On March 1, 1872 President Ulysses Grant signed into existence the world’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park. This 2.2 million acres of wilderness covers three states including Montana, Wyoming and Idaho and was set apart as a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people. These words are written on the rock arch entrance as you enter from the North in Montana.
There is just a special feeling driving through the arch as you read these words. You are entering a special place, a place of unspoiled beauty, iconic western scenery and the beginning of the National Park System. As a kid I imagined myself a protector of these great lands. Little did I know the affect of visiting these great places had in molding my life and the career path I chose.
Picturesque Mammoth Hot Springs is located just south of the north entrance of the park. Wildlife is often seen hanging out in the lawn areas including elk and bison. Just remember to enjoy these animals from a distance as they are still wild animals. Take a hike and stretch your legs from the long drive getting here and enjoy the natural beauty of this place.
The majority of the worlds geysers are preserved at Yellowstone and is the main reason the park was established. Today millions of park visitors come each year to stand by and see Old Faithful explode in predictable fashion.
Yellowstone is an active volcano, some call a super volcano! The 1000-3000 earthquakes a year, active ground deformation and the 10,000+ thermal features are all evidence of its activity. Make sure to stay on designated foot paths as these geysers, pools, mud pots and vents are heated water and can cause severe injuries.
Yellowstone is the core of one of the last, nearly intact, natural ecosystems in the Earth’s temperate zone. It has outstanding wildlife viewing opportunities including Elk, Bison, wolves, Grizzly and Black Bears. Wildlife is abundant and guaranteed to create traffic jams going from one location to another.
For the people who have never seen a bear in the wild be prepared to be in awe of their size, especially when they stand on their back legs to get a better look. They may look adorable but these bears are not the cuddly ones. Please respect them and give them space. This is their home and we are the guests.
There are many beautiful waterfalls within Yellowstone but noting more famous than Yellowstone Falls. Not only is the falls huge but so is this canyon! I found myself just staring in amazement.
What are you waiting for, start planning that trip to Yellowstone! It is the one you and your family will always remember. There is so much to see and do and a week is not enough to see it all. You also have the Grand Tetons National Park just South of Yellowstone that is just as spectacular!