This summer my dad and I went on a three week road trip to Alaska from Missouri making lots of stops along the way! It was such a spectacular trip. I’m wanting to share it with you in four parts touching on some of my favorite things.
We took a long way up through Yellowstone and Glacier NP in Montana. The ride to Yellowstone was so beautiful because the terrain changed every hour or so to something completely different.
We stopped at the Grand Tetons and did the “Hidden Falls Trail” which was only about 5 miles. We were really excited because we love waterfalls, but we were then VERY disappointed when we finally reached the Hidden Falls. We thought that Hidden Falls meant these gorgeous falls hidden up in the mountains, but no, hidden falls means you literally cannot see these falls! So that part of it was pretty disappointing, but the views of Jenny Lake are beautiful from this trail, and the hike itself was really pretty. Be sure to bring plenty of water, though, and take altitude changes into consideration when comparing it to 5 mile hike you do back home.
Yellowstone is amazing. I had never been there before and was so thrilled with it! One of the coolest things about it is that there is so much to do and see there. There is something for everyone. There are easy hikes, harder hikes, wildlife, geysers, canyons, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, fishing… You name it, they’ve got it! You could spend a week there, no problem!
We were there peak time (third week of July) and although some of the hot spots were busy, it wasn’t completely overwhelming where you couldn’t enjoy the things you’re looking at. My favorite of the little pull-outs was the West Thumb Geyser Basin. It was so beautiful! All of these tiny pools with amazing shades of the most vivd turquoise, green, blue and orange. Plus, you were right off of Yellowstone Lake which made for a spectacular view.
A close second was the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The hikes to the waterfalls are most definitely worth it, especially the Lower Falls because it offers a cool view of the Upper Falls.
Of course, you can’t go to Yellowstone without seeing Old Faithful. She’s still pretty accurately timed and you can get a really spectacular view of this iconic geyser from the lodge nearby.
The very best thing to happen at Yellowstone, though, was when a mama bear and her two cubs came up from this valley, up the hillside and across the road, and literally 2 feet away from me with only our car window between us. We stood outside for a long time, but once they got close enough, we jumped back in our car. The mom was so HUGE! The babies were so adorable and the played together. They walked over and ate these white flowers. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life.
On our way to Montana, we stopped off at Mammoth Hot Springs. In many of the photos of Yellowstone there are a lot of pictures of these formations show all the bright oranges, reds and yellows. However, when we got there it was mostly that chalky, grey color you can see to the side of the photos. Although it’s still beautiful, it was a bit misleading.
After we left Yellowstone, we made a very, very quick run to Glacier National Park. It was a gorgeous park, but I didn’t get to see much of it. I’d love to go back some time. We did a couple of short hikes to a couple of waterfalls, and we also drove up to Logan’s Pass, and walked around up there. We saw our first black bear of our trip up there. It was the prettiest one too! It was such a beautiful park and I can’t wait to go back to actually get to know it.
I’m very glad that we were able to make some really beautiful stops and even more beautiful memories together on the way to Alaska. It was definitely an epic start to a seriously epic road trip!
Come along on my adventures by subscribing to my blog. Simply enter your email and get updates on new locations and experiences. [Subscribe below this post or to the right.]