"Our Oldest Park is Also Among Our Grandest Jewels" Yellowstone National Park by mrclay2000
Yellowstone National Park Travel Guide: 1,096 reviews and 3,421 photos
For those who have never been to Yellowstone, there is a great deal here that will surprise you. Most who think of Yellowstone conjure images of thermal areas and Old Faithful, of buffalo free to roam the plains, of snow-capped peaks and evergreen forests. All of that awaits you here, but there is as much strangeness in this landscape as there are elements one has come to expect through postcards and guidebooks.
What follows is a small list of what you can expect from the park. Most of Yellowstone is readily accessible from a park road formed in a figure-8. There are four entrances to the park, each of which introduces you to different topographies. The bulk of its visitation gravitates to the center of the park, with great hordes of its traffic splintering off to Old Faithful.
Old Faithful is hardly the only geyser in the park. There are 3,000 here, many bigger and many smaller than the most famous. These towering vents of steam on the western edges often cast the roadway in an impenetrable mist, and rise through the trees as if the forests are again on fire. The devastation of the actual flames of 1988 still lingers throughout the park in the form of countless snags (burned hulks) and fields of ash.
What first timers will likely not expect are endless miles of grassy plain here, where buffalo truly roam as they have roamed for thousands of years. The elk, the coyote, and the antelope are never far away. There is no greater or more diverse collection of wildlife in the lower 48 states. Yellowstone simply has it all, and a lot of it.
Yellowstone divides its space with majestic mountains and endless forests, but also hosts a large number of mighty rivers: the Snake, the Yellowstone, the Madison, the Gibbon, the Firehole are among a few. There are fabulous waterfalls here, many ranging from 100 to 300 feet in height. There are charming creeks by which to stop and rest. The park boasts 1,000 miles of trail -- you'll count yourself fortunate by following only ten.
You cannot do Yellowstone in a day, nor a lifetime. What you can do is leave the car for an hour and venture into its interior, but if neither time nor courage favors you, the park road will conduct you -- nay, tempt you -- through every miraculous mile.
- Pros:Greatest range of wildlife and topography in the lower 48 states
- Cons:Fickle weather, roasting one day, freezing the next
- In a nutshell:Every animal on your checklist but the polar bear and the musk ox
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