Yellowstone National Park is located 1 hour from Cody, Wyoming, 4 hours from Buffalo, Wyoming, 1 hour from Livingston, Montana. Yellowstone is 2,219,789 acres – nearly three times the size of Rhode Island or Delaware – spilling over from Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Yellowstone was the world’s first national park created in 1872. Years prior, rugged explorers returned from Yellowstone with stories of shooting geysers, streaming pools and extreme landscapes. It wasn’t until 1871 when artist Thomas Moran and photographer William Henry Jackson documented and captured the area that congress and President Ulysses Grand decided to created this wonderful park for all to enjoy.
We started our Yellowstone journey through the south entrance by Jackson, Wyoming and Grand Tetons, over to Old Faithful, Madison and Norris then venturing towards the East Entrance. The East Entrance towards Cody, Wyoming is one of the most dramatic areas of the park and visitors won’t be disappointed with the endless, mile-after-mile views. We then re-entered back in northeast entrance and it was even better than the east entrance thru Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and the Lamar Valley with non-stop plateaus filled with wildflowers, dramatic vistas, winding rivers and buffalo grazing in meadows. We ended up the Yellowstone trip by traveling thru Mammoth Hot Springs and out thru the north entrance to Gardiner, Montana.
Buffalo Bill’’s Scenic Byway, follows the North Fork of the Shoshone River through the scenic East Yellowstone Valley or also know as the Wapiti Valley. Astonishing rock formations along with Wapiti (Elk), bighorn sheep, moose, deer, grizzly bear call this valley home. It is the longest downgrade we have every travelled on – the jaw dropping views takes you everything to focus on keeping the car on the road. Once of the oldest forest services ranger stations is situated at the East Yellowstone Valley. This valley is where Buffalo Bill built his hunting lodge, Pahaska Tepee, and his niece built Elephant Head Lodge, both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are now 11 historic lodges in this valley open May thru September which can be used for a home base while touring all of Cody Country and Yellowstone.
Old Faithful Geyser
Old Faithful is not the biggest in the park, but it is the most reliable since the park was created, erupting every 35 minutes with heights from 90 to 184 feet.
Yellowstone National Park protects the largest number of undisturbed hydrothermal features in the world. Four types exists in Yellowstone: hot springs, mud pots, steam vents and geysers. There are only a few other places in the world that this happens: Dolina Geizerov (Russia) Pohutu Geyser (New Zealand), Steamboat Springs (Nevada), Lost City (Atlantic Ocean).
Yellowstone’s Northeast Entrance
Yellowstone’s northeast entrance on US highway 212, services are limited for 50 miles. The route crosses over into Montana and connects the historical gold-mining towns of Silver Gate and Cooke City towards the small town of Mammoth. This section of highway passes thru forests and meadows and is the route in 1877 by the Nez Perce Indians and Chief Joseph escaping the US Army. Just 13 miles from Cooke City the route branches to WY highway 296, the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, dropping you into the 1200-foot carved Clarks Fork Gorge carved by the Yellowstone River. The Beartooth Plateau is to the north and the Absaroka Mountains to the south.
Wyoming’s Highest Bridge
The route then takes you thru the limits Cathedral Cliffs, Sunlight Creek with the highest bridge in Wyoming, Dead Indian Hill with dramatic vistas. It then opens into the eastern slope flats and Two Dot Ranch, and historic cattle operation with Heart Mountain to the east.
The Lamar Valley
Yellowstone is the only place in the United states where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times. Yellowstone’s bison are America’s largest bison population on public land. Adult males can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. We spotted this herd in the Lamar Valley.
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River consists of the Upper and Lower Falls. The canyon was formed from hydrothermal activity which weakened the bedrock making the stone softer and widen the canyon. The Lower Falls is 309 feet and the Upper Falls is 109 feet.
Mammoth Hot Springs
Mammoth Hot Springs located at the north entrance of Yellowstone has 50 hot springs and takes an hour to explore the Upper and Lower terraces by a 2 mile boardwalk. The terraces are shaped by the volumes of water.