The Ultimate Scenic Drive ~ Yellowstone National Park (part 4), USA
Yellowstone’s North Entrance, backlit by morning sun.
“You will need a bare minimum of three days to see the sights along the Yellowstone road system,” says the Yellowstone Visitors Guide.
They are not exaggerating!
The Guide goes on to say: “Only 3% of Yellowstone’s visitors ever venture more than 100 yards from the road! Getting out of your car and taking even a short walk will show you what Yellowstone is all about – explore a thermal area, take photographs of the breath-taking scenery, and/or a new wildflower. Everyone should visit Old Faithful, but after watching the geyser, head out to one of the lesser known boardwalks to wait for your favorite geyser to explode.”
Although we had only a short visit, we did, of course, visit Old Faithful, taking the time to walk to the overlook, and to visit other geysers in the area. We also walked around the Artists Paint Pots and Mammoth Hot Springs – and we marvelled at them all. But what amazed me even more, was how varied and beautiful the landscape was, just from the roadways. Even from the comfort of your car, there is so much scenery and wildlife to be seen.
Each day, we entered the park from the north, coming through the Roosevelt Arch before winding our way slowly to the day’s destination – taking in the sights along the way.
The first road was built through the Golden Gate (so called because of the yellow hue of the rocks in the area) in 1884-85. The current road is still windy, but much safer.
The colours are subtle on the Central Plateau, as a fly fisherman waits for a bite.
Our First Bison
He’s rather scruffy looking, but he was our first bison sighting.
A family checks their bison pictures as they walk away from him.
White Waters, Firehole River.
Osprey, Firehole River Road.
Log Jam, Firehole River.
Yellow Wildflowers, Firehole River.
Rushing Water, Firehole River.
American Bison in the Woods
Bison dotted over the grasslands of Hayden Valley.
A Wapiti Buck watches us.
Large Wapiti (Cervus canadensis) grazing in rich grasslands.
Bison on the Move
On the Road ~ Evening Light.
Ancient (45-50 million years old) petrified redwood tree, Lost Lake trailhead.
Canyon Walls and Yellowstone River, Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon.
Walking the Canyon
Osprey in the updrafts of the Grand Canyon.
Rock pinnacles at the top of the waterfall give Tower Falls its name.
Give Way ~ Large Male Crossing!
Delicate creatures: Butterflies, Sulphur Caldron
Mud Pots and Spindly Trees
The area around Sulphur Caldron has very little ground water.
We watched from the safety of the road as a Black Bear sauntered across the grasslands …
… and without pausing to check his reflection, went straight across a small lake.
Too soon we had to leave the park, driving east through the Shoshone National Forest towards Cody.
Yellowstone’s landscape changes with every bend in the road. Of course, it changes with every season, as well. The guidebook is right: three days is barely enough! A friend of mine makes a point of trying to visit the park every year, and I can understand the appeal; as we drove out, we were already plotting a way to come back one day.
Till then ~ Happy Rambling!