Yellowstone National Park is a park located in USA. It is one of the oldest, biggest and most famous national parks in USA. It was also recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978. This park is spread over to 3,472 square miles majorly in the state of Wyoming but with some portions of it extending to the state of Idaho and Montana comprising of lakes, rivers, canyons and mountain ranges.
This park was established in 1872 to protect the vast number of geysers, hot springs, thermal areas as well as the incredible wildlife in this region. On 1st of March, 1872 this park became the first National park reserve declared anywhere in the world. More than half of the world’s geothermal features are in the Yellowstone Park. There are more than 300 geysers to be found here which is two third of the number of geysers found in the entire world. There are about 10,000 thermal features comprising the colored hot springs, steaming fumaroles, bubbling mud pots.
Flora and Fauna
Yellowstone is home to a large number of wild animals and birds. It has one of the largest intact temperate zone ecosystems that are remaining on the planet. This is the reason why it is home to a large number of wildlife. There are 67 types of mammals to be found here including the black bears and grizzly bears. There are about 100 gray wolves in the park. Also animals like the elk, bison, mule deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer and moose live here. Wolverine and lynx that require large areas of land and an undisturbed habitat are to be found in the park. There are many other numerous small mammals found in the park.
Birds are also easily seen in the park. There are about 330 species of birds to be found here out of which around 148 species nest in the park. There are around 18 species of fishes in the park. Though, there are not many reptiles to be found in the park due to the glacial activity and current cool and dry conditions. Also there are large varieties of plants and trees. It is home to more than 1,350 species of plants.
Things to Do
The famous West Entrance to the park is parallel to the Madison River. This entrance takes you to the Grand Loop Road which will further take you to all the major features of the park. When you travel south on the Grand Loop Road towards Old faithful, there is a side road that will take you to Firehole River which is the most area in the Yellowstone. There are many thermal basins on this route the first being lower Geyser Basin. On this road there is also the famous Fountain Paint Pot where pools of colourful hot mud bubble and sputter out. This mud is a mixture of water clay and silica. Here, there is an 800 foot canyon through which the water pours forming the Firehole Falls.
The two basins namely Midway and Biscuit and Black Sand basin lie adjacent to each other and the Firehole River serves as a common boundary to this. The runoff from many geysers in these basins drains into the Firehole River. Grand Prismatic Spring is the most stunning feature at the Midway basin. If seen from above the splendid array of deep colours are visible. And it is also the largest spring in Yellowstone. There are clearly marked boardwalks and trails are paved for visitors to explore the thermal features of Midway Basin.
Cliff Geyser at the Black Sand Geyser Basin is very interesting as it sits at the edge of Iron Spring Creek. The eruptions of this Geyser go as high as 50 feet. Rainbow Pool is a large hot spring which has an extremely blue centre. The water at this hot spring is cooled enough to allow the growth of algae which produces a rainbow of colours.
Your visit to Yellowstone would be incomplete without seeing one or more eruptions of Old Faithful Geyser. This Geyser is famous in the world and one of the greatest natural wonder of America. There are geysers here that erupt very high and for long period of time. And these geysers are very powerful combined with Old Faithful’s innate beauty. This view once witnessed is to remain forever in your memory.
In addition to the various thermal features and the beautiful mountain scenery, the park also has many wild animals. Visitors get an opportunity to view the wildlife in the park and photograph it too. This makes Yellowstone definitely a photographer’s paradise. One can also come here backpacking once the permit is obtained and can stay for one to three nights. Swimming is allowed too at the Firehole Cascades swimming area which is warmed by the Hot springs. There are some areas where fishing is allowed but a permit is required for that. One can also go boating and can enjoy a horseback ride here. As there are many mountains here one can also go hiking and enjoy the beautiful scenic view from the top of the mountains. Thus, Yellowstone offers a scenic natural beauty with a wide variety of thermal features and wildlife making it a must visit for nature lovers.