Biscuit Basin, Mystic Falls, Old Faithful, and Hayden Valley
There is so much to see at Yellowstone it’s hard to decide what to prioritize. I think Biscuit Basin is a must-see destination. I wanted to see Sapphire Pool really bad. We walked all around the boardwalk area and looked at all the geysers and springs. There are a lot of them! Sapphire Pool is really beautiful and blue.
The day was hot and breezy and so when it was calm you would get hot from the sun, then you would get steam from the geysers blown on you which was warm but then cooled you off. It smells really strong like sulphur.
Mystic Falls Hike
From the boardwalk we started on the trail to Mystic Falls. Mon Dieu, the bugs. Once again they swarmed my son more than my daughter and I. I sprayed him liberally with extra Cutter and sunscreen. By now he had some big welts/bites on his neck and arms. We continued walking to the falls, this time with our bear spray and sunscreen. It was about .8 miles to Mystic Falls, which is a beautiful waterfall. Definitely worth the hike. Bring bear spray, bug spray, and sun screen, water, snacks, etc.
After we left Biscuit Basin we went across the road to the Old Faithful parking lot area which is really huge. There are lodges, a visitor’s center, stores, ice cream shops, a big cafeteria, and more. We ate at the cafeteria and then watched Old Faithful erupt. It was very crowded. The ravens there have figured out how to unzip your backpack and steal your stuff, so be raven aware! I like how there are decent places to eat at Yellowstone. It really makes the trip nicer and I really like sitting inside to get away from bugs.
We left the crowded Old Faithful area and drove up and over to the Hayden Valley. The Hayden Valley is where you are most likely to see grizzlies and wolves. It’s an incredibly beautiful place. I got our folding camping chairs and binoculars out and we sat there for quite a while. The Yellowstone River winds through the valley and there are areas where water birds like pelicans float on the river and fish. We watched a bald eagle flying over and hunting fish. We looked for wolves but really weren’t sure where to look or where they would come down from. It was really peaceful and one of the most enjoyable parts of the trip.
We drove south past the Mud Volcano area and saw bison laying in steam from geysers. It’s a really beautiful drive. We decided to save Mud Volcano for another day because we were getting hungry and tired. We drove to Lake Village and checked in at Lake Lodge. Our cabin had just been renovated and was really nice! There was a cute little soap shaped like a bear for a souvenir. We walked to the cafeteria at Lake Lodge and while we ate I did a load of laundry at the laundromat. It was very convenient and the food was pretty good too. The views of Yellowstone Lake from the dining area are fantastic and there were even elk grazing between us and the lake. Overall I was very impressed with the cabins and the lodge area.
A quick note about Lodging in Yellowstone National Park:
If you stay inside Yellowstone, for heaven’s sake book a year ahead and use the official website. I got charged more than $100 extra per night because I booked through a site on Google maps, which ended up being through a booking agency in the Netherlands or Switzerland. How it works is complicated but blah blah blah, book early through the official site. Our trip was last minute and the way I booked was all that was left and it was a rip off. If I were to do it again I would spend two nights at Lake Lodge or Lake Lodge Cabins, two nights at Old Faithful, and two nights in Canyon Village.