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Category: National Parks

Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs, like other areas in Yellowstone, is in a state of constant change. It’s estimated that calcium carbonate deposits that make up Mammoth build up to 2 feet per year in some spots. This means that the boardwalk routes around and views change constantly from year to year. Part of the lure of the Mammoth Springs is the historical area surrounding it. We spent some time driving around the ‘town center’ checking out the Mammoth Hotel, the former…

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Hayden Valley

Hayden Valley

Hayden Valley is a 26,000 acre savannah that is teeming with wildlife! We saw scores of bison, bison calves, gurgling and bubbling steam geysers and even heard stories from fellow travellers of hunting grizzly bears they spied along the twisting Yellowstone River.Take away the wildlife and you have an amazing breathtaking view that you can stare at for hours.Add in the hundreds of bison, many of which will be up close and personal…and you have a “Jurassic Park” experience. We…

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Yellowstone Expedition Guide

Yellowstone Expedition Guide

Product Review   The Yellowstone Expedition Guide helped make our family vacation a smashing success. Many travel books are overwhelming with information and options and leave you wondering how to start. This book became our indispensable navigator and we’ve been passing it on to family and friends as they plan their trips. The problem with most travel books is that they serve as a giant unprioritized list of places and activities which can be overwhelming when you’re trying to figure…

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Lake Hotel

Lake Hotel

The Lake Hotel is one of the most historic structures in Yellowstone National Park and was added to the National Historical Register in 1991. It has been in operation since the time of its completed construction in 1903. The designer of the hotel was the famous architect, Robert Reamer, the same architect that designed the Old Faithful Inn. The hotel has that early 20th century charm from the bell hop reception area, to the large sunroom overlooking the lake (complete…

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Cowboy Cookout

Cowboy Cookout

The Cowboy Cookout at Yellowstone was one of the capstone events of our Yellowstone vacation! The dinner is prepared out in Pleasant Valley – a remote location nearest to Roosevelt Lodge. You can choose to go out to the cookout via wagon ride or horseback ride. Our family rode out on the covered wagon and were got thoroughly entertained by our story-telling wrangler, Aaron. The wagon ride by itself was an adventure. We boarded within a short walk of our…

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Roosevelt Lodge

Roosevelt Lodge

Roosevelt Lodge is named after former President Teddy Roosevelt. The location of the lodge is the camping location that President Roosevelt frequented on his camping trips to Northwest Wyoming back in 1903. A lover of nature and the Father of our National Parks, this is a fitting. Yellowstone pit-stop in one of the Nation’s finest National Parks. Roosevelt Lodge has 97 ‘Rough Rider’ cabins that are quite comfortable. I was initially concerned about the ‘rustic’ nature of these cabins, the…

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Yellowstone Itinerary

Yellowstone Itinerary

We put some time and thought into our Yellowstone itinerary to try to maximize what we could see in 3-4 days without back-tracking too much through the 2.1 million acre park. For our planning we used the Travel Brains’ Yellowstone Expedition Guide, which we found to be perfect with its maps, guides, and travel CDs. We scoured the internet for travel stories and we bought another book (Moon’s guide to Yellowstone & Grand Tetons) which helped us refine what we…

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Yellowstone Vacation

Yellowstone Vacation

Our Yellowstone Vacation is one of our family’s all time favorites! It was as if we were on an American Safari or in the movie Jurassic Park. The wildlife…the scenery…the geothermal features -unbelievable! It’s the kind of vacation where you’ll want to get up and go each morning and relax in the evening. There is a lot to see and do for people of all ages and it kept our crew mesmerized and thoroughly entertained. The park can be a…

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Gatlinburg Whitewater Rafting

Gatlinburg Whitewater Rafting

Our Gatlinburg whitewater rafting trip in 2016 was a vacation highlight!  We bought combination rafting and ziplining tickets at Rafting in the Smokies based on all of the great on-line reviews…and I’m here to add another endorsement to that list! Below is a map of the whitewater rafting route, pictures, tips, and a video montage of our family’s rafting and ziplining fun.  I’ve also added our answers to questions that we had going into the trip in the hopes that…

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Smoky Mountains National Park

Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the highest visited National park in the U.S.  With over 816 square miles of beautiful Appalachian Mountains, it’s not hard to realize why.  It has also been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Below is a summary of what we would recommend based on our trip.  At the time of our family vacation, our boys’ ages were 18, 17, 15, and 9.  We stayed at an incredible cabin (“Unbridled Memories”) which…

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