Right now I am in Peru on my birthday trip, enroute from Lima to Cusco. I went ahead and posted this ahead of time so you wouldn't miss me.
We love Yellowstone, and whenever I can get down there, I do. It can be tough with kids, but it usually ends up being worth the effort.
We started out with lunch at the Lava Creek picnic area. It was a bit snowy, but no one seemed to mind.
What they did seem to mind, what Finn seemed to mind, was hiking. We started on the Lava Creek Canyon Trail with a lot of whining and claims of severe hunger. It had been three minutes since lunch, after all.
This 3.5-mile trail can be hiked one way if you arrange a car shuttle ahead of time and its mostly downhill. Or hike out as far as you like and turn around, which is what we did.
The trail follows Lava Creek downstream to 60-foot Undine Falls at 0.3 miles. Finn could go no further, so we took some happy pictures, had a snack, and enjoyed the waterfall. Undine Falls gets its name from mythological creatures that were extraordinarily wise, usually female, and thought to live around waterfalls. An undine could acquire a mortal man, marry him, and have his children.
We walked back to the picnic area and the boys played in the frigid water for a while before driving a little further down the road to the Wraith Falls Trail.
This was a much better hike, attitude-wise. It's just 0.5 miles to the falls (more of a cascade) and has a few interesting things along the way, such as a boardwalk, bridge, and upturned trees. Kids like that kind of stuff.
Finn was on fire after our two mini-hikes and wanted to check out the Mammoth Terraces. We drove to the top and since the Terrace Loop Road is still closed, we walked out to them. More about that next time.
I promise I'll love him even if he isn't a hiker. Probably.
Plan Your Own Trip
What: Hiking easy, kid-friendly trails in Yellowstone Why: It's our first National Park, it's pretty, there are cool animals, and kids (and adults) need lots of time outside. Where: Yellowstone National Park. From Mammoth, drive 4.4 miles east to the Lava Creek Picnic Area on the right (south). The Lava Creek Canyon Trail is across the road, over the bridge. Wraith Falls trailhead is 0.4 miles east on the right (south).
The Park Service has a handy brochure of hikes around Mammoth.
My go-to, favorite hiking book for Yellowstone is Bill Schneider's Hiking Yellowstone National Park.
Christmas at Mammoth, 2011 FTF: Self-Guided Trail, Mammoth Terraces Five Yellowstone Hikes for Kids & Families Beaver Pond Loop The Hoodoos Skiing the Snow Pass and Bunsen Peak Trails Skiing and Hot Tubbing in Mammoth 10 Hot Spring in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho Pronghorn Trail (Mt. Everts) Rescue Creek