The fleet of buses have been restored to perform our duties around various routes in the park. We chose an early morning start from Canyon Village and had the driver all to ourselves. It was nice to be able to spend time looking rather than driving for a change and Sarh Jane was an excellent guide.
There are free presentation tours of the Inn which are well worth your time. Probably takes about half an hour or so and you are given a really good insight into the history and design of the building. You will hear how the weird and wonderfully shaped ballistrades were made from deformed pole pines.
These presentations are free and the one we attended was a video presentation "Yellowstone 1902 - The Grand Tour". It was fascinating hearing and seeing the old photographs and very well done by Randy Ingersoll who also plays piano in the hotel. Highly recommended!
We continued on 89 going north until we got to Grant Village. Along the way from the south entrance we drove through roads with 2 lanes that had tall pines on each side; the roads appeared very narrow. We came out to a big canyon and in every direction we saw the burn from 1988. We saw the river at Lewis Falls and noticed a pretty amber color on the trees in the clearings.
We crossed the Continental Divide at 7988 feet.
At the northeastern section of Yellowstone is the animal rich section of Lamar Valley. The long road that travels from the Tower Falls section to the Northeast entrance at Silver Gate, is not part of the Loop road and (when I went) much less populated with tourists. There are no active thermal features in this section of the park, just the long dormant cone of Soda Butte. The wide open expanses of land are great spaces to spot herds of Bison and Pronghorn Antelope families. If you are very fortunate, you might have the treat of seeing one of the wolf packs that reside here. During our visit, we spotted a couple members of the Slough Creek pack on a carcass. A spotting scope was needed to really see any detail of what was going on across the valley. Luckily there were many friendly people there who allowed us to take a peek through theirs. Only and the very end of our trip did I discover that there were scopes to rent at the General Store in Silver Gate, I have since acquired my own scope, it's ready and raring to go for our next Yellowstone adventure!
Calcite Springs Overlook is just north of Tower falls. This short loop trail takes you up to the brink of the canyon for some really spectacular views of the river and the hillside thermal features waaaayyy down below. It's a really breathtaking spot. As you circle back to the parking lot(or I suppose at the beginning of your trip depending on which way you choose to go) The Narrows section is in full view. The stone layers are so evident here you almost expect dinosaur bones to be jutting out of the cliff. It looks just like a schoolbook diagram rock layers that should go along with a timeline.
My family and I visited Yellowstone National Park last summer and enjoyed every minute of it. We left Yellowstone by the NE entrance/exit, without knowing what was in store for us. First of all, make sure you fill up your car before you leave. It truly is wilderness. As wonderful as the park is, leaving via 212 towards Billings, MT was also awesome. The road winds up to the very top of the mountain, through the snow caps, and eventually back down to the valley. The views and scenery are spectacular. Give yourself plenty of time, you'll want to stop and take lots of pictures. The road in the upper elevations are lined with snow sticks, to find the road in the winter. We saw wild goats, buffalo and other wildlife.
The only way to visit in Winter is entering the park by snowmobile, snow coach, or snow shoes. Theses excursions also have to be with a guide. We opted for the snowcoach because it was a little cold for our 3 year old. Also, the snowcoach will stop any time you request for a photo opt. Sometimes with the snow mobile tours, you stop only when the leader wants to. I know there is a rush with flying around on a snowmobile, but I prefer the comfort of the big bus. I think it is better viewing, and definitely more comfortable. We used the tour that Three Bear Lodge uses and had no complaints. Both days we only had a few other people with us. When on the snow coaches, there are two main tracks that you may select. The canyon tour, and the Old Faithful tour. We did both of them and had a great time. If you had one day, I would chose the Canyon tour.
The scenery in winter is beautiful. I'm sure that each season brings a unique perspective to the park. I have visited in Summer and now in winter. I'm sure fall is fantastic, and the flowers in spring must be amazing. I loved visiting in winter because the place was empty.
The Undine Falls are less well-known than many of the other features of Yellowstone but are worth a stop to see. The roadside pull-off offers good views of these two tiered falls located on Lava Creek. The upper section of the falls is 60 feet high and the lower 50 feet. Beyond the falls you can see the mouth of Lava Creek Canyon.
Don't miss this group of hot springs right at the edge of Yellowstone lake. There is a nice trail ringing the hostprings. If your schedule permits come at dusk and be surprised with wildlife within a arm's reach!
Last time we went to Yellowstone, we passed by the mudpots a million times. I always wanted to stop, but always we were on our way somewhere else. This time we made it our first priority. The sun was just going down, but we had just enough time to make it around the boardwalks. Dragon Sring was luckily not too steamy, so we were able to peer into it's depths. Mud Volcano itself was gurgling, bubbling and splashing.
more to come.....
Mud Volcano is unique among the major thermal trails at Yellowstone. There are no colorful pools or exciting geysers here. The only geyser is Mud Geyser which hasn't erupted in many years. However, the Mud Volcano area is the most down to earth thermal areas at the park. Bubbling caldrons of mud make this area feel like you're looking down into the center of the earth.
I think the two most interesting feature here are Churning Caldron and Dragon's Mouth Spring. Churning Caldron is a large steaming pool that is constantly throwing it's murky water 3 to 5 feet in the air. And Dragon's Mouth Spring is very aptly named. There is a small cave with a small pool. Out of the cave is a steam vent that shoots 50 feet into the air.
West Thumb has to be the most scenic geyser basin in Yellowstone. It is located right along Yellowstone Lake. In fact, two of the geysers, Fishing Cone and Lakeshore, are actually in the lake. Well, at least in the spring and early summer, when the lake level is higher. Lakeshore Geyser hasn't erupted since 1970. And Fishing Cone is impressive, with a distinct round hole that was submerged just below lake level when we were there.
But there's more to see here than just geysers. Some of the prettiest and deepest pools are at West Thumb, among them are Black Pool and Abyss Pool.
Located just south of Biscuit Basin, Black Sand Basin is the last of the main Firehole River geyser basins that you can drive to from the main highway. What I found interesting about Black Sand was how the thermal area went right up to the river here. The thermal runoff cascades right into the river and creates an interesting effect. Plus, Cliff Geyser juts out into the river and puts on a little show right at river's edge.
Also here are Sunset Lake and Emerald Pool. Sunset Lake has an eerie look to it, with a foggy layer of steam floating above it. And Emerald Pool is a deep, dark pool of emerald green.
North Rim Drive, Wyoming, United States
Good for: Solo
We stayed in the Snow Lodge (not cabins) for 3 nights at the end of our weeklong trip. My father,...more
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