October 8, 2003
The next major area is the Mud Volcano Area. Be warned this place stinks! The stench of sulphur is very strong here and takes your breath away as you exit your car. There is a very large car park with toilets, however, the toilets are awful, just a pedestal leading down to a deep hole in the ground.
The area has a walkway which is about a mile long and parts of which are quite strenuous due to the steep gradients and general lack of good quality air. The pools here consist mainly of mud pools which bubble and splutter at you, creating some very amusing noises. They go by some very odd names such as Churning Caldron, Black Dragon’s Caldron and Dragon’s Mouth Spring, which gurgles away throwing out spurts of hot mud with a belching, thumping type sound.
Some of the larger pools are found further up the trail, but it is worth the trek as the area looks like an alien landscape with bubbling mud, fire damaged trees etc.
Once you leave this area, you carry on the road towards Canyon Junction. This is a very scenic area with lots of fields containing bison, deer etc. If you are lucky you may even see a black bear, like we did. Unfortunately it was moving through trees and I was unable to get a good picture of it via the camcorder, but on the film you can just make out its backside as it darts through the trees.
Just before the junction, turn right into the Upper and Lower falls area. Again there is plenty of parking space. You can visit both falls and also walk along Uncle Tom’s Overlook which as the name suggests gives you a view over the falls. We walked to the lower falls and the view is spectacular. You end up very near the crest of the falls and can almost touch the water – you do get sprayed.
Looking to the right you see the river coming towards you then cascading loudly over the falls, dropping into the water valley below. It is beautiful and noisy with a small rainbow forming where the falls hits the water below.
From this area you then reach Canyon Junction and from here you travel to the next junction – Norris. There is not much to see between these two junctions, just general scenery, but it is the only road from which you get East to West without going round the North loop road.
From journal Yellowstone Treasures