Into the Park

Yellowstone National Park Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 13 › view all entries
the first bison

After a relatively short wait at the West entrance to Yellowstone National Park, we paid the entrance fee (which was also good for the Grand Tetons) and started on our way to our first turn at Madison, overall not a far distance.  However, Yellowstone's roads have a habit of jamming up easily when animals are spotted.  Since we were near the entrance to the park, we soon found ourselves in stopped traffic.  The culprit: a lone male buffalo.

A little later we made a right turn at Madison junction and headed south.  We made our first planned stop at the Fountain Paint Pots, a major thermal area in the park.  (Overall about 60% of the world's thermal features can be found in YNP).

mud pots
  The Paint Pots are the best place to see the four types of features found in the park: geyser, hot spring, fumarole (steam only), and mud pot.  I am always interested by the mud pots; bubbling, boiling mud (this time colored an off-white hue; in past trips, they have held tones of blue or yellow).  You don't see mud pots often.  One of the favorite sights at this basin is Clepsydra Geyser because it almost constantly erupts (when we watched it, the water plumes were at least a dozen feet in the air). 

We then went on the Fountain Flats Drive where we saw a few hot springs, a geyser erupting from the distance, and Firehole Lake which is not somewhere to go swimming.

We tried to visit the Midway Geyser Basin next.  We made it up to the first sight, Excelsior Geyser Crater.

Lonestar Geyser
  Then the thunder we had heard a few minutes earlier fulfilled its promise and we ran for the car as the rain pelted down.

After lunch at the Old Faithful cafeteria, the rain cleared up enough for us to continue exploring.  First up was the easy viewing of Kepler Cascades.  Just beyond the cascades is another pull-over off of which leads a wide trail.  We followed the trail back to Lone Star Geyser.  This cone geyser erupts approximately every three hours (when we were there: 1:00, 4, 7, 10); a book at the site keeps record of the eruptions.  We didn't know the times, so we didn't see an eruption, but it was an enjoyable hike to a new site for us (and we saw a beaver in the creek that runs alongside the trail).

Dinner was at the dining room in Old Faithful.  Dessert was the best part, a Yellowstone Sundae which had huckleberry ice cream.  The meal ran late (after 10) but since we were staying in the hotel (East wing), this was not a problem.  Old Faithful Inn is the best place to stay in the park for atmosphere.  Our room was one of the "newer" ones which means it had its own bathroom (some of the rooms in the original part share showers down the hall), something my parents especially appreciate.  Although we did not have a geyser view, our room was a corner room and had two windows with lots of light.

postaltiburon says:
Just like I remembered it...Thanks for sharing your awesome photos and impressions!
Posted on: Jan 22, 2008
joseph_towey says:
Yellowstone is at the top of my list of National Parks to visit. I've heard nothing but good things about it. My favorite park, thus far, has been Glacier Bay National Park in southeast Alaska. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking...I've never before felt so envigorated by "The Great Outdoors".
If you ever get the chance to visit, I highly recommend it!
Posted on: Aug 13, 2007
mellemel8 says:
gosh i wanna go here
Posted on: Aug 11, 2007
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
the first bison
the first bison
mud pots
mud pots
Lonestar Geyser
Lonestar Geyser
Clepsydra Geyser
Clepsydra Geyser
Clepsydra
Clepsydra
geyser from afar
geyser from afar
Excelsior Geyser Crater as the rai…
Excelsior Geyser Crater as the ra…
Kepler Cascades
Kepler Cascades
Kepler Cascades
Kepler Cascades