North East Entrance, Yellowstone National Park, Montana, USA.
Yellowstone National Park is no secret by any stretch of the imagination. Yellowstone is one of America's most popular tourist destinations, and with good reason; there few places in the country where you can rub shoulders with grizzlies, smack racks with moose, track prey with bald eagles, and badger the badgers. But people rarely consider the way they get in and out of the park, and this is one road less traveled you shouldn't miss. The north east entrance out of Yellowstone through Montana takes you up and over some of the most dramatic scenery in the country. My camera loved it, my car hated it, and I felt lucky that I was able to experience a bit of the park relatively few people every experience. Our crew had spent our last night in the park in Mammoth, a destination often eschewed for the much more popular Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons. Consider rolling north the next time you hit the West - you won't be disappointed.
By Flash Parker, AFAR Ambassador
Solo Bison in Hayden Valley
The Hayden Valley, where this picture was taken, is known for some of the best wildlife viewing in Yellowstone National Park. Thousands of bison, elk, grizzly bears, and coyote call the valley home and can be seen on the stretches of open land, the rolling hills and valley floor - as well as in a "buffalo jam" as they block traffic on park roads.
By Michela Baxter, AFAR Local Expert
Winter at Yellowstone
Yellowstone's crowds disappear in the winter, and the park takes on a whole new vibe when it's covered in snow. SeeYellowstone (seeyellowstone.com) offers all-day snowmobile and snowcat tours. My friends and I signed up for one and spotted these bison stopping for a drink in the chilly river. We also came across moose, bald eagles, a coyote, elk, and some grizzly tracks.
By Jen Murphy, AFAR Contributor
Yellowstone in Winter
We spent 3 nights/4 days camping and snowshoe hiking with Yellowstone Expeditions. We stayed in heated tents and were fed and guided on snowshoe hikes each day. In the afternoons we did wildlife viewing in the Hayden Valley. The wildlife was great. It was also really fun to have that whole section of the park to ourselves once all the snowmobilers went home for the night. Great experience, one I would do again.
By Janet Arnold
Winter in Yellowstone
"Wonderland" truly lives up to it's name in the wintertime. The snow and frigid temperatures in Yellowstone in February make for some spectacular views. Steam rises from all the thermal features, and wildlife are easily spotted against the white background.
By Lucia Soltis
Yellowstone in winter
March 6th, 2008 I've seen Yellowstone a couple of times in the summer, but I much prefer winter. The Park limits the number of snowmobiles, and all entrants must be par of a guided tour. So you spend the whole time feeling like you are the only ones in the whole place! They also work on the timing so that you get to pull right up with no lines and no waiting to see Old Faithful geyser. In fact, all of the hot springs features take on a special eeriness with the winter backdrop.
By AFAR Traveler
A Frozen Cathedral
“A great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hand of man,” is how Teddy Roosevelt described Yellowstone National Park, the country’s—and the world’s—first national park. The grandeur of Yellowstone is perhaps most impressive when the park is covered in a layer of snow and the number of human visitors drops, allowing for a more intimate experience of this natural wonder. While there is an average of 759,000 visitors in July, only 29,000 visit the park in a typical January. Another plus of visiting in winter is how much easier it becomes to spot bison, foxes, and elk in the white winter landscape. While one road is open year-round, from Gardiner to Cooke City, consider renting some snowshoes or Nordic skis, and exploring the snowy trails in their hushed silence. Another option is to go on a snow coach tour. Imagine a warm van with oversized windows on skis—this allows for a relaxing visit into Yellowstone; don’t forget to bring your camera for wildlife sightings.
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Moon Over Yellowstone
Yellowstone is the world’s first National Park. It is one of the planet’s most unique collections of geography, geothermal activity, and wildlife. North American animals such as bison, grizzly bears, and wolves live here among other large species just as they did when the first European explorers arrived to document this wonderfully beautiful place. Thousands of geysers surround the lodges, mountains, rivers, and canyons that make Yellowstone one of the most spectacular places in America to experience the natural world. There are several selections for lodging, such as the Historic Lake Lodge opened in 1890. There are cabins to rent, tenting spots and more.
