There are three major areas of Yellowstone National Park that are a must see for most travelers. Be sure to set aside enough time to travel each of these areas completely so that you can enjoy Yellowstone National Park to it’s fullest.
My husband and I traveled through Yellowstone National Park in May of this year and weather would only permit us to travel in the Geyser Basin area, however with more time we would have enjoyed the entire park and will now return to complete our tour of Yellowstone National Park at a later time.
The Geyser Basin- We entered the Geyser Basin from the South Entrance to Yellowstone National Park on Hwy 89 (191,287) through Jackson Hole Wyoming. Passing the completely frozen Lewis Lake we had to travel with great care as on these chilly mornings the Bison were crossing the roads at a high rate of speed. A stop at Grant Village and West Thumb to see enjoy the Visitor Center and Information Station/Bookstore. Once outside of West Thumb and Grant Village we followed our map baring west to stop along Craig Pass, all along the way on this route we were able to see various campsites, many of these campsite areas were closed to travelers at the time since winter was running late this year.
A reminder to those going to Yellowstone National Park for camping pleasure then it would behoove you to contact the Park for permits if boating is on the agenda and for reservations to the campsites as they book quickly during the warm months of summer.
Following the highway as it extends along the Geyser Basin travelers can visit Old Faithful, and all the four major Geysers around the visitor center and lodge. If you wish a stay at the Old Faithful Lodge then reservations are best however, during our visit rooms were available at the cost of $149.00 per night.
If the traveler continues on the Geyser Basin highway a stop at Biscuit Basin, Black Sand Basin, Midway Geyser Basin, Grand Prismatic Spring, Fountain Point Geyser, Fountain Point Pot, and the Lower Geyser Basin are on their direct route. Travelers should allow at least 15 minutes to 1 hour at each of the Geyser points and longer with the visitors center areas of Yellowstone National Park to give each person enough time to view, enjoy and learn about the parks and the workings of each stop.
At the junction of Madison travelers can exit Yellowstone National Park through the West Entrance and spend the night at one of West Yellowstone’s hotels. These hotels are clean and you just may enjoy the night with a huge Bison sleeping outside your window. Returning back to Yellowstone National Park and continuing on around the Geyser Basin area visitors can enjoy more Geysers, wildlife, and the mud volcanoes. Norris Junction to Mammoth Hot Springs gives visitors a once in a lifetime visit to the array of thermal features Yellowstone National Park has to offer. Steamboat Geyser is the world’s tallest geyser and erupts at irregular intervals throughout the year. Porcelain Basin is Yellowstone Parks hottest exposed area. Be sure to stop at the Norris Museum to learn how geysers work.
At Norris Junction turn east towards the Canyon area and here you can go north to Tower.
Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon Village – The trip to the Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon Village is East of Mammoth Hot springs and takes you four miles to Undine Falls and another .2 miles and visitors are at Lava Creek. View volcanic pinnacles along the route and be sure to stop along Tower Creek for some great photo opportunities. This is prime Grizzly Bear Country along Antelope Creek so be extremely careful if you leave your vehicle. Stay on this route and cross over Dunraven Pass at 8,859 feet in elevation, if your travelers take you during the spring stop and see the wildflowers in bloom and check out those white-bark pines. Visit Canyon Village and Education Center and learn about Yellowstone’s super volcano, the North Rim Drive and Inspiration Point.
The Lake Area – From the East Entrance visitors can enter Yellowstone National Park through Fishing Bridge Junction. Just 50 miles away from Cody Wyoming the entrance takes you along the 8,530 foot elevated Sylvan Pass keep your eyes open for the Yellow-bellied Marmots. Descend down the west slope of the Absaroka Range enjoying the views of this volcanic mountain range named for the Crow Tribe.
When travelers are near Yellowstone Lake a spur in the road leads them to Lake Butte Overlook for a clear view of the huge lake. Just north of Yellowstone Lake the land surface rises and subsides. What this suggests is that the Yellowstone caldera is not dormant and will likely erupt again sometime in the future. Continuing your drive along the lake edge visitors can see Steamboat Springs, which is a hot spring remnant on a line of faults in the earth. These faults pass through Mary Bay and Indian Pond on the northwest. Mary Bay and Indian Pond both occupy recent hydrothermal explosion craters. New surveys have reveled diatoms and steep-walled depressions that may be hydrothermal explosion craters.
A stop at Fishing Bridge Visitor Center features exhibits of birds and a map of the bottom of the lake. Fishing Bridge spans the Yellowstone River at the lake’s outlet. The bridge is closed to fishing now and offers one of the parks best wild trout spawning shows anywhere in the US.
Remember traveling in Yellowstone National Park can be very dangerous, wildlife throughout the park include Bison, Pronghorn, Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, Wolf, Coyote, Mule Dear, Bighorn Sheep, Elk, Osprey, White Pelican, Lesser Scaup, Green-winged Teal, Trumpeter Swans, Pika, Uinta Round Squirrel and Yellow-bellied Marmot. All of these resident animals are wild and can be dangerous – do not feed the animals, stay at least 300 yards from each of them, and remain in your car if they are on the roadway. Remember the wild animals of Yellowstone National Park have the right of way on the roads and wilderness areas.