If there is one thing that Yellowstone is known for, its geysers. There is more geothermal activity in Yellowstone than anywhere else on the planet. Just gazing out across Lake Yellowstone, it isn’t hard to find steam rising from hotspots along the shore.
Any first visit to Yellowstone must include a trip to see Old Faithful. Not because it is the biggest or most amazing geothermal spectacle in Yellowstone, but because it an American right of passage. Yes, its crowded and a bit of a let down in all honesty, but I still think it is an important part of the Yellowstone experience. Personally, I enjoyed watching the geyser while gazing out of one of the giant windows of the Yellowstone Snow Lodge from the comfort of a cushioned chair. This experience is elevated even further with a chocolate ice cream cone from the cafeteria in hand.
There is so much more to Geyser Basin than Old Faithful. The region is filled with bubbling pools and exploding geysers. There is a fantastic loop trail that will take you from Old Faithful to Morning Glory Pool and back around through many more geysers, springs, and pools. It is only a mile from Old Faithful to Morning Glory and there are plenty of great things to see along the way. The route to Morning Glory is paved and the route back is boardwalk so if you have little ones who aren’t up for the walk, you can bring your strollers.
We were lucky enough to stumble upon the eruption of Riverside Geyser, which occurs every 5-6 hours. It was really cool to watch the geyser explode directly into the Firehole River. Of course there was one member of our family who was much more interested in the gravel than the geyser….
Another great geothermal experience is the bubbling mud pots. There is something about the gurgling and spurting of hot mud that entrances me. It even managed to hold the attention of two rambunctious two year olds for a few minutes.
We couldn’t end our day without another visit to the Hayden Valley. It is truly a magical place filled with amazing beauty and spectacular wildlife. I highly encourage you to plan your visits to this special place to coincide with either sunrise or sunset when the animals are most active. You'll have the perfect lighting to get those shots for your next Christmas card or to put on photo mugs as a keepsake.
On our trip back to the Lake Yellowstone Hotel, where we were staying, we saw a bunch of cars pulled over to the side of the road. Bear! People were creeping through the woods, cameras in tow, trying to get a closer look. I used my camera’s zoom to get a better view and was surprised by what I saw. The bear had looked small and thus appeared to be a black bear but on closer inspection, it was a juvenile grizzly! This was my cue to get back in the car. Wherever a little grizzly is, a mamma is sure to be close by. Grizzly bears are much more aggressive than black bears and I was not about to be in the middle of a mother grizzly and her little one. I hope nobody else was either…
If you would like to see more great travel photos, check out Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday here.