Yellowstone Park is without a doubt one of the most awesome parks in the world. Known for its wildlife, rugged wilderness landscape, waterfalls, towering canyons and mountains and of course for its numerous Geysers, Mud pots, Hot Springs and Fumaroles.
So, whats the difference between a geyser, mud pot hot spring and fumaroles? First all of these are caused by underground water channels being heated by volcanic activity. This hot water and steam gets forced up to the surface in several different ways each causing different features to appear when it reaches the surface. While traveling through Yellowstone National Park visitors get to see one of the greatest concentrations of this volcanic activity in the world.
- Geysers: Geysers occur when water seeps into areas where it is trapped by underground constrictions. As the water continues to build up and gain heat it also starts to build pressure. In time this pressure is great enough to force it way up to the surface in gusts of water sometimes reaching over 100 feet high. Some of these geysers, like Old Faithful erupt with clockwork precision, making predicting the timing of the eruptions possible. Others are very difficult to predict.
- Mud Pots: Mud Pots are similar to hot springs where heated water is forced up to the surface and create a pool on the surface. The difference is the increased acidity of the water and the limited amount of water. This acid in the water dissolves the rock as it travels to the surface creating mud or clay when it reaches the top. Mud pots look more like a bubbling ooze than a pool. The visible activity is usually a great hit with the kids.
- Hot Springs: Without the constrictions of the geysers, the water from hot springs rises to the surface, cools and then sinks again. Depending on the temperature of the water, the color of the pool can change dramatically from a deep turquoise blue changing to greens, yellows and even orange colors. The color is actually due to living organisms in the water. Different organisms can live at different heat, each causing its own distinctive color.
- Fumaroles: Fumaroles have a smaller amount of water reach the surface. This water is super heated underground into steam. This steam flashes up to the surface creating steam vents on the surface.
Yellowstone National Park is huge! Way more than you will be able to visit in a day. Many travelers make use of the camping areas within the park. Others choose one of the Hotels or Motels in one of the towns outside the park.
West Yellowstone Montana is one of the favorite areas to stay when visiting Yellowstone Park. West Yellowstone is located at the West entrance of Yellowstone Park and has pretty much anything you are going to want for your visit including stores, restaurants and of course motels. Lodging in West Yellowstone includes lower priced motels like Travelers Lodge, Comfort Inn, and the Dude and Roundup Motel. Some of the higher priced accommodations include the Yellowstone Park Hotel, Stage Coach Inn, Gray Wolf inn and suites, Yellowstone Park Inn and suites, Yellowstone Lodge, and the Yellowstone Country Inn.
While visiting West Yellowstone you will likely want to save a little time for some of its attractions before heading into Yellowstone Park itself. One place you will likely want to stop at is the Yellowstone Historic Center Museum and check out the stagecoaches and steam trains displayed there. If you have never checked out an IMAX theatre, it is well worth the time to check one out and they have one in West Yellowstone. You will also find some of the parks nicer gift shops within West Yellowstone. