Happy Birthday Yellowstone

March 1, 1872- March 1, 2022 Happy 150th Birthday to Yellowstone National Park!

Yellowstone is my favorite place in the world. I was blessed to live and work in the park during college and I lived in the Greater Yellowstone region for over five years. Yellowstone holds a piece of my heart and I can’t shake it. Sure there are other places to visit with gorgeous scenery, but none has captures such mystery, beauty and magnificence as Yellowstone.

The park is a land of extremes. It showcases serene valleys against harsh volcanic thermal features. The land itself was sculpted by millions of years of volcanism and extreme weather like snow, ice, forest fires and drought. Still out of the most eruptive places on earth – you find God’s hand – a resilient wild beauty and wonder that won’t escape you.

Yellowstone is not just America’s park – it is the World’s First National Park and the model for all parks throughout the world. Each year around 4 million visitors make a pilgrimage to Yellowstone – from as far away as Japan, Europe and beyond and all fifty states. Nature is God’s gift and Yellowstone rekindles the wonder in a weary soul. It excites and dazzles and provides quiet places to pray and dream in.

Words cannot describe my love for Yellowstone. My heart will always be somewhere between The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Old Faithful.

This month (March) I am going to be blogging through Yellowstone, focusing on my favorite spots and providing travel tips from an insider view.

I have hiked over 500 miles in the park and traveled each road, stopping at every turnout. I look forward to sharing my experience and tips with you and also hearing from other Yellowstone faithful about their experiences in the park.

Let’s wish Yellowstone a Happy Birthday – by writing Congress and expressing gratitude for our parks and also to ask for additional park funding; If you are able donate to Yellowstone Forever – which helps invest in park projects, preservation and education.

And keep following my blog.

To kick things off I wanted to share some fun facts about The World’s First National Park.

  • Yellowstone was established on March 1, 1872 by Congress
    • Congress decided to make this unprecedented decision in part after viewing photographs by William Henry Jackson and paintings by Thomas Moran who accompanied The Hayden Expedition to Yellowstone in 1871. Jackson and Moran were able to convey in images the park’s natural and otherworldly features including Old Faithful and The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
    • As an artist this has always spoken to me – it shows the crossroads of science, art and discovery and human connection.
  • Yellowstone is the second largest national park in the continental US (Death Valley is slightly larger)
    • Yellowstone spans 3 states: Wyoming (96%); Montana (3%); Idaho (1%)
    • Yellowstone is 3,472 square miles and larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined
    • The majority of the park is backcountry, with over 90 trailheads and thousands of miles of backcountry hiking
  • Yellowstone Lake is the largest high altitude lake in the United States at 7,732 feet above sea level. Yellowstone Lake is known for it’s deep blue waters, native cutthroat trout and 110 miles of shoreline.
  • Old Faithful is the most famous geyser in the world going off every 90 minutes or so.
    • Old Faithful is not the tallest geyser – that honor goes to Steamboat which recently reawakened.
  • Yellowstone is home to many historic lodges including Lake Hotel and the Old Faithful Inn
  • Yellowstone is so vast it has several different mini ecosystems/weather patterns.
  • The tallest mountain in the park is Eagle Peak – 11,358 feet
  • There are six official entrances into Yellowstone:
    • Cooke City MT from the Beartooth Highway
    • Gardiner/Mammoth in Montana
    • West Yellowstone MT
    • East Entrance (WY) about 70 miles west of Cody Wy
    • South Entrance (WY) – just north of neighboring Grand Teton National Park
    • Bechler District (ID) – this is really only a ranger station and not a drive through stop. It is however a good park and hike destination for Yellowstone’s southwest waterfall district (Union Falls, etc…)

More facts to come! Join me several times a week as we travel through YNP

In the meantime – grab your map and tour guide from the National Park Service online

Ready to book your vacation? I’ll give tips throughout our e-journey of YNP, but to start planning now I recommend checking out the following links.

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