late to the table but

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Posted by michael in Tucson ( on 13:27:49 01/09/16

In Reply to: Summer Trip posted by Scorn

I do have experience with a teen/pre-teen. He has been going with my wife and I for fourteen years. Will be 14 this year. If yours are like mine and need the internet, being in a gate community at night will be beneficial for them and thus you.

For my son animals and thermal features have always been the biggest draw. If you are staying in Gardiner, I would recommend an early morning or evening drive along the Northern Range, all the way to the Lamar and Soda Butte valleys. You will see a large bison herd possibly in the rut and a good chance of seeing wolves and bears. I would recommend bringing binoculars on your trip. In Lamar you can watch for people pulled off the road and possibly have the opportunity to share a spotting scope to view animals. Hayden Valley will also be alive with bison in rut and possible viewing of wolves and bears.

If staying in West Yellowstone, it is a great base for trips to the thermal areas. As Frank has said, you will be happiest if you get started early. I was in the park in early June last year and all of the parking lots for the Paint Pots, Midway, and Old Faithful fill early. This includes the southern trail to Fairy Falls. Surprisingly neither Biscuit Basin or Black Sand were over filled. Both of these basins are great fun and at Biscuit Basin you can also hike into Mystic Falls. So if you turn south at Madison Junction, I agree with Frank and highly recommend turning onto Fountain Flats and parking at the end of the road, almost always space. From here you can hike to Fairy Falls or you can turn left at Ojo Caliente Spring and hike the River Group of thermal features in Pocket Basin. We generally hike the north side of the Firehole because it has a mudpot that I love, but both sides work. Be sensible there are no boardwalks here and no people. The only ones I have ever seen are a few folks fishing. Please be sure to take bear spray both here and if you hike to Fairy Falls. I would also recommend taking the Firehole Lake Loop Drive. There are lots of cool thermal features and usually fewer people. If Great Fountain Geyser's eruption window is near, it is worth the wait and gives you a chance to just relax and enjoy Yellowstone. Grand Prismatic Spring is best viewed from the ridge to the west, but you need to park at the trailhead parking area to access it. If you get out early it is a view unrivaled in wonder. Both Biscuit and Black Sand Basins have fun thermal features and smaller crowds. Do go and see Old Faithful and after viewing it take the boardwalk on geyser hill and watch for Daisy Geyser.

Last, if you go north from Madison Junction there is the Artists Paintpots. A short hike with some great mudpots. I would also take be safe and carry bear spray here. Whenever, I get off the main road, I carry bear spray. Also just north of the paintpots is Chocolate Pot. It can be viewed from a pullout on the west side of the road, but there is no sign. This might be my favorite thermal in the park and there is usually no one but us there to view it. I could go on but will just say, you are going to love your trip.

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