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When I visited this place a couple of years ago I imagine I felt how anyone else would be when you come across this creation of nature. It was simply breathtaking.
I was approaching from the North having just come across from Montana. This place kind of creeps up with you and the only way we first of all knew we were in the park was when we went under a small stone archway welcoming us (although that was followed by a toll booth and an entrance fee soon afterwards)
The ecosystem there is just astounding, you have heard of Bison walking aimlessly in the middle of the road at their own speed which are simply wonderful animals. Word of warning though, don't get out of the car to pet them as they can easily turn nasty and I believe you're consistently reminded of this when you're in there by way of signs and leaflets.
There's a strong smell of sulphur and there's hot water running freely which you just couldn't imagine until you've seen it, all of which is flowing down white rocks where sulphur has settled and crystallised. The closest analogy I can compare it to is a garden rockery with the plastic waterways. Except this is real in every single way and heated by geothermal activity.
Eventually we got to the geysers and old faithful. I don't know how this is done but they appear to know right to the very minute when old faithful will go off. And when it does, it's one of those moments for me that made me glad to be alive by witnessing nature in all of its glory. Incidentally, while you're waiting for this there are loads of chipmunks around which are incredibly cute. They'll happily sit around you, just up on you and stand and entertain for you. They've obviously become very comfortable around humans.
There's also another geyser next to Old Faithful which I believe is called Bumblebee. This goes off far less frequently and we were lucky to see this too.
Overall this is a wonderful experience and a review like this simply can't do it justice. I really recommend seeing it as part of a wider holiday. The park has a very detailed website and has a live streaming website so you can see it before you go. There's also plenty of footage of old faithful on YouTube along with the rest of the park and its animals. This is definitely one place I will visit again if I ever get the opportunity to do so later in life.
As a Geography student, I knew I would find Yellowstone interesting, but it was truly one of the most amazing places I have ever been! I went in July with my family, driving in a hire car for two days. The wildlife we saw was fantastic, often having to stop the car for elks to pass the road! Or a herd of bison! It was a great chance to practice photography because of the colours in the trees and grass. The geological features were fascinating with informative visitor centres and boards telling you about the area. Old faithful was a bit of a let down as I have seen many geysers before and, although it went off when planned, the surrounding crowds, car parks and buildings ruined the magic of seeing a natural geological feature (go to Iceland for un ruined geysers!) . The sulphur pools were interesting but be prepared to stink! The gas in the steam is very eggy so have a strong stomach. There are lots of safety features to discourage people from straying from the walkways which makes it possible to take children but keep a close eye because you wouldn't want them wondering off anywhere!
I would recommend ANYONE and EVERYONE to visit Yellowstone if given the chance, whether interested in geology/geography or not. It is a natural wonder of the world and there are sights/sounds/smells everywhere you look!
In June last year our family were lucky enough to have the opportunity of spending a few months in the Western United States. Our journey began in Tucson and ended in Canada. On the way north we spent 10 days in Yellowstone national park. So I hope you are sitting comfortably whilst I transport on a whirlwind tour of this amazing park! Firstly a few facts ***************** Yellowstone is situated mainly in Wyoming?s northwestern corner but spills over into Idaho to the west and Montana to the northeast. The park measures 60 miles by 50 miles .The park centres on a 7,500-foot plateau, which was created by an enormous volcanic explosion 650,000 year ago. Yellowstone is America?s oldest national park and was given its status in 1872. So what is there to see and do here? Yellowstone has more than half of the world?s geysers situated in a small area, in addition there are mud pots hot springs and steam vents. If this is not enough, then there is the mountain scenery with beautiful alpine meadows, numerous hiking trails, 370 miles of paved roads, waterfalls, North America?s largest alpine lake and best of all as far as I?m concerned, an abundance of wildlife normally only seen in zoos. Getting to the park We hired an R.V (recreational vehicle) in Phoenix and this became our home for the next several weeks. Whilst it ensured we always had somewhere to sleep, we were restricted by having to remain on paved roads, found it difficult to park and worried about the environmental issues of driving such a large gas-guzzling vehicle. However I digress. Obviously if you are travelling from the u.k. You will need an expensive flight! You will probably arrive in Denver and drive to the park from there. It is possible to take an internal flight to the small gateway town of Jackson and hire either a car or R.V. When I planned our trip I was told it was not possible to hire an R.V in Jackson, I now know this is not true! The park has 5 e
