Last summer my family and I had a few days to take a family trip to Yellowstone National Park – and when I say a “few” days, I mean we had a couple days of driving and only TWO days to spend IN the park.
How Do You Narrow It Down?
Now, with so much to see, how do you narrow it down to two days? You can’t. That’s the truth. You should plan a second trip or plan to stay longer – ha ha ha!
However, I’m sharing what our family experienced and how amazing each and every sight was. Sometimes you might be passing through, or maybe you are like us and only have a couple of days to spare. We found the BEST 5 things to see in Yellowstone and it was definitely the BEST two days we could have imagined spending in this gloriously beautiful piece of nature.
1. The Old Faithful and Upper Geyser Basin
First thing’s first – everyone who visits Yellowstone wants to see Old Faithful. So, if you’re short on time but you want to see this astounding force of nature in action, I advise heading there early in the morning, or later in the evening. You’ll beat the crowds and be sure to get a great view of the big event. Believe me, it’s worth seeing!
Also, timing is everything! Call ahead to the visitor’s center or the Yellowstone Lodge to find out when the eruptions are scheduled to happen, and plan your trip in accordingly. Give yourself extra time ahead of the eruption so you don’t miss it, and there is always lots to see in the area, I recommend checking out the Yellowstone lodge – very cool! And the visitor’s center there is filled with interesting things to see.
2. Grand Canyon of Yellowstone – Point Sublime
The grand canyon of Yellowstone is a MUST SEE, regardless of which spots you choose to stop to check it out (and there are a few!). I had no idea this place existed and it took my breath away. I mean that literally – especially at Point Sublime – a short walk along a paved path which rewards you with stunning views of the canyon, allowing you to look almost directly down on the river. It gave me a small heart attack to see my kids looking over the edge (even though it is well protected by large stones) because the drop is so steep!
If you have a problem with heights, this might not be the view for you!
3. Grand Canyon of Yellowstone – Brink of the Upper Falls Trail
This was my favorite place to view the upper falls and I highly recommend it. It’s a bit of a hike down (and back up again) on well-groomed trails, so I recommend wearing good footwear. And bring a good bottle of water! This hike takes you right to the brink of the falls (hence, the name!) and it’s amazing! The colors of the canyon walls are so vibrant and you can see a gorgeous rainbow in the mist of the thundering falls. An amazing vantage point – a must see!
4. Grand Prismatic Spring/ Fairy Falls Trail
Okay, time for my personal favorite spot in all of Yellowstone – the Fairy Falls Trail! Everyone has heard of the grand prismatic spring, which is the largest of the mineral pools in Yellowstone. It’s one thing to walk along the walkway along the edge of the pool, but if you want an amazing vantage point, take this simple hike up the hillside to see it from above.
If you park further down the road you can check out smaller mineral pools along the trail, getting up close and personal with these stunningly gorgeous, colorful pieces of nature. Don’t get too close, however. These pools are dangerous. Stay on the path and let your camera’s zoom do all the work!
5. Firehole River Swimming Hole
My kids would say this was their favorite stop of the trip – and which child doesn’t love a good ol’ swimming hole? The best part about this one was, the water was a very comfortable temperature and there was a small current which made floating down super fun. The kids also found a small waterfall upstream that they enjoying floating down. I couldn’t manage to get in a position to photograph that, though.
There are change rooms there and plenty of space to sit, though bring some folding chairs or some blankets to sit on.
Don’t Forget The Wildlife in Yellowstone!
Naturally there was wildlife to be seen – though we only saw bison from a far! We stayed in a cabin not far outside of Yellowstone, though there are plenty of spots to stay right inside the park, which would save you some time. At our cabin, we even had a moose show up to join us around our campfire! Yellowstone is well worth the trip and I’d love to hear which parts YOU are anxious to see!