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Exploring The Unusual Beauty of Yellowstone National Park in Two Days

Wyoming is a spectacularly beautiful state filled to the brim with eye-catching splendor. See some of the images I captured here.

"Old Faithful" starting its regular show

"Old Faithful" starting its regular show

Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming contains gorgeous and unusual beauty. Yellowstone encompasses 2.2 million acres and is the largest of our national parks. Parts of it are in the States of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. One can travel over 350 miles of paved roads. Many of the roads are at elevations of 7,000 to 8,000 feet. However, the actual range of height varies from around 5,300 feet to almost 12,000 feet.

This article will represent two days' worth of my photographs taken while there on vacation. In the summer of 1988, my mother, niece, and I spent an entire two weeks at Spring Creek Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, making it our base camp. We spent most of the time exploring The Tetons. But we decided that we also wanted to see something of Yellowstone National Park.

We took a guided bus tour of the lower part of Yellowstone one day and drove up to see more of it on another day.

Day One

There are two main loop roads almost making a figure 8, and this first day we spent time sightseeing in the lower part of the loop. It made for an 11 hour day!

Old Faithful Inn

The first stop on our tour was at the Old Faithful Inn. This building is the second one on this same site. The first burned to the ground in 1894.

The architect Robert C. Reamer designed the Old Faithful Inn in 1902, and he wanted native materials utilized in the construction. 500-tons of rocks from a nearby hill became a part of the massive fireplace. The logs came from this same environment. A blacksmith on-site designed the hand-wrought hardware.

Mr. Reamer used dormer windows, which added some light to the soaring 85-foot high ceiling in the central lobby. They add a distinctive look to the building, and Mr. Reamer used them often in buildings he designed later in his career.

Old Faithful Inn, completed in 1904, originally had 140 rooms. There are 230 more rooms added in the addition of two wings to the hotel.

"Old Faithful"

The geyser "Old Faithful" is located nearby and puts on its regular show for visitors from near and far. It is a cone geyser and erupts, sending its white plume of superheated steam and water about 145 feet into the air. This spectacular show of geothermal energy lasts from 1 1/2 to 5 minutes on average, and it does this every 65 to 90 minutes.

Gibbon Falls

The bus stopped at Gibbon Falls so that we could get a closer look. It is in a lush and green part of the northwestern area of the park. The impressive waterfall drops 84 feet down from the Gibbon River.

As our tour bus moved on, we saw many buffalo grazing alongside rivers and in pastures. Mule deer who grow quite large in this area and moose with their calves were also spotted.

The Lower Falls and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

A major tourist destination within Yellowstone National Park is the Lower Falls. We found out that it is three times the height of Niagara Falls. It tumbles 308 feet down and is a beautiful sight to behold.

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone weaves its way through the park and offers shelter for an abundance of wildlife. It is a mountainous region here, and the beauty of the Yellowstone River below as it twists and turns through the canyon is something to behold.

After leaving that gorgeous area, our bus driver took us through the lush Hayden Valley, following alongside the meandering Yellowstone River.

Yellowstone Lake

Our last views of this day included looking at Yellowstone Lake. It is North America's largest mountain lake with 110 miles of shoreline. At its high elevation, it is ice-capped much of the year.

The white cloud-like appearance above the blue water of the lake in my photo is smoke! Numerous fires were raging the year we visited the park, and some areas were not available to tourists due to firefighting efforts to contain the blazes.

Yellowstone Lake was the final highlight that ended our first day of exploration, and after we were driven back to Jackson Hole, we were exhilarated by what we had seen of this park and determined to see more of it on another day.

Yellowstone Lake blanketed with the smoke from forest fires that year.

Yellowstone Lake blanketed with the smoke from forest fires that year.

Day Two

Because of all the raging fires in Yellowstone, the southern entrance was closed. Driving through Idaho and entering Yellowstone from the western entrance to see the upper loop of the figure 8 paved road through the park became our access route. Many sights still awaited us!

The Porcelain Basin

This next area that we visited was beautiful and, at the same time, unusual and a bit eerie. Porcelain Basin in the Norris Geyser Basin rests over a significant fault in the earth's crust. It is one of the most volatile and hottest exposed areas on earth.

Runoff channels from geysers and hot springs derive color from minerals, bacteria, and algae. The distinct color of algae is related to water temperatures, with the light-colored algae existing in the hotter water. Algae seldom live in water over 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

This area is always changing due to minor earthquakes in the region. Some areas that are hot and lifeless gradually cool and vegetation starts to grow again. The reverse is also true.

