Day 4 of my road trip out to Oregon was mostly spent in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone NP is located in the Northwest corner of Wyoming, with the north and west edges of the park in Montana and Idaho. As I recounted a few days ago, we entered the park through the East Entrance, in the evening.
Our lodge was awesome. Only about half of the lodges in the park were open during the time we were there. I believe the rest of the lodges were opening up around Memorial Day weekend. We stayed in the Mammoth Hot Springs area near the Park Headquarters. Yellowstone NP is essentially a volcano. The last time there was an eruption was 640,000 years ago. The evidence that volcanic activity still exists in the park can be seen through the geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, and mudpots. Yellowstone was named the first National Park in 1872 by President Theodore Roosevelt.
We decided to work our way through the park, north to south, with a little excursion over to the Canyon Village area. It snowed in the park during the night and off and on during the day we were in the park. It wasn’t bad though. For me, the snow added a little something extra to the atmosphere. I thought it made the scenery even more beautiful. After exploring the Mammoth Springs area, our next stop was at Roaring Mountain. The whole mountain looked like it had steam coming off of it. Next to Roaring Mountain was an area that showed off how the park has reseeded itself as a result of the fire in 1988. You can see the old (the matchstick looking trees) with the new. The forests in the park are mostly made up of Lodgepole pine trees.
We saw an array of wildlife throughout the day. The most seen were bison. We saw one creating a traffic jam in a construction area, saw another group with calves grazing, saw another group by the Old Faithful Inn grazing, and saw yet another group near the Old Faithful area having fun playing in the snow. We also saw elk, some birds, and a really cute chipmonk by Firehole Falls.
My favorite part of the park, was the scenery. It was breathtaking. I hope to have more opportunities to visit the park, because one day is just not enough. After seeing Roaring Mountain, we headed over to Canyon Village to check out the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River – along with the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. All were gorgeous. I really just wish we wouldn’t have had a flair up of snow at the particular point. It would have been nice to just sit and soak in the scenery. The pictures below are the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the Lower Falls.
Between Norris and Madison, we took in the Norris Geyser Basin (check out the picture below), the Artists Paintpots, Beryl Spring, and the Gibbon River. This is also the area where the traffic jam bison showed up.
Between Madison and Old Faithful we saw a bunch of different places. My favorite was the Firehole Canyon Drive and seeing Firehole Falls and the Firehole River. We also stopped to see the Fountain Paint Pot area and the Midway Geyser Basin with the Grand Prismatic Spring. The picture below is the Firehole River in the Midway Geyser Basin area.
Our final stop for the day was to see Old Faithful. We had some lunch/supper at Old Faithful Inn and we checked out the Visitor Center while we waited for the geyser’s eruption. This was the first time all day that I had cell service, so I decided to call home quick while we waited. It was nice chatting with my family since I had only been in touch by email since starting my trip. It was snowing pretty good at Old Faithful. The not so pleasant weather actually made for an interesting viewing of the geyser.
Since it was snowing pretty good, we decided not to make any more stops for the rest of the day. From Old Faithful, we continued on to the West Thumb/Grant Village area on through to the South Entrance area. It was a pretty drive. We were definately both tired and ready to be done for the day. That’s why I’d like to go back to the park and have at least a couple of days there, so that everything doesn’t have to be crammed into one day. I think overall for the whole day, my favorite parts were the Canyon Village area and the Firehole Canyon Drive. They were both so peaceful. Actually, that was my favorite part of the park, the peacefulness. All of the national parks that we stopped at had that feature, peace and nature. Such an awesome combo.
Well, that’s all for now. As with all the other road trip posts, Jennifer and I took all the pictures. Has anyone else visited Yellowstone NP? What was your favorite part?