Explore Better with Sweet Little Journey: Best of the West in Colorado & Wyoming
The Rocky Mountains are home to some of the most beautiful National Parks in the U.S., including Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. With majestic mountain peaks, incredible views, and plenty of adventure for our whole family, we immediately jumped on the opportunity to explore these amazing parks on an epic family road trip with Explore Better.
Exploring Estes Park & Rocky Mountain National Park
Our first stop on this Best of the West road trip with Explore Better is close to home: Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Where to Stay in Estes Park
We stayed at The Ridgeline Hotel Estes Park and absolutely loved it. The cozy room, fun s’mores, and delicious hotel restaurant were all fantastic. But the highlight for our girls was the large pool with its countless floaties. They kept begging us to go back for a swim the entire time!
What to Do in Estes Park
The town of Estes Park is a charming mountain town with plenty of local shops and restaurants to explore. Coffee on the Rocks in particular is a must-visit spot. There’s a lot of space for the kids to run around, the coffee is good, and you can feed the ducks by the pond! Then, there’s Trendz, a cool shop downtown (less than a mile from The Ridgeline!) with lots of unique Rocky Mountain souvenirs. The girls were thrilled to each get a toy from there to keep.
Take a Wildside 4×4 Jeep Tour
While our girls thought The Ridgeline pool was the highlight of Estes Park, we thought that the Wildside 4×4 Jeep Tour was just as amazing. Between the open-air jeep, fresh mountain breeze, and the gorgeous lookouts, it was definitely one of the most memorable parts of the entire trip. I also really enjoyed filming the whole ride on the 360 camera, which made for a cool effect. We even got to see three moose along the way!
No trip to Estes Park would be complete without a hike, so we squeezed a few short ones into our visit. Dream Lake is a fantastic sunrise hike, Cub Lake is an easy flat trail where you might be able to spot wildlife, and Sprague Lake is beautiful for sunset.
Visiting Jackson Hole & Grand Teton National Park
The drive from Estes Park to Jackson Hole took us almost nine hours, which was a little longer than we expected. While we didn’t have as much time in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton as we would have liked, we still got to experience a taste of this majestic park.
What to Do in Jackson Hole
We absolutely loved watching the sunrise over the Grand Tetons from Mormon Row and Snake River Overlook. And the girls loved Phil Baux Park, which is an absolute gem of a park! It’s got a huge bouldering area that’s perfect for all ages, and our kids were so happy to spend a couple of hours climbing here.
Visiting Yellowstone National Park
Since Yellowstone National Park is just a few miles from Grand Teton National Park, it only makes sense to visit both! After a quick night in Jackson Hole, we made the short drive to America’s first National Park.
Where to Stay in Yellowstone National Park
We stayed at the adorable Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone, located near the West entrance of the park. We loved having our own kitchen, and the girls were obsessed with the bunk beds. The kids also really enjoyed the pool at the main lodge. During our stay, it was really great that you could rent e-bikes and go all the way into the park straight from the lodge! We were able to get to the entrance in just about two minutes of biking and got to watch a beautiful sunrise by the steamy river.
What to Do in Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is HUGE! And while we didn’t get to explore the entirety of the park, we were able to see some otherworldly geysers and plenty of wildlife in their natural habitat.
Gape in Awe at the Geysers & Hot Springs
Our girls thought the geysers and hot springs were the coolest part of Yellowstone. While we couldn’t see all of the geysers and hot springs in the park, Mammoth Hot Springs, Grand Prismatic, and Old Faithful were a few of our favorites. We also got to see Tower Fall, a 132-foot waterfall that will take your breath away! If you’re planning a trip to Yellowstone, we recommend picking a few geysers that look interesting and checking those out. There’s lots of walking at each location so don’t attempt to see them all!
Check Out the Wildlife
Seeing all the fascinating wildlife was probably the highlight of our time in Yellowstone. We saw black bears, tons of bison, foxes, elk, and deer, and it was absolutely amazing. If you’re a photography enthusiast, West Yellowstone has a camera and lens rental store with telephoto lenses perfect for a wildlife viewing adventure. All in all, we could spend a whole day—or more—searching for a glimpse of the amazing wildlife found here!