1. Enter through the quieter East Entrance of Yellowstone – we immediately saw a huge elk upon entering the park, and another on the shore of Yellowstone Lake. We had the East Entrance Road to ourselves, and enjoyed the gorgeous views of Yellowstone Lake and the surrounding valleys as the sun set.
  2. Escape the crowds and head to the South side of the Park to paddle Lewis Lake and up Lewis river to Shoshone Lake – it’s really the only river you can paddle in Yellowstone! We parked on a pullout near the north part of the lake rather than going all the way to the boat ramp at the south end, to start closer to the river and avoid paddling the whole lake.  We still did almost 10 miles!
  3. Escape the crowds and head to the South side of the Park to paddle Lewis Lake and up Lewis river to Shoshone Lake – it’s really the only river you can paddle in Yellowstone! We parked on a pullout near the north part of the lake rather than going all the way to the boat ramp at the south end, to start closer to the river and avoid paddling the whole lake. We still did almost 10 miles! Hike Artists Point in the late afternoon when the crowds are gone.
  4. Camp at Pebble Creek campground, in the middle of Llamar Valley,to see close-ups of buffalo, wolves, and other quintessential Yellowstone wildlife. This campground is first-come, first-served and arriving before 8am is wise in the busy summer months. Luckily, every campground in the park has a list of the time that all of the first come, first served campgrounds filled up the day before, so you can check that list for the most current timing.
  5. The beautiful and less-traversed Pebble Creek hiking trail starts across the stream from the Pebble Creek campground and winds through leafy forests to several viewpoints and backcountry campsites, with opportunities to see wildlife. Best done as point to point with a shuttle to see it all, it’s 10.7 miles in total and ends at the Warm Creek trailhead, and can be hiked either way.
  6. While not actually in (or even really close by) Yellowstone, if you have the time, Bighorn National Forest is well worth a visit. This gorgeous forest is in central WY and even just driving through on highway 16 is gorgeous – rocky mountains, cliffs, buttes and many switchbacks and overlooks make up the landscape in this unique area.

Elk near East Entrance

Elk

Paddling Lewis Lake & River

 

Paddling Lewis River

Artists Point Views

Hike to Sublime Point

Llamar Valley buffalo

Llamar Valley “head of parade”

Pebble Creek hike

Pebble Creek hike

Bighorn National Forest