstone National Park. Don’t forget about the animal traffic jams so be prepared to spend some time in the car.
In the visitor center there will be a sign telling you the next predicted time that Old Faithful will go off. Head over to Old Faithful Inn to admire the inside of the building and grab an ice cream cone or a snack.
Make sure you head back to Old Faithful at least 20 minutes before the estimated time so you don’t miss it! On this walk (it is all boardwalks or paved and is a really easy hike) you will pass multiple geysers.
Grab dinner in West Yellowstone before heading back to the hot tub at the Kelly Inn! Sleep-in, grab breakfast at the hotel and then walk around West Yellowstone for souvenirs.
Grab a quick lunch in West Yellowstone before heading back into the park. Drive over to the Storm Point trailhead for a 2.3 mile loop hike that takes you along Yellowstone Lake and into an old growth forest.
For the last 6+ years they have explored all over North America and share their top tips on things to do in locations with kids, along with road trip ideas and tips on Ring.