Yellowstone is the ultimate in geysers, hot springs and wildlife. Established as America’s first national park in 1872, millions of travelers worldwide have made their way to Yellowstone to experience the pristine park for themselves ever since. Of course, we had to include it in our all-American road trip! Here’s a glimpse at some of our favorite park sights.
This colorful hot spring is located just a few steps away from the Old Faithful Geyser. Yellowstone’s numerous hot springs are a result of geothermally heated groundwater. Water temperatures can exceed 400°F, becoming less dense than the surrounding cool water and rising to the surface. With no constrictions (as opposed to geysers), the superheated water forms beautiful calm pools like the one above. But despite the pretty colors, there is a ‘rotten egg’ smell that accompanies the hot springs, the result of anaerobic bacteria living off the sulphur underwater.
Yellowstone National Park is home to numerous elk that often come out to play at dawn and dusk. Spring and summer are the prime seasons that animals pop out their babies, so it’s fairly common to see the youngsters frolicking around too. Just don’t get between mom and her kids!
Buffalo are also super common in the Yellowstone area. Not only did they come within inches of our car, we also had one guy blocking our hiking path to a geyser lookout point. They’re very dangerous though, so as tempting as it may be, don’t pet them
The Upper and Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone are probably the most visited waterfalls of the area. They’re easily accessible and well worth stopping by! The photo above is of the Lower Falls.
A lone antelope taking in the mountain views.
The Grand Geyser!! We were lucky enough to spontaneously catch this beast of a geyser going off, which has the largest prediction interval of the predictable geysers–give or take two hours from the expected eruption time. The blast of water can reach up to 180 feet, providing a 9-minute, all-natural and spectacular water show. Take that Bellagio!
Of course, no trip to Yellowstone is complete without viewing the classic Old Faithful Geyser. While not quite as astounding as Grand, you’ve got to love a geyser that has been going off consistently even before its discovery in 1870. Today you can catch the eruption about every 90 minutes, although minor earthquakes are slowly increasing that interval.
Included in your 7-day Yellowstone pass is the entrance to the Grand Tetons. Driving past these mountains offers spectacular views and more chances to spot bears, moose and of course the ever-present bison.