2022 Road Trip to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Mt Rushmore, Arches, Canyonlands —Demi’s travel guide

Date 6月 13, 2023

The road trip began on May 23, 2022. My family and I set off for four national parks and one national monument exploring: Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Arches, Canyonlands, and Mt Rushmore.

Excitement burned inside of me but quickly diminished at the sound of “ten-hour drive to Salt Lake City, Utah on the first day.” Luckily, I survived the long wait. And we ate at Din Tai Feng, which is my #1 favorite restaurant. Ahh… I can still taste that juicy xiao long bao in my mouth… We were driving through Las Vegas when my dad pointed to a sign standing beside highway I15 featured Din Tai Feng. However, he didn’t want to get off the ramp, despite my pleas. Consequently, I started kicking his chair and throwing my stuffed-animal Pandie around. Later, My mom joined forces with me and overpowered my dad. I got to eat Din Tai Feng! Now, let’s get on with the scoop.

I have to say that the Great Salt Lake astonished me so much. I’d almost taken a dip in the lake. My family and I took a run across the dried salt crystals field, lounging in the bright sunshine, to the edge of what remained of the lake. I was surprised by the stillness of the water which literally reflected everything above like a mirror. Seriously, The Lake was obedient enough to let us take pictures. Looking back at them, you’d think that we went to a wonderland.

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In Grand Teton, moose, elks, bison, bears dotted the land. My family and I saw one black bear, four moose, one wolf, one red fox, and countless elks during our stay. That wat a lot compared to my parents’ previous trip. According to them, they didn’t see one single moose. Surprisingly, we didn’t sight any bison in the park this time, while they saw herds of them on their previous trip.

On our way back to our lodge on the first day in Grand Teton, We saw  a moose right on the edge of the Wilson Moose Road. It was quite old, with an agreeably decent beard. I observed it while it chomped on leaves and grass.

The most spectacular moment during our stay in Grand Teton was when I saw the first black bear in my life. That was on the second day of this trip. We were walking on the trail along the Moose Ponds, accompanied by a couple of other tourists. Thank god, for if we had encountered a bear on our own, we would have been in big, big trouble. One man who was on the far side of the trail was waving his arms to get our attention. Apparently, there was a black bear, on the edge of the trail, heading toward us. Only then did I see that a black object was lumbering in our direction. We were super excited but also worried. Both me and my mom wanted to get a closer look, but my dad ushered us back to the parking lot because of “bear danger”.

Grand Teton shared many stories with me. I’m glad to have experienced life there.

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After we explored Grand Teton, we went straight to Yellowstone. I enjoyed watching the Grotto Geyser eruption there. Although the Old Faithful geyser is the most famous geyser in the world, I favor the Grotto Geyer more. Like the Old Faithful, the Grotto Geyser fans out tons of steaming water like a hot water fountain. The difference is that the Grotto Geyser’s eruptions can last over 50 minutes, sometimes even over a day. We saw a moose, which, to us, was very lucky since there are only fifty moose in the whole national park, according to a Yellowstone park ranger.

Due to the fact that the weather gets warmer at the end of May, bears became slightly more active. We saw dozens of bears who just woke up from hibernation. The most attractive event was when a mother bear was spotted with her two cubs. Apparently, she decided to take a stroll in a grove of trees right in the middle of a meadow with her two mischievous cubs, who were very entertaining. This crate a very comical show for us tourists. At least fifty cars were packed along the road. Crowds  gathering at the edge of the road, holding their professional cameras, pointed to these three performers. It’s like watching the latest hit from Justin Bieber. If I were the mother bear, I would have felt like a wild megastar celebrity.

My favorite hydrothermal feature is Morning Glory because it is really brilliant with beautiful colors. In spite of that, if the hot springs didn’t have mist floating on top of them due to the cold temperature, I guess my answer would’ve been different. My mom showed me pictures of the Grand Prismatic Springs and some other hot springs which they shot during their previous visit. They were astonishingly spectacular. Unfortunately, we couldn’t witness their beauty because of the foggy water vapor above the springs’ surfaces.

Yellowstone is not only remembered for its hydrothermal features, but also for the beauty of its nature scenery: Yellowstone lake, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and wild organisms.

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On the way to Mt Rushmore, we traveled through Lamar Valley again and drove by many national forests. We encountered two black bears wandering just beside the road and watched herds of  bison and elk wondering in Lamar Valley. We even suffered through a traffic jam because some bison were roaming back and forth across the road.

Mt. Rushmore was not just a grand place I visited. Its glamour and unique history touched my heart. In addition to viewing a selection of shirt films which described the monument’s past, I was able to receive a Junior Ranger badge and Workbook from some experienced park rangers. Something absolutely amazing about this monument was that visitors were granted Audio and Visual Guide machine upon requesting with some fee. I can leave no doubt that this gorgeous monument is worth a visit. My family and I enjoyed seeing this sculpture of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.

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We also visited the Crazy Horse. We viewed the to-be man-riding-horse sculpture and went through the museum. I learned a lot about the local people’s culture.

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From there we traveled to Badlands NP, which, to sum it up, had very confusing boundaries. We entered the park from the south entrance. One minute later, we turned right, saw the leaving the park sign standing there. We had to make a U-turn, went by another leaving the park sign, then drove straight ahead to the Sheep Mt Table. Argh, so confusing! Badlands NP was not notably attractive.

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After Badlands, we rode through “Thunderstorm Nebraska” to get to Loveland. At Loveland, we had a one-day stay at Embassy Suites by Hilton which, in my opinion, is the best hotel normal people should go to on vacation.


Surprisingly, we went through a snow storm in Denver when we were heading to Arches. We arrived at Arches on the 7th day of our road trip. Since Arches demanded reservations from 6am to 5pm and we didn’t have any, we entered the park at 5:05pm. I signed up for their Junior Ranger program without realizing that we’d have to travel back in to the park to get the real badge. The next day, we had to wake up at 5:30am to turn in my junior ranger brochure to obtain my Junior Ranger Badge. As a result, we could observe the Delicate Arch closely at sunset and view it from faraway viewpoint at sunrise.

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In Canyonlands NP, we visited The Island of the Sky district. In the visitor center, I got a Junior Ranger program book … and badge. I had just asked this ranger if there were any Junior Ranger programs, and he had said yes. Then, I told him I wanted to join. “Sure,” he’d said. Afterwards, he handed me a Junior Ranger book and badge. I had stood staring the the badge momentarily Dumbstruck! You could only receive the badge after you complete answering some questions in the book. So I accepted the badge happily, knowing that it was a story worth telling.

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The day ended as we headed back towards to Las Vegas, had Din Tai Feng once again, and had a one-night stay at Venetian. We decided to travel back home the next day.

Nature never ceased to amaze me on this one-of-a-kind field trip. From the winding Snake River to the bison herds of Lamar Valley, everything has its own organic beauty. Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Arches, and Canyonlands don’t have any exceptions. Little did I know, these national parks hold the best sets of natural organisms the world has ever known. I wonder where our next road trip will end up in. Soon, I’ll write another travel blog of  the 2023 exploration.

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