This is additional info on Yellowstone National Park for our Outdoor Club Grand Tetons trip. For our event, any side trip you take to Yellowstone will not be an official club event and the college owned kayaks can’t be used there unless the advisor is along.
Below, a National Park Service aerial view of Yellowstone Park a NASA aerial of Grand Teton and Yellowstone parks and a NPS raised relief map of Yellowstone:
In the NASA photo from space the biggest lake in the upper half is Yellowstone Lake and the long one further south is Jackson Lake, with the teton range showing as a white strip to the left of it.
Yellowstone safety basics really worth reading:
The south border of Yellowstone is only 8 miles from the north border of Grand Teton. It’s 56 miles from Colter Bay to Old Faithful. It’s possible to do the whole figure eight sightseeing loop of Yellowstone’s main road in one day, but not advised.
We really recommend that people who are planning a long trip take the time for the hike to the top of Mount Washburn near Dunraven Pass in Yellowstone. When we last did this hike they had warnings that there is no water along the trail or at the fire lookout at the top. Others on the trail did not take this warning seriously and were quite dehydrated by only half way through.
Yes, there are wolves in Yellowstone, and lots of travel companies that say you can see wolves while there. Sightings are actually rare and from quite a distance.
A photo competition with some great pictures: https://www.yellowstone.org/photo-contest-2016-winners/
These photos are by Quang-Tuan Luong/terragalleria.com, all rights reserved.
See what people were doing before a bison charged them.
The park newspaper Yellowstone Today
Planning a visit to Yellowstone is at:
with links to maps, and a complete park trip planner. At the maps section you can click on individual section maps, many of which have online tours.
The Yellowstone Park website also has links to online nature tours, geology, at:
There can be bear management areas closed or restricted to travel http://www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/bearclosures.htm
The Yellowstone park site has mini-videos well worth watching:
“Park regulations state that visitors must stay more than 100 yards away from bears and 25 yards away from other wildlife. Many visitors see large wild animals that seem tame and therefore approach far closer than they should. These videos are intended to convince everyone that it is unwise to approach wild animals even if they seem tame.” One shows an elk redoing the paint job on a Cadillac.
Watch the videos at: http://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/safetyvideos.htm
(When we watched them they took quite awhile longer than advertised to watch, as they had to rebuffer a few times, but they are worth it. No, we’ve never gotten even close to having anything like this happen.)
Every year people are badly burned when they fall into thermal features in Yellowstone. Most of this is due to not staying on the boardwalks, or playing/running on the board walks.
A park news release said: “Yellowstone park visitors are reminded that for their own safety it is important to stay on boardwalks and designated trails while viewing all thermal features in the park. Scalding water underlies thin, breakable crusts; many geyser eruptions are unpredictable, and many thermal features are near or above boiling temperatures. Boardwalks and trails help protect park visitors and prevent damage to delicate formations.”
Is there a bulge under Yellowstone Lake?
Frequently asked questions about recent findings at Yellowstone Lake is at:
Yellowstone Monthly Activity Update — Each update is compiled for the previous month and posted in the first week of the new month.
and more FAQs at:
QUESTION: Do scientists know if a catastrophic eruption is currently imminent at Yellowstone?
ANSWER: There is no evidence that a catastrophic eruption at Yellowstone is imminent, and such events are unlikely to occur in the next few centuries. Scientists have also found no indication of an imminent smaller eruption of lava.
The Yellowstone caldera is in about the center of the park, including the northern part of Yellowstone Lake. Picture a semi-circle encompassing the area from Madison to Norris to a bit east of Canyon Village, then south to east of Fishing Bridge and Bridge Bay then continue west to south of Grant Village and west of Old Faithfull then finally back up to Madison. If you camp or stay in hotel at Grant Village, Old Faithful or Canyon Village you have literally slept on a caldera.
The park has an average of around 1,600 earthquakes a year. From January 17 to 22, 2010, a swarm of quakes numbered over 1,000, ten of them magnitude 3.0 or greater (one of those 3.8). Quakes under 3.0 are usually not felt by people.
photo below used with permission from the photographer Ron Niebrugge: http://www.wildnatureimages.com/
five photos below from http://pdphoto.org/:
Two live shots of Old Faithful geyser (in Yellowstone),
The most famous of 200 to 250 active geysers in Yellowstone, Old Faithful erupts on the average every 60 to 110 minutes, for 1 1/2 to 5 minutes, with an average height of 130 feet. See https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/oldfaithfulgeyserfaq.htm for an app of the next eruption prediction. “The famous geyser currently erupts around 17 times a day and can be predicted with a 90 percent confidence rate within a 10 minute variation.” Our favorite memory of an Old Faithful eruption was at night with light from a full moon and lightning from a thunderstorm in the background.
As usual, you can miss the crowds, (below a NPS photo of a typical crowd waiting for an eruption of Old Faithful Geyser)
if you are out early.
The diary of artist Thomas Moran is at:
A map of Grand Teton and Yellowstone webcams with links is at:
photo below used with permission from Ron Niebrugge: http://www.wildnatureimages.com/
Info about the hotels and cabins in Yellowstone is at:
According to a Yellowstone fact sheet
photo below used with permission from the photographer Ron Niebrugge
7 species of native ungulates (this includes 15,000 to 20,000 elk in summer, more than 500 moose, more than 2,000 mule deer).
2 species of bears (500 to 650 black bears, 280 to 610 grizzlies)
Approximately 50 species of other mammals, including 171 wolves and 20-35 cougars
311 recorded species of birds (148 nesting species)
18 species of fish (6 non-native)
6 species of reptiles
4 species of amphibians
5 species protected as “threatened or endangered”
Threatened: bald eagle, grizzly bear, lynx
Endangered: whooping crane, gray wolf
8 species of conifers
Approximately 80% of forest is comprised of lodgepole pine
More than 1,700 species of native vascular plants
More than 170 species of exotic (non-native) plants
186 species of lichens
An Active Volcano
Approximately 2,000 earthquakes annually
Approximately 10,000 thermal features
More than 300 geysers
One of the world’s largest calderas, measuring 45 by 30 miles (72 by 48 km)
One of the world’s largest petrified forests
Approximately 290 waterfalls, 15 ft. or higher, flowing year-round
Tallest waterfall: Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River at 308 ft. (94 m)
You will really want your own binoculars.
Info on selecting binoculars is at:
Photo below by David Whitten http://www.davidwhittenphoto.com/index.html?yellowteton.html~home
Each visitor center is different. At each you can get boat and backpack permits and also pick up the paperwork to earn your Yellowstone Junior Ranger badge, which you will want to start at the beginning of your trip.
One of our favorite Visitor Centers is Canyon, where you can see a display showing the extent of ashfall from various western United States eruptions (the biggest (red) circle, showing ash fall over most of the western United States, is from the Yellowstone Caldera):
There is more info about the De Anza College Outdoor Club trip at:
includes a link to The Journals of Lewis and Clark
Clark: “…bison were so numerous and loud that the men had difficulty sleeping.”
(Alanna on Montana sign photo by Mark Nevill)