Where do you even start? Well… we started in Mississippi at the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library back in May, where we found out that he made this the first National Park in the country, back in 1872. What a brilliant idea! This place is magnificent. Jerry had been here as a kid, but Kristi never had. We drove over 200 miles in 2 days inside this massive park trying to take it all in. The park has 4 types of geothermal features – hot springs, mud pots, geysers, and fumeroles, and of all these there are 10,000! Though geysers are exciting, Kristi’s favorite was gorgeous blue hot spring pools. Oh my, they are fantastic. They all had names, but we’re just going to name some of our favs.
Our first view of steam! Wow it was coming up everywhere and all around from different features.
This is steaming water from the Excelsior Geyser, it no longer erupts because of damage from a major eruption, it now gushes continually into the Firehole River.
The pool around Excelsior Geyser – that steam was so warm and lovely!
The Grand Prismatic Spring from ground level. Kristi’s fav spring and also the feature picture on this post. It’s 160 ft deep and 160 ºF.
The orange edge color on Grand Prismatic and other springs comes from bacteria that thrive in hot conditions and make bacterial mats.
We used apps and other posted info to try to experience as many geyser eruptions as possible. It takes patience. Notice the plus/minus times on each estimate.
Castle Geyser. We did not see it erupt, we only saw steam.
Grotto Geyser. We didn’t see this one erupt.
The Morning Glory Pool. Gorgeous!!! 2nd favorite. It is 23 feet deep and 157 ºF.
We tried to catch Grand Geyser erupting, but this is the closest we got. It acted like it was building up to something and then went quiet for 20 more minutes. That cycle repeated a few times until we moved on.
We were far off on a trail the first time we experienced Old Faithful.
Old Faithful attracts quite a crowd every few hours.
Old Faithful erupts to a height of 106 to 185 ft every 60-90 minutes for about 1-5 minutes.
These are paint pots, which are colorful mud pots. They are actively bubbling mud. This area overlooks Yellowstone Lake which is a gorgeous blue.
Fishing Cone used to be a geyser and is now a hot spring. It had been previously called ”hook n cook” because fishermen could catch a fish in the cold lake and immediately drop it in the spring to cook it without even taking it off the hook first.
Black Pool overlooking Yellowstone Lake.
This beautiful blue pool is called ”Black Pool” but in 1991 it heated up enough to kill off some bacteria and turn from black to blue, but the name has remained.
Near the Yellowstone Lake area.
Dragon’s Mouth Spring was one of the most dramatic areas. It gurgles and spews and bubbles like a monster. The smell of sulfure was overwhelming. (Insert scratch and sniff sticker here.)
Black Dragon’s Caldron
First of all, we bought and brought bear spray because we were warned. We had no idea you could rent it! Kristi saw only one black bear crossing the road while we were driving.
We saw tons of bison, literally 1 bison could be a ton!
The only info we can find is that these are Yellowstone Purple Wildflowers.
Beryl Spring. 3rd favorite. This pool looked just like someone’s backyard pool on the side of the road and was so inviting with beautiful water and lovely edges and a waterfall of steaming water draining to a nearby river. You can see this bubbling in the montage video below and hear how loud the steam is.
Beryl Spring is a superheated pool and boils up to a height of 4 feet! It’s one of the hottest springs in Yellowstone and averages 196 ºF. That is crazy, y’all!
As if we hadn’t already seen enough, this place apparently had a grand canyon and massive waterfalls to boot!
We were able to view the waterfalls from many different angles and overlooks. This is from the brim of the Upper Falls. This is looking up at the river as it approaches the falls.
From here, we were close enough to hear and feel the massive power of the water flowing over the falls.
The Upper Falls from an overlook, farther back.
The brim of the lower falls. We didn’t get quite as close to this one because you had to walk down the mountainside to get right next to it.
This is a very recognizable and greatly used view of Lower Falls. You might recognize it from art or literature about Yellowstone.
So, the name Yellowstone apparently comes from folks calling it ”Yellow Rock” back in the day. And it stuck and was translated to stone at some point. My question, upon seeing the area where they believe the name came from, why not “Pink Rock” or ”Pinkstone” because that is some gorgeous pink stone, in my opinion.
We had seen two or three bison together until this point. Whenever you see a traffic jam in Yellowstone, it’s a pretty good bet that people are stopping to see wildlife. Here, everyone was pulled over to see a whole herd of bison.
Grand Prismatic Spring from above. Oh my goodness this is gorgeous. It’s the largest hot spring in the United States.
More cute chipmunks. Definitely the most seen animal by us in Utah, Montana, and Wyoming. They really really want food from people and are not afraid of us. But NO FEEDING the wildlife.
This’ll make you stay on the boardwalks.
The bottoms of the trees in many areas are burned by the thermal features. It looks so cool.
Fountain Paint Pots are mud pots named for the reds, yellows, and browns of the bubbling mud in this area.
Fountain Geyser which erupts every 4-16 hours at 75 feet. It is 182 ºF.
Montage of features at Yellowstone.
Isa Lake on our way out of Yellowstone to the south. Kristi loves lily pads. This lake on the Continental Divide does something extraordinary, not only does it empty into two oceans, but it does so backwards. The east drainage flows into the pacific, while the west drainage makes the long trek to the Gulf of Mexico.
We’ve never seen flowers quite like these yellow pond lilies.
We stayed at Lake Henry State Park in Idaho, just a short drive from the Yellowstone west entrance. The lake was gorgeous but freezing!
A very peaceful and beautiful park. One of our favorites of our journey.
Just a few healthy warnings! We never saw leeches or bears or bears with leeches on them! Not once.