Yellowstone, Wyoming

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The World’s Largest Volcano
= A Magical Wonderland

Yellowstone sits on top of the world’s largest volcano.  This volcano is constantly venting and letting out heat.  The effects from this geological wonder are amazing to see.

The park routes are basically in the shape of a figure 8.  I found that the south part of the park [the bottom of the figure 8] was more interesting than the north due to the fact that the south part of the park is above the Caldera Boundary [the volcano].

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What to Do and See

Geysers. There are geyers all over the south end of the park.  I enjoyed West Thumb Geyer Basin and Black Sand Basin.  The most famous of the geyers, however, is Old Faithful.

Old Faithful is the biggest [shoots water the highest] geyer in the park and erupts approximately every 90 minutes [give or take about 10 minutes].  If you go to Yellowstone, you have to see Old Faithful – it’s not the prettiest, most colorful, or most interesting, but if you miss it, it’s as if going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower.


Forest Fires. Forest fires are naturally occurring and replenish the minerals in the soil.  When I drove through, there was a forest fire burning with smoke all over the road an in the car, but the rangers in the park said this was a normal occurrence and even had signs with and update status of how the fire was doing.
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Hot Springs. Pools of water over volcanic vents making the water boil.  The most popular one is Mammouth Hot Springs – it’s awesome.  It’s the shape of a staircase, and has hot water bubbling from the top of it constantly.

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Colors. The colors of the hot springs are gorgeous! Red, yellow, green, dark blue, light blue, every color in the rainbow is painted on the earth from the minerals that spill over from the hot springs!  The water is not only boiling hot, but crystal clear – you’re able to see right through the water and down these huge holes into Earth!

Note: West Thumb Geyer Basin has some of the best colors in the park!


The Lake. Yellowstone Lake is quiet large and pretty.  The drive along the south part of the figure-8 goes right alongside the lake for awhile.  There are rocky beaches, vents on the shore, places to fish, and much more!
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Fishing Cone. My favorite thing in the lake was the fishing cone – located at West Thumb Geyer Basin.  The fishing cone looks like a little volcano coming out of the lake.  It’s not tall, but just a little round volcano-looking thing that has boiling water bubbling in it.  Indians would stand on the rock the fishing cone and fish.  Once they caught a fish on their pole, they would spin around and dunk the fish in the boiling water to instantly cook it.
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Wildlife. Coyote, mule deer, bighorn sheep, bull elk, wolf, grizzly bear, bull moose, black bear, bison [buffalo], pronghorn, yellow bellied marmot, pika, osprey, American white pelican, lesser scaup, trumpeter swans, and green-winged teal.

Most of the walking is done on the boardwalks because the ground is fragile and dangerous.  There are some hikes in designated areas but do not go off the trail.
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The Great Continental Divide.  You’ve probably heard of this, but how many of you actually know what it is?!  It’s actually, pretty amazing… The Continental Divide is a precise line drawn through North America (from North to South) that quite literally divides the continent into a Pacific side and an Atlantic side based on watershed.  What that means is ALL the water WEST of that line drains into the Pacific Ocean and ALL the water EAST of that line eventually drains into the Atlantic Ocean.  Yup.  Every drop of water that falls from the sky, has to end up somewhere, and this line is the marker of where the water decides to go.  Pretty cool, huh?



Amazing Scenery.  I could not stop taking pictures!  Up until the very last minute of light, my camera was on the entire time!  I’ve been to Yellowstone a few times, and every time, I’ve seen an amazing sunset and discovered new colors.



Picnic areas, restaurants, and cafeteria.

There are picnic areas all over the park if you bring your own food but there are also places within the park to buy food.  The cafeteria is cheaper than the restaurants with generously-sized portions [probably bigger than what you’d get in the restaurant].  $7 in the cafeteria will get you a sandwich with a huge side dish.

The Mammouth Hot Springs area is very popular because there is a hotel, camp ground, general store, and dining hall (with a bar) all within a few meters from each other.


Getting Around (via car)

Gas/Petrol – Gas up outside of the park if you can.  I found that the gas inside the park was about 30 cents more expensive per gallon.  However, if you do need gas, it’s not extremely overpriced compared to other states and Canada.

The Roads in the park are in the shape of a figure-8 – which is really nice because you can drive through the whole park with only repeating a little bit.

Going the Distance – The park is huge!  The entire figure-8 of the park is about 170 miles (which that alone would take you a few hours to drive)… but don’t forget, you’re not cruising at 75 miles per hour, nonstop.  You’ll be doing about 20 miles per hour and stopping about every other mile.  Also, you will have to (no matter how you plan it) drive some of the roads more than once (if you want to see the entire park, that is).

The Pull-offs in the park are great.  There are pull-off areas about every mile or so in order to safely pull over for a minute or two and take great pictures.  Also, I never felt as though I was stuck behind another car.  There are so many things to see and so many pull-offs on the road, a car in rarely in front of your car for more than a few minutes.

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Where To Stay

Lodges. You can book a room in one of the lodges before your arrival or while you’re there.  If you go to any visor center, someone can help you book a room.

Camping. The season runs until the weekend after Labor Day Weekend.  Campsites cost anywhere from $12-$35, are “first come, first serve”, and worked by registration upon your arrival [no one sitting at a booth at the entrance].  Unfortunately, campsites go fast.


Entrance Fee

$25 per car for as long as you’d like.


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