By all accounts, Yellowstone National Park is an amazing place. It is one of the three “crown jewels” of our national park system, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has half of all the world’s thermal features, over 10,000 in all, within its borders. Add to that North America’s highest concentration of large mammals, and we were all very excited for our visit.
We arrived in the park and soon found ourselves surrounded by bison. The American bison is a majestic and powerful animal, once numbering in the millions in North America. After being nearly wiped out by disease and over-hunting, they have rebounded and serve as one of the great success stories in the reintroduction of a species. Everyone agreed how beautiful they were as we sat and watched them graze in the meadow.
Our first stop was for a hike in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. After being asked several times how the park got its name, I assured my group that this hike would give them the answer. After winding through the backcountry and visiting several lakes and a dozen boiling mud pots and hot pools, we came up over a rise and were staring down 300 meters into the canyon at the Yellowstone River below. I think everyone was in awe as they stood there in silence, mouths agape for a good minute before anyone said a word. Continuing along the rim, we came to Artist’s Point and Lower Yellowstone Falls, one of the most beautiful and powerful waterfalls in the park. Pictures painted from this vantage point helped persuade the government to create Yellowstone, the world’s first national park way back in 1872.
After our hike, we went and visited the amazing Midway Geyser Basin, home to the Grand Prismatic Spring, one of the most spectacular thermal features in the park. Walking through steam which fogged up our glasses, it was easy to imagine just how hot these pools are.
From there, we went to Biscuit Basin and took a lovely afternoon stroll to the Morning Glory pool, the park’s most colorful pool. Heat loving bacteria called thermophiles create unbelievable colors in these thermal features. While everyone tried, myself included, I don’t think you can ever really capture the colors of these hot pools in a photo.
We continued on to the Upper Geyser Basin and were fortunate enough to see the Riverside Geyser going off as we walked. We made our way down to Yellowstone’s most famous geyser, Old Faithful. After watching this beautiful natural feature erupt, we all stopped by the wonderful and historic Old Faithful Inn for a cup of tea and some ice cream. Content with our day, we headed back to camp marveling in all we had seen in one loop around this incredible national park.
If you want to visit the colourful and iconic national park, that is Yellowstone then we have have a great selection of tours that do just that.