Jan 242012
Yellowstone: Top Five Reasons Why Families with Teens Must Visit ASAP

We recently asked the teens to think back on all our family trips and choose the one they would most like to revisit.  Without blinking they said it would have to be Yellowstone National Park.  Yes, Yellowstone beat out Disney, Hawaii, South Dakota, the Jersey Shore, San Diego, Bermuda, a cruise, the Bahamas and many other destinations.  Why?  Because it truly is a one of a kind experience that can’t be had anywhere else.  If you haven’t been there yet, make sure you take your teens and tweens to Yellowstone before they go off to college.  Yellowstone is the stuff that lifetime family memories are made of. Established as the country’s first National Park in 1872,  Yellowstone is located in the northwestern corner of Wyoming with small tracts of adjoining land in [...]

Jun 022011
Five Favorite State and National Parks for Family Vacations with Teens and Tweens

     With school getting out and summer coming in, many families with teens and tweens will be thinking about hiking, camping and getting into the great outdoors.  State and National Parks offer access to a wide array of natural wonders and family adventures.   If you are looking for ideas consider some of our favorites from across the country including: Custer State Park in South Dakota      Stay at one of the park’s lodges, drive the wildlife loop to see the buffalo herd, big horn sheep, antelope, begging burros and more.  Don’t forget to visit Sylvan Lake.  Take a mile long stroll around the lake or follow the trail for a thrilling day hike to 7,244 ft. Harney Peak.  Its a great hike for teens and tweens.  Side trips to Jewel Cave [...]

Giant Prismatic Spring at Midway Geyser Basin

 Posted by on January 21, 2010  Comments Off
Jan 212010
Giant Prismatic Spring at Midway Geyser Basin

     Midway Geyser Basin is a small area with big appeal.  It houses the Giant Prismatic Spring which is the largest thermal spring at Yellowstone and the largest feature at the Midway Geyser Basin.  It measures roughly 350 by 250 feet and its temperature runs between 150 and 180 degrees.        The Spring is known for brilliant bands of bright red, green and yellow rings around a deep blue bullseye.  The various colored rings are due to different types of bacteria thriving at different temperature bands that form as the water deepens in the pool.   Colors vary somewhat by season.  The rings tend to be orange and red in summer and lean more toward dark green in the cooler winter months  At its deepest point Giant Prismatic Spring  is about 120 feet deep.  [...]

Jan 202010
Mud Volcano Area Boils and Bubbles

     The sulfer smell filling the air announces you have arrived at the Yellowstone Mud Volcano area even before you check the map.  The 3/4 mile trail follows a steep uphill loop, mainly on boardwalks, that provides an up close and  personal view of steaming mud volcanos and noisy fumaroles.   This is a very active thermal area with features boiling muddy pools sporting names like Dragon’s Mouth and the Black Dragon’s Caldron.       Due to the extreme heat and acidic nature of the terrain it is important to stay on the trails.  Past eruptions have detroyed nearby trees, leaving dead skeletons.   Sulfer combined with iron creates a stark landscape with mud pots painted reddish,  gray and brown.   The plants that survive take on odd colors in this challenging landscape.       The Mud Volcano [...]

Jan 182010
Beaver Pond Loop Trail - Pack a Lunch

    The Yellowstone Beaver Pond Loop trail offers a lovely 5-mile day hike that starts and ends near the Liberty Cap at the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces.   The trail starts by climbing about 350 feet over the first half mile as it runs through the forests of the Clematis Gulch.  It then crosses rolling meadows and re-enters forests that many of the Park’s elk, bear, deer and other mammals call home.  We saw few people or animals on our trip on a warm day late in the summer when most of the animals were probably resting.  We really enjoyed the chance to be out on our own.  The trail starts in Wyoming but passes through Montana, allowing the kids to claim they had been to Montana if only for a few minutes.      We [...]

Jan 142010
Wildlife at Yellowstone Captures Teen's and Tween's Attention

     Wherever you go in Yellowstone you are surrounded by wildlife.  Yellowstone is a year round home to over 3,000 bison (aka buffalo) and houses as many as 30,000 elk in the summer although their numbers drop off some in the winter.  We never saw the more elusive bears or wolves, but no matter how many times we chanced upon the buffalo and elk we had to stop and admire them.       During the summer, the buffalo are most likely to hang out in the Hayden and Lamar Valleys, but as the weather cools in late August some will make their way up to the geyser areas where conditions are warmer in during Yellowstone’s long winter.  On our visit we saw some of the first arrivals in the Old Faithful area.   Park [...]

Firehole Falls Swimmin’ Hole

 Posted by on January 12, 2010  2 Responses »
Jan 122010
Firehole Falls Swimmin' Hole

     In general, swimming at Yellowstone is not advised.  Thermal heated streams can boil.   Mountain lakes and rivers can cause hypothermia. Currents may be too strong to swim safely.  Nonetheless, although not widely advertised, there are one or two old fashion swimming holes in Yellowstone where swimming is permitted, although perhaps not encouraged. You just need to know where to look for them.       Our favorite is the  Firehole Falls swimming area.  It is  located on the Firehole Canyon Drive,  off the Grand Loop Road just south of Madison Junction.   At a point where thermal heated water mixes with frigid mountain runoff the result is a nearly perfect spot to cool off on a warm afternoon.       Driving down the narrow one-way road (too narrow for RVs) you begin to wonder if you missed [...]