Then & Now: Visiting Yellowstone National Park

Then & Now is a new series I'm starting to go alongside my adventures in Wyoming. I think it will be fun to look back on what it would be like to visit some of these magical places 100 years ago compared to today. Even if you know nothing else about Wyoming, you probably have heard about and seen pictures of if not visited for yourself America's Wonderland: Yellowstone National Park. This is the very first National Park founded by President Theodore Roosevelt.

Yellowstone National Park, Then

Visiting Yellowstone National Park 100 years ago would have been quite the experience! Travel options in the area weren't quite as efficient as today as a result the Park wasn't as crowded. Traveling by automobile in Yellowstone would still have felt fairly novel since the first car entered the Park in 1916. Even if you were traveling by personal automobile, the speed limits looked vastly different because you would still be meeting wagons and other horsebound travelers on the road. It scares me to think what it was like driving through the Golden Gate of the Yellowstone as this particular bridge still scares me with its sharp corners and the steep drop off the side of the road.

What might shock modern visitors most is what it would cost you in the 1920s to take a standard tour of Yellowstone including transportation, 4 nights lodging, and 14 meals. For the small price of $29, you could experience the highlights of the park!

"Lunch Counter - For Bears Only" at Old Faithful, southeast of the upper Hamilton Store, and Ranger Naturalist Walter Phillip Martindale;

Photographer unknown; 1921- the mid-1930s; courtesy of NPS

Maybe the best part of your visit would be your stay at the newly built Roosevelt Lodge which was constructed in 1920 replacing a tent camp formerly on the same site.

On the other hand,