Yellowstone National Park - Part 5.
Yellowstone Canyon and Mammoth Hot Springs

It is the start of our second day here at the national park. It rained all night long and is continuing to rain on and off as we drive around the loop road.

Today we head north on the east side of the loop road to the "Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone." Over the years, the Yellowstone River cut a beautiful canyon into the volcanic rock. There are two waterfalls in the Yellowstone river in the canyon; The Upper Falls and The Lower Falls. The canyon walls at the upper falls are completely different than that at and below the lower falls. The walls of the lower canyon are very colorful and are best viewed in the bright sun. The sun seems to bring all of the colors out to their best.The bright yellow, orange, and red of the canyon walls are caused by heat and chemical action on gray or brown rhyolite rock.

The best viewing of the falls and the canyon is from the south rim. There is a 4.5 mile trail along the rim. There is also a trail, Uncle Tom's Trail, which goes 328 steps down 500 feet into the canyon below the lower falls. It has a great view of the falls. But we will be stopping at the various viewing points on the rim instead.

The north rim has trails which go down to the brink of both falls. I did one of those trails when I was here before. The return up from the falls is quite strenuous and we will not attempt that this time.

After viewing the canyon we will head across the top of the loop road to Mammoth Hot Springs for lunch and a tour of the hot springs.

Upper Falls - 109 feet high.
The canyon walls here have trees growing on them.

The overnight rain is helping the flow of water.

The "Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone."
Our first view of the 308 feet high Lower Falls. It is nearly twice as high as Niagara Falls.

The view from Artist Point.

Looking downstream from Artist Point.
The colors would really be bright if the sun was out.

We have to keep wiping the drizzle off of the camera lens and point the camera down.

The color changes as you look around.

On our way to Mammoth Hot Springs we pass a lone buffalo crossing the road.

The land is changing as we approach Mammoth Hot Springs.

When we arrived in Mammoth Hot Springs there was a bottleneck of cars and RVs.
We quickly found the reason - A herd of elk decided to have a lunch of lush green grass.

They seemed to be all around the center of town.

The bulls had their own area.

We really thought this guy was big. We passed within six feet of him and he could care less.

Then we saw the king of the hill.

We had a good lunch and got set to tour the Hot Springs.
This is a view, from the town center, of the mountain of Hot Springs.

The springs made that mountain.

Liberty Cap - This 37 foot hot spring cone marks the northern portion of Mammoth Hot Springs.
Liberty Cap was named in 1871 by the Hayden Survey party because of its marked resemblance
to the peaked caps worn during the French Revolution.

Palette Spring

It is starting to rain again.

Palette Spring has a lot of different colors and terraces.

Each hot spring forms a terrace; the color of which is dependent on the material it brought up.
The black mound is called the Devils Thumb.

The flow from the hot springs slowly spreads across the terrace and looks like a lake.
As it encompasses the trees they die and stay standing.

This whole mound or mountain is made from the hot springs.
Notice the different color on the far side of the distant walkway.

The Main Terrace

The end of the Main Terrace.
You can see the village of Mammoth Hot Springs where we saw the elk in the park.

Zooming part way on the town.

Pushing my telephoto lens to max.

The elk are still in town!

Orange Spring Mound
Driving around the top of the mountain we came across this hot spring.

Angel Terrace - Overtaking many trees.

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