Home > Travel > Yellowstone, Tetons, Fun, Rain, and a Snowstorm!

Yellowstone, Tetons, Fun, Rain, and a Snowstorm!

Happy Labor Day to all my US readers and happy Monday to everyone else. We are making our way home from Yellowstone today, and my, has it been a trip to remember!

Day1-Old Faithful

The afternoon viewing of Old Faithful was not crowded at all

The afternoon viewing of Old Faithful was not crowded at all

We arrived at the west entrance to Yellowstone on Friday afternoon after a long day of driving. The weather was beautiful so we hightailed it down to Old Faithful.

It was around 4:30 PM when we got to the Old Faithful parking area. The timing was perfect. It was about 30 minutes until the next eruption. Because it was later in the day, there wasn’t a huge crowd. It’s hard to describe, but awesome and amazing come to mind. After that, we had dinner and then hiked around the geyser basin.

Solitary Geyser

Solitary Geyser

We stumbled upon an Old Faithful overlook trail that was about a half mile of climbing, and we were rewarded with an amazing view of the geyser going off again. It was even better because it was us and one other couple, so it was almost like a private show. We stayed in the area and looked around all the other geysers and geothermal wonders until it got dark.

Day 2- Mount Washburn

I really wanted to hike up to the top of Mt. Washburn. At just over 10,200 feet, it was supposedly some of the best views in the park. We woke up to clouds and a very good chance of rain, but decided to drive up to the trail head. It was overcast and cool, but we though it would be OK. We took lots of warm clothes, hats gloves, and rain gear, thinking it was overkill, but you never know at altitude.

Yep, we hiked all the way up there

Yep, we hiked all the way up there

We made it to the top after about an hour and a half of steady climbing. It was really beautiful, even with the cloud cover. We went into the fire tower at the top to have a lunch break and warm up. Before we could finish lunch, we looked up to see heavy rain that turned into hail. Suddenly, there was no view at all because we were socked in by clouds. We decided to beat it back down, but as soon as we started, we were turned around by lightning. Crap!

Now, I am not one to panic in most cases. Whatever I do is on me, but when you have your kid in a somewhat hairy situation, you really start to kick yourself. There were about 10 other people stuck in the fire tower, which, thankfully, was warm and dry. After about an hour, it started to snow. Amazingly, there was a decent cell signal on top, and one of our fellow captives had a radar app that showed stronger weather moving in. Double crap!

Here is why I still have faith in humanity. Five of the hikers, plus us, decided to go down together so we could have safety in numbers. I didn’t even get all the names, but two of them were from Georgia, and three were from Indiana. We took off at a fast pace and, thankfully, made it back down instead of becoming the next Jon Krakauer book. It probably wasn’t even that dangerous, but I was never so happy to see a parking lot!

Summit of Mount Washburn before the snowstorm!

Summit of Mount Washburn before the snowstorm!

I have to hand it to our daughter, who kept up a crazy downhill pace for over 3 miles without one whine or complaint. She can be as dramatic as any kid when she wants to be, but she sucked it up big time on this trip. We were cold and soaked, but none the worse for wear, and what a great story we now have to tell!

Day 3- Yellowstone Lake and Tetons

We planned on doing more hiking, but after the drama of the previous day, it sort of lost it’s appeal. For our last day, we went to look at the Lower Falls and then drove around Yellowstone Lake and into Grand Teton. I’m sure the Tetons are beautiful, but I didn’t see a single one due to continued cloud cover. I guess we’ll save them for another day.

We did, almost literally run into this big guy. He didn’t seem bothered by the crappy weather at all!

Bison owns the road!

Bison owns the road!

Tetons hidden behind clouds

Tetons hidden behind clouds

I am so glad we went to Yellowstone, even if the weather didn’t cooperate on this trip. At least we know the layout and what we want to do when we go back. If it’s cloudy, though, I won’t get out of the car!

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. What a beautiful trip! It sounds like you guys are having a good time.

  2. I’ve never seen a bison. You’re so lucky to have seen one. Yellowstone is a must-visit for me reallu! Hope I will have the chance soon.

  3. Sounds like a fun trip. I wish the weather would have been a little better for you though!

  4. I probably would have been right there with you feeling very panic-y with the weather. I had one similar situation like that once and when you see the parking lot it’s a beautiful thing. But glad you enjoyed your trip overall!

    • It was really worth it, even with the crappy weather. I would not go up again if it looked stormy. We know better, but wanted to seize the day, I guess.

  5. Your trip, despite the weather sounds awesome Kim! I can’t believe what a trooper your daughter was. My son is the same way, sometimes he can roll with the punches and sometimes he is throwing them. I have wanted to do more hiking with him, but never wanted to risk getting to the summit and have him complain. And I love that you worked together with those other families to make it down together. Definitely a great story to tell!

    • It is funny how they know when to get serious. I’m glad we all made it down OK. We certainly earned our dinner that night!

  6. Glad you made it down the mountain okay. I can understand it being quite scary. You’re daughter got with the program under the circumstances. I’m sure she will be happy to tell her friends at school this story! Lovely close up pic of the bison. Awesome.

  7. Great pictures! I think kids feel when it really isn’t time to get difficult, or when they can play you.

    • Agreed! She knew we needed to get our butts down the hill. I think if the weather had been great, she would have complained the whole way down.

  8. Wow look at the size of that bison! Very glad to know that everyone made it back to safer ground and that you still enjoyed your Yellowstone experience. Your daughter handled the situation a lot better than many kids would!

    • i’m not sure what we would have done if she’d had a meltdown. I don’t think I could have carried her down. It is kind of funny now, but wasn’t so great at the time.

  9. Happy Labor Day to you too. It sounds like you had a great trip. I certainly enjoyed reading about it.

  10. I’ve never seen an eruption, thanks for sharing this amazing moment. We hope new photos, enjoy your trip 🙂

  11. What an adventure! I hope your little one had a ton of fun and didn’t really understand that you guys were in a possibly dangerous situation with the storm and the snow. =)

  12. Great pics, Kim! I remember visiting Old Faithful and really enjoyed the little path they created that goes around it. There’s so much to see in Yellowstone and it’s all so beautiful. I need to make it back there some day.

  13. I love those pictures! I have always wanted to visit those geysers but haven’t had the chance. I think it would be a wonderful experience. I love cool natural phenomenons lil that.

  14. It is too bad you weren’t able to see more of the Tetons, they are beautiful. There is a mountain passage through the Tetons from Victor, Idaho to Jackson Hole, Wyoming that is breathtaking.

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