ntrances. We entered via Jackson. I would suggest that before you enter the park you stock up on as much food as you can keep, as it?s really expensive once in the park. It is possible to enter the park at any of the 4 other entrances; 2 in Wyoming, 1 in the north at Gardiner and 1 at west Yellowstone in Idaho. Wherever you enter from it will cost you 20 dollars for a 7-day stay. Roads are normally open from May until October although this can change depending on the snowfall. The entrance from Gardiner is kept open all year round however. Accommodation Before we left home I decided it would be sensible to pre book our first 2 nights campsite. A company called Amfac runs most of the accommodation within the park .As they have a monopoly prices are very high. Amfac operate 12 campsites 5 of which are available to pre book. We booked 2 nights at fishing bridge in the centre of the park. This site only allows hard sided vehicles due to bear activity. We were bitterly disappointed with the site. Each R.V was given a small concrete strip to park on. There was nowhere for my children to play safely. Cars seemed to be moving around at all hours. We paid over 30 dollars a night for this site and didn?t realise that we would need to pay extra for showers! The washing facilities were a good 10 minutes walk away. The site was noisy, crowded and without character. At 5 am the next morning we left in an attempt to secure a sight in the national park run campsite at Slough creek. This site is on a first come first served basis. There are no facilities at slough creek other than 2 water taps and a few pit toilets! We loved it at first sight and stayed for our remaining 9 days. If camping is not your thing, then there are several lodges run by Amfac, which can be pre booked, either via the Internet (www.travelyellowstone.com). Or Telephone 307-344-7311 and remember the time difference! Slough Creek campsite Slough creek i
s situated in the less visited Lamar valley in the north east of the park. The site only has about dozen pitches and no facilities. As the name implies the site is situated by slough creek. We had a wonderful pitch next to the river. Each site has a large area with a fire pit and a table and benches. The site is reached via several miles of rough track. Although we were not allowed to take our hire vehicle off road we decided to live dangerously! The scenery was breathtaking. In the morning we usually had several deer in the creek. There are several long distance paths accessible from the campsite. This is an area frequented by grizzly bears so care is needed! One morning we awoke to see a large brown bear across the creek, it was a wonderful experience and we watched for ages The week prior to our visit we were told by the resident ranger that a tent had been destroyed by a grizzly bear looking for food The bear had acquired a taste for human food after careless campers had left food out over night. A fed bear may become a threat to humans and have to be destroyed. However there was a downside to this Utopia-the mosquitoes! I have never experienced anything like it. They were huge and made eating outside impossible! Well that is until we discovered deet. I know this is a dangerous chemical but it was the only thing, which worked! I still have a few scars left by the bites! Other highlights From our base we took a day trip to experience the geysers and mud pots in the south of the park. The old faithful area is one of the busiest in the park so don?t expect to have this place to yourself. That said it is spectacular. Most people will have heard of old faithful, so called as the eruptions happen at reasonable intervals, about every 80 minutes and can be roughly predicted. The area has numerous other geysers, all accessible by 2 miles of boardwalks. The highlight for me was grand geyser, which erupts about twice a day and shoo
ts boiling water over 180 feet into the air in a series of bursts. You can check roughly when eruptions are likely (within an hour or so) at the excellent visitor centre in the car park. During our visit we saw numerous bison and osprey. To the east of the old faithful area is the west thumb geyser basin. This area contains the smelliest sulphur mud pools imaginable! My children were very impressed with the so-called dragons cave. A Large cave like entrance where boiling mud bubbles continuously complete with vile smell! In the north of the park is Mammoth hot springs. The park headquarters are to be found here. The visitor centre has a really good animal display. My older son participated in the junior ranger programme and enjoyed the talks and activities he was required to undertake. He was given a badge and certificate for his efforts. Nearby are terraces of limestone, although it is certainly worth a visit we hated the crowds. One of our favourite areas was the Hayden valley. This is a plateau in the centre of the park close to the Yellowstone river .It is a good area to see wildlife and is home to a large number of bison and elk. We were fortunate to see a bald eagle here, a truly beautiful sight! The Lamar valley I have left the best for last! This area is nicknamed the Serengeti of Yellowstone. If like us you want to experience wildlife without the crowds, then this is the area for you. A few miles from our campsite is one of the finest wolf watching areas in the world. Wolves were re introduced into Yellowstone about 10 years ago and their numbers have been increasing ever since. Every evening dedicated wolf spotters gather on the hillside near slough creek to watch for wolves through their spotting scopes. One evening we joined them. We were warmly welcomed to the group and rewarded by the site of a large female wolf on the opposite hillside. We stayed on the hillside for several hours with our c
hildren, listening to fascinating wolf tales and feeling very privileged.(perhaps another review)! One morning we decided to get up at dawn and go to look for wildlife. We had only travelled for a few mils when we were treated to the sight of a young grizzly bear foraging for food close to the deserted roadside. We were careful not to disturb it and I have some wonderful film footage! If you are planning a trip to Yellowstone I would advise you to do your homework. The park can be divided up into sections and it is possible to drive the loop road in a day although I think this would mean missing out on the opportunity to truly experience the park. Yellowstone has warm summers, the temperatures were in the 80?s when we were there, but nights were often chilly. Winters are cold with heavy snowfall. Again do your homework before you travel and pack clothes for all weathers! There is so much more I could tell you about Yellowstone yourself. I hope I have not bored you and that you will be able to experience it for yourself!