My mother felt very uneasy in this locale and was happy when we left it to view other areas. I must admit that it is certainly a different feeling being in this thin-crusted area of our planet earth with so much volatility. Posted are warnings to stay on the raised paths because one could punch holes and sink into the ground if one were to walk off from these wooden pathways.

Steamboat Geyser

We stopped to see the Steamboat geyser, which was spewing some steam. It is the world's largest geyser but erupts at intervals of days to years. We did not stick around to see the eruption.

Steamboat geyser

Steamboat geyser

Upper Terrace Loop Drive in Yellowstone

Continuing north of Norris we drove through some beautiful mountain scenery at elevations of 7,000 to 8,000+ feet.

Just south of Mammoth Hot Springs is the Upper Terrace Loop Drive. It is another thermal area with predominately white rock. "Gnarled limber pine trees on some extinct formations are now over 500 years old."

Mammoth Hot Springs

Terraces viewed at Mammoth Hot Springs are composed of travertine (calcium carbonate) deposits. They are continuously growing into these spectacular shapes and formations. This area would be an ever-changing landscape.

Minerva Terrace is the highlight of this area.

The road east from Mammoth Hot Springs leads one in a matter of four miles to Undine Falls. It is a scenic country with vistas of far-off mountains, meadows, blooming wildflowers, and open space.

Evidence of Glacial Activity

A notable aspect affecting this area was the effects of glaciers moving through this part of the country in past eras. They scoured some parts of the land and left fascinating remains of their passing. One such monolithic is called the Liberty Cap.

Tower Falls

Next, we traversed the road to Tower Falls. It tumbles 132 feet into the Yellowstone River and is at an elevation of 6,650 feet. The area near Tower Falls is closed to human traffic as it is prime grizzly bear country.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Our next stop was the magnificent Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. We had already seen this from the Lower Falls perspective, and now we were able to view it from the Upper Falls area.

Wildlife in Yellowstone

We saw many buffalo in Yellowstone and a large herd of mule deer. My niece counted 66 of the deer!

Trumpeter swans are also in evidence. They number only about 1500 in the entire world. They are the largest waterfowl with a wingspan of approximately nine feet. It is nice to think that this species seems to be thriving in our protected national park system.

To read about the numerous species of birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals that live in these environs, click on the source link below.

Arriving home after a 15 1/2 hour day of driving and sightseeing, we were tired but enriched by our experiences. I hope you enjoyed these pictures and a description of our time spent visiting Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. It is unique, has much in the way of unusual beauty, and is worth a visit!

Sources:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 07, 2021:

Hi Sally,

I am glad that you got a sense of the magnificence of Yellowstone National Park by reading this article and looking at my photos. I hope you do get there to see it in person someday.

Sally on February 07, 2021:

Doubt that I will ever get to Yellowstone Park. Thanks for this wonderful representation of its magnificence.

Robert Sacchi on February 21, 2018:

Those are great photos.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 21, 2018:

Hi Robert,

Yellowstone has a beauty all its own. So happy to know that you enjoyed my photos and the videos.

Robert Sacchi on February 20, 2018:

Great pictures and videos. The article gives a wonderful tour of this great natural wonder. Thank you for sharing your visit on this Hub.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 26, 2015:

Hi Di Robinson,

You write beautifully, but thanks for the compliment. I will eventually put many of my travel hubs on my own website which is in the development stage. Hope you do get to travel to Yellowstone someday and even get to spend more time there. We spent most of our time in the Grand Tetons to the south of Yellowstone. Another wonderful national park filled with such beauty!

Di Robinson from Sydney, Australia on April 25, 2015:

After your lovely comment on my hub, I've been exploring your hub pages, Peggy. All beautifully written with lots of photos and videos, I can learn from your example. I've always wanted to visit Yellowstone National Park and this page has given me more impetus to go. Fantastic page.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 22, 2013:

Hi Rose,

So glad that you enjoyed this hub. Thanks for your comment and vote.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 22, 2013:

Hi Rebecca,

It does almost look like another planet especially portions of it. So glad that you enjoyed reading this and looking at the photos.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 18, 2013:

Hi Au fait,

Too bad you did not have the time to stop and see parts of Yellowstone. Maybe someday! Thanks for the shares.

rose-the planner from Toronto, Ontario-Canada on August 18, 2013:

WOW! This is an extremely insightful and interesting travel article on Yellowstone National Park. The images and videos are spectacular! This is definitely HOTD material! Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on August 18, 2013:

What an amazing trip that must have been! I enjoyed your photos to Yellow Stone and area. It looks almost like another planet from here. Thanks for sharing this!

