Skip to main content

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 15; Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Loop Road

After reaching the western terminus of US Route 212 I entered Yellowstone National Park from the Northeast Entrance Station.


This blog serves as Part 15 of the 2016 Summer Mountain Trip Series; Part 14 can be found here:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 14; US Route 212 over the Beartooth Highway

Yellowstone National Park is the oldest National Park in the United States having been signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872.  Yellowstone National Park consists of land located on the Yellowstone Caldera mostly in Wyoming but also in parts of Montana and Idaho as well.

Contrary to what Google Maps might tell you, the US Routes cease to exist within Yellowstone National Park.  Yellowstone instead is traversed by a series of roadways maintained by the National Park Service, many which actually shutter in the winter months.  The Northeast Entrance Road begins at the west terminus of US Route 212 and follows the Lamar River to the Grand Loop Road at the confluence with the Yellowstone River.  The Lamar River apparently is one of the best places in all of Yellowstone to find wandering herds of Buffalo.









It isn't uncommon to see all sorts of animals along the waterways of Yellowstone.


At Tower Junction the Northeast Entrance Road crosses the Yellowstone River and meets the Grand Loop Road which circles almost all of Yellowstone National Park.  I turned south on the Grand Loop Road from Tower Junction.



On the Grand Loop Road heading southbound there are some scenic views of the Yellowstone River at Devil's Den as it descends from Yellowstone Lake through the northern extent of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. 



Tower Fall along Tower Creek can be observed from Devil's Den.


The Grand Loop Road ascends over the 8,859 foot Dunraven Pass near Mount Washburn which provides a wide vista of the surrounding terrain.  The summit of Mount Washburn lies at 10,243 feet above sea level.





At Canyon Junction I pulled off the Grand Loop Road on to Rim Drive above the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.  Rim Drive provides access to the vistas above the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The 109 foot high Upper Yellowstone Falls can be observed from Rim Drive.



I parked my car along Rim Drive and ran the rest of the way to the overlooks.  I first made my way to the top of Lower Yellowstone Falls.




From the bottom of Yellowstone Falls the full 308 foot drop can be easily observed.



From Canyon Junction I turned west on Norris Canyon Road to take a shortcut towards the western part of the Grand Loop Road.  Upon reaching Grand Loop Road again I turned south towards Old Faithful and stopped at Gibbon Falls located on the Gibbon River.


Near Madison Junction the Grand Loop Road follows the Firehole River southward.  I stopped briefly on the Fountain Paint Pot Trail to see the geyser basin.







One of the main attractions on the western segment of Grand Loop Road is Grand Prismatic Spring.  Grand Prismatic Springs is the largest hot spring in Yellowstone and the third largest in the world.  The strange colors come from microbes which produce the effect near the rim of the 370 foot diameter hot spring.  Grand Prismatic Spring is 160 feet deep and the clear blue color is endemic of the sterile environment.  Grand Prismatic Spring has a temperature apparently close to 160F.


The Opal Pool, Turqoise Pool, and Excelsior Pool are located within the vicinity of Grand Prismatic Spring.




At the very bottom of Grand Loop Road is the Upper Geyser Basin.  The Old Faithful Geyser is a well known and highly predictable geyser which was first discovered in 1870.  Old Faithful erupts on average every 90 minutes at heights generally ranging from about 106 to 185 feet.  The Old Faithful Geyser seems to be relatively predictable in nature due to it not being tied to any other feature in Upper Geyser Basin.  The steam erupting from Old Faithful generally ranges from 240F to 265F.


















At South Thumb I stopped briefly at Yellowstone Lake before heading south out of Yellowstone National Park on South Entrance Road.  Yellowstone Lake is the largest freshwater lake in the United States above 7,000 feet at approximately 136 square miles.  Yellowstone Lake isn't especially deep which causes it's surface to freeze mostly over in the winter months.  The primary inflow and outflow of Yellowstone Lake is the Yellowstone River.


South Entrance Road follows the Lewis River to the confluence with the Snake River at the boundary of Grand Teton National Park.  South Entrance Road becomes John D. Rockerfeller Parkway in Grand Teton National Park.

Part 16 of this blog series can be found here:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 16; Grand Teton National Park and the nebulous disconnect in the US Routes

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Interstate 40 and the H-Bomb

Interstate 40 within California is entirely contained to San Bernandio County over a course of 155 miles from Interstate 15 in Barstow east to the Arizona State Line at the Colorado River.  Interstate 40 is aligned entirely in the Mojave Desert over the same general corridor established by US Route 66 and the National Old Trails Road.   Interstate 40 is known as the Needles Freeway and has an interesting backstory which included the prospect of the Bristol Mountains being excavated by way of nuclear blasts as part of Operation Carryall.   Part 1; the history of Interstate 40 in California The focus on this blog will be primarily centered around the construction of Interstate 40 ("I-40") within California.  That being said the corridor of automotive travel east of Barstow to the Arizona State Line was largely pioneered by the National Old Trails Road ("NOTR")   In April of 1912 the NOTR was organized with the goal of signing a trans-continental highway between Baltim

California State Route 232

This past month I drove the entirety of California State Route 232 in Ventura County. CA 232 is an approximately 4 miles State Highway aligned on Vineland Avenye which begins near Saticoy at CA 118 and traverses southwest to US Route 101 in Oxnard.  The alignment of CA 232 was first adopted into the State Highway System in 1933 as Legislative Route Number 154 according to CAhighways.org. CAhighways.org on LRN 154 As originally defined LRN 154 was aligned from LRN 9 (future CA 118) southwest to LRN 2/US 101 in El Rio.  This configuration of LRN 154 between CA 118/LRN 9 and US 101/LRN 2 can be seen on the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Ventura County. 1935 Ventura County Highway Map According to CAhighways.org the route of LRN 154 was extended west from US 101/LRN 2 to US 101A/LRN 60 in 1951.  Unfortunately State Highway Maps do not show this extension due to it being extremely small. During the 1964 State Highway Renumbering LRN 154 was assigned CA 232.  Of n

California State Route 128

California State Route 128 is a 121 mile State Highway which spans from California State Route 1 at the mouth Navarro River eastward to Interstate 505 near Winters.  California State Route 128 is one of California's most underrated scenic State Highways which traverses; Mendocino County, Solano County, Napa County and Yolo County.  Presently California State Route 128 has 11 unconstructed miles which would connect it from Interstate 505 east to California State Route 113 in Davis.   Part 1; the history of the original California State Route 28 and California State Route 128 What became California State Route 128 ("CA 128") was announced in the   August 1934 California Highways & Public Works  as the original CA 28.    CA 28 in it's original definition was aligned from CA 1 near Albion east to US 40 near Davis.   CA 28 as originally defined was comprised of numerous Legislative Route Numbers ("LRN") which were adopted as follows: -  LRN 1  between McDona