The first national park in the United States as well as in the world was Yellowstone National Park. Almost 3 million visitors go there every year. It’s huge—over 2 million acres with 5 different entrances. Most of it is in Wyoming in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.
Erin and Andrew Sunter and their children Aidan and Parker spent a few days in the park after leaving the Black Hills of South Dakota on the American section of their cross-country road trip.
We wished we had more time in the park for there’s so much to see. It’s very picturesque with broad swatches of pinks and yellows. The elevation can change quite suddenly as you go from grasslands to mountains. In September, when we were there, it actually snowed.
What Aidan liked best were the animals. Bison seem to own the whole place! And he was thrilled to see bears on the side of the road.
There are about 300 geysers in the park, which was the main reason they decided to protect the area. Geysers gush hot water and steam and the whole thing is quite dramatic. Old Faithful is the best known one. Our son Aidan was quite alarmed by the sounds it made but since it gushes quite predictably we were able to warn him.
There are many boardwalks, which is great when you’re there with young kids or for anyone in a wheelchair. The thermal pools are very surreal and foul smelling so its good to be above them. There are also more than 1,000 km of backcountry trails.
Everywhere you drive you seem to pass a waterfall, some of them quite high. The Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River are 94m (308 ft.) high.
This volcano blew itself apart more than 100 years ago and now the sound is ‘blurp, blurp’. Signs say ‘Danger: Stay on the walkways’!
Dragon’s Mouth Spring
When the gases explode here it causes the water to crash on the walls of the caves, which makes this loud rumbling sound like a dragon lashing its tongue. That’s why it got its name. Aidan freaked out because that’s a scary sound for a kid.
By Erin and Andrew Sunter
Photo credits Erin and Andrew Sunter
© Riding the buses 2013