C E Clark from North Texas on August 18, 2013:

Had no idea Yellowstone National Park was so huge! I never got to visit there. It was on my list during that time I did so much traveling around the country, and drove through Wyoming several times, but never got to this park. :(

Great photos and videos and packed with tons of useful and interesting information as always! Voted up, BAUI, gave you 5 more stars, pinned to my 'Travel' board, and will share with my followers!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 22, 2012:

Hi sofs,

So nice to hear that you enjoyed these photos of Yellowstone and hearing about it. Hope that your dream of visiting this national park come true someday. Thanks for your comment and votes.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 22, 2012:

Hi Mary,

Yes, Yellowstone National Park is huge! One could literally spend weeks to months there if one were to hike and explore more of the areas with over 2 million acres. The 2 long and full days we spent there were just seeing some of the highlights. It is certainly well worth visiting...as are all of our national parks. Thanks for your comment, votes and share.

Sophie on July 22, 2012:

Peggy, these pictures are awesome. I wish I could see the Yellowstone Park someday... Thanks for sharing and making armchair travel possible.. Pushing all the buttons here.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 22, 2012:

Oh, Peggy, I felt like I was right there with you, looking at the beautiful Yellowstone National Park. The videos you chose were wonderful. Your photos are great, too. I never realized the park encompassed so many miles.

Yellowstone is on my "bucket list". I will read your other Hub on Yellowstone. It truly is a magnificent place in the U.S.

I voted this everything except funny. I will certainly share with others.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 07, 2011:

Hi Alicia,

Yellowstone National Park is an amazing place. Be sure and check out my other Yellowstone hub regarding the colors made by bacteria and algae to see more. Talk about colors!!! When you go, be sure and have lots of batteries or battery chargers for your camera. Am certain that you will want to be taking your own photos of this amazing place. Thanks for your comment.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 06, 2011:

There are many places in the world that I would love to visit, but I know that I will probably never be able to. However, I might make it to Yellowstone National Park - it's high on my list! Thank you for the information and the very interesting photos, Peggy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 06, 2011:

Hello Blond Logic,

There assuredly is much to do and see in the USA and many people could live here all of their lives and never see it all. That being said, there is much to also see in the rest of the world. Thanks for leaving a comment on my Yellowstone National Park hub. As to Yosemite, I saw that a number of years ago with a German girlfriend of mine and wrote about our adventures of seeing that and 9 other national parks plus some state parks along the way. It was a fabulous vacation trip!

Did you write about your Yosemite trip?

Mary Wickison from Brazil on December 06, 2011:

I have never been to Yellowstone but would love to some day. For many years I lived in the UK and now I am in Brazil and many people ask me why more Americans don't have passports. I think you have answered it here. There is such an array of stunning things to see and do, why go abroad.

I love to see multiple generations enjoying the same thing. I took my kids and my mother to Yosemite and everyone loved it. They are memories I will always treasure.

I love the photos you posted. Not just all scenery shots but also family ones. I really enjoyed reading it.

Thank you

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 16, 2011:

Hello nybride710,

Hope that you enjoy exploring Yellowstone National Park as much as we did. We only had two days and spent most of the rest of our vacation time in the Tetons that year (which I would also heartily recommend). Obviously one could spend much more time in Yellowstone and see even more. Enjoy your upcoming vacation!

Lisa Kroulik from North Dakota on March 16, 2011:

Wonderful article and photos! We are planning a family trip in August with our two girls, 14 and 11. Just starting to research and it looks like this has everything I will need.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 09, 2010:

Greetings Allic57,

So very happy to know that you liked these pictures taken in Yellowstone National Park. Thanks for the comment.

Allic57 on September 09, 2010:

Uhh BEAUTIFUL HUB!!!!!!!! I love it amazing photos

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 22, 2009:

Hi loveroflife,

I agree with you that Yellowstone National Park is a national treasure. It is large and has so many distinct areas of beauty and interesting features that one could spend a long time exploring it. Thanks for reading and commenting.

loveroflife on July 22, 2009:

Yellowstone is truly a national treasure. You have captured it very well.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 06, 2009:

Thanks Dottie,

I'm glad that it brought back good memories for you. It is doing the same for me as I write these travel hubs.

Dottie1 from MA, USA on February 06, 2009:

Thank you so much for this trip through Yellowstone, a trip back in time for me! I was just 16. I do remember much through the telling of your story but learned so much more including the Lower Falls which I don't recall at all. But who could forget the paint pots and all the beautiful colors and now you just reminded me of the stink too, LOL. Yellowstone certainly is a spectacular show and so is your hub. Thumbs way up to you Peggy for sharing with me these wonderful memories. :)

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