The first National Park created in the US that saw many others follow. These were some of my highlights.
Yellowstone Gorge and Waterfalls
Yellowstone gorge and the waterfalls are well worth a visit. I would recommend parking up at Wapiti Lake parking lot. There is a trail head here that takes you across meadows with bubbling mud pools, completely devoid of other tourists. This path will eventually lead you to ‘Clear Lake’ where you run into dense woods. Keep to the trail and it will bring you out at Artist Point. Unfortunately, due to the car park that is virtually on top of this lookout, it is vastly overrun by tourists. However the view it gives of Yellowstone gorge and the Lower falls is stunning. Whilst most tourists will pack back into their cars, you should continue to walk along the South Rim trail, taking you closer and closer to the crashing waters. Once you reach the lower falls, you can opt to veer off onto Uncle Tom’s Trail which is a steep decline towards the base of the falls for a great view. Due to the altitude of Yellowstone and the steep climb back to the top, you should choose wisely whether to tackle this trail or not. Keep walking along the South Rim Trail, past the upper falls until you come to the road bridge. It is here where you loop back to the Wapiti Lake parking lot.
Yellowstone’s most famous geyser is Old Faithful. Aptly names as it will faithfully erupt every 92 minutes. Be prepared for mass crowds, but it’s mother nature working at her best, and unlike many other geysers around the park, you wont have to sit around for hours wondering if you’ll see it erupt.
Natural Hot Springs
Right on the Montana Wyoming border, between Mammoth and Gardiner are some beautiful and natural hot springs. Small waterfalls of boiling hot water, heated by the volcanic activity, mix with the cold flowing river to create a natural relaxing bath. As it’s a natural phenomenon, the added bonus is it’s completely free. A little further along in Mammoth are spectacular terraces which are constantly changing, sometimes even just over night.
Yellowstone is without doubt a national park worth waking up early for. Animals wake early to hunt and gather their food before the heat of the day set in. A drive around the park with a keen eye will allow you to spot all kinds of wild life. The park is home to black and brown bears, bison, elk, moose, big horn sheep, as well as wolves, foxes and coyotes, to name but a few.