Yellowstone Family “Triathlon”

Some of my favorite days in Yellowstone National Park are when I take the time to really enjoy a few special spots, instead of trying to see it all. One August my family and I set out on our own Yellowstone triathlon—swimming, biking, and running—in the world’s first National Park.

We started out with a soak in the Boiling River. It’s more a sit than a swim, but you do have to push against the current to keep from floating downriver.

A half-mile trail leads to a six-foot wide stream of hot water pouring over a travertine ledge into the Gardner River. Soakers have piled rocks to create a soaking area where the 140-degree water mixes with the cold river.

Photography by Melynda Harrison

Photography by Melynda Harrison

We found a pool where the cold river water and Boiling River mixed perfectly and spent an hour or so soaking and enjoying the view.

Yellowstone Collage 2

After the soak we headed to Lone Star Geyser for the bike segment. We picnicked at the trailhead near Kepler Cascades before hopping on the bikes for the 2.4-mile ride to Lone Star Geyser. There aren’t many places in the park where you can ride a bike, so we took advantage of this flat, dirt road that is closed to vehicular traffic.

Lone Star Geyser is such named because it is far from other geysers, not because of any relation to Texas. The nearest large geyser (Old Faithful) is three air miles away. Lone Star Geyser erupts every 3-4 hours, so we felt lucky to find it mid-eruption when we arrived.

Yellowstone Collage 3C

After the eruption, my husband Henry, and our son, Anders, walked down to the Firehole River and caught—and released—frogs. Finn, our younger son, and I hung out and watched Lone Star gurgle.

Before leaving for home we stopped at Old Faithful. We checked in at the Visitor Center to see what time the geyser was predicted to erupt. Then we ran to a spot on the boardwalk away from the majority of geyser gazers and watched the big guy erupt.

Yellowstone Collage 4B

It wasn’t official and we didn’t win any medals, but we felt pretty good about our triathlon in a beautiful spot in our favorite place. So we stopped for ice cream at the Mammoth Terrace Grille to celebrate.

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