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The West Entrance to Yellowstone National Park begins out of the southeast corner of the accomodating town of West Yellowstone, Montana. The west entrance was established in 1905, 5 miles east of the present day west gate. If you like to flyfish, there is a road approximately 1/5 mile from the entrance, that leads to the Madison River and the Barnes Pools made famous by Charlie Brooks.

As you continue on the main road, it closely follows the 0
Madison River and allows you to view the Madison Plateau to the south and the rim of the Yellowstone Caldera to the north. Geological landmarks include Mount Haynes, named after F. Jay Haynes the noted Park photographer, Mount Jackson named after William Henry Jackson, the official photographer of the Hayden Expedition, and National Park Mountain receiving its name because it overlooks the site where the idea on Yellowstone National Park was conceived.

In & near the Madison River you may see waterfowl, including: Ducks (Golden Eye, Merganser, Mallard, Coots, and others,) Geese (Greater & Lessor Canada, Snow, and others,) & Trumpeter Swans, being the most common. Maternity herds and bachelor groups of Bison feed all winter in the meadows adjacent to the river, as do both cow and bull Elk. Wolves and Coyotes frequent this area too, along with animal tracks, elk and bison beds. Restrooms are located at Seven Mile Bridge and at the Warming Hut at Madison Junction. The warming hut is an excellent stop for winter visitors especially if you intend to do the Grand Loop tour.


The road gently climbs out of the Madison River Valley to the three0
most visited geyser basins in the park (Lower, Midway, Upper.) The road follows the Firehole River, past Firehole Falls in the Firehole Canyon , through a gently broken valley to Old Faithful. Restrooms are located at Fountain Paint Pots, Bisquit Basin, and Old Faithful. Located less than a mile from Madison Junction is Firehole Canyon Drive. This road follows the stream bank of the Firehole River in its narrow canyon and abruptly climbs to the top of Firehole Falls, one of many roadside waterfalls in Yellowstone. Above the falls Firehole canyon widens rapidly into the
Firehole valley and wildlife viewing opportunities abound. Ducks, Geese,
Dippers, Swans, Elk, Bison, Wolves, Coyotes, Woodpeckers, Eagles, Deer, Hares, Porcupines, Ravens, Mice, Martens, and other animals may be seen along this stretch of road all winter.

Lower Geyser Basin
About half way to Old faithful and one of the most popular 0
attractions in this basin are located at Fountain Paint Pots. With just a short walk it is possible to see all four types of the parks thermal features (Hot Springs, Fumaroles, Mud Pots, Geysers.) Silex Spring is a classic hot spring with attendant features of color, temperature, biota, and spectacle. Be sure to look closely at the bacterial and algae mats for flies that subsist only on this food, and the spiders that subsist only on the flies. These life forms are the food source for mites, mice, insects, and birds. Fountain Paint Pot is usually best viewed in winter when the water table, and local snow melt combine to produce perfect conditions for the display of the world famous 'bubbling mud.' Red Spouter is a recent feature that developed in 1959 after the Hebgen Earthquake. In the summer it is just an ordinary fumarole, but in the winter it spouts red water and red mud. Clepsydra Geyser is a spectacular sight and the boardwalk allows visitors to get an up-close-and-personal view of this feature. Lucky visitors will have the chance to see Fountain Geyser, a spectacular display of several related geysers erupting in a wild symphony of sights, sounds and spray. Don't let the silica-rich waters get on your camera lenses!

Midway Geyser Basin
About 2 miles south of Fountain Paint Pot. Excelsior Geyser 0
and Grand Prismatic Hot spring (the largest hot spring in the
park,) are the main attractions in this basin. Upper Geyser Basin is a collection of three conjoined sub-basins surrounding the Old Faithful area (Biscuit Basin, Black Sand Basin, Old Faithful Basin.) This part of Yellowstone contains the largest concentration of geysers in the world. The geysers have been combined by proximity, geologic, and topographic criteria into groups. All the groups are accessible in the winter.

Biscuit Basin
Is formed by the confluence of the Firehole River and Iron Spring Creek. It is a meadow that attracts large animals and waterfowl in the winter because of the heat and available forage. It is common to see large bull elk and giant bull bison grazing side by side in this lush meadow. The visitor with a sharp eye will also be able to identify many shore birds, waterfowl, and scavengers around the edges of the grazing herds. Thermal attractions in this area include: Sapphire Pool, Jewel Geyser, Mustard Spring, Avoca Spring, and Shell Geyser. 0

Black Sand Basin
Derives its name from the concentration of black obsidian (volcanic glass,) sand in the basin. Two large hot springs (Emerald Pool & Rainbow Pool,) are located here. Sunset Lake (a hot spring that behaves like a geyser,) Cliff Geyser, Spouter Geyser, and Opalescent Pool are also located here.


Upper Geyser Basin

The Upper Geyser Basin has the largest concentration of geysers in the world. Most of these geysers can be viewed either during summer or winter. Check with the visitor center for eruption times. Be sure to make time and visit the Old Faithful Inn.


Click the Image for
Old Faithful Video

Old Faithful Basin contains five major geyser groupings,
each is named for the signature geyser(s) in the group.
Visitors with time to enjoy thermal features should spend some time with each group. Old Faithful is the most visited attraction in the park. Even though it is not the largest or most regular, the frequency of its eruptions make it the most reliable. The 1870 Washburn Expedition made a wise choice on its namesake.

Geyser Hill Group: Old faithful, Anemone Geyser, Plume Geyser, Beehive Geyser,

Lion Group, Giantess Geyser, Heart Spring, Solitary Geyser, and Doublet Pool.

Castle-Grand Group: Castle Geyser, Grand Geyser, Spasmodic Geyser, Sawmill Geyser, and Crested Pool.

Giant-Grotto Group: Giant Geyser, Grotto Geyser, Beauty Pool,
Chromatic Spring, Oblong Geyser.

Daisy Group: Daisy Geyser, Splendid Geyser, Comet Geyser, Black Sand Spring, and Punchbowl Spring and is a popular place for scenic photography. Riverside-Morning Glory Group: Riverside Geyser, Morning Glory Pool, Gem Pool, Artemisia Geyser.

For in-depth information on any of the geyser areas go to our Geyser Directory.



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