Located in northwestern Wyoming, Yellowstone is the grand-daddy of National Parks. It sits atop a 45-mile wide “caldera”, a cauldron-like volcanic feature formed by the collapse of land following a volcanic eruption. As a result, the park is full of volcanic activity like: steam vents, bubbling springs and mud pools, and spectacular geysers.
Our first day in the park, we had great luck in both the animal and geyser departments. We spotted a mountain goat and her baby, many bison (including several who blocked traffic while walking on the street), and a coyote. No bears, but given Yellowstone’s reputation for bear sightings, we knew it would just be a matter of time before we saw one.
As for the geysers, most people are familiar with Old Faithful which goes off every ~90 minutes. We watched it shoot boiling water into the air on three different occasions. It was impressive! When exploring the broader Upper Geyser Basin, we were treated to 3 other less-frequent eruptions. The first, Grand Geyser, goes off only every 12 hours. It is the tallest predictable geyser, reaching heights of 200 feet. After waiting 45 minutes, this geyser gave us a show we will never forget! While we were waiting, Daisy Geyser went off in the distance. Later, as we were walking back, people were gathering around the Riverside Geyser, we joined them in waiting for this geyser which erupts every 7 hours. This geyser shoots out across the river and powerfully erupts for 30+ minutes!
We spent our second day driving the eastern portion of the park, which features rivers, waterfalls, Yellowstone Lake (the largest in North America above 7,000 feet), and a colorful canyon that they like to call mini-Grand Canyon.
Our third day was filled with colorful pools, bubbling mud (which made wonderfully entertaining “blooping” sounds), and sulfur-smelling steam-vents. This park is simply other-worldly! It is difficult to comprehend the forces at work underground to cause these unique and fascinating features.
Yellowstone did not disappoint! Well, we never did encounter a bear, but aside from that, this park is the most popular National Park for many good reasons. We highly recommend you visit it one day!