Since we had focused on seeing animals on our first Yellowstone tour, we wanted to switch our focus to seeing some of the main geothermal sites this time.
Our wait at the front was about 20 minutes, which gave us time to map out our plan. We downloaded the Gypsy app, so our first stop was encouraged by Bob, the name we gave our personal Gypsy tour guide. Firehole Canyon Falls!
It was just a quick stop, but the drive along the beautiful river and to see the falls set the done for the day. Bring on the natural beauty!
From there we headed to the popular Fountain Paint Pots. I’ll be honest, besides Old Faithful and the Grand Prismatic, I wasn’t really knowledgeable on many of the geothermal wonders of Yellowstone and the magic of what thermophiles (heat loving bacteria) can create. Because of this, I was completely awestruck by the Fountain Paint Pots and they might still be my favorite thing we saw.
To view these hot and colorful wonders, you must stay on the boardwalks to protect the ground from you, and you from the ground. Having kids, I was happy about this, and it gave us an easy and safe way to see the beauty of these paint pot wonders and the geysers that surrounded them!
By the time we finished at the Fountain Paint Pots, it was that awkward time where it was a little early for lunch, but if we didn’t start to find something, it would be too late. Because I am not a fan of over hungry kids (or being over hungry myself) we continued on the south loop of Yellowstone, to head directly to Old Faithful.
We’d been told that seeing Old Faithful Inn is a must to, so we parked and headed in. It was quite crowded, but still the line moved quickly through the deli and we headed to the giant deck to enjoy our lunch.
Mom insisted we all try the famous Huckleberry ice cream, too, so when we found out you could view the eruption of Old Faithful right from the deck, we grabbed ice cream and a bench and waited for the show!
My pictures don’t do the view justice; the deck was a fabulous place to watch the eruption! It was busy, but nowhere near as crowded as down at the base of Old Faithful itself, and the girls had a chance to sit and rest.
It erupted for a couple minutes, then we clapped! OK, I clapped… enthusiastically… because it felt appropriate… but I was literally the only person.
Refueled and rested, we headed to Fairy Falls Overlook Hike. It was described to me as 1.8 miles round trip to a fantastic view of the Grand Prismatic. However, it wasn’t much of a hike; it was more a walk on a wide gravel path up to an overlook, but the view? Yes, that was spot on!
It was UNREAL. Like HOW does this exist naturally in real life? My favorite stories told by Truman and the Gypsy app were stories about how early explorers would see these phenomenon, but when they tried to explain them to people, everyone thought they had lost their minds.
After “hiking” back down, it was hot and quite crowded, we continued making out way towards the south entrance. We stopped at several overlooks, and to take a picture at the continental divide as well.
It was getting to be quite late in the afternoon at this point, so we knew we needed to move along. We left through the south entrance and drove on the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Highway (listening to some great stories of it’s history on the Gypsy app).
It’s the highway that connects Yellowstone and The Grand Tetons National Park, and after about an hour of a beautiful drive, we were entering Grand Tetons, a smaller National Park with a dramatically different feel. I was SO excited!
We knew we’d have time to explore, so we just stared in wonder as we drove through the park to our rental for the next few days, The Director’s Cabin!
This 2 bedroom/2 bath house was so full of personality, being the former residence of the director of the National Parks Service. Memorabilia was everywhere and the cabin felt some homey and cozy. It was very well stocked and very clean.
The girls shared the room furthest from the kitchen so they could sleep in, mom had the other room, and David and I brought out blow up mattress (which is quite comfortable!) and slept right in the dining area. We all felt it was comfortable and spacious for our needs.
But the main reason this place was such a gem? VIEW AND LOCATION!
We were a mile or two from the entrance to Grand Teton National Park and only 15 minutes to the heart of downtown Jackson. While it’s park of a small complex, it felt very private. It was an idea place for us, as you’ll see in the coming posts.
That last picture by the way? That was the view of the Tetons at sunrise FROM OUR RENTAL. Whew, baby.
Once we settled in, David went to grab pizza from nearby Dornan’s while we all showered. We ended the day tired, but pretty excited about our new location and the adventure to come!
Since so many people asked me about our location on Instagram, I waned to make sure to share all the details on here for reference:
- The Director’s Cabin
- 2 Bedrooms
- 2 Full Baths
- Pull out couch (sleeps 5 total)
- Fully stocked kitchen
- 5 minutes to Grand Teton National Park
- 15 minutes to Jackson, WY
- 30-40 minutes from Teton Village