Sitting on top of a volcanic hot spot, Yellowstone National Park has so much to offer. Gushing geysers, steaming hot springs, pristine lakes, bison roaming in their natural habitat - it's a must-see.MoreLess
This is the largest hot spring in Yellowstone and third largest in the world. The neon colors seem to be unnatural as if someone poured in buckets of vivid paint in concentric circles. The colors are indeed natural caused by different types of heat-loving bacteria. The center which is a clear, aquamarine blue is about 189 degrees Fahrenheit, too hot for most organisms to inhabit. As the water bubbles out from the center the water cools, forming rings that each have a different temperature.
Even though Artist Point is not the inspiration behind Thomas Moran's iconic paintings, it will leave you awestruck nonetheless. Waterfalls crashing down into a craggy canyon partially covered with evergreen trees is only one of the magnificent views to be had at Yellowstone Park.
You could go to the Smithsonian to view the famous Moran painting of "The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone," or you could avoid distasteful politics and traffic, and go straight to the source in Wyoming. Shades of amber flank a narrow, slate-grey fall of water. You can view this glorious panorama from an opposite vantage point.
One of the most famous geysers in the nation, Old Faithful got its name because of its predictability. Perhaps this is the reason why this geothermal eruption is so famous - people know they'll get a show as long as they wait about an hour to an hour and a half. Old Faithful's steamy eruptions, which reach a height of about 106 to 185 feet, last from 2 to 5 minutes. When it was first discovered in 1870, it was used as a laundromat.
Yellowstone's Mammoth Hot Springs are dubbed an "inside-out cave," with its golden travertine terraces. There are hotels and eateries built around the springs, which make a fantastic viewpoint to take photos from. While you aren't able to soak in the Mammoth Hot Springs, as the natural terraces are quite fragile, you can swim a couple miles north in the Boiling River.
If you were thinking that the neon green, yellow, and orange rings of color are quite unnatural for a Yellowstone Park site, you would be correct. In the 1940s, the Morning Glory Pool was an arresting shade of aquamarine. Unfortunately, those creatures called humans threw trash into this tiny pool, clogging vents that heated it - making it a simply a stagnant, brightly colored puddle.
In Upper Geyser Basin a giant crater-like formation looks like a natural oversized punch bowl. The raised rim is not a crater though, it is a sinter formation made by the mineral deposits left form the water that boils up. The trail begins 1/10 a mile south of Grotto Geyser. As with any protected area, stay on the boardwalks or trails for your own protection and to preserve the area for other visitors.
The backdrop of the Yellowstone Lake makes this geyser a particularly unique anomaly. To get there find the trailhead on the west side of Yellowstone Lake near the Grant Village Visitor Center. The trail loop is about two-thirds of a mile and is pretty easy to walk. It is also wheelchair friendly. You might also spot some elk and bison. As always, stay far away from the bison for safety.
Meet grizzly bears and wolves close-up and in safety. The Center rescues and rehabilitates these magnificent creatures. Some bears were orphaned or labeled as nuisances by encroaching humans. The wolves were born at the Center and thus cannot be released outside its safe confines. The park is open 365 days a year and every day is a chance to see a grizzly - the Center's bears don't hibernate!
Even though this cannon of shooting water is quite majestic, it doesn't really resemble a castle now. When it was first discovered, its rims resembled castle battlements, and thus was given the moniker "Castle Geyser." Mineral deposits and errosive water eruptions have changed the shape over time. In any case, it is a must-see stop at the world-famous Yellowstone National Park.
Every bit as mythical and mystical as the name suggests, Dragons Mouth Spring comes out of a deep cave to produce hot steam and a boiling mud pool. Akin to the fiery breath of the magical winged creature, it's easy to imagine that a dragon lives within the depths of the cave. With sulfuric gases belched from deep within the Earth the smell is about as great as you'd imagine a dragon's breath to be too.
This 132-foot plunge of cascading water is named Tower Fall because of the column-like rock formations that surround the top. A day hike to the falls is possible, if you're willing to spend a couple of hours and expend some energy.
This basin is one of the most remarkable - it is home to Steamboat Geyser which shoots 328 feet into the air. There are plenty of other land and water formations here such as giant craters. One such crater was formed as recently as 1989 when an explosive hydrothermal event shot out rocks, boulders, and plenty of boiling water.
One of the most unusual geysers in Yellowstone (and that's saying something!) is marked by large, irregularly formed white rocks pockmarked with holes. It also erupts quite irregularly - sometimes staying quiet for 8 to 10 hours. The longer the eruption, the longer the interval. Some eruptions have lasted for 1 to 8 hours, although one was recorded to last for a little over a day!