June 12 – 14, 2012
Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park spanning across parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, it is home to a large variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk, and it has some of the world’s most extraordinary geysers and hot springs.
Yellowstone is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. Since the mid-1960s, at least 2 million tourists have visited the park almost every year. In 2010, 975,000, a record number of visitors came to the park in July. Native Americans have lived in the Yellowstone region for at least 11,000 years. The region was bypassed during the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early 19th century and wasn’t explored extensively until the late 1860s. Hundreds of species of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles live in the park, including several that are either endangered or threatened. The vast forests and grasslands also include unique species of plants. Yellowstone Park is home to some of the largest collections of Grizzly Bears, wolves, and free-ranging herds of bison and elk.
Old Faithful is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the park. Old Faithful is a cone geyser that erupts pretty regularly, about every 91 minutes, and can be mathematically predicted. Eruptions can shoot anywhere from 3700 to 8400 gallons of boiling hot water up to a height of 185 feet in the air. More than 137,000 eruptions have been recorded since Old Faithful was discovered in September 1870.
Old Faithful Inn
The Old Faithful Inn is an historic hotel located in Yellowstone National Park, with a clear view of the renowned Old Faithful Geyser. One of very few log hotels still standing in the US, construction of the lodgepole pine inn was completed in 1904, and it is considered today to be the largest log building in the world. With its spectacular log and limb lobby and massive (500-ton, 85-foot) stone fireplace, the inn is a prime example of the “Golden Age” of rustic resort architecture. When it first opened in 1904, it boasted electric lights and steam heat. Designed by architect Robert Reamer for the Great Northern Railway, the inn has been expanded and modified several times. In 1913 the East Wing was added, and in 1922 the dining room was enlarged. Later in 1928, the West Wing was built. The interior contains four stories of balconies, but only the bottom two are open to the public.
Yellowstone Lake is the largest body of water in Yellowstone National Park and covers 136 square miles. The average depth of the lake is 139 feet with its deepest spot at 390 feet. The lake freezes over by early December and can remain frozen until late May or early June. Nearly 3 feet of ice can cover much of the lake.
Mammoth Hot Springs
Another of Yellowstone’s most popular spots is the Mammoth Hot Springs complex, the largest known carbonate-depositing spring in the world. The hot springs were created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate over the landscape. The hot water that feeds Mammoth comes from the Norris Geyser Basin after traveling underground via a fault line. The most famous feature at the springs is the Minerva Terrace, a series of travertine terraces. The terraces have been deposited by the spring over many years but, due to recent minor earthquake activity, the spring vent has shifted, rendering the terraces dry. The Mammoth Hotel, as well as all of Fort Yellowstone, is built upon an old terrace formation known as Hotel Terrace.