After sleeping in due to the adventure of getting locked out of our camper for four hours the night before, we decided to go out to lunch before heading into the park. We stopped at one of the few open places to eat in tiny Gardiner, Montana – the Iron Horse Bar & Grille. It had a deck with a great view overlooking the river and I ventured to try their elk tacos, which were delicious! They tasted just like a slightly leaner ground beef – if no one had told me, I wouldn’t have known the difference, but was still proud of myself for trying them since I am known to be a picky eater.
decided to do a calm drive for our last day in Yellowstone. We drove from the North Gate at Mammoth Hot Springs to Roosevelt Junction and from there to the Northeast Gate. John had previously driven the Beartooth Highway just past the Northeast Gate and Cooke City, but we were not feeling up to one of the most scenic, but white-knuckled drives in America that day.
This stretch of the park is known to have more wildlife and bigger mountains. In particular, it is known for rare glimpses of gray wolves, which were reintroduced to the park in the last decade or two, moose and bears. We unfortunately did not see the former two, but did see another black bear climbing a hill on the side of the road.
We also saw some pronghorn antelope, which are not as abundant in the park as they used to be.
And last but not least, we saw way more buffalo than during the rest of our visit to the park. We got some up close shots of some groups and saw large herds dotting the landscape in all directions as we drove.
The scenery along the Grand Loop was our favorite second only to the stretch between Roosevelt Junction and Canyon, with beautiful valleys and mountains off in the distance.
Overall, we were very much in awe of our visit to Yellowstone, with so much to see and do, and so many natural wonders that would be difficult or impossible to find elsewhere. However, we are definitely ready to move onto the Grand Tetons National Park to hopefully get away from the heavy crowds, traffic and long driving days. We have learned that it is probably ideal to camp Yellowstone from multiple locations when possible rather than from one stagnant spot like we did, but we made do regardless and were happy to save the money and be in the more scenic, less crowded Eagle Creek Campground in Gardiner. Now onto the Gros Ventre Campground to see what is in store for us next…