Our fourth morning was nice and sunny when we headed out from Cody to West Yellowstone. I wanted to travel up Highway 120 to Highway 296 to the Beartooth Highway (Highway 212) and come into the Park from the Northeast entrance, but we decided not to chance it. The Beartooth Highway is closed in winter and with the snow we had encountered so far, we figured it was still winter in Wyoming and Montana…even if it was the middle of May! (Someday I’ll be back to travel the Beartooth Highway…)
Buffalo Bill Reservoir
Instead we headed back along US 16 to the Buffalo Bill Reservoir and Dam. We wanted to tour the tunnels and the dam, but since we’re early risers, we were over an hour too early. We wandered around a bit looking at the information plaques in the parking area and at the roadway tunnel before heading on.
North Fork of the Shoshone River
We didn’t make it too much further up the road before stopping at a pull off area to admire the red cliffs and the meandering river. Sage brush and red cliffs, not a sight we see much in Vermont! And it was nice to enjoy the warming day before heading up over Sylvan Pass back into Yellowstone with all its snow…
We had to put our winter coats back on when we stepped out to view the scenes near the top of Sylvan Pass. The Pass is over 8,500 above sea level and in days past was only accessible after the snow had cleared – often not till June.
On our way to West Thumb, we stopped at Kepler Cascades. It’s a waterfall with a boardwalk overlook. There’s a parking lot, but if it’s full, there might be room at the Lone Star Trailhead parking lot just south of the Cascades. There’s also a toilet at the Trailhead.
West Thumb to Black Sand Basin
Since the weather was a bit nicer than the previous day, we stopped at West Thumb Geyser Basin again and wandered the boardwalk looking at the hot springs.
From there we went onto Old Faithful to wander some of the trails in the Old Faithful basin. (Hint: there are lots of geysers and springs near Old Faithful if you want to get away from the crowd around Old Faithful.)
A little bit up the road from Old Faithful is the Black Sand Basin with Sunset Lake and Rainbow Pool.
We went and checked into the same hotel we stayed at a few nights ago and unpacked for a few days. Tomorrow onto the 45 Parallel!
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