Yellowstone National Park

Location: northwest Wyoming
Dates: June 27-28, 2011

West Thumb Geyser Basin

This post is a brief description of the areas that I visited during my visit to Yellowstone during June 2011, being my second trip to the park (first was in 2008).  I entered the park from the southern entrance coming from Jackson and Grand Teton and exited to the north at Mammoth Hot Springs.  I spent one night in the park at the Grant Village campground, which is the park's largest.

The Grand Prismatic Spring

West Thumb Geyser Basin
Located along the shores of Yellowstone Lake, the West Thumb Geyser Basin is a series of geysers, hot springs, and other thermal features along a short boardwalk directly on the shore of the lake.

A hot spring in the West Thumb Geyser Basin

Midway Geyser Basin
After setting up camp I headed to the Midway Geyser Basin, which is to the north of the Old Faithful area.  This basin is home to the enormous Grand Prismatic Spring and a few other hot springs.  On my way back I stopped at the Kepler Cascades to the southeast of Old Faithful.

Midway Geyser Basin

Mud Volcano
The next morning I started off by driving along Yellowstone Lake to the Mud Volcano area.  Here, among many thermal features, there is a thermal feature of bubbling mud that has apparently erupted like a geyser, hence a mud volcano.  In addition to a solitary bison feeding along the path, there was a very calm snowshoe hare sitting on the boardwalk.

A hot spring in the Midway Geyser Basin

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
If there is one place you stop at in Yellowstone, it should be at Artist Point overlooking the canyon and the Lower Falls.  I also hiked the trail (mostly a metal staircase) down into the canyon just above the base of the Lower Falls.  This trail loses and then gains about 500 vertical feet in a short distance, but is worth the trip.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and the Lower Falls from Artist Point

Mount Washburn
At 10,243 feet high Mount Washburn is the location of one of Yellowstone's fire lookouts to the north of Canyon Village.  You can hike Chittenden Road to the summit of the mountain or take the trail from Dunraven Pass.  I chose to start at Dunraven Pass, which used to be an access road, so the trail is not that steep, although it does gain about 1,400 feet.  There was still a lot of snow on the ground at the trailhead, so I began hiking anyway even though the Chittenden Road had been plowed.  There were a couple of sections on the top of the ridge where I had to climb over, around, and then down very steep and precarious snow banks.  The views from the summit were great, and you can go into the fire lookout to get a break from the wind.

Looking east from the south ridge of Mount Washburn (summit at left)

Mammoth Hot Springs
On my way out of the park I made a quick stop at Mammoth Hot Springs, but did not spend much time walking around because it was very crowded.

Looking northwest from Mount Washburn




© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.





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