Saturday, May 23, 2009

West Yellowstone to Mammoth

This morning my Dad and I went to the West Yellowstone History Museum, located in the town’s former railroad depot. The museum was wonderful – there were exhibits about early travel and tourism in the park, bears, and the fire of 1988. The objects were great – wagons and stagecoaches that brought tourists into the park, artifacts from the early hotels, and much more.

West Yellowstone Museum Exhibit

Exhibit on the "Grand Tour of Yellowstone" that tourists used to take by train and wagon

In the front of the museum, there was a large group of buffalo sculptures. The sculptures were painted by different artists and they will be auctioned by the museum later this summer. All of them were really beautiful, and most had western or Yellowstone themes. What a great idea for a museum fundraiser!

Painted Buffalo Sculptures

After we left the museum we went across the street to the IMAX theatre. We watched two short movies there – one about bears and the other about Yellowstone. Both were great, but I especially enjoyed the one about the bears.

IMAX Theatre

After we left the theatre, we headed out of West Yellowstone towards Mammoth and Gardiner. On the way, we stopped again at the Artists’ Paint Pots. I took a great video there of the mud pots. 

From there, we continued our drive to Mammoth. The road curved through a canyon along a river on one side and cliffs on the other. We stopped to look at a beautiful canyon and the Golden Gate Bridge, which curves around one of the rock cliffs. This section reminded me of the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. 

The Golden Gate Bridge

Just before entering the town of Mammoth, we stopped to walk the Terrace trail.  This thermal area was different than any other section of the park we have seen so far, The thermal areas were terraced in layers, and it was very interesting and beautiful. From the trail, we got lots of great views of the Mammoth area, where I will be living this summer. 

Mammoth Terraces

Mammoth Terraces

Mammoth from the terrace trail

After hiking around the terraces, we drove around the very small town of Mammoth before heading the final five miles to Gardiner, Montana. We passed through the Roosevelt Arch, the cornerstone of which was set in place by Teddy Roosevelt himself. We drove to the Heritage and Research Center, where I will be interning this summer and then through the cute downtown before heading to our hotel for the night.

Roosevelt Arch from as we drove into Gardiner

It’s been another big day, and we have another big one tomorrow. We will be doing a short hike, moving me into my dorm, checking out the museum in Mammoth, and driving to Bozeman for the night. 


  1. Wow, what an adventure! It looks like you are having tons of fun! And the pictures, they are awesome!

  2. thanks, ethel! i am having tons of fun... i start work this week, so i am glad i had so much time to explore the park beforehand! you must be excited to get to DC for your internship! i can't wait to hear all about it!

  3. You came into Yellowstone the opposite way we did; unfortunately we had absolutely no time to hike, so I love being able to see what we missed. Your photos are fabulous!