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Great Trip: The First National Park, Yellowstone

Posted On December 17, 2015 at 11:18 am by / Comments Off on Great Trip: The First National Park, Yellowstone

By Michael Lanza

On Sept. 20, 1869, Charles W. Cook, the leader of an expedition exploring the Yellowstone area, came upon the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River for the first time. He wrote afterward in his journal: “I was riding ahead, the two pack animals following… I remembered seeing what appeared to be an opening in the forest ahead, which I presumed to be a park, or open country. While my attention was attracted by the pack animals, which had stopped to eat grass, my saddle horse suddenly stopped. I turned and looked forward from the brink of the great canyon, at a point just across from what is now called Inspiration Point. I sat there in amazement, while my companions came up, and after that, it seemed to me that it was five minutes before anyone spoke.”

Yellowstone has been dropping jaws since long before it became the world’s first national park in 1872. I include myself among those numbers, on numerous visits over the years, most recently this fall (when I got the lead photo, above, of Lower Yellowstone Falls and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, from Lookout Point). For the greatest range of wildlife you’ll find in the Lower 48, one-fourth of all the geysers in the world, many other thermal features, waterfalls—and if you have young children or grandchildren, seeing the wonderment in their expressions—everyone really should get to Yellowstone.

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I recommend seeing Yellowstone in every season—each is special. Winter is around the corner, a time when wildlife congregate in the valleys, making them easier to spot (except bears, of course), and the geysers and thermal features take on a completely different appearance. If you want to visit next summer, the busiest season, start planning your trip now. My stories can help you do that.

View the photo gallery below, then see a menu of all of my stories about Yellowstone at The Big Outside, including one about my favorite season in the park, “Cross-Country Skiing Yellowstone;” these Ask Me posts suggesting an “Ultimate Family Tour of Yellowstone,” the eight best short hikes in Yellowstone, and multi-day wilderness trips in the park; and last but scarcely least, my video of getting stuck in a “bison jam.”

See also all of my stories about national park adventures and family adventures at The Big Outside.

I invite you to subscribe to this blog by entering your email address in the box at the top of the left sidebar or on my About page, and follow my adventures on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Midway Geyser Basin.
Lower Yellowstone Falls.
Mammoth Hot Springs.
A "bison jam."
Grand Prismatic Geyser.
Elk along West Entrance Road.
Upper terraces, Mammoth Hot Springs, winter.
Abyss Pool, West Thumb Geyser Basin.
Old Faithful.
White Dome Geyser in winter.
Grand Prismatic Geyser.
Upper Geyser Basin in winter.
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.

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