Yellowstone and Tetons Advice

Started May 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
bflood Senior Member • Posts: 1,636
Re: Yellowstone and Tetons Advice

Lots to say, but I'll try to minimize.

Mammoth: the hot springs are fascinating - look at the detail in the formations for changes in them as the water flow changes direction. And the sunlight near sunrise/sunset changes everything. Common to have elk wandering around the lawns. Rocky hillsides between Mammoth and the north gate at Gardiner is great in the morning for bighorn sheep - amazing to watch them on the steep slopes, especially the little ones.

Geysers: besides Old Faithful, that complex has a variety of other geysers, Castle Geyser being especially good. Great area around sunset for the way the low sun illuminates the geysers. Looking from the OF visitor center past OF to the hillside beyond, there's a path up there and in the morning hours you can get an alignment of the sun with OF to get a rainbow in the geyser's spray.

Midway geyser basin: Grand Prismatic Spring has amazing colors, hard to shoot from the boardwalks but worth it if the morning has cool/cold air - creates a layer of steam fog where the fog reflects the colors of the spring. Between Midway and OF there's a trail that goes back behind the hill on the east side of Grand Prismatic. You can climb that hill from back there and shoot down on the spring for the best view other than hiring an airplane.

Very good for finding elk and bison herds on the road between Madison Junction and West Yellowstone. Eagle nest near the road's edge near West Yellowstone, not always occupied. Trumpeter swans often in the Madison River.

Lamar Valley very scenic, best opportunity to see wolves, but still a long shot. Herd of elk and bison, though. Coyotes, too.

Hayden Valley good for bison, elk, bears.  Bear viewing opportunities happen where they happen, and create traffic jams.  in my experience, bears frequently along the road from Madison Junction northward to Mammoth.

Canyon: lots to see - be sure to get to both the lower and upper falls. The upper falls will exhibit a rainbow in its spray in the morning up to about 830AM. Use a polarizer to get the fullest color in the rainbow.

Google/Bing/favorite search tool: Yellowstone waterfalls. You'll find a list of the waterfalls with directions.  Good photo ops.

Small animals: lots of uinta squirrels, marmot - they are quick so you have to be quick or lucky.

There are fox and moose, but very few compared to coyotes, elk, and bison.

Jackson Hole: iconic photos to be had at Oxbow Bend, Snake River overlook (where Ansel Adams got his famous pic), Moulton Barn. All 3 are best at sunrise, and they can get crowded, but there's a reason those shots have been icons. Look for moose where the bridge crosses the Snake River at Moose Junction - lots of the riverside willows that moose love. Look for black bear along the (very narrow) Moose-Wilson Road between Moose Junction and the Wilson area down by the ski area. Road is paved in the area of interest - if you get to the end of the pavement and haven't found a bear, turn around - you aren't likely to find any father down the now-gravel road.

Because Jackson Hole is on the east side of the Tetons, sunset shots are a challenge. If you haven't tried it, do some reading about merging multiple images. :^)

Both parks: check at ranger stations for what closed or running shorter hours because of budget cuts.

I'd wish you a good trip, but no need - you WILL have a good time there.

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