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4th of July Weekend at Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park, WY, United States
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After 2 hours of driving, we finally reached our first destination in Yellowstone National Park – the most famous Grand Prismatic Spring! Originally, I planned to do West Thumb Geyser Basin then Old Faithful as they are on the way but thinking we should head to the most famous first before the crowd. We arrived before 9 am and the parking lot already full but we were able to find parking on the street right outside the parking lot. We walked down on the trail and it smelled more and more like boiling egg (the typical sulfur smell at geothermal areas).

The first hot pool we saw was Excelsior Geyser Crater, the smoke covered the pool that it was barely visible. We waited till the wind blow and for the few seconds, we were able to have a look at the turquoise-colored pool. Next, the infamous Grand Prismatic Spring. The colors were AMAZING! Even the smoke was blue! I finally have seen the Grand Prismatic Spring, it was much bigger and colorful than what I imagined. The wind was totally co-operating that we could see the colorful spring clearly! The only regret was that the hiking trail to go up for the aerial view was closed due to the construction of the new observation platform so we couldn’t get the iconic aerial views of the colorful spring 🙁 However, it was still incredible though! Look at the layers of colors and the “wave” pattern of the sulfur underneath the thin layer of water! It was tricky to take good photos as the boardwalk was very narrow and people constantly passing so hard to careful while moving around to compose the photo. You must stay on the boardwalk as it is very dangerous to fall into the boiling water!!!

The lesser colorful and smaller in size is the Opal Pool. We finished the loop and back to the first Excelsior Geyser Crater, now the wind direction was right that we could see more of the turquoise-colored pool and bubbling water!

Next, Old Faithful, we decided to have lunch at Geyser Grill first and again we made the right decision because once we had lunch, a bus load of people came in so the place was filled! The food was expensive and not that great as like inside other national parks, it was cafeteria style, casual but at least fast! After the quick lunch, we went in the visitor center where they posted the prediction time of Old Faithful’s next eruption. They said their prediction accuracy is 90% with with plus or minus 10 minutes of the predicted time! The next eruption will be half an hour away so we walked out to wait….look at how many people were there already!

All the benches were filled and we found a corner on the boardwalk to sit down and wait. The wait was painful on my butt and my hands LOL as my finger was on the shutter button ready to click any moment on high-speed shutter mode! The geyser fooled us a few times when we thought it was about to explode, it didn’t! We had seen erupting geyser before in Iceland and it just blasted with only a second of warning by looking closely at the “bubble” getting big and explode. However, Old Faithful is far away from the boardwalk and not visible of the bubbling condition so it was hard to tell. The eruption lasted a few minutes so plenty of time to take your perfect shots. After the eruption, we started the walking trail to Upper Geyser Basin which we saw many colorful hot springs and geysers. When we were heading to Morning Glory and saw the park ranger outside the restroom, he said the restroom is closed due to the bison is blocking the entrance! Wow, Morning Glory is so beautiful!!!

I really like the layout of Yellowstone that it’s divided into different sections so people are scattered out and you wouldn’t feel like crowded. Many of the trails are easy with boardwalks, please stay on the boardwalks while enjoying the beautiful and unique landscapes! After seeing many colorful pools and springs, it was time to get to our lodge where we stayed 2 nights at the Canyon Lodge. Canyon Lodge is located in the Canyon Village section of the park with a General Store that you can get snacks and drinks, one restaurant (reservation is required), and a cafeteria-style eatery. You need to be early for dinner otherwise, you’ll be stuck in the queue for a LONGGGGG time! The food was mediocre at its best and expensive!

The cafeteria divided into two lines…one for American food and one for Asian stir-fried and both are staffed by college students. Sometimes you can see the inefficiency of the place for such simple food sigh. Our stir-fried box…almost tasteless so you need the sauce! After dinner, we checked into our lodge, our room was clean and modern but very small! The restroom is barely a closet! That it doesn’t even have room for the vanity so it’s located out in the room. There’s paid wifi but the receptionist said don’t bother because it barely works! Sometimes we got signal from our cellphone (T-Mobile) but not even 3G speed so you’ll definitely feel disconnected in the park which is not an issue for us 🙂

For sunset, we tried our luck at Great Fountain Geyser. We were the only ones there and there was a lot of mosquitoes! The reflections were amazing there, however, not much of a sunset. It would be stunning with a beautiful sunset! After the first day seeing tens if not over a hundred of geysers, springs, and hot pool, Yellowstone did not disappoint; it is much more colorful and bigger than I have expected!
Story Details

Hotels

Canyon Village
Canyon Village
We stayed 2 nights at the Canyon Lodge in Canyon Village. Our room was clean and modern but very small that the restroom is barely a closet!

Points of interest

White Dome Geyser
White Dome Geyser
The sun has set and not much colors, we went to the nearby White Dome Geyser and it erupted when we arrived!
Great Fountain Geyser
Great Fountain Geyser
For sunset, we tried our luck at Great Fountain Geyser. We were the only ones there and there was a lot of mosquitoes! The reflections were amazing there, however, not much of a sunset. It would be stunning with a beautiful sunset!
Silex Spring
Silex Spring
The Silex Spring looked like some flakes are breaking off the edges.
Sapphire Pool
Sapphire Pool
I love the shades of blue in the Sapphire Pool, the name really matches!
Wall Pool
Wall Pool
The milky turquoise-colored is the Wall Pool where it is located right across the river from the parking lot of Biscuit Basin.
Morning Glory Pool
Morning Glory Pool
My 2nd most favorite hot spring/pool in Yellowstone - Morning Glory. The colors are extremely beautiful!
Daisy Geyser
Daisy Geyser
We turned on the loop to Daisy Geyser where it was predicted to erupt in the next 15 minutes so we sat and waited. The prediction timing was pretty accurate!
Grotto Geyser
Grotto Geyser
I was sitting in front of the Grotto Geyser for photos and all suddenly I heard splashing water sound; it was eruption while my photos being taken LOL. Awesome!
Catfish Geyser
Catfish Geyser
The left one is the Catfish Geyser whereas the right one is Giant Geyser, last eruption was back in 2010!
Beauty Pool
Beauty Pool
Another one that I can't correlate the name - Beauty Pool but the colors are vivid.
Economic Geyser
Economic Geyser
I don't get how it gets its name - Economic Geyser but I guess it has to do with the color like a penny?
West Triplet Geyser
West Triplet Geyser
West Triplet Geyser, unlike other geysers that erupt and blow water up in the air in some unknown intervals of time, this one is constantly splashing hot water out.
Belgian Pool
Belgian Pool
Love this little Belgian Pool with the vivid bright yellow color, it also has a funnel that makes you wonder how deep it really goes?
Spasmodic Geyser
Spasmodic Geyser
Definitely not the spa you want to try out, the water is boiling (dangerously boiling) hot!
Heart Spring
Heart Spring
Heart Spring, can you correlate the shape to the human heart?
Depression Geyser
Depression Geyser
I love the crystal clear turquoise water of the Depression Geyser.
Beehive Geyser
Beehive Geyser
The name, Beehive Geyser, really fits its appearance! We didn't get to see it erupts though!
Little Anemone Geyser
Little Anemone Geyser
The Anemone Geyser located in the Upper Geyser Basin; it looked dull unlike the other hot springs.
Old Faithful Geyser
Old Faithful Geyser
Go in the visitor center where they posted the prediction time of Old Faithful’s next eruption. They said their prediction accuracy is 90% with with plus or minus 10 minutes of the predicted time! We got there half an hour before the predicted time and already filled with people waiting for it to erupt. The wait was painful on my butt and my hands LOL as my finger was on the shutter button ready to click any moment on high-speed shutter mode! The eruption lasted for few minutes so you'll get the shots you want!
Opal Pool
Opal Pool
Opal Pool - the smaller version of Grand Prismatic Spring. It is still colorful and without the crowds!
Grand Prismatic Spring
Grand Prismatic Spring
The colors were AMAZING! Even the smoke was blue! I finally have seen the Grand Prismatic Spring, it was much bigger and colorful than what I imagined. The wind was totally co-operating that we could see the colorful spring clearly! The only regret was that the hiking trail to go up for the aerial view was closed due to the construction of the new observation platform so we couldn’t get the iconic aerial views of the colorful spring 🙁 However, it was still incredible though!
Excelsior Geyser Crater
Excelsior Geyser Crater
The first hot pool we saw was Excelsior Geyser Crater, the smoke covered the pool that it was barely visible. We waited till the wind blow and for the few seconds, we were able to have a look at the turquoise-colored pool.

Restaurants

Canyon Village
Canyon Village
You need to be early for dinner otherwise, you’ll be stuck in the queue for a LONGGGGG time! The food was mediocre at its best and expensive! The cafeteria divided into two lines…one for American food and one for Asian stir-fried and both are staffed by college students. Sometimes you can see the inefficiency of the place for such simple food sigh. Our stir-fried box…almost tasteless so you need the sauce!
Geyser Grill
Geyser Grill
We arrived at Old Faithful and we decided to have lunch at Geyser Grill first and again we made the right decision because once we had lunch, a bus load of people came in so the place was filled! The food was expensive and not that great as like inside other national parks, it was cafeteria style, casual but at least fast!

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