Yellowstone National Park is a place of extremes.
Yellowstone a Sacred Wilderness
Five star hotels in the middle of rugged wilderness. Beautiful blue inviting pools that are so hot it will kill you if you chance a swim in one. Hot summers with raging forest fires. Sub zero winters of arctic proportions. Herds of bison causing miles long traffic jams. Bears and wolf roaming freely. Mountain peaks that take days to hike into. Seemingly endless miles of forests, rivers and open range country. Beautiful star filled skies that stretch from horizon to horizon. Thousands of tourists trampling over the developed areas. Yellowstone is an amazing playground for those wanting to get away from civilization or those wanting to just view the rugged wilderness from the comfort of boardwalks and the padded seats of their vehicle.
Yellowstone National Park is a gem of the United States and a delicate gem at that. Most of the park sits in the caldera of a volcano which fuels the hot springs and geysers. As the earth's plates shift the vent that creates this area of geothermal energy moves. Eventually Yellowstone could cool off and the geothermal energy move causing the extinction of this volcanic area, or the whole thing could build up in pressure and blow causing a global catastrophe. But despite all this most of the urgent need for the park is the hordes of people visiting to respect the wilderness, pools, hot springs, trails and wildlife by understanding this park is not a petting zoo or farm but a delicate ecosystem of nature that needs to be understood and respected.
Spending time in Yellowstone National Park is one of the most amazing experiences anyone could have. Wandering areas such as the Fountain Paint Pot trail and discovering beautiful scenes like the Silex Pool, pictured above, can be an enjoyable experience of color, desolate unearthly scenes and spectacular light play.
Biscuit Basin is another area of wonder and inspiring beauty. The photograph above was taken at the Sapphire Pool and was a magical site to see. If you want to capture such amazing images make sure to be on site at sunrise or sunset. You will find the crowds almost nonexistent at these times of day and you can soak in the solitude of these amazing landscapes without the noise of others.
Yellowstone has amazing rivers and waterfalls to visit and photograph. The Firehole river is one of the favorites for viewing amazing scenes and capturing beautiful photographs. One of my favorite places to relax in the heat of the day is the Firehole Canyon road which is a one way road you enter not far from the Madison campground. This little drive gives wonderful views of the river, canyon walls, and is shady and quiet away from the traffic of the Grand Loop road.
Mammoth Hot Springs is another amazing place to visit. I like visiting Mammoth in the early morning or late evening when there are no crowds and the light is best. If the temperature is cold enough Mammoth is the perfect place to capture ghostly images of trees in the steam rising off the springs. In the above photograph I waited in the dark until the moon came up to cast its glow on the Canary Spring with its colors of yellow and white.
Yellowstone has some spectacular opportunities to view the night sky and glimpse the Milky Way Galaxy as it arches overhead. If you time it right when there is no moon you can easily see and photograph the expanse of the universe over steaming pools and forested mountain sides.
The wildlife in Yellowstone can be abundant if you keep your eyes peeled for movement. Many times, others will see an animal and stop to view it. Make sure to pull off the road when you decide to stop to see an animal so you do not cause a traffic jam, but enjoy seeing the many animals large and small that can be found in this natural wonder. Deer, elk and moose have become harder to find in the park but bison are abundant and if you are lucky you may see a bear.
Whether you spend your time in Yellowstone hiking and camping in the back country away from the crowds or stay at one of the many spectacular lodges such as the Old Faithful Inn, the Lake Lodge, Grant Village or camping in one of the many campgrounds Yellowstone National Park is truly a magical place to visit and enjoy a piece America that is held sacred in the hearts of many as a one of the last wild places in the lower 48 states.