Why Yellowstone is the best of the National Parks.

Just because you’re first doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the best.  But there is a reason why Yellowstone was named the first national park on March 1, 1872 by President Ulysses Grant.  Its biodiversity and geologic wonders are what grabbed the attention of Congress through the photos and paintings of Jackson and Moran respectively during the 1871 Hayden Expedition into Yellowstone.  What makes Yellowstone unique is its 67 species of wildlife, 322 species of birds, 16 species of fish,  eleven hundred species of flowering plants, 7 species of conifers, over 10,000 geothermal features including more than 300 geysers(half of Earth’s total), approximately 300 waterfalls, beautiful, crystal clear rivers and one gigantic caldera.  No national park has all of these natural resources to offer including those in Alaska.  Below are images that capture the diversity of Yellowstone. All photos were captured by Michael Just and Dawn2Dawn Photography.

GRAND PRISMATIC SPRING
Grand Prismatic Spring, North America’s largest at 370 feet in diameter.
CHROMATIC POOL
Bright colors are produced by microorganisms called thermophiles living in the hot waters of Chromatic Spring.
CASTLE GEYSER MORNING
Castle Geyser steams on a cold morning.
Old Faithful is still faithful
Old Faithful is still faithful
Where else would you find these travertine terraces?
Where else would you find these travertine terraces?
Or these colors in nature.
Or these colors in nature.

BLACK POOL

The landscape is always changing as trees come and go for a variety of reasons.
The landscape is always changing as trees come and go for a variety of reasons.
STORMY BLACK SAND GEYSER BASIN
A Storm Passes Through Black Sand Geyser Basin
PUNCH BOWL SPRING
Punch Bowl Spring
IMPERIAL GEYSER
Imperial Geyser appears out of nowhere.

And the wildlife…….

BULL ELK BUGLING
Bull elk bugling during rutting season.
BULL BISONS WRESTLING
Bull bison must prove their manhood during the rut.
YNP GRIZZLY BEAR
Ursus Arctos Horribilis (Grizzly Bear)
This moose is smiling because she's in her favorite park.
This moose is smiling because she’s in her favorite park.
YELLOWSTONE BADGER
This badger was so focused on the hunt, it was unaware I was standing  50 feet away.
Herd of bison moving at night
Herd of bison moving at night
Otter's head and tail
The river otter patrols the cool waters of the Yellowstone River
A coyote waits patiently along the Yellowstone River to surprise a river otter and its catch.
A coyote waits patiently along the Yellowstone River to surprise a river otter and its catch.
GREY WOLF WITH ICY STARE
The reintroduction of the wolf to Yellowstone has produced excitement for visitors if not controversy. But what other park tried this?
Yellowstone Red Fox
The red fox is mostly nocturnal but frequently visible during the winter daylight.
BISON FULL OF SNOW
Bison endure the harshness of Yellowstone’s winters. Barely.
Elk heard heading to higher ground.
Elk herd heading to higher ground.
BALD EAGLE BENT OVER
Adult bald eagles are one bird who may stay in the park year round.
No butt heading allowed with the wildlife please.
No head butting allowed with the wildlife please.
Black Bear foraging.
Black Bear foraging.
Pronghorn are North America's fastest mammals.
Pronghorn are North America’s fastest mammals reaching speeds up to 60 mph.
SWANS TAKING OFF
Trumpeter swans are very visible during Yellowstone winters.
OSPREY ON ITS PERCH
An osprey peers into a river below for its next catch.
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

And waterways……

FIREHOLE RIVER CANYON
The Firehole River is one of many fantastic waterways in Yellowstone.

FIREHOLE RIVER

The Yellowstone River carved The Grand Canyon Of The Yellowstone.
The Yellowstone River carved The Grand Canyon Of The Yellowstone.
The Yellowstone flows north out of the park.
The Yellowstone flows north out of the park.
LAMAR RIVER WINTER
The Lamar River on a snowy day in late April?
Tower Falls is one of many falls in the park
Tower Falls is one of many falls in the park, too numerous to count and still being discovered.
There's a reason why over 3 million people visit Yellowstone each year.
There’s a reason why over 3 million people visit Yellowstone each year.
PHOTOGRAPHING BEARS
This cub was taking baby steps at 3 months old.
STEAM AND TOURISTS AT MIDWAY GEYSER BASIN
These tourists look rather insignificant in the steam and fog.
Beehive Geyser gushes amongst the throngs.
Beehive Geyser gushes amongst the throngs.
OLF FAITHFUL INN LOBBY FLAG
The lobby at The Old Faithful Inn. Some rooms here don’t have bathrooms. You have to go down the hall. Must have been a palace when it first opened in 1904. Still is.
Only some 100,000 visit the park in the winter.
Only some 100,000 visit the park in the winter.
Yellowstone has nice sunsets as well.
Yellowstone has nice sunsets even at a fire-scarred forest.
GREBE LAKE SUNSET
We camped here at Grebe Lake for two nights, listening to the unmistakable sounds of the loons and coyotes.
Classic winter sunset.
Classic winter sunset.

And the flora…….

And colorful flowers.
Colorful wildflowers like the Camas.
WHITE-RAYED MULE'S EARS
White-rayed Mule’s Ears
Yellow Salsify
Yellow Salsify
COVILLE'S COLUMBINE
The rare Coville’s Columbine
Bison grazing on wildflowers in Lamar Valley
Bison grazing on wildflowers in Lamar Valley
Morning fog permeates a lodgepole pine forest
It’s not smoke from a forest fire but morning fog trapped in a lodgepole pine forest.
Speaking of fog, how about a fogbow.
Speaking of fog, how about a fogbow.
Thick snow-covered forests stretch beyond your eyes.
Thick snow-covered forests stretch beyond the horizon.
A rising sun struggles to penetrate the morning fog.
A rising sun struggles to penetrate the morning fog.
A lonely pine stands out from the steamy landscape at West Thumb Geyser Basin
A lonely pine
stands out from the steamy landscape at West Thumb Geyser Basin
THE ABSAROKAS
The high country of Yellowstone.
Standing on the top of Electric Peak will make your hair raise.
Standing on the top of Electric Peak will make your hair raise..
The next time you visit Yellowstone, the natives will be watching you.
The next time you visit Yellowstone, the natives will be watching you.

 

 

13 responses to “Why Yellowstone is the best of the National Parks.”

  1. Wife and I visited YS some 50 years ago. I(I’m now 82) . I got some pix, but nothing like yours. Would you give me permission to print some or all of yours–please ? Alyn

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    • That would be fine Al. Glad you enjoyed the pics and that it brought back memories from 50 years ago. I doubt Yellowstone has changed that much in 50 years and that’s the way it’s suppose to be.

      Like

  2. Mike:

    Very good pictures. You know that it brings back the memories from 2009. We have a niece working in the dining room at OFI this year.

    dale brown

    Like

  3. Yellowstone’s been on my wish list for a long time, after seeing these it’s just moved up the ladder a few runs 🙂 Great post

    Like

  4. I have been to Yellowstone over 30 times and there is a new adventure every time! We will be there again in June of this year. I do photography too and only wish I could get the caliber of photos that you exhibit here!! GREAT WORK!!!!
    Ricontech

    Like

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