The Road to Yellowstone
Hills to deep red plateaus. Rich farmland sprinkled with cattle. Back to flat covered in scrub brush. Road signs warn of open range and I’m in the middle of a great western movie. I realize the iconic symbol is the cowboy riding the bucking horse, but I was not expecting this. We drove from the south eastern tip all the way to the north western tip of Wyoming not to miss Grand Teton and Yellowstone. The scenery is like nothing we have seen to this point. Geysers blowing streams of water setting off steam that floods the road and smells like eggs. Yellowstone is a land built from thermal activity and the evidence is everywhere. Pools of deep blue bubbling water surrounded by rings of gold, deep green and bronze. From the geysers we stroll through the grand canyon of Yellowstone with waterfalls crashing over 134 feet down sending mist in the air and water rushing down the river. There are still signs of the forest fire of 88 that swept through leaving branchless trees that poke out like sticks between the lodge pole pine trees that cover most of the mountain surface. Huge prairie fields take up the spaces in between and we scan the land for movement. The sun begins to set and we are on a winding road which traces Yellowstone River. Cars stopped ahead and I see two elk posing for a picture. They are laying on a patch of grass in the river and perched up to show their young rack. Yes, Yellowstone you are amazing.
Yellowstone for a Long Weekend
There are many natural features to stop and enjoy in Yellowstone from the waterfalls to geothermic pools. It is possible to do it in a weekend if you are with the right person and visiting in the right season. Make sure to utilize the campgrounds within the park for easy access and smaller travel times than staying outside the park. For a more detailed account of wildlife and attractions, please visit the link below.
Having been raised on National Geographic magazines, I have always been fascinated by the western landscape of America. Last labor day weekend, my husband and I could finally make a trip to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming. We started our trip by flying into Salt Lake City, Utah and then drove about 5 hours north to Jackson Hole in Wyoming. This was taken just outside of the southern entrance to Yellowstone.
By swati verma
Wherever I May Roam
Something about a solo road trip to meet others elsewhere inspires the soul. Despite a long drive home to Denver, Colorado, I stopped the car to take a moment to appreciate all that is fair, just and right in the United States of America. The image here reminds me of our truest heritage, the American West. The horses wandered around a bit until I was able to capture this immense feeling of freedom in the Rocky Mountain frontier.
Watch out for the Bison. They look like peaceful giant beasts but they will and do charge. During my stay, I saw 2 episodes of where people stop their cars, get out and try to get close for photos. DON'T DO IT, they charge. I took this shot from the road at a safe distance. The park is full of elk, deer, bison, bear and many other critters.
Watch Moose Wander the Rivers Near Yellowstone National Park
During a few memorable days in Yellowstone National Park, I was lucky to stumble upon a family of moose - along, of course, with about twenty-five other photographers (it is, after all, the photographer's playground). Here I sat atop a hill, almost right between the male and the female with calf. As the male wandered grunting along the river, the female and calf stood on the hill grazing through the endless sage bushes. The stroll apart was short-lived as all of us watched the small family reunite atop the hill.
Bison, elk, and other wildlife at Yellowstone
We hiked all over the park over two days and saw hundreds of bison, five bears, a few elk, one moose, and various kinds of birds. If you go, make sure to pack bear spray and keep your distance from all the animals. They are wild and will attack if they feel threatened. Every year, rangers have to respond to several emergency situations involving animals and people who got too close for comfort. Follow our link for some extra safety tips.
Artist Paint Pots
The Artist Paint Pots area of Yellowstone National Park holds steaming pools, mud pots (roiling mud mixed with sulfuric acid and steam) and paint pots (mud pots colored with dissolved minerals). The trails take you around the area, keeping you above the ground so you get the best views. Plus you stay safe from the boiling waters.
Grand Prismatic Pool
A short drive from Old Faithful, in Yellowstone National Park, one can find the parking lot for the Grand Prismatic Pool. This geothermal feature is a giant cauldron of hot waters, minerals, and rare microscopic organisms which create these amazing colors. It's definitely worth stopping and taking the short boardwalk to see the pool up close, but another great option is to take the Fairy Falls hiking trail which passes along the South end of the Pool. A half hour hike down the trail puts you just south of the pool. Here you’ll see a side trail heading up the hill to your left. A scramble up this short, but steep, side trail leads to this amazing view of the Grand Prismatic from above. It's a bit of a climb, but this rewarding view is definitely worth it. Once back on the trail continue on to Fairy Falls which is a great place to stop for lunch before turning around.
By Rodney Buck
Hot Springs Time
Just as Yellowstone’s Old Faithful erupts consistently regardless of the season, the water is always warm at Montana’s hot springs. In the winter, after a day of exploring—whether hiking, snowshoeing, or skiing—head to one of the many natural hot springs, perhaps with a bottle from one of Montana’s craft breweries. You can then wait for the stars to emerge in the state’s famous “Big Sky,” for a happy hour you’ll never forget. The options range from hot springs resorts with your room just steps from the waters, to spots only locals know (though you’ll find most are willing to share their secrets with visitors). Seen here is the Boiling River, in Yellowstone National Park.
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