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East Berlin, Pennsylvania
October 13, 2006
West Thumb is near the southern entrance to Yellowstone - and it's a stop that many folks skip in trying to see Yellowstone in a day. To be truthful, if you can only stop at one, pick the Upper Geyser Basin (with Old Faithful), but if you have time, add in West Thumb, Firehole Drive, and Prismatic Spring. For West Thumb, the glory is not in the Geysers - many have stopped erupting (regularly), but the beauty in both the pools and the lake are incredible - pretty much unmatched elsewhere in the park if you catch it at the right time (when many pools are turquoise).
Back in 2004 (our first trip to Yellowstone) this was our first stop. We saw pool after pool of unmatched blue beauty - giving us an awesome first taste of the park. We're also mostly positive we were lucky enough to see Twin Geysers erupting - an event the brochure says hasn't happened recently - BUT we caught it on film (not digital). Since we were unaware of the significance, I'm not willing to say 100% that it was this geyser, but it was erupting (twice) - and it was high - and there aren't many other options at this basin - esp in that area... We feel honored.
On this trip, not so many of the pools were blue (some were) but we got more of a taste of the many colors the pools can be (based on their current temp). Blue is still my favorite, but the variety was nice to see too.
Be sure to see Fishing Cone - out in Yellowstone Lake - that's a novelty geyser where folks used to be able to cook a fish right on the line. They'd catch it on one side, turn around, and cook it on the other by dipping it in this cone.
As a bonus on this last trip, we had an elk wander his way into our path - crossing the boardwalk not far away from us at all. He was after the minerals near one of the pots. The rest of us need to stay on the boardwalk...
As hikes go, this one is super easy - all boardwalked. It's 1/2 mile around the outside and 1/4 mile around the inside - do both - there's different sights - and all worth seeing... Enjoy!
From journal 2006 Trip Pt 2 - WY - Devil's Tower to Yellowstone
October 1, 2003
This area is truly spectacular and beautiful. It overlooks the huge and very blue Yellowstone Lake, but the reason you are here are the pools and springs that seem to be everywhere. If you follow the pathway, you won’t miss anything, but be careful as bison roam freely. At one point we had to turn back on a path as a bison had decided to take a rest there and the park ranger was stopping people getting too close.
There are lots of pools and springs with strange names such as Seismograph and Bluebell, two pools which sit next two each other and vary in colour, one being deep blue the other green. There is the Black Pool, which is actually bright blue due to the fact that it is now much hotter than it used to be and the colour has become much lighter. Another pool is Abyss, which is one of the deepest pools at 53ft, it gently bubbles all the time. Blue Funnel Spring is almost a perfect circle and all round the edge is orange a brown from the minerals etc which come from it.
There is a long trail of orange and brown mineral deposits spilling from some of the pools down to the lake. These are quite beautiful too. There a series of pools known as paint pots, so called because of the colours of the pools and the surrounding minerals.
Many of the pools bubble and steam be careful of your camera lense as it may get steamed up. Some of the smaller pools bubble and splutter, making very strange noises.
This is a fantastic area to wander around and drink in the scenery. The walkway takes you along the banks of Yellowstone Lake, which is huge. There are many bubbling springs within the lake itself. You need to give yourself plenty of time here.
Back on the road, you travel onto Fishing Bridge Junction, you have the option to detour along Gull Point Drive off to the right. We did and it takes you along the bank of the lake. There are places to park and view the wildlife amongst the trees. We saw lots of birds which we had never seen before, being from the UK. If you miss this road, don’t worry, you haven’t missed too much, but equally, given the chance, take the detour.
From journal Yellowstone Treasures
As you travel along the road you see fantastic panoramas of the Teton National Park Mountains. The Lewis River meanders along the right of the road and is very pretty, surrounded by green grass with the backdrop of the mountains. Shortly after the park entrance is the first waterfall you come across, Moose Falls. Here you can park and take a short trail to a small but pretty waterfall. Once visited you can carry along the road, passing all the fire damaged trees until you come to where the river runs under the road to the other side and here you can stop and visit the Lewis Falls.
Here you have to park along side the road and view the river and the waterfall from either the road bridge or walk along the river bank for a better view–-watch your footing. Although Lewis Falls is quite small it is very pretty with water cascading down the falls, surrounded by woodland. We spotted quite a few chipmunks scurrying around. Both Moose and Lewis Falls are worth a ten minute stop for photos.
After this stop, carry along the road, passing the very large Lewis Lake on the left. There is a campground here with the usual array of water based activities such as boats, fishing, etc. Further up the road and just before the West Thumb Junction is Grant Village. Here you will find campgrounds, gas station, shops, restaurants, etc. If you need the toilet, stop here first before wandering further into the park. The gift shop has hundreds of good guide books and general information and photographic books about the park. Worth picking up a couple on you way home.
As we walked back to our car near Grant Village we passed some deer grazing in the trees. They were so close we could have touched them. Keep your eyes open for wildlife.
After Grant Village you come to West Thumb Junction, here you can turn left towards Old Faithful and the West entrance or right towards Fishing Bridge and the East entrance. We went right.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
July 16, 2003
The walk is easy and short, with everything within a short distance. This is a great place to stop with children, my own were fascinated by the deep blue pools, bubbling mud pots and a micky mouse shaped hotspring.
From journal Homage to Yellowstone