The area that became Yellowstone National Park is a place of such strange and spectacular beauty that the first explorers to bring back reports of the region were not believed. After getting a glimpse of the area’s geothermal features, former member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition John Colter described a place of “fire and brimstone” to the mostly incredulous folks back home.
But others followed, and in 1872, the U.S. Congress and President Ulysses S. Grant created Yellowstone National Park to preserve the area in all its splendor. Yellowstone was the first national park in the United States, and possibly the first in the world.
One of Yellowstone’s most stunning features is the lake which bears its name. They say strong storms come up on Lake Yellowstone with almost no warning, and that the water is terribly cold. It stretches twenty miles, bordered by mountains and a rocky shore. It is also situated above a dormant supervolcano: the Yellowstone Caldera. But probably the most famous Yellowstone site is the Old Faithful geyser, which takes all the guesswork out of trying to spot a geothermal eruption while in the park.
Perhaps the best measure of Yellowstone National Park’s variety and immensity is the fact that it has its own Grand Canyon: the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, which is formed of yellow rock and is incredibly deep. Like the other Grand Canyon, a river runs through it. Between the geothermal features, the lakes and waterfalls, the canyons, and the forests, Yellowstone truly feels like several national parks rolled into one.
Worth Checking Out
- Old Faithful
- Grand Prismatic Spring
- Yellowstone Lake
- Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone