We’re usually pretty good about planning and booking our trips at least a year in advance. Over a year ago my parents had sent out a mass text to the family about going to Stanley, ID for a family vacation in August 2017. I grew up going out west on camping trips with my family and I will forever be grateful to my parents for taking the time and resources to do this for us. This trip we are taking my wife’s new to her Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. It has low miles and has a decent ride but space is a real issue.. My brother and sister-in-law have been traveling around the country for the last year with their dog Mavis in there custom Sprinter van that they made in to a camper. We thought this this would be an awesome excuse to spend a little extra time with them so we planned on meeting at a cabin we booked in Cooke City, MT 3 days before we would head up to Stanley. Cooke City is an amazing little town at 7608 ft with a population of 140 people. The closest emergency services besides the awesome local volunteer fire fighters is in Livingston, MT 2 hours away. We left right from work and decided to go thru South Dakota via 90 instead of going the quickest route thru North Dakota on 94. We stopped once in Chamberlain, SD for a quick night sleep then on the road again to Cooke City. We arrived and were exhausted from 17.5 hours of driving. We got into town and it was an amazing feeling to not only see my brother and sister-in-law but to be out in nature.
We unpacked the essentials, had a couple beers and turned in for the night so we could wake up early and go see Yellowstone NP. We woke up early and had a couple breakfast burritos and hit the road. We took a loop on 89, 191, 20, and Grand Loop Rd up thru Mt Washburn and back up 212 to Cooke City. Yellowstone’s geography is a lot more diverse than I thought it would be. One minute you’re going up or down switchbacks and the next you go thru a valley with walls on each side then it opens up into a huge flat prairie where hundreds of bison roam. There are around 5000 bison that roam the park these days. On our adventure drive we saw Mammoth Hot Springs, Bison, Antelope, Elk and of course shit ton of people who don’t know how to read signs or know what a pull out is.
We get back to the cabin and make up some grub, have a couple beers and hit the hay. The next morning we decide to see if there are any hiking trails right around town and it turns out there was one that started right off the main drag in town and followed the Soda Butte Creek. I would say it was more of a 4×4 trail but it was still beautiful and we only ran into a couple 4 wheelers and one Tacoma. This day was a little rainy on and off so after our hike we head back to the cabin to play some games and drink some beer. We also start cleaning and packing things up to head out early the next morning to meet the rest of the family in Stanley. The drive from Cooke City to Stanley was slow going once again due to people on Yellowstone Roads but once we left the park thru the west entrance we went down to Idaho Falls and then back up to Challis then down to Stanley. The last hour of the drive was fantastic going along the Salmon river on 75. We got to the cabin and had a warm welcome from the whole family at Beckwiths Lodge. We took our important things inside and got our room set up. We then caught up with everyone and heard about all their travels out to Stanley.
View of Beckwith’s Lodge
My dad making some plans!
Hike by Redfish Lake
Best family in the world!
The next couple days we went to Redfish lake to hike around and go to the visitor center to get some info. One of the days we also went to Alturas lake for some fly fishing, swimming, snorkeling and relaxing! The water was so clear and beautiful with huge pines at the bottom that seemed to be perfectly placed through out the part of the lake where we were that i couldn’t seem to get enough of it and stayed in the water a little too long. By the time I got out I could tell my core temperature was pretty low. After eating and drinking until our hearts (stomachs) content for 5 days with the family and another 3 days with my brother and sister-in-law we head out and get home in a slower fashion than usual and took 2 nights to get home.
Thanks for reading!