Saturday, July 24, 2010

Arroyo Toad (Riley Wilderness Park)

Here is a picture of an Arroyo Toad that Ashley and I saw while on a recent hike to Riley Wilderness Park. This is a great place to see wildlife in our area.

Tower Falls Hike (Yellowstone National Park)

Tower Falls is a beautiful waterfall that is located in Yellowstone National Park. This area is a popular tourist spot near the Tower Falls Store, but can be turned into more of a hike at the end of the scenic vista if you take the hiking trail down to the Yellowstone River. This is a fun short hike that the whole family can do together to get a view of one of the scenic waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park. For more pictures from our 2013 visit to this area, make sure to check out our Facebook Page.

Directions to Trailhead: To get to the Tower Falls Hike, drive about 2.5 miles south of Tower Junction  or 16 miles north of Canyon Junction on the Grand Loop Road toward the Tower Fall's Store. The trailhead starts at the Tower Fall's Store. Parking at this location can be limited due to the popularity of this area. Click Here for an interactive map of Yellowstone National Park. There is plenty of parking available at the Towers Falls Store for this hike. There is an entrance fee for Yellowstone National Park, but no permit is required to hike to Tower Falls.

Description of Trail: The hiking trail to Tower Falls is well maintained and is heavily used during the summer months as the Tower Fall's Store is a popular stopping spot for people going around the park. The hiking trail begins at the Tower Falls Store parking area, near the restrooms. There are signs indicating the start of the trail. A paved path takes you from the Tower Falls store to an overlook, which provides a great perspective of the 132 foot waterfall. The trail from there takes you all the way down to the Yellowstone river via several switchbacks to get a closer look of the river and the waterfall. The hike from the scenic vista to the Yellowstone River is approximately 1/3 a mile each way and the overlooks is approximately 300 feet above the Yellowstone River. This is an out and back hike.

Further Thoughts: This is a fun short hike to do with the family. The waterfall is an absolute beautiful sight to see and the scenery down by the Yellowstone River is breathtaking. The hiking trail is easy to follow and the National Parks Service does a good job of maintaining this trail. Make sure to bring your camera on this hike as you will want to take pictures of the waterfall and scenic vistas of the Yellowstone River. There is the added bonus of being able to stop at the Tower Falls Store to enjoy a scoop of huckleberry ice cream after your hike! The scenic overlook is the best spot to see the waterfall. The view at the bottom of the hiking trail to Tower Falls is obscured by the pine trees that grow beneath the overlook. If you are hoping to catch more views of Tower Falls by continuing down on the hiking trail to the Yellowstone River, you will be disappointed, but the views of the Yellowstone River are spectacular.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 300 ft. (Easy), Distance: 1 Mile Roundtrip (Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 30 - 45 minutes.


July 23, 2010 (This Post)


Artists Paintpots
View Tower Falls in a larger map

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Artists Paintpots Hike (Yellowstone National Park)

The Artists Paintpots Hike in Yellowstone National Park is a fun short hike the whole family can do together. This is a neat side excursion into the heart of the Gibbons Geyser Basin that I had the opportunity to hike with my family while visiting Yellowstone National Park. By Yellowstone's standards, I don't know if I would actually call it a true hike due to the short nature of the hiking trail, however it is a fun excursion to explore one of the many thermal features in Yellowstone National Park. This is a fun short family friendly hike to one of the many geothermal features in Yellowstone National Park.

Directions to Trailhead: To find the trailhead to hike to the Artist Paintpots in Yellowstone National Park's Gibbon Geyser Basin, you need to drive south from Norris Junction for about 4 miles. Or if you are coming north from Madison Junction it is approximately 9 miles north of the junction. There is signage indicating the turn out to reach the hiking trail and there is a parking lot with plenty of parking to pull into. It is of note that there are no restrooms at the trailhead for the Artists Paintpots Hike. Click Here for a link to an interactive map of Yellowstone National Park. There is an entrance fee for Yellowstone National Park, but no permit is required to hike to the Artists Paintpots in the Gibbons Geyser Basin.

Description of Trail: The hiking trail to the Artists Paintpots is relatively short. The trail leaving the parking area is all dirt until you get to the Artists Paintpot area. When you reach the geothermal feature there is a boardwalk that has been constructed by the national park service so that hikers and visitors do not damage the fragile thermal feature. You will use the boardwalk to hike around the Artists Paintpots area. The hiking trail is wide, flat, and is easy for the whole family to do. The hike skirts the south edge of the massive Gibbon Meadows. You have a chance of seeing elk in this area since elk commonly use Gibbon Meadows to graze. This hiking trail is not as popular as others and is less used than other hiking trails in Yellowstone National Park highlighting thermal features in the park. This is a good option if you are looking to avoid the larger crowds at other thermal features in Yellowstone National Park. The hike is a 1.2 mile loop with minimal elevation gain. While on this hike, make sure to stay on the boardwalk and designated hiking trails, and do not touch any of the fragile hydrothermal features.

Further Thoughts: The hike to the Artists Paintpots in Yellowstone National Park is a fun hike for the family to do together. It is a short fun detour from driving on the grand loop road. It is always amazing to see the thermal features inside Yellowstone National Park. The Artists Paintpots are located three miles south of the Norris Geyser Basin, in the equally large but less active Gibbon Geyser Basin. The most popular thermal feature in the Gibbon Geyser Basin is the Artists Paintpots, which is a group of over 50 springs, geysers, vents and mud pots that exhibit varying shades of blue, grey and brown, and have a range of different textures, with the behavior changing during the year depending on the amount of subterranean water. There are multiple thermal features to see while on this hike. The boardwalk guiding you through the thermal features was is in good condition and allows you to get up close to them.

If you are looking to do more of a backcountry hike in Yellowstone, then this hike is probably not for you. But if you are looking to see more thermal features then this hike is a great one as it is located in the heart of the Gibbon Geyser Basin. Yellowstone National Park is an amazing place with a tremendous amount of wildlife combined with extraordinary thermal features.

Rating: Elevation Gain: Minimal (Easy), Distance: 1.2 Miles Roundtrip (Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 30 - 45 Minutes.

View Artists Paintpots in a larger map