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.
When I was first planning our trip, I booked us a Photo Safari though Xanterra. I thought "oh hey that might be fun.." It was fantastic! Our guide, Doug, was really wonderful. He has been working at the park for 17 years and giving photo tours for 8. He knew perfect spots to take photos, the exact time of when to get there, and which animals might be out and about, and where we might spot them. We had to get up early in the morning to meet up with the group at the Lake hotel. From there we piled into a 1930's motorcoach which took us all around the eastern side of the park. We saw a gorgeous sunrise, Buffalo (of course), a bald eagle, blue heron, a pair of sandhill cranes, osprey, mule deer,a fox and a pack of coyotes, including 5 cubs! Not to mention all of the gorgeous viewpoints and wildflowers. Breakfast of hot beverages and muffins is provided. You eat while on a mountaintop which provides a wonderful view of the park.
This trip is highly recommended! Lou said next time we are back in Yellowstone, we may book more than one!
There are tours that leave from the Lake Hotel, Old Faithful Inn and Canyon Lodge. The price was about $50 per person, and worth every penny!
One of our visits to Yellowstone was in 1989 - the year after the massive forest fires there. It was amazing walking through some of the burnt out areas. This particular area was different than most others because it has been burnt twice - a month or so apart. The first fire went through and killed all the trees, and the second one burnt things to a crisp. The ground has no earth left, and the trees are only black toothpicks.
Roaring Mountain is a roadside feature you don't hear much about. We stopped by on our way to our hotel on our first day in the park. A barren hillside with lifeless trees and fumeroles, it was creepily beautiful on that rainy evening.
It's an interesting geothermal feature with an even more interesting past. Roaring mountain got it's name from a steam vent on the side of the mountain that made a loud howling sort of sound, it quieted down around the 1920's. Now this stark area is steamy with a quiet hissing sound. As with most things in the park, one day it might act up again.
We loved the Hoodoos. Not only do they have a fantastic name, but when you suddenly find yourself driving through this small maze of jumbled rocks, it gives you a fantastic feeling of being in another time (or on another planet!)
The Hoodoos are giant boulders that tumbled down from the mountains many years ago. Many, many years ago, they were at the bottom of an ancient sea.
More to come!
Ironically there is no fishing allowed at the Fishing Bridge. This stream is a prime area for Cutthroat troat. Fishing was banned in 1973 in order to allow the fish to get upstream to spawn. The surrounding area is grizzly country. If you decide to go backcountry hiking around here, it is suggested that you have at least 3 companions.
When we visited, we saw neither bear, nor fish. I did hear some splashing, so they must have been around, but the light was so that the reflection of sky didn't let me peer into the water very clearly. We did get some birdwatching in, seeing a large amount of mergansers and an osprey.
A couple of miles after Madison on the road to Old Faithful there is a short off-road "Nature Trail" which takes in The Fountain Paint Pots and several other geothermal features of the park.
This half-mile trail takes in examples of virtually every geothermal activity on the planet including geysers, the aforementioned mudpots, hot springs and the odd fumarole.
The trail itself is boarded, though can be very icy in winter, but gives you a welcome chance to stretch the legs especially on the way back towards the West Entrance. Note: Smoking not advised on the trail itself due to the sulpherous emmanations!
There will be more pics on travelog.
While in Yellowstone, one should make it a point to see as much of the park as possible. Driving around and hiking are two good ways to accomplish this. There is so much to see, with new sights popping up after every curve in the road. The landscape is gorgeous!
We visited the Pelican Creek area very early in th morning with our Photo Safari. The morning light creates beautiful stripes of sun and shade over the grasses. This is supposed to be a good spot to see bear. We were not so fortunate that morning, although we did see a Bald Eagle resting on a tree in the distance.
I spent only one day in this park from dawn to sunset, and it was way too short to see even a small part of what it can offer.
Yellowstone National Park is a bit managed like an attraction (amusement park) which has the disadvantages I wrote about in the intro, but there are also appreciable advantages:
When you drive in the park, the rangers hand you over with a map, a newspaper with valuable information about the park, and some flyers telling what is happening in the park at the time you come in.
Roads are already there, so they cannot be removed, and they are useful if you want to see a lot of the geothermal activity (probably the highest concentration of geysers in the world); my tour follows the green line on the map (Picture3)
There are lots of tours and education programs organized by the rangers and there is a lot to be learnt there, certainly.
I had the impression all is done for the motorized visitor, it is not exactly what I was expecting from a National Park.
The Parks Administration is very (too much to my taste) concerned with safety, and all is done nothing can happen to the visitors, as if they may need assistance all times; visitors are considered a bit like irresponsible children, and I think I could not stay a long time there; they do not want something like on picture 4 happens. . .
The visitors who look for quietness, solitude, communication with nature need big abstraction skills. . . ; geothermal activity and phenomena are unique, and I do not regret my visit there.
Camping is allowed only in designated areas, so I wonder if it is possible to make a trek through Yellowstone. . . . . .
Don’t be impressed by the wide areas of dead trees (second picture), it is a very natural phenomenon.
There are only two ways to get around Yellowstone Park in the Winter; by snowcoach or by snowmobile. At first glance it may seem that the snowmobile option may be only for the more adventurous, but the roads in the Park, and the requirements placed on snowmobilers, make these zippy machines pretty tame and doable for almost anyone.
Recent regulations have resolved the problem of too many snowmobiles in the park on any given day. In order to take a machine into the park one must hire an approved guide. Each guide can take up to 10 snowmobiles (with as many as 2 people per mobile). There is a strict 35 mph speed limit and huge fines for anyone who travels off the specified roads.
Every person entering the park will pay a $10 per person entry fee.
the mountain is just what it sounds like. a big pile of dirt that makes a hissing noise. it is worth of a stop for a photo oppoutunity, but you probley won't spend too much time there as there really is no place to walk as in other geyser stops.
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There are more than half a dozen snowcoach tour operators working out of West Yellowstone. Most hotels have their own operation and your desk clerk can easily arrange a trip for you. Coaches pick you up at your hotel lobby between 8 and 8:30 am and return you at about 4:30.
Trips go into the park to Old Faithful Inn, getting you there just about in time for an eruption. Then there is a lunch break. Several options are available. We ate in the dining room of the Snow Lodge, a charming facility with reasonable food at affordable prices.
Take a day hike away from the crowds.
One of our favorite activities in Yellowstone was the hike we took up to Specimen Ridge. It was so beautiful and we only saw a couple of other people the whole time. There are lots of petrified trees up there, but we only saw one. I think most of them are off the trail, but you can sign up for a naturalist-conducted hike to see those. This is a 17.5 mile trail, but we just hiked to the top of the ridge and back down. I think it was about 3.5 miles roundtrip. Watch out for grizzlies in early summer!
The western cookout is a hoot. They serve you a very large sirloin BBQ'd steak cooked to your taste, baked beans, slaw, potato salad, corn, apple cobbler, biscuits, black cowboy coffee, and softdrinks. All the while cowboy Bob and his guitar will keep you entertained, and cowboy Bill will keep you coffee cup full. There are two ways to get to the cookout, by horse drawn wagon or by a one or two hour horse ride. $37 to $52 depending on what way of transport you choose. Meet at the stables by 3:45pm for the wagon ride, earlier for the horse ride.
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
For the price it is not worth it. We were in a cabin. The cabin had two sides to it w/ a connecting...more