Yellowstone National Park is probably the most beautiful place that I have visited. Yes it is chock full of tourists (but I was one of them), but there can’t be many places on Earth which will give you such a rich vein of contrast. Let me explain… I visited Yellowstone in June 1999, having driven over 2 days from Seattle. Upon arrival at Mammoth Springs at the north west, Montana/Wyoming border we booked into a largeish wooden hotel, which reminded me of a cross between the hotel in “The Shining” and “The Waltons” (a scary concoction!). It was quite cheap too, no dearer than a motel. Here we made our base, even though the park itself is huge. My advice is not to stay in one of the motels outside of the park, they charge much more than usual motels and are dearer than the accomodation inside. The Park hotels are basic (no TVs and on-suite), but they are well worth curring out the drive to the park, since you will enevitably cover many miles in the park itself (I did over 1000 miles!). The park is a plateau at around 7000 feet, so make sure you are fit if you plan to ski or cycle. It is in fact a super volcano, which when it blows (statistically soon) it will probably take out all of North America (one way or another). However, that’s the downside, the upside is that is contains, a grand canyon, a huge lake, towering mountains (you can drive to over 10,000 feet) and most famously of all, Geysers, bucket loads of them. Also, one thing that you notice pretty quickly is the climate, one minute you can feel the sun scorch your skin, then next it’s snowing, wonderful. Drive around the park and you’ll visit geyser basins galore, some of which are much prettier than Mr. Big Himself, Old Faithful, which really is chock full of camera wielding tourists and gift shops. There are also plenty Bison wandering around and blocking up the roads. Also, if you are an American, then don’t get too ex
cited, but yes, there are deer, bloody millions of them just like the rest of your country. Something that I will never understand is the average American's total surprise and delight at deer. It would be like me being surprised and excited at seeing a sheep in Yorkshire. I could quite happily spend several weeks in Yellowstone, there is so much there and it is about the size of the Lake District. The roads resemble a figure of eight and these have all the main attractions on them, all lovingly labled. However, you can get away from the bustling car tourists and get one one of the many hiking trails (it is really like the Lake District in this respect). Yellowstone is far far more than a National Park with Old Faithful in it. The only real downside is getting there. It is not near any centre of population. You would face a pretty still drive from the likes of Seattle (took me 2 days), Denver, or Salt Lake City. However, there is an airport at Jackson towards the south of the park (small planes), but I won't respect you if you fly there. Oh and don’t forget that there is another national park tagged right at the southern exit, Grand Teton is a range of razor sharp mountains and is pretty spectacular, if you get as far as Yellowstone, don’t forget Teton (the admission is inclusive and is only $20 per car for the pair)! I can not recommend American National Parks enough, they are not commercial as they are state run.
Yellowstone National Park became the world's first national park on March 1, 1872. Located mostly in the U.S. state of Wyoming, parts of the park also extend into Montana and Idaho. The park is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem which is the largest intact ecosystem in the northern temperate zone on Earth. The park is famous for its geysers, hot springs, supervolcano and other geothermal features and is home to grizzlies, wolves, and free-ranging herds of bison and elk. The famous Old Faithful Geyser is one of the best known features in the park.