Yellowstone National Park is almost 3,500 square miles of wilderness. Big! A lot of ground to cover in a week, but we had a plan. We carved out our destinations based upon regions. We would tackle the west first—Upper Geyser Basin, Midway Geyser Basin, Lower Geyser Basin, and Mammoth Hot Springs in the northwest.
We were up early, hoping to avoid the tour buses, and fared well at Upper and Midway Geyser Basins, where crowds were light to moderate. But when we neared Lower Geyser Basin and pulled into the parking lot, we encountered six buses and a sea of humanity. Our solution? We drove on to Mammoth Hot Springs to get a jump on the busloads of tourists. Throughout our visit, this strategy of jumping ahead of the buses rather than following them worked well and was one we employed many times during the trip.