We just completed a fall trip out west, spending a week in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah and have written posts about those areas. We would like to give an overview of our second week when we headed up to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Tetons National Park and Yellowstone National Park.
We drove our rental car up to Jackson Hole where we were to spend one night before heading on to West Yellowstone. We had booked a week in a small timeshare close to the west entrance to Yellowstone. The five hour drive takes you out of Utah and up into Wyoming over much flat farm land used for cattle. It was interesting that on three occasions we had to stop while 5 or 6 cowboys were moving cattle down the road. We learned later that they were moving their herds from summer to winter quarters. This doesn’t happen in Michigan.
We arrived in Jackson Hole, an artsy tourist town mostly inhabited by people who are touring the two national parks. We spent the afternoon walking around the town which has numerous art galleries, stores, and eating establishments. We did our usual bit to help the local economy by spending our money.
The next day we headed up to the Tetons National Park. The mountains are huge and gorgeous. We took far too many pictures, went on a couple of short hikes, stopped at the visitor’s center, and did a couple of scenic drives. We also spotted a moose, which was a first for us.
We continued on through the Tetons National Park and entered the southern entrance of Yellowstone National Park. We made a couple of quick stops and drove on to the town of West Yellowstone and checked into our “duplex timeshare”. We have written a post on the timeshare– if you have not read it and would like to, click here.
We spent the week in the area experiencing the vastness and beauty of the park. Yellowstone National Park is the first national park and can be divided into four major areas. We spent at least a day in each. Throughout the park we saw numerous wildlife to include, elk, buffalo, coyotes, and a wolf. We did not see any bears.
Yellowstone is one of the largest of the national parks covering almost 3,500 square miles. It sits on the top of the largest super volcano on this continent. The Yellowstone caldera could be called an active volcano, and has erupted with great force several times in the last two million years. They have calculated that half of the world’s geothermal features are in the park. All of these features make this a special place to visit.
This large geothermal activity is what produces the geysers of the park. Most of these are in the Old Faithful area. There are several sections to hike with raised boardwalks for visitors to view the geysers. They are beautiful and erupt at various intervals. The most famous is, of course, Old Faithful, which goes off about every 94 minutes. It is impressive to watch and we went back three times.
Another area is the Yellowstone Lake area. Again, we spent most of a day in the area enjoying the beauty of this lake and its surrounding area, with the mountains as a background. They fish the lake, as well as many of the streams throughout the park.
The Mammoth Hot Springs area is another beauty with more geothermal activity. There are several raised walkways to enjoy these springs. Because of different minerals in the hot springs, some interesting colors are produced with water flowing over rock formations.
There are three canyons that have been carved by rivers in the park. The largest and most visited is the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, which was created by the Yellowstone River. There are close to 300 waterfalls in the park, with the two largest in what is called the canyon area of the park. The Lower falls is the largest, falling some 308 feet. There are numerous turnouts and short hikes to view the falls. We explored this area for the better part of a day.
Both parks are outstanding and are a not-to-be-missed attraction. We had fantastic weather, and a great time and hope to return to the area.