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Great America Road Trip Day 20: Sunset at Grand Prismatic Spring

Last updated Jul 29, 2020 | Published on Jul 29, 2020

Rain danced on our roof in a loud staccato as Daniel and I lazed comfortably inside the Rialta. I glanced up to see a bright flash, and then thunder boomed outside moments later. It was so nice to just ride out the storm in our cozy home without having to deal with a wet tent.


Grand Prismatic Spring as viewed from the Overlook

Madison Campground

We arrived at our new campsite in Madison Campground just moments before. Located in Yellowstone National Park, Madison is one of the biggest and most popular campgrounds in the park. It also takes reservations for all its sites – and usually fills up months in advance.

I booked this campsite a week ago when we decided to travel back through Yellowstone after visiting the Grand Tetons. Daniel had ordered a new camera to replace his broken one and it was being delivered to West Yellowstone. I couldn’t believe my luck when I found an opening at a campground in Yellowstone National Park!

Although the location is great, Madison Campground is not as nice as our last one at Lizard Creek. This campground is enormous it and has sites big enough to accommodate RVs of all sizes. Our site was sandwiched in between a row of large motorhomes which were constantly running generators. There wasn’t much privacy between sites here.

I noticed that the campsites on some of the other loops were a bit nicer, though. Plus, the campground is located a short walk away from the banks of the Madison River.


Our campsite in Madison Campground

Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook

Eventually the rain slowed and finally stopped. We ate dinner and then drove out of the campground. Our destination for the evening was the Fairy Falls Trail, which was located a 20-minute drive away.

Most people who hike the Fairy Falls Trail never make it to the waterfall. The big draw is an overlook of the Grand Prismatic Spring about a mile from the trailhead.

Daniel and I had been saving this excursion for our last night in Yellowstone National Park. It seemed like fitting end to our visit in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Plus, Daniel finally had a camera again so he could take photos of the Grand Prismatic Spring from the overlook.


Small hot spring near the Fairy Falls Trail parking lot


Firehole River


Fairy Falls Trail


Midway Geyser Basin


Bridge over the Firehole River near the Fairy Falls Trail parking lot


Grand Prismatic Spring as viewed from the same elevation level


Grand Prismatic Spring as viewed from the overlook slightly uphill


Daniel contemplates life

A Note about Hiking in the Evening

I have concluded that evening is the best time of day to hike in National Parks. The trails are packed in the morning. Getting up super early is pointless because everyone else thinks of the same idea. I hiked popular trails the last two nights, and in both cases I was easily able to maintain proper social distancing.

Plus, you get some lovely evening light and may even catch the sunset. Just be sure to bring along a headlamp in case you get caught in the dark. And, if hiking in bear country, always bring along bear spray and wear a bear bell as animals are more active at dawn and dusk.


Daniel has a camera again! Here, he is shooting photos of a hot spring at dusk.

One Last Yellowstone Sunset

As we drove away, Daniel and I glanced over towards the Grand Prismatic Spring – just in time to catch a stunningly beautiful sunset. We about drove right off the road. So we pulled over and watched the sun sink slowly into the horizon together from our vantage point along side of the road.


Midway Geyser Basin at Sunset


A few minutes later


Good-bye, sun!

Where are we now?


We are in Yellowstone National Park!

Date: July 25 (Happy Birthday, Dad!)
Great American Road Trip Status: Day 20

Starting Location: Lizard Creek Campground, WY
Ending Location: Madison Campground, WY
Miles Today: 111
Total Trip Mileage: 2083.7

For more details on our Great American (Socially Distanced) Road Trip, see my previous posts:


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Hi, I'm Unicorn!

I am an avid hiker, traveler, and adventurer who is on the mission to explore hiking trails around the world.  I’m also obsessed with National Parks, long-distance trails and other outdoorsy things.

I hope to share this knowledge with you and inspire you to explore new hiking trails too!


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