Get attracted to the attractions!
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
The Yellowstone River cuts roughly through 20 miles of golden cliffs to create this astounding canyon of falls, pools and rapids. Averaging 1000 feet deep and a half mile wide, there are three waterfalls; the notorious Lower Falls drops 308 feet, the Upper Falls are 109 feet high and the lesser-known Crystal Falls, where Cascade Creek empties into the Canyon. Follow the North Rim Trail for great views of the falls and canyon.
One of the best wildlife viewing areas within the Park, this wide, rolling valley intersected by the meandering Yellowstone River provides the perfect area to find elk, deer, bison, bears, wolves and a variety of waterfowl. The valley used to be underneath an arm of Yellowstone Lake which has left the ground marshy and tree-less.
No other trail in Yellowstone will provide as much scenery, wildflowers and wildlife as the Mt Washburn Trail. During the summer months bighorn sheep frequent the mountainside pastures, and fields bloom with over 50 species of wildflowers. From the 10,243 foot summit you get a clear view of the entire Park and can see the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Lake, the Tetons and possibly an eruption of Old Faithful.
Old Faithful Geyser
Possibly the best known feature in Yellowstone, Old Faithful was named for it's predictable eruptions. Spewing thousands of gallons of water well over a hundred feet into the air on an average of every 92 minutes, this geyser has marveled visitors for decades.
Grand Prismatic Spring
The largest hot spring in the United States, Grand Prismatic is 370 feet in diameter and 160 feet deep. Named for the brilliant blue pool surrounded by vibrant rings of green, orange, red and yellow algae that combine to make a prism effect.
Morning Glory Pool
Although it has lost much of the deep blue color of its namesake due to a clogged vent from foreign objects being tossed in by careless visitors, causing lower water temperatures, the Morning Glory pool is still one of the most beautiful in the Park. The pool has been known to erupt on occasion, but usually lies quiet and peaceful.
The largest high-elevation lake in North America, Yellowstone Lake is situated at 7,733 feet above sea level and averages a temperature of 41 degrees. The lake has the largest population of wild cutthroat trout in North America. In recent years, illegally introduced non-native lake trout have threatened the population of cutthroat, prompting aggressive eradication programs on the lake. All cutthroat must be released, all lake trout must be killed.
The West Thumb Geyser Basin is a small thermal area on the shore of Yellowstone Lake full of geysers, hot springs and paint pots. Visible only after the water levels drop in late summer, Fishing Cone Geyser was used by early visitors who caught fish and immediately dropped them into the hot waters to cook.
The Yellowstone Lake Hotel is the oldest hotel still in use in the Park. Built in 1891 and renovated periodically through the years, the hotel still has the charm and decor of the 1920's. Check with the front desk for daily tours. Fishing Bridge, spanning prime trout breeding grounds in the Yellowstone River, was originally built in 1902 and had been a popular fishing spot until 1973. Fishing was banned to protect the native trout populations, and today it is the perfect wildlife viewing area - eagles, ducks, otters and even grizzlies frequent the area to fish.
Mammoth Hot Springs
The beautiful terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs are formed when the waters rising from deep within the earth's crust erode through soft limestone, carrying the minerals to the surface where they are deposited as white rock. Bacteria and microorganisms in the heated waters give the gorgeous shades of pinks, yellows, greens, browns and oranges you see in the living sculpture.
The North entrance gate is a colossal brick monument built in 1903. The first cornerstone was laid by President Roosevelt who declared, "Yellowstone Park is something absolutely unique in the world so far as I know. Nowhere else in any civilized country is there to be found such a tract of veritable wonderland made accessible to all visitors."
Rising 200 feet above Obsidian Creek is the largest outcropping of this natural glass in North America. For centuries Native Americans used the black, glassy obsidian for arrowheads, spear points and tools, and traded pieces have been found as far away as Ohio. Obsidian forms when lava cools rapidly, and the sheer size of this cliff has baffled scientists for years.
One of the most accessible waterfalls in the Park, Tower Creek is surrounded by towers of volcanic formations as it tumbles 132 feet into the waters below. There is a short but rather steep trail that leads from the main viewing platform to the base of the falls. In the winter the area is easily reached by cross country ski or snowshoe, and the ice encased falls is a beautiful sight.
Encased in volcanic sediment and preserved for ages, the petrified remains of giant trees are visible throughout the Park. The most extensive forest is on Specimen Ridge, where three-foot wide fossilized stumps still stand over 20 feet high. There is a smaller, easy to reach forest behind the Tower Falls Ranger Station.
Heavily used for over forty years, many tribes followed this route to bison hunting grounds in the plains of Montana. Portions of the original trail are still visible, and the highway between Mammoth and Cooke City is laid on top of it.