This year the National Park Service in the United States turns 100. This is the first in a series of blogs celebrating the rich heritage of the national parks and examining many of the United States’ most iconic destinations.
Made a national park in 1872, Yellowstone is not only the country’s first national park, but also the first in the world. Known for its volcanic landscape and spouting geysers, the most famous of which of course is Old Faithful, Yellowstone is a must see destination for any park lover. With a high concentration of mammals like bears, wolves, elk, and bison, just to name a few, and all of the other naturally occurring wonders like petrified forests, hot springs, and mud pots, it is no wonder the park sees millions of visitors annually.
Yellowstone is famously known for its geysers. The park boasts nearly 500 active geysers, close to 60% of all of the geysers in the world. There are four great areas of the park to view these wonders, Lone Star Geyser, which requires a day hike, the Lower Geyser Basin, the Midway Geyser Basin, and the Upper Geyser Basin, where Old Faithful is located. Old Faithful still erupts regularly, and many buildings and viewing areas have been established for you to view the phenomenon people from all over the world have come to see.
The Mammoth Hot Springs area of the park is a great place to not only explore the thermal features from boardwalks, or by snowshoe, but to learn about the park from the Albright Visitor Center, or to take in some of the history. In the 1880s, when park caretakers were overwhelmed by the influx of those looking to exploit the area, such as poachers and vandals, U.S. soldiers came to oversee the protection of this national treasure. You can take a guided, or self-guided tour of Fort Yellowstone, where 35 structures remain from the army’s time administering the park.
The Tower-Roosevelt area of the park is a wonderful place to take in some nature and capture some breathtaking views. Take a hike to majestic Tower Fall, which has been documented by some of the earliest European visitors to the region and the inspiration for many artists. Visit the Calcite Springs Overlook and view the Yellowstone River and catch a glimpse of red-tailed hawks and big horn sheep. If you would like to get off of your feet for a bit, stop by The Roosevelt Lodge, built in 1920, and determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Kick off your shoes and have a seat on the porch.
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