The map below shows hikes that I have posted. Double click to zoom in on an area. Click on a hiker icon to discover great hikes! Red stars indicate long distance hikes.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Yellowstone National Park

July 25, 2014

Yellowstone National Park, the nation's first national park, is famous for its wildlife and geothermal features.  I had the opportunity for a short visit on my road-trip back to Michigan from Washington.  Having previously visited the park, I decided to visit some of the sites that I have missed in the past.  With limited time available I decided to do many day-hikes instead of an overnight backpacking adventure.  I hope to return in the future for an extended backpacking trip in the Yellowstone region.

I entered the park from the north and went east at Mammoth to Tower Falls.

Tower Falls

There were great morning views and lots of flowers.

 I decided to pass the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and head west to Norris Campground as I wanted to ensure that I had a campsite for the evening.  It was almost full but after driving around I found an empty site, paid for it, and made sure that I left a note indicating that I had reserved it.  I then drove back to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone on its South Rim.  It was a short walk to Artist Point and a spectacular view of the Yellowstone River and the Lower Falls.

I decided to explore some of the nearby trails and began hiking east along the South Rim with the Yellowstone River far below.

I decided to do a short 3-4 mile loop around leaving the rim.  I next came to Lilypad Lake.

Lilypad Lake

There were some thermal features nearby.

Clear Lake was a highlight and had a great reflection.

Clear Lake

There was some pleasant hiking through some meadows.

After crossing the road and passing through the Uncle Tom's Trailhead, I descended on Uncle Tom's Trail down many stairs to an impressive view of the Lower Falls.

 I continued on the South Rim back to the Artist Point Parking lot and went back to Artist Point a second time.
Artist Point

From the South Rim I headed south to Hayden Valley.  There was more than vehicles on the road.

Hayden Valley

I explored a few thermal features nearby and then headed back north to the North Rim of the Canyon.

I went to the Brink of the Upper Falls.

There were also great views of the Lower Falls from the North Rim.

I went to the Brink of the Lower Falls as well and the views were exceptional. (Uncle Tom's Trail can be seen in upper left.)

Brink of the Lower Falls

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone from Brink of Lower Falls

After climbing back up, I had a view of the Upper Falls.

I went farther west along the North Rim to Inspiration Point.

I headed back to set up camp, only to find that another group of campers had set-up all their stuff in my site and taken down my reservation tag on the post.  They weren't there, so I left my vehicle and a note on the post.  I hiked over to the Norris Geyser Basin.

Norris Geyser Basin

The basin was quite scenic and I took the time to explore most of it.

Echinus Geyser

I returned to camp and enjoyed a relaxing evening along the Gibbon River.

Gibbon River 

I crossed the road and wandered around as the sun set.

At the campsite I found the group who had moved into my site, it was two guys and a group of boys.  They supposed had come earlier than I did, but somehow I managed to pay, get the tag on the post, and leave before they came back. I'm not sure how this was possible without me seeing them in the process, but I was willing to share the site with them as I was planning to leave early in the morning.  While I wasn't sure of the credibility of their story, I went along with it.  They were nice and were on a great road trip to lots of national parks.  They offered me a baked potato.  Thank you!

In the morning I drove South to the Lower Geyser Basin.

Lower Geyser Basin

I went to Grand Prismatic Spring, one of the most impressive springs in the park. I crossed the Firehole River.

Grand Prismatic Spring

I decided to hike the Fairy Falls Trail for a better view of Grand Prismatic Spring.

Grand Prismatic Spring

I drove to the Upper Geyser Basin and Old Faithful area.

Firehole River

This area had some of the finest thermal features.

I went up Geyser Hill for a great view of Old Faithful.

I continued to explore this unique area.

I happened to be near Castle Geyser just when it was supposed to erupt.

Castle Geyser

By the time I was back, Old Faithful was erupting again.

I drove south to a great view of Yellowstone Lake and the mountains in the distance.

I explored the West Thumb Geyser Basin and enjoyed a ranger talk.

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake

There were even geysers underwater.

From here I continued south and entered Grand Teton National Park.  While short, my time in Yellowstone National Park was quite rewarding.  I would have loved to have a more remote hiking experience, but in a place as big as Yellowstone, I was quite satisfied with the quantify and quality of scenery I was able to see.  I certainly hope to return in the future for a long backpacking adventure as there are many wilderness options available in the park.

About Me

I've been born and raised in the great state of Michigan. I recently graduated from physical therapy school. I enjoy being active, playing sports, and running. Backpacking has become a great interest as it is a physical challenge that provides many rewarding views and experiences. I strive to make a difference in the lives of those encounter in every day life, on the trail, or even just on this blog. May God bless each of you. Now go find an adventure! It's only a few feet away!