Everyone has heard of Yellowstone. It’s iconic, real American, biggest and the best, first National Park in the world, Old Faithful, blah, blah, blah! Well, we’re here to tell you, it’s pretty bloody good! When we travelled in the US last, we visited a number of parks in California, including Yosemite and were really impressed. Over the past 4 weeks we have enjoyed 8 national parks in the Rockies and what strikes us most is how different they are – all magnificent and awe inspiring, but different in what they offer to visitors and what makes them special. Yellowstone continues this trend.
Yellowstone National Park is massive at 2.2 million acres and is also the oldest, established in 1872 and apparently the first in the world. The park has 5 entrances, 12 General Stores, 10 Visitor Information Centers, 7 full service petrol stations and more accommodation options than most small countries! It is also unique geologically as the quote below from a Park brochure explains:
‘At the heart of Yellowstone’s past, present and future lies a supervolcano. Huge volcanic eruptions occurred here, the last about 631,000 years ago. The centre of what is now the park, collapsed, forming a 30 x 45 mile caldera, or basin. The heat powering those eruptions still fuels the park’s geysers, hot springs, fumerols and mudpots.’
We spent 3 days in Yellowstone and surrounds but this really was only a tasting of this enormous national park and all its highlights. Long distances driving on winding roads, ‘bison jams’ and ‘bear jams’, along with massive crowds makes reaching the features and parking when you get there tricky at some of the more popular sites.
We really didn’t know what to expect and were in awe of the parts we did see. The waterfalls, gorges, hot springs, boiling mud pools, geysers, valleys with herds of Bison and antelope, rivers, mountain vistas, lakes and oh the colours. Yellowstone National Park really is amazing and we can see why people return year after year.