|Midway Geyser Basin - 6:45am|
I came up with a theory a few days ago that maybe if I could get in early, say before sunrise, I might just get a few hours on my own to enjoy the park. I set my alarm for 5:30 am this morning and set out to test the theory.
I pulled into the parking lot at Midway Geyser Basin and Grand Prismatic Spring at 6:45 am and my heart gave a little leap - hooray! Only two other cars in the lot. The place was virtually empty.
|Grand Prismatic Spring|
|Fairy Falls Hike - Lots of Steam Rising in the Midway Geyser Basin|
|Grand Prismatic from the Overlook Trail|
The next stop on my little Yellowstone tour was Biscuit Basin. I arrived there just before 8:00 am and again found the parking lot nearly empty.
From Biscuit Basin it is only a couple more miles to get to Old Faithful. I mostly wanted to go there to get some coffee and check out the Old Faithful Inn. Again I had no trouble finding parking at this time of the morning.
I walked around the historic Old Faithful Inn and drank my coffee while taking in the awe-inspiring lobby and the massive stone fireplace with its hand-crafted clock made of copper and iron.
I finished my coffee and stepped outside just in time to catch the 9:15 am eruption of Old Faithful Geyser.
All-in-all, I would say my theory about visiting Yellowstone early in the morning to avoid summer crowds was a success. My goal was to be out of the park by 10:00 am and I just about made it out by then. I never once hit traffic, had to wait for parking, or stood in any lines. To add emphasis to the benefits of visiting early, here is a photo of the line of cars I encountered while leaving from the west entrance.