A Family Affair: Vacationing in Yellowstone National Park

Park-Led Programs in Yellowstone
  |  Gorp.com
Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park, bison
A bison herd in Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Catch the insider Yellowstone scoop at a variety of ranger-led talks and hikes, offered at just about every major section of the park; check the website for current offerings. Kids can also become Junior Rangers during their visit, earning badges for hands-on tasks exploring the park.

Taking a guided tour via a wagon ride to an Old West cookout feels rugged—and the kids will love it. Depart from Roosevelt Lodge and ride in covered wagons (for all ages) or on horseback (ages eight and up and at least four feet tall) to a cookout complete with hearty campfire fare and singing cowboys who serenade as you watch the stars flicker on one by one under the wild Wyoming sky. If you’re lucky, you’ll see wildlife roaming nearby as the sun sets—dusk is prime mammal-spotting time.

Take a class at the Yellowstone Association Institute, a nonprofit organization offering up-close and personal views of the park and its resident wildlife and unique geology. Field seminars, private tours, and "lodging and learning" packages include mammal tracking, studies of wolf habitats and behaviors, fly-fishing for families, and photography hikes, among many others. It’s a great way to get to know the park via educators who know the surroundings and are equally passionate about the unique wonders of Yellowstone.

If your itinerary allows, leave the park via the northeast entrance and travel the Beartooth Highway. Traversing two mountain ranges (Absaroka and Beartooth), this undulating ribbon of road is the highest in both Montana and Wyoming, topping 10,000 feet at its loftiest point. There are plenty of pullouts for photo opps, and chances to spot wildlife along the way, capping off an unforgettable trip with an equally memorable scenic drive.


Published: 26 Mar 2012 | Last Updated: 24 Oct 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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