Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Socially Distant Summer Getaway: Yellowstone National Park

Continuing our look at outdoor social distancing summer getaways, let’s visit Yellowstone National Park this week. Situated in northwestern Wyoming, part of southern Montana and eastern Idaho, the park was established in 1872 by the United States Congress and its area is larger than that of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. It has the greatest concentration of hydrothermal features in the world, and is home to the most famous geyser in the world, Old Faithful, and the world’s largest geyser, Steamboat. Here's how a geyser works: 

The park began re-opening in May after being closed due to the pandemic. Most services and facilities like restrooms, gas stations, trails, stores, medical clinics and approved tours are now open while campgrounds and visitor centers remain closed, but should open at a later date. 

Park Highlights

Old Faithful - No visit is complete to Yellowstone without experiencing at least one eruption of Old Faithful. 

The geyser erupts more frequently than any other geyser in the park, with the average interval between eruptions about 91 minutes. Located in the Upper Geyser Basin make sure to walk the boardwalks and visit the other geysers in the basin including Castle, Grotto, Riverside and Daisy. 

Grand Prismatic Spring - Located in the Midway Geyer Basin, the colorful Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the United States and the most photographed landmark in Yellowstone. The hot spring gets its multi-color layers from the different species of heat-loving bacteria that lie around it.

Lower Falls and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone - One of the other most photographed features of Yellowstone, the falls are 308 feet high. There are numerous vantage points from both the North and South sides of the canyon. There is also a 3/8 miles hike (one way) to the edge of the Lower Falls

Hayden Valley - If you are looking to see some wildlife while visiting Yellowstone, head to Hayden Valley  As you drive through the valley you are likely to see herds of bison, elk, and the occasional grizzly bear. 

Along the Yellowstone River you will see ducks, Canada geese, and pelicans. Another great area in the park for viewing wildlife is Lamar Valley.

Mammoth Hot Springs - This is the park headquarters and features some of the oldest buildings in the park, including the Visitor’s Center and Wildlife Museum. The main attraction here, of course are the hot springs themselves. As the hot water rises through the limestone, large quantities of rock are dissolved by the hot water, and a white chalky mineral is deposited on the surface. 

Yellowstone Lake - The lake is the largest high-altitude lake in the lower 48 states. On windy days the ocean-like waves break onto the shore. While in the area visitors also enjoy visiting Lake Village, the Lake Yellowstone Hotel and The Lake Lodge

Norris Geyser Basin - One of the most popular Basin’s in the park, it is home to Echinus geyser and Steamboat geyser. 

Steamboat is the world’s tallest geyser. There are also several miles of boardwalks to explore. Elk and Bison can also be spotted in the area. 

Tower Falls - Located behind the Tower Falls General Store, this waterfall is the second most popular fall in the park after Lower Falls. It is 132 feet high, a short walk will take you to an overlook, and there is also a short, but steep hike down to the base of the waterfall. Also nearby is the Roosevelt Lodge and the Petrified Tree.
Lower Geyser Basin - The largest geyser basin the park covering 11 square miles, because of its size the thermal features here tend to be clumped in widely grouped spaces. The most interesting area to explore is Fountain Paint Pot Trail

For a wonderful video tour of the entire park, click here. We hope you enjoyed this week’s virtual trip to Yellowstone National Park!

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