Yellowstone National Park
Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River, copyright QT Luong, www.terragalleria.com/parks
QT Luong is a full-time freelance nature and travel photographer from San Jose, California.
Born to Vietnamese parents in France, he was trained as a scientist (PhD U. Paris). The revelation of the high Alps led him to become a mountain climber and wilderness guide. When he came to the US to conduct research in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing, he felt in love with the National Parks. After he became the first to photograph all of them in large format, Ken Burns featured him in The National Parks: America's Best Idea (2009).
For more of Tuan's national park images, visit www.terragalleria.com/parks
No more iconic park exists in the world than Yellowstone National Park, thanks to its role in launching the national parks movement, its incredible geothermal features, beautiful scenery, and rich fount of wildlife.
Yellowstone is a precious, beautiful preserve of nature, one that constantly delights and challenges visitors to learn more about the natural world. Whether you come in search of the world's greatest collection of geothermal features, to glimpse wolf, bear, moose or bison, for long hikes into the wilderness or to camp along rivers or lakes, Yellowstone will bring you to the end of your search.
Anchoring the northwestern corner of Wyoming, and lapping over a bit into Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone is a portrait of wild America. Within its 2.2 million acres you roam a landscape that contains the full assemblage of wildlife that John Colter might have encountered when he wandered across this landscape in late 1807 and early 1808.
Within this landscape is the world's greatest collection of geothermal displays, with more than 10,000 geysers, hot springs, mudpots and fumaroles. There are thick lodgepole pine forests, aspen glades, and vast rolling meadows. Mountains rise more than 11,000 feet above sea level, while the canyon cut by the Yellowstone River plunges more than 1,000 feet.
Visitors today don't face the same hardships John Colter did in exploring the park. There are ample lodging and dining facilities in Yellowstone, a minimal, but efficient, road network ready to carry you to the major attractions, and campsites that don't need to be hacked out of the wilderness.
And yet, if you're seeking a wilderness experience, that can be had to, as most of the park is managed for its wild nature.
Traveler's Choice For: Geology, hiking, backpacking, paddling, families, wildlife, photography
Yellowstone can easily be divided into five geographic regions. Mammoth Country covers the northwestern corner of the park, Roosevelt Country sprawls across the northeastern corner, Canyon Country is just south of Roosevelt Country and takes in the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River, Lake Country covers the southeastern portion of the park, and Geyser Country lies near the park's southwestern corner.
Yellowstone has been described as North America's Serengeti for its rich wildlife resources. And with wolves, bison, bears, elk, moose, mountain lions, Canada lynx and more, it's easy to understand how that tag became attached to the park. For families, there's no better place to indulge in a game or three of wildlife bingo.
While many head to Yellowstone National Park in winter to explore by snowmobile, many visitors also like to get out on foot -- either with snowshoes or cross-country skis -- to move about the park.
Here's the rundown on how to safely enjoy those activities in the park this winter. The following information comes from Yellowstone Today, the park's official newspaper.
Within Yellowstone's borders are vast lakes, raging rivers, and mountains seemingly made out of glass. What created this intriguing and varied landscape? Fire and ice. Fire in the form of molten rock that today fuels the park's geothermal basement, and ice in the form of incredibly thick and massive glaciers that once covered the region.
Of Yellowstone's five gateway towns, West Yellowstone is my favorite. It's the closest to the park, as Yellowstone's West Entrance is at the end of Yellowstone Avenue, and it has this wonderfully funky vibe flowing through it.