Road trip USA Wyoming

It has been a dream of mine to see Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons since I was a little girl.  Who hasn't heard of Old Faithful or wanted to see the herds of buffalos that still roam the plains there? A remnant of centuries past where they used to roam freely all over the United States. I felt a surge of energy crossing over the border from Utah into Wyoming.

{In case, you missed Part-1-Utah}

Road trip USA Wyoming Intinerary

You realize that the wildlife dictates many of these people's lives, from the antler decor everywhere, to the names of businesses all mentioning Moose or Grizzly Bears.  We stopped and asked directions from a guy and he donned a huge belt buckle that said "Wyoming" and we knew that we had entered the land of cowboys and ranches and definitely asked the right guy for directions:)

Road trip USA Wyoming Ideas

Sarah and I stayed at her family's home at the base of the Grand Tetons and got a good night's sleep getting ready for our first epic day of driving through and photographing Yellowstone.  We had NO idea just how vast the Tetons and Yellowstone National Park were.

Road trip USA Wyoming Itinerary tips

USA Road trip wyoming 5

The park itself is the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined and there are only 5 entrances into the park from different states and you have to be prepared to drive for hours.  We opted to conquer the lower loop of Yellowstone park.  Thinking it would take 6 hours, we underestimated our obsession with the geysers and how often we would stop to take photos.  That loop took us 12 hours and was only 1/4th of the park!

Road trip USA Wyoming Itinerary tips and ideas

Wyoming Road trip USA ideas

Wyoming Road trip USA ideas tips

What we saw was so stunning, though.  Herds of buffalo crossed in front of our car, huge elk were within 15 feet of us, the geysers bubbled and boiled and the bacteria that surrounds them shone every color of the rainbow.  We had a perfect blue sky and puffy white clouds, and could not have had better photo conditions.  There are not many places to stop or find food or restrooms, so at one point I pulled over to find what I thought would be a quiet place in the woods and discovered a raging waterfall that crashed down 1000 feet into this canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  Sarah and I didn't even know it existed and just happened to stumble across this natural wonder!

Wyoming Road trip US ideas

Yellowstone National Park is the very first national park in the world and has such an interesting history. People used to take trains and covered wagons across the US to discover its wonders. The US army used to be in charge of the park, protecting it from poachers for 50 years, until the 1970's where it was handed back to the National Park service.  As a tribute to the army, the park rangers still wear the traditional cavalry hats that the army wore (just like in the cartoon Yogi Bear). A massive fire in 1988 took out 150,000 acres of the park and you can see the wake of the dead, fallen trees, all bleached white over time.  This drastic contrast of burnt trees and whitebark prompted us to stop and do a photo shoot in this abandoned forest.

Wyoming Road trip US itinerary

I mean, what’s a road trip without some epic selfies along the way? The best perk of doing a road trip is having your “turtle shell” on your back and being able to bring lots of extra gear. In our case, that meant our camera gear and tons of ridiculous outfits and colorful props to adorn ourselves in our tripod selfies.

Wyoming Road trip ideas tips

Sarah and I were obsessed with these bleached-out dead tree forests that covered huge parts of the park. We decided to stop, get dressed up in Sarah's crazy colorful vintage dresses, and bring our parasols to run around and do a shoot amongst the trees.  I set up my tripod and we had a blast being silly.  I think we were photographed by tourists more than the Yellowstone wildlife!

USA Road trip wyoming

The burnt trees were a constant reminder of just how huge that fire must have been and how powerful nature is and quickly it can all grow back.  Surprisingly not that many animals perished in the fire and the grizzly population is actually on the rise, making us glad we weren't camping here. We did not end up seeing any "Yogi Bears"  on this day, but we decided we would drive through the northern part of the park, through the famous Bear Tooth Highway and into "Bear Country" so we could catch a glimpse.

Let's continue to Part-3-Montana}

Wyoming Road trip USA bears