We camped a week in Yellowstone at Fishing Bridge Campground on the eastern side of Yellowstone National Park on the northern edge of Yellowstone Lake.
While we couldn’t explore every area and feature of Yellowstone in a week, we found that a week was more than enough time to experience most of what the park had to offer.
By the end of the week, we were a little bored. I’ll explain more about the boredom in a bit. First here are photos and activities from our time in Yellowstone.
Spotting Wildlife in Yellowstone
We spotted much wildlife around the park, including countless bison and elk, three black bears, a grizzly bear and her three cubs, white pelicans, blue herons, pronghorns, and a grey fox.
Most of the animals we saw were in Hayden Valley, where we visited each day early in the morning or late in the evening to spot wildlife. This is where we saw the grizzlies.
On one day, we drove into the northern reaches of the park around Tower Fall and then Mammoth Springs. These areas are more mountainous than the southern side of the park, and these areas are where we spotted all of our black bears.
Seeing the Yellowstone Geysers and Springs
We wandered through numerous geological features, like churning mud pots and boiling springs. We also waited on and saw several geysers. We saw Old Faithful, of course, along with several thousands other people, and we checked out Castle Geyser and Grand Geyser as well around Geyser Hill.
Biking in Yellowstone
As always, we had our bikes with us, and we found that they helped us get away from the crowds.
Leaving Geyser Hill, where Old Faithful and thousands of people are, there is a gravel bike path that stretches a few miles through woods and fields on the way to another cluster of springs. Fifty yards down the trail, you feel all alone, except for the bison that you find in the woods and fields.
We biked the Lone Star Geyser trail, which was super lonely. It’s flat and mostly paved and an easy bike ride. At the end of the bike ride, there is a geyser, and there is also a shallow stream where kids and adults can play in the water (and mud).
Yellowstone Got a Little Dull
While seeing the wildlife and the geysers is unique, our interest in them waned after a few days.
In the latter part of the week, we found ourselves repeating some of the same activities or having little interest to drive to a new area of the park to see boiling springs or geysers similar to that which we’d already seen.
It appears we weren’t alone in our feelings either. The family next to us in the campground left their campsite a day early because they felt they had gotten the Yellowstone experience.
Tips for Planning a Trip to Yellowstone
If you have a week to travel to Yellowstone, based on my experience in Yellowstone, I would suggest planning for a few days in Yellowstone and a few days somewhere else, like the Grand Tetons to the south or Bozeman, Montana to the north.
No matter how long you plan to say, start planning early. We made our camping reservations six months in advance, and the campsites appears consistently full during our stay.
Take powerful binoculars. Spotting and identifying wildlife in Hayden Valley is made much easier with a pair of powerful binoculars. The grizzly bears we saw were probably 500 yards away. Without binoculars, they looked like fuzzy brown dots in the grass.
Take or rent bear spray. Bears are all over the place in Yellowstone, and a few times on our bikes and hikes I got very nervous that we would run into a bear around the next corner.
If you want to get away from the crowds, go for a hike or bike ride on a trail. It seems no one goes to Yellowstone to hike. Most everyone drives the roads, stopping at the geysers, waterfalls, and other features along the road. If you get away from the road, you’ll get away from the crowds.