Hey everyone! Today will be the third installment re-capping our Summer road trip. I already covered days 1-7 in my other posts. If you missed those you can click the links here to get caught up:
In this post I’ll be recapping days 8 and 9. Here we go!
We woke up, got ready, and went downstairs to eat the free breakfast at the hotel. Then we went back upstairs to pack up our room, and we kept hearing loud car engines revving up. Cooper looked through the window to see what all the noise was about. He very quickly, and very excitedly, told me that there was a car show across the street! I took a look for myself and sure enough, there was a park across the street that was filling up with all sorts of classic cars. He was so excited that we decided we’d delay our plans for the day a bit and go check out the car show!
We were so glad we stumbled upon this. It was one of the best car shows I’ve ever been to! There were so many different, rare, and unusual cars that we were really impressed. We spent almost two hours checking it all out. Cooper had to take pictures of every car! He was in heaven. I found a Thunderbird that I loved, and Cody found an awesome 1962 Corvette that he loved- and then Cooper was invited to sit in it! So we got some cool pictures of him in an awesome car. The nice owner told him to put his hands on the wheel, but he wouldn’t. He told me later that he was afraid to mess anything up. He’s so cute!
After the car show, we drove a few blocks over to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. I had read great things about this place online, and I was excited to check it out. The animals in the center are unable to survive in the wild, so they’re given a great life here while also serving as ambassadors for their cousins in the wild. It was really neat to see these bears from a fairly close distance- I can’t even imagine running into one in the wild. I would be so terrified! They sure are cute though!
We sat and watched the bears play and forage for a while. We also caught a glimpse of the sleeping wolves, and we checked out the raptors too. We spent a little over an hour here, and really enjoyed it.
Next, it was time to drive back into Yellowstone National Park. We entered the park via the West entrance, and our first stop was at the Lower Geyser Basin to check out the Fountain Paint Pot Trail. We found parking easily- despite it being a very busy day in the park. We followed the trail around and saw a hot spring with beautiful blue water. Next we came to the Fountain Pots, which are bubbling, hot, mud pots. Watching the mud boil and bubble reminded me of a scene out of The Neverending Story ! Then we saw our first actively erupting geyser of the day, the Clepsydra Geyser. It was pretty neat!
We completed the loop all the way around and got back to our car. We drove a short distance to the Midway Geyser Basin, to see the Grand Prismatic Spring.
Arriving at this parking lot, it wasn’t looking good. The line-up just to enter the parking area was super long. But we got in line, and waited about 10 minutes, and we were parked. So, even if the line is long, don’t let that turn you away. Besides, it’s worth the wait!
The Grand Prismatic Spring is a big hot spring. In fact it’s the third largest hot spring in the world. Very hot water travels up 121 feet from a crack in the Earth to reach the surface. Bacteria in the water creates bands of incredibly vibrant colors in the spring. It’s beautiful! Pictures really don’t do it justice. Definitely pack your patience along this trail. Everyone(myself included) is taking a bunch of pictures, so you’re not going to be able to speed-walk through here. You will have to go slowly- so you might as well enjoy the view!
This was a highlight for me! I’ve seen so many pictures of the Grand Prismatic Spring, but seeing it in person in really neat.
After walking the trail all the way around, and taking a ton of pics, we headed back to our car. It was time for us to continue on to our next destination: Old Faithful Geyser.
Luckily the parking lot at the Old Faithful is gigantic!! We easily found parking as soon as we turned into the lot. We hightailed it to the viewing area, stood in the shade and waited for Old Faithful to erupt. The boardwalk around the Geyser was packed, so we assumed it was “due” soon. We waited less than 10 minutes and the geyser erupted! It was very cool to see it on person, and I’m thankful we had good timing!
We snapped some pictures and then walked over to the Old Faithful Inn.
This place is amazing! It was built in 1903 and it’s the largest log structure in the world. The lobby is so beautiful! We wandered around, rested in some rocking chairs, and checked out the gift shop.
We left the Inn and walked over to the general store. We grabbed some sandwiches, chips, and a few cold drinks to go. Then we drove on another 20 minutes or so before pulling over into a picnic area for lunch. After we ate, we checked out a waterfall, hiked down to the river, and Cody took Cooper went exploring while I took pictures of them.
Yellowstone is an incredibly beautiful place. I wish pictures could capture how gorgeous everything is!
We had an amazing time in the park and we were sad to leave! We drove South out of Yellowstone, and directly into Grand Teton National Park.
We had visited Grand Teton National Park back in 2016, and we were excited to be going back. We love this park! It is absolutely gorgeous here.
We took our time driving through the park and into Jackson Hole. We stopped to take some pictures at Mormon Row. We had missed this section of the park on our last trip, and I really wanted to get some pictures of the Moulton barn. It’s the most photographed barn in the world, and when you see it you’ll understand why:
When the Grand Teton Mountain Range is your backdrop, it doesn’t get much better than that! So gorgeous!
We drove into town and checked into The Lodge at Jackson Hole . We loved this hotel on our last trip here and we were so excited to be back! It’s got a great rustic vibe, bear carvings everywhere, and an awesome indoor/outdoor pool. It’s a great place to stay!
After dropping our bags in our room, we grabbed a quick dinner in the hotel lounge, and then went swimming in Cooper’s favorite pool.
We had a very fun, very full day!!
We got up, got ready, and enjoyed the free breakfast at our hotel. The breakfast here is really good- lots of variety, freshly cooked eggs, and lots of seating. After breakfast we drove back into Grand Teton National Park.
On our way there we saw some Moose! They were just off the side of the road- it was hard to get a good picture because they were in the bushes, so this is the best I got:
Once we were in the park we drove directly to the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve. We had to wait about 10 minutes for a parking spot to open, then we checked out the visitors center before heading out for a hike.
The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve is what used to be the JY Ranch- the Rockefeller family retreat. It was donated to the National Parks service with special stipulations to preserve the solitude of the area. This means a small parking lot to make sure that there won’t be too many visitors at once. This way you can hike without the trails becoming too congested. He wanted visitors to enjoy this area the way his family had for many years. The visitor center has a ranger station, a cool meditation room with nature sounds, some mosaic-murals made out of tiny photographs, and pictures of, and quotes from, Mr. Rockefeller. You can also purchase bear spray here- and you should. Bears are spotted frequently in the area.
After looking around the visitors center we headed out for a hike to Phelp’s Lake. The weather was perfect- a little warm, but really nice. We took lots of pictures along the way- there’s a river, some waterfalls, and bridges. It’s seriously one of the most beautiful places to hike.
Just when we were getting close to the lake, we noticed the weather quickly begin to change. The sky was a bit darker, and then we started to hear thunder. Loud thunder. Then it started to rain! We were quite hot by this point in our hike so the rain felt kinda nice….but then it started to hail!! It was so crazy how it just came out of nowhere! We don’t see a lot of weather in California, so this was pretty exciting for us. We took refuge under some branches of a big pine tree and just watched the forest floor become carpeted with hail. It was awesome! We stood there for about 10 minutes, and then suddenly, it stopped.
We continued on to Phelp’s Lake. There is a lookout here where the Rockefeller’s vacation home once stood- and the views are unbelievable.
Once again, pictures just don’t do it justice. You really need to see it in person to appreciate it.
We continued the trail loop back to the visitors center, stopping for a snack break along the way. It was a gorgeous way to spend the afternoon- if you visit Grand Teton National Park this preserve is a must do. It’s a really special place!
We drove back to our hotel to shower and get changed. Then we took the shuttle from our hotel to downtown Jackson Hole. It’s a short drive, but parking there can be difficult so taking the shuttle is just easier. He dropped us off at the corner of the town square so we could take the traditional pictures under the Antler Arches:
We walked around downtown and did some window shopping.
This big bear was here three years ago on our last trip:
The bear hasn’t changed much, but the little boy sure has grown!
We ate dinner at The Local, and it was delicious. We sat at a booth in the bar and they had the Dodger game on the TV’s. It’s like they knew I was coming! I had the trout, Cooper had a burger, and Cody had the rib-eye. The food was delicious and I of course forgot to take pictures. We also had the bread pudding for dessert and it was awesome! I would eat here again. If you want to see pictures of other people’s food you can check out the Trip Advisor page HERE.
After dinner we hit the candy store(because my husband is a candy addict) and then took the shuttle back to our hotel. We spent a couple hours at the pool and had a great time.
We had an amazing day in Jackson Hole. We love visiting here- I can’t wait until we get to come back.
That’s all the time I have for now- I’ll recap the final 2 days of our trip in my next post. Thank you for following along!