The Ultimate Scenic Drive ~ Yellowstone National Park (part 4), USA

Roosevelt Arch at Yellowstone

Roosevelt Arch
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.

Golden Gate
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.

Fly fisherman in waders on a small lake surrounded by golden grass and backed by a conifer forest and mountains.

The colours are subtle on the Central Plateau, as a fly fisherman waits for a bite.

Scruffy looking bison sits in a salt patch, surrounded by grass.

Our First Bison
He’s rather scruffy looking, but he was our first bison sighting.

A man, a girl and a boy all walk away from a large bison, checking their cameras.

A family checks their bison pictures as they walk away from him.

Landscape View: Firehole River

Firehole River

Scenic view: white waters rushing, Firehole River.

White Waters, Firehole River.

Osprey against a coniferous forest.

Osprey, Firehole River Road.

View: fallen logs in rushing water, Firehole River.

Log Jam, Firehole River.

Yellow daisy-like wildflowers in front of rushing water, Firehole River, Yellowstone.

Yellow Wildflowers, Firehole River.

White water rushing over a boulder: Firehole River.

Rushing Water, Firehole River.

American bison sitting down among Lodgepole Pine, Yellowstone NP.

American Bison in the Woods


Bison dotted over the grasslands of Hayden Valley.

Six-point Elk/Wapiti buck sittin in long grass.

A Wapiti Buck watches us.

Six-point elk grazing, Yellowstone National Park.

Large Wapiti (Cervus canadensis) grazing in rich grasslands.


American Bison Crossing a Roadway. Yellowstone NP.

Bison on the Move

Through a car windscreen: a car on a road in Yellowstone National Park in evening light.

On the Road ~ Evening Light.

Ancient petrified redwood tree behind an iron fence, Lost Lake trailhead, Yellowstone.

Ancient (45-50 million years old) petrified redwood tree, Lost Lake trailhead.

Scenic view: Yellowstone

Canyon Walls and Yellowstone River, Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon.

A group of people walking up on the wall of Yellowstone

Walking the Canyon

Osprey against the walls of Yellowstone

Osprey in the updrafts of the Grand Canyon.

Landscape view: rock pinnacles at the top of the Tower Falls.

Rock pinnacles at the top of the waterfall give Tower Falls its name.

American Bison in the grass; misty hills in the background.

Bison Group

Large bison crossing the road, Yellowstone National Park.

Give Way ~ Large Male Crossing!

Yellow Butterflies in While Daisies

Delicate creatures: Butterflies, Sulphur Caldron

Scenic view: steaming pits of the Sulphur Caldron, Yellowstone National Park.

 Sulphur Caldron 

Landscape: White ground with a steaming mud pot, Sulphur Caldron.

Mud Pots and Spindly Trees
The area around Sulphur Caldron has very little ground water.

Black Bear in yellow marshy grasslands, Yellowstone.

We watched from the safety of the road as a Black Bear sauntered across the grasslands …

Black Bear walking into a lake, Yellowstone National Park.

… and without pausing to check his reflection, went straight across a small lake.

Highway 20 exiting Yellowstone National Park, heading east.

Exiting East
Too soon we had to leave the park, driving east through the Shoshone National Forest towards Cody.

Text: Happy RamblingYellowstone’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!

Pictures: 13-14August2012

  • Signe Westerberg - January 18, 2013 - 1:47 am

    fantastic, started reading this yesterday and had lots of trouble with the links… great read and amazing shots…just lovely tksReplyCancel

    • Ursula - January 18, 2013 - 8:52 pm

      Sorry you had trouble with the links, Signe. I just tested them and they seem ok. Always glad to have you along!ReplyCancel

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