Kyle’s Birthday and Father’s Day usually fall within a few days of each other so, we have started a tradition of going on a family trip that weekend. Last year we did Salt Lake City and the year before that was Crested Butte which you can read about here. This year, Kyle chose Yellowstone National Park which I was excited about. We drove Rebel (our motor home) over the Bookcliffs into Wyoming, Idaho and finally into West Yellowstone, Montana. I never realized the beauty that lies just on the other side of the Bookcliffs. If you’re not a Grand Junction,CO local, the Bookcliffs are a mountain range that frame in the northern side of Grand Junction and is the home of our famous Mount Garfield (a beast but beauty of a hike)
We stayed in West Gate Yellowstone at the KOA in West Yellowstone, MT. I highly recommend them, the people working there were so nice, the facilities and amenities were amazing. They seriously had everything from a dog area, pool, playground, pancake breakfast, coffee hut, and I heard their homemade fudge was AMAZING but I didn’t get any because well COVID-19 weight got me… If you don’t have an RV that’s OK, you can tent camp or rent a log cabin which was cool.
I could go through every sight we saw, which ways to go and what to see but I feel I am no expert on Yellowstone and there are so many great bloggers out there with that kind of advice so, I will just give a few pointer and tips we learned because really you just want to see the pictures anyways right? Of course I am so happy to answer any questions you have or give my recommendations, just comment, DM or Email me 🙂
TIPS FOR VISITING YELLOWSTONE WITH SMALL CHILDREN:
My tips on doing Yellowstone with small children… Don’t.
haha I’m mostly kidding but honestly it would have been a little more enjoyable if the kids were a little older. 10 Months and 3 years was just a little too young for mom and dad to be able to enjoy everything Yellowstone had to offer. We had to deal with many meltdowns over walking, being hot, not being allowed to run around the boiling hot water and just being tired. Being 3 is hard…
If you do go with small children I suggest giving yourself 3-4 days to go through the park so your days in the park are shorter. We did each loop in a day and it was just too long of a day for the kids and too much in and out of the car for them to handle. Give your family an extra day or two to be able to keep everyone happy.
Yellowstone is broken up into a top loop and a bottom loop, you can do both in a day but ideally you want minimum 2 days and 3 is even better.
Take a baby carrier/backpack You can’t really take a stroller on most of the sites so, a hiking backpack or front carrier is a must. A lot of the sites require a mile or more of walking so your going to want a carrier of some sort.
I got our hiking backpack off Facebook Marketplace a few years ago and have been happy with it, so your local marketplace is worth a look if your shopping for one.
Download a tour guide app After reading reviews, I chose the Gypsy app, and highly recommend it. It was $10 to download and well worth it. The app knew which direction we were going and made recommendations on what to see,what we could skip if time was limited and just gave lots of great info as we drove by things.
Take a car not the RV into Yellowstone. We could have just packed up the RV every morning and gone though Yellowstone in that but decided instead to rent an SUV and good decision that was! There was many spots we wouldn’t have been able to park an RV or RV’s weren’t even allowed so we wouldn’t have been able to stop and see those sites. Plus when you see Wildlife, it’s harder to pull over quickly and check it out.
* Kyle disagrees , he would have preferred the RV *
Pack your lunches and snacks. While there is food in Yellowstone at the main stopping points, it’s expensive and honestly didn’t look very appetizing. Save your money and just pack your lunch. Plus there are so many beautiful picnic areas. I recommend finding a picnic area off the beaten path and just enjoy the beauty around you.
Get a pair of Binoculars! We just got a cheap $50 pair from Cabela’s (these ) and they did just fine. At the end of the first day, we were driving through Lamar Valley and I saw a small black speckle in the forest area and told Kyle to stop, I zoomed in with the binoculars and was able to see it was a black bear, SO COOL! There is so much wildlife to see but sometimes they are far away so being able to zoom in on them for a better look is totally worth $50.
Last Tip: Bring layers, jackets, and hats You’ll be cold in some areas, hot in others, and potentially snowed, hailed or rained on all in the same day. Plan accordingly.
Thanks for taking time out of your day to read