Yellowstone National Park is our nation’s first national park. This year, the National Park Service Centennial, millions of people from around the globe will make the trip and visit Yellowstone.
Here in the Treasure Valley we are much closer than most visitors. Yellowstone is about a five and half hour drive from Boise, perfect for a three-day weekend trip. So, the next time you get an urge to take the kids on a camping trip, consider heading to Yellowstone National Park. Here are five ideas for awesome family-friendly fun in Yellowstone National Park.
Take a hike!
The best way to see Yellowstone is how 95% of park visitors don’t do it: by foot. The park is criss-crossed with hundreds of miles of trails that are only accessible to hikers (mountain bikes are not permitted). There are options for every skill level and desire. At every major park attraction there are trails from the area that offer visitors a chance to not only beat the crowds, but often get a better view of what they came to see. For example, everyone knows the crowds that stand around the boardwalk at Old Faithful can number in the thousands. But, a two-mile out and back hike to Observation Point leads to panoramic views of not only Old Faithful, but the entire Upper Geyser Basin. Here is a list of 10 incredible hikes in Yellowstone.
Yellowstone offers visitors world-class fly-fishing! The park’s pristine streams and rivers burst at the gills with trout. A heads-up, the National Park Service generally requires, no bait, no barbs, and no lead…. Just flies, but make sure to check with rangers when you get your license. Over the years many non-native species such as brook, brown, lake and rainbow trout have found their way into Yellowstone’s waters. Consequently, the NPS actively encourages and in some case requires anglers to keep their catch. In Yellowstone Lake, for example, it is illegal to NOT kill a lake trout. Luckily for us, lake trout make for one tasty dinner. A few other places that offer incredible fly fishing include the Lamar River, Slough Creek and Pebble Creek.
One of the major reasons people visit Yellowstone is to see the incredible array of wildlife. Yellowstone has the largest concentration of wildlife in the lower 48. Some star attractions include bison, black bears, grizzly bears, elk, and wolves. You can click on any of the animals to learn a little more, or check out TrailMob’s Yellowstone Guide to learn about the best places for viewing.
While mountain biking is not allowed on any park trails, there are plenty of dirt roads that are perfect for getting off payment and peddling through Yellowstone. There are quite a few in the Old Faithful area and close to the northern park entrance near Gardiner, Montana.
If you are visiting the park with young kids, every parent knows it can be tough keeping their attention and keeping them interested in the trip. This is especially true in the digital world we live in where video games are just a cell phone or iPad away. Fear not! There are other ways to have fun. Remember? Like we used to do when were kids. A few suggestions: teach them how to whittle the perfect marshmallow roasting stick, one that will be used to make the perfect s'more; have a camping scavenger hunt list ready to go; learn a few ghost stories; break out the guitar or play other old school camping games.
Here is a complete Insider’s Guide to Yellowstone National Park.
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