Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Explore Nature's Magnitude and Magnificence

yellowstone, grand prismatic springs, wyoming, top 10 natural wonders

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Roosevelt Arch, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Roosevelt Arch

Roosevelt Arch

The Roosevelt Arch is located at the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park in Montana. The arch's cornerstone was laid by Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States. 960 1280

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Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic Spring

If you're traveling to Yellowstone National Park, don't leave without seeing the Grand Prismatic Spring. 960 1280

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Old Faithful

Old Faithful

Old Faithful, Yellowstone's famous geyser, can shoot 3,700-8,400 gallons of boiling water at a height of 106-185 feet for 1.5-5 minutes. 960 1280

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Picturesque Yellowstone

Picturesque Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park is full of picturesque mountain views. 960 1280

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Yellowstone Wildlife

Yellowstone Wildlife

Travelers driving through Yellowstone National Park get to see all types of wildlife, including this bull elk in Lamar Valley. 960 1280

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Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs has been shaped over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate. Its energy has been attributed to the same system that fuels other Yellowstone geothermal areas. 960 1280

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West Thumb Geyser Basin

West Thumb Geyser Basin

Visitors to Yellowstone National Park can see the beautiful contrast of colors and textures at West Thumb Geyser Basin. 960 1280

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Castle Geyser

Castle Geyser

Castle Geyser is located in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park. The geyser was named because of its large deposits that resemble a castle. 960 1280

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Lower Falls

Lower Falls

The sun rises over the Lower falls of the Yellowstone River in Wyoming. 960 1280

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Yellowstone River

Yellowstone River

Yellowstone River, nestled between 2 banks, makes Yellowstone National Park seem serene and peaceful all year long. 960 1280

  

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Nestled within the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite National Park greets nearly 4 million visitors each year. 960 1280

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Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Centuries of wind and water have sculpted the Utah sandstone into over 2,000 natural arches at Arches National Park. 960 1280

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Death Valley

Death Valley

Millions come to Death Valley year-round to soak in the sun,  hike and take in the beauty of this vast, open landscape. 960 1280

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Channel Islands

Channel Islands

Just 90 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, the Channel Islands have 177 miles of coastline with rocky cliffs and beaches. 960 1280

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Columbia River

Columbia River

East of Portland, OR, the Columbia River region has one of the highest concentrations of waterfalls in the United States. 960 1280

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Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

The first US national park, Yellowstone has 2.2 million acres of mountain scenery, animals and endless natural beauty. 960 1280

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Redwoods National Park

Redwoods National Park

Roughly 300,000 visitors come to Redwoods National Park each year to experience the grandeur of the giant redwoods. 960 1280

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Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

A magnificent example of erosion, the Grand Canyon was formed by water cutting through rocks for millions of years. 960 1280

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Mount Hood

Mount Hood

Since its last eruption 250 years ago, the beautiful Mount Hood volcano has been a paradise for hikers and skiers. 960 1280

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Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns consist of 30 miles of vaulted halls and maze-like passages adorned with dazzling formations. 960 1280

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Formed by volcanoes, sustained by the earth's molten rock layers and teeming with flowers, fauna and vistas galore, Yellowstone is quite possibly the grandest example of a national park. Yet, hidden within nature's brambles lies the park's pervasive dichotomy - maintaining this land as a true homage to wilderness versus maintaining this land as a park accessible to visitors. Is it truly wilderness if under the scrutiny of millions of tourists per year? Perhaps it is the sheer magnitude of the park, or the brilliant management of the National Park Service, but indeed, Yellowstone is a testament of nature, of a purely natural environment.

Visitors here are whisked to a land before time - a primitive, bubbling world of pulsing eruptions. Geysers, waterfalls, hot springs and steam vents are as much a part of the landscape as are the animals and foliage. Plants thrive in the park, which hosts some 1,200 native species - even semiarid grasslands and alpine tundra are represented. More than 300 species of birds, including the revered bald eagle, and 59 species of mammals, such as bison, elk and grizzly bears, have made Yellowstone their home.

With an activities list almost as long as the Yellowstone River, the park isn't lacking in what to do. Just be sure to wander off the beaten path, embrace the road less traveled and find yourself face to face with the wilderness that is still Yellowstone.

Geological History
Yellowstone and its surroundings are the result of age-old volcanic activity. Some 55 million years ago, during the Tertiary period, molten magma formed the Abroska and Washburn mountain ranges. Approximately 52 million years later, a volcanic blast created the Yellowstone Caldera - a collapsed volcanic crater 28 by 47 miles in size. Ultimately, glaciers moved through the area, shaping the region into its current landscape. This volcanic activity has marked Yellowstone with an exceptional number of geothermal features. More than 10,000 geysers dot its lands in addition to hot springs, fumaroles (steam vents), mud pots and carbonate-depositing travertine terraces.

Park Activities
Yellowstone is full of landmarks, so it's wise to plan your itinerary in advance. With 370 miles of paved roads, the park's interior is easily maneuvered, and multiple visitor centers have schedules for hikes, talks and campfire programs. Old Faithful Geyser is one of the more popular attractions - blowing off steam every 80 minutes - but don't miss Great Fountain Geyser and Castle Geyser, which are also extraordinary sites. Visitors to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone are rewarded with flame-red canyon walls reaching higher than 1,200 feet and punctuated by a tumbling waterfall. Mammoth Hot Springs features travertine terraces colored by microorganisms, and Yellowstone Lake's 139 square miles offer plenty of boating and fishing opportunities. The scholastically inclined will enjoy the Yellowstone Institute - an organization offering courses on park ecology, history and wildlife.

Where to Stay
Lone Mountain Ranch sets the standard in luxury mountain lodging. The property's 23 cabins feature 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms, vaulted ceilings and stone fireplaces. Rocking chairs rest on the cabins' porches, inviting guests to simply listen to a babbling creek, or watch the sky change colors over distant mountains. The ranch is nestled in the heart of Big Sky Country, four miles from the Gallatin River. Taking advantage of the locale, the lodge offers a number of naturalist activities, as well as fly-fishing seminars, boat trips and tours into Yellowstone, which is only 18 miles away.

Side Trips
Cody, WY, is a town still alive with Old West charm, despite the propensity of tourists en route to Yellowstone to drop by. In Old Trail Town, a veritable ghost town has been assembled from old storefronts and cabins gathered around the region. History buffs will adore the informative Buffalo Bill Museum, and the whole family can kick their heels up at the nightly Cody Nite Rodeo, complete with bulls, broncos, cowboys and cotton candy. 

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