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Coming to Helena, MT for the 2023 Barefoot Water Ski National Championships?
Remember Yellowstone National Park is just 179 miles or about 3 hours from Helena, MT. Yellowstone was the first National Park Established in 1872.
The park is known for its wildlife (Do not pet the fluffy cows!) and many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful. (No Swimming!) Yellowstone spans an area of 3,468 square miles comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high elevation lakes and over half of the worlds Geysers and Geothermal features are in the park. The park is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The largest remaining, nearly intact ecosystem of the Earth’s northern temperate zone.
There are vast forests, grasslands and canyons in the park. You can drive around the figure eight and see many of the exhibits in the park. You can take short hikes, or back country overnight hikes (permits required).
You can also take the “Spokes” out with the North East Spoke through the Larmar Valley (referred to as the American Serengeti), and often see bison, prong horns, elk, grizzly or black bears, wolves, fox, coyotes and other wild animals. The animals are all wild and not trained, so keep the recommended distances of 25 yards from Bison and elk; and 100 yards from the predators of coyotes, bears and wolves.
Entering the park through this North East Entrance, coming via Red Lodge Montana and the Beartooth highway is amazing. Feel free to stop and the 1 lift ski area at the top which is over 10,000 feet elevation.
Go out another “spoke” to the East Entrance toward Cody Wyoming, and you may see deer big horn sheep, Grizzlies and other bears and the occasional bison along with the incredible mountains through the pass.
The Southern Spoke leads you past Yellowstone Lake, waterfalls, bison, elk, bears, to the John D Rockefeller Memorial Parkway and into Teton National Park.
The Western Spoke takes you to West Yellowstone, MT along the Madison River. Usually, a great place to spot bison and elk. Bear, eagles and coyotes may also be spotted. West Yellowstone is a gateway community where many people get accommodations as less expensive than staying in the park itself.
The Northern Entrance goes through Gardiner Montana. A wonderful small community, also with accommodations. You go right by Mammoth Hot Springs. Another amazing geothermal area. Seeing Elk is almost guaranteed in Mammoth. Also at this entrance is the original stone entrance arch.
Please remember that the park had over 3 million visitors in 2020. So early reservations are suggested, at least 9 months in advance, or hope to get lucky. For more about The Barefoot National Championships, go to BarefootNationals.com.
Ski site location is 4060 Buoy Blvd. Helena, Montana.
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