What can I say besides Magnificent!! It was a beautiful 90 minute drive in to the park entrance, surrounded by mountains and traveling through a lush plain alongside the Yellowstone river. We got on the road about 7:15 amidst chilling and breezy skies.
The town of Gardiner is at the North entrance, really cute little town with lots of shops. Entering the park, you immediately begin a steep ascent up until reaching Mammoth Springs.
Yellowstone is a driving adventure (and for those younger and healthier, can be an impressive Hiking adventure). All through the park are pull-offs and also many side roads leading to larger parking areas and scenic vistas. The scenery is so varied, mountains, plains, wooded, open fields, volcanic rock, steep cliffs, rivers and rapids.
Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872 primarily to protect geothermal areas that contain about half the world’s active geysers. At that time, the natural state of the park was largely taken for granted. As development throughout the West increased, the park’s 2.2 million acres of habitat became an important sanctuary for the largest concentration of wildlife in the lower 48 states and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
The abundance and distribution of these animal species depend on their interactions with each other and on the quality of their habitat, which in turn is the result of thousands of years of volcanic activity, forest fires, changes in climate, and more recent natural and human influences. Most of the park is above 7,500 feet (2,286 m) in elevation and underlain by volcanic bedrock. The terrain is covered with snow for much of the year and supports forests dominated by lodgepole pine and interspersed with alpine meadows. Sagebrush steppe and grasslands on the park’s lower-elevation northern range provide essential winter forage for elk, bison, and bighorn sheep.
We were able to see lots of Bison (including Owning the road!), a fox, several Ellk and a Bobcat.
One of the most famous landmarks is Old Faithful, the well known Geyser. There are many others throughout the park and some areas are covered with them. Throughout the park you will find geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, and mudpots.
We made it o see Old Faithful but just missed the eruption by minutes. It was 2 hours before the next projected event so we took a couple “quiet” pictures and moved on.
What else can I say, we only had one day, you could spend several here. If you ever have a chance to visit Yellowstone, Take It!