This adventure was the first installment of a trip series that I had been plotting for some time. I really wanted to take a trip with each member of my family. I wanted to do what they wanted to do and go where they wanted to go. So many of my trips are solo, with friends or with my husband. I wanted to step up my family travel game.
“Dad, where to?”
“It would be really fun to do a motorcycle trip through Yellowstone for Father’s Day.”
“Done and done!”
Dad had apparently put a ton of thought into our route and other areas surrounding the park that we were interested in exploring. He had a map of famous and ultra-scenic motorcycle routes in Wyoming and Montana and we set off to check them all off the list.
We decided that the best course of action was to load the motorcycle into the adventure van and drive from Denver up to Cody, Wyoming. This way we would be able to base out of the van and drive the boring long stretches of interstate and ride the specific routes that we were most interested in.
We wanted to enter Yellowstone National Park from the North and move through it to the South. This got us the opportunity to ride two of the most beautiful roads in the area, the Beartooth Highway and the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway.
The Beartooth was first on our list. We made a loop out of it, starting and ending in Cody.
The Beartooth Highway is 67 miles of switchbacks through huge valleys and connects Wyoming and Montana over an 11,000 ft mountain pass ending in Red Lodge, Montana. Despite being June, there was still snow on the ground and even people skiing at a ski area at the top. The views from the pass are incredible! The scale of the mountains and the valleys below are mind-blowing. The steepness of the road was also a bit unnerving, but all part of the adventure!
We rewarded ourselves with lunch in Red Lodge and spent some quality father-daughter time catching up on present-day life and reminiscing about the past. My dad and I are most certainly the introverts of the family and we find that riding the motorcycle together and sharing the incredible scenery that unfolds as we roll along the pavement is one of our favorite ways to spend time together. Nothing needs to be said for hours on end as beautiful landscapes develop and change along our route and we are completely content.
The Chief Joseph Scenic Byway is a bit shorter at 47 miles, but potentially even more beautiful! It starts in Cody, Wyoming, and winds through the valley leading into the Northeast entrance of the park. Seeing the road unfold below you is almost as fun as winding through it.
We entered Yellowstone from the Northeast gate just past Cooke City & Silver Gate. We stopped in Cooke City to warm up from the chill of our morning ride over the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway. There is a tiny, tiny little A-frame building called the Log Cabin Cafe that warmed us up with some coffee and some of the best french toast I have ever had. Hard to tell if it was the food itself, or just the timing and experience of it all. Either way, it propelled us forward and finally into Yellowstone National Park!
The Northeast part of the park is awe inspiring. The valleys go on forever, giving way to jagged mountains framing the view as far as you can see. The valley floor is crisscrossed with picturesque babbling brooks and pockets of brightly colored wildflowers. The vast herds of buffalo shedding their winter coats and baby buffalos all are frolicking in the warm sunshine.
The valleys start to fall away into more rolling hills as we ride south towards the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The terrain changes from wide open valleys to trees and small meadows as we climb to the highpoint of Dunraven Pass. The entire park spreads out below us to the south including the Central Plateau and Yellowstone Lake.
The views Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone almost rival the views of the Grand Canyon itself. Not in magnitude, but in the simple jaw-dropping beauty of the natural world around us.
After basking in nature’s stunning magnitude, we continued down to the bottom of Hayden Valley and hopped off the motorcycle and go take a hike to stretch our legs. Being able to be totally immersed in the park on a hiking trail is so much different than driving the main road. It’s quiet, calm and majestic.
Growing up in the rural foothills of Denver, much of my childhood was spent at the pond with my dad and little brother casting animal tracks and identifying birds, bugs, and plants. For us, spending time in nature is just what you did. We would go for crazy long hikes and bike rides. Anything we could do to be outside and active. This hike in Yellowstone was a total flashback to my childhood. As a kid, I always thought that my dad was just an adult so he was a faster hiker that the rest of us, but nope. He is still the fastest hiker of anyone I have ever met. He just powers on, one foot in front of the other, at a pace closer to a light jog. Here I was, hurrying to keep up to him as we walk through the woods and he points out interesting species of trees, deer tracks at a creek crossing and broken branches where other animals have moved through. I was instantly transported back to my childhood and I couldn’t keep the smile off my face.
We continued our journey through Lake Village and along the north side of Yellowstone Lake. The views of the Tetons rising from across the lake was a gorgeous send-off. We wrapped up our trip into Yellowstone National Park and headed back to Cody.
I feel that being from Colorado, I am already a bit spoiled on the exceptionally out of control, gorgeous nature front, and Yellowstone blew me away! It is truly the magnitude of the park and the ever-changing landscape that made me fall in love. The animals are wild and the terrain is rugged, and it all is simply exceptional.
From geysers to canyons and moose to mountain passes, this trip was a once in a lifetime adventure. I couldn’t have been happier to spend it perched on the back of my dad’s motorcycle. It was just as much about the destination as it was about the journey. It was the moments we spent laughing and reminiscing about the past and all the while making new memories to reminisce about on our next trip.
Waypoint Goods // Owner & FounderCaitlin began Waypoint Goods to help and inspire women to get out and travel while feeling safe and fashion forward. She creates custom patterns and designs for the travel scarves based on her travels. Her past life as an architect makes the brand contemporary and modern while focusing on empowering women to travel.
TRAVEL SCARF // Yellowstone National Park
From mountains and valleys to geysers and waterfalls, the terrain of Yellowstone National Park is captivating even in the contour lines of this topographic drawing.
Waypoint Goods is proud to support the National Park Foundation by donating 1% of all sales from the YELLOWSTONE scarf.
YELLOWSTONE NATL PARK Facts:
Yellowstone National Park Map: