Hiking one of the world’s most beautiful parks, you are sure to get a tantalizing experience that will echo throughout your life.
You will see a bald eagle soaring, towering lodgepole pines in the vast forests, spawning trout in Lake Shoshone, and a view of jagged snow capped mountains that reach 8,000 feet above sea level at Yellowstone National Park.
The park is mainly located in the state of Wyoming in the United States, and considered the first National Park in the nation.
Tourists and backpacking enthusiasts come from all over the world to see the diverse wildlife and geothermal features found in one of the largest remaining ecosystems on earth.
Covering more than 2.2 million acres of land and more than 900 miles of hiking trails, Yellowstone immerses you in a utopia of nature and beauty you have to see to believe.
While there are a plethora of official camping sites and carved out trails, getting down and dirty off the beaten path will show you more of what Yellowstone National Park has to offer.
Make sure you do sufficient research before your trek, have all the survival essentials, and are an experienced hiker (or are traveling with one) so you don’t slip into a geyser or lure a bear to bed.
The geothermal features at Yellowstone include geysers, hot springs, mud pots, fumaroles, solfataras and terraces, all of which are hot from the internal heat of the earth.
Half of the world’s geothermal features are found in Yellowstone National Park, fueled by volcanism.
The Modern Day Explorer reports:
“Lava flows and rocks from volcanic eruptions cover a great majority of Yellowstone National Park, creating one of the most surreal places you’ll ever visit. In some areas, nearly molten rock flows as little as two to five miles below the surface and you may not even know it.”
While this may seem scary, there are designated pathways around the geysers and dangerous areas so that you can witness these phenomenon’s safely.
If you are traveling with children, please make them aware of the dangers of going off path, and put toddlers and babies in a carrier or stroller.
Be forewarned that geysers emit small amounts of hydrogen sulfide gas. Sulfur compounds have an odor many would say smells of rotten eggs, although the ancients dubbed it the “smell of hell,” according to The Bushbuck Wildlife Tours.
The popular cone geyser, Old Faithful, is named such for its timely eruptions, unlike the other geysers in the park. It erupts 106-185 feet in the air and remains one of the most sought after natural wonders.
Looking at some of the hot springs, you will see radiating colors that look like a rainbow fell to the ground. This is caused by bacteria adjusting to the different temperatures and Ph’s throughout the spring.
Fun fact: The center will be bright blue because the scorching 189 degree water doesn’t harbor any bacteria at all.
Rivers, Waterfalls, and Lakes:
There are countless water sources all over the park, one of which is Yellowstone Lake, the largest high-altitude lake in North America.
This large body of water offers 141 miles of shoreline, a life source to many animals including the native cutthroat trout that reside there.
As serene and inviting as the lake looks, it is cold year round and one could only survive 20-30 minutes swimming in it—so resist the urge to take a daring dip.
Lake Shoshone offers a popular hiking trail around its border with breathtaking views of open meadows and snow-capped mountain ranges.
It’s a 28-mile hike that begins and ends at the DeLacy Creek trailhead, which can be accessed just east of Old Faithful.
It seems like a storybook as you watch wild bison cross the road on your way to your campsite, or witness a bald eagle soaring overhead as you eat a picnic lunch.
Wildlife at Yellowstone is just as popular as Old Faithful. Many people who have never seen a wild animal apart from the zoo may come face to face with an 8 foot elk drinking at the water’s edge.
Bears are plentiful within the park’s landscape as well, but can become a danger if not cautious. There are black bears and the aggressive grizzly bears.
These animals superb sense of smell can pick up food from miles away. Most campsites have a pool to suspend your food from. You should also suspend any clothing you cooked the food in, as well as any hygiene products that have fragrance.
If you spot a bear or your campsite is disturbed by one, tell a ranger immediately so their activity and any posed danger can be tracked.
Other wild animals you may see as you explore the forests and flatlands are gray wolves, wild horses, bighorn sheep, and bobcats. And this is only a sample list of the extended species that call Yellowstone home.
To many people’s surprise, Yellowstone has its own Grand Canyon with three fierce sights—the Lower Falls, Upper Falls, and Crystal Falls. A picture-perfect point is the 308 foot high Lower Falls.
While the Grand Teton National Park is a separate park in its own rite, it’s close enough to Yellowstone Park to make it worth mentioning.
The Teton Mountains and the iconic town of Jackson Hole are about 60 miles south of Yellowstone. You would not regret a hike at one of these infamous ranges.
Any overnight backpacking stay at Yellowstone requires a permit, which you can get from a ranger or visitor center. Be sure to get it in advance so it doesn’t disrupt the precious time you have to get some miles under your belt.
It is recommended that anytime you go into the park to bring water, a raincoat, a hat, insect repellent, sunscreen, and a first aid kit.
You are going to be in the great outdoors with no convenient stores or friendly neighbors to turn to when supplies are low.
Be safe and smart when delving into this transcendental realm you never thought possible on earth.
Visit Yellowstone and get it all in one phenomenal park; scenic outlooks, hiking trails, wildlife, and natural wonders.
(h/t Proud American Traveler)