Ah, Yellowstone: a festering, sulfurous, volcanic blister that manages to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. My family and I roadtripped from Minnesota and spent a few nights camping there this summer—and thanks to the great weather, I got a lot of photos. A lot. But I’ve finally gone through and picked out some of my favorites to share.
The whole park is a breathtaking piece of primordial earth, and even if it’s just to drive through, I highly recommend a visit…before the whole thing inevitably erupts (again).
Anyway, we came in from the east along the scenic Beartooth Highway, called that because of how zig-zaggy it is. That li’l Hotwheel down there is our rental Dodge Caravan.
The road eventually took us 11,000 feet up into the mountains where we met this wise ‘munk. The grand panoramic views were just an appetizer for things to come.
Not even 10 minutes into Yellowstone, we see this. Buffalo, mountains, sky—the works.
The weather was mostly cooperative during our visit, but there were a few fickle moments. Here’s an incoming shower over the Lower Geyser Basin. Water is king in a place like this.
Speaking of water, Old Faithful. We hiked to an overlook to get this less appreciated view.
Hayden Valley. The clouds floated up just enough to give us a glowing sliver of sunset.
A continuously flowing layer of water has carved ripples into the rock face at the Mammoth Hot Springs. This was my desktop background for a good while.
Hiking Mount Washburn was one of the most memorable parts of our visit. It’s where we ran into this lone buffalo, perfectly silhouetted against a wooded mountain gradient.
The Big Dipper sitting on top of a hill. This was my first time shooting stars (get it?) and a really awe-inspiring opportunity. Since it was a new moon, and with no light pollution, the sky was completely dark except for the Milky Way. We spent nearly an hour just looking up.
Managed to catch this guy peek-a-booing at the Fishing Bridge on our last day in the park.
Was kinda surprised I got this close before it flew off. Yellowstone Lake in the background.
Even after we left the park boundary, the landscape continued to deliver. The whole state of Wyoming is basically a national park. Anyway, it was long road back to Minnesota.
Narrowing my collection down to just these photos was tough. There’s interesting wildlife or an amazing landscape around every corner at Yellowstone. Whatever it is in my brain that tells me something is worth taking a picture of was hyperactive during our time there. It was a great experience for both the photographer and nature-lover in me.
Our return trip took us through the Badlands in South Dakota, a uniquely layered terrain that’s beautiful in its own right. We decided on a whim to spend a night camping there, and since you’ve stuck around this long, I’ll throw in a couple Badlands photos too.
Yup, that’s me. This gives you some idea about the Badlands’ scale and the surreal bands of sediment. After a rain shower, the reddish bands get saturated and turn a deeper red.
Could’ve fit nicely in your palm. Either this baby bunny was too scared to move, or it was just posing for the photo. In any case, it was one of the many animals I somehow managed to get a picture of. Anyway, if there’s one thing I understand better now that I’ve been to Yellowstone and the Badlands, it’s that animals really know how to pick their real estate.
If you’re interested in seeing more photos from the trip or more of my photography in general, I invite you to take a scroll through my Instagram. Thanks for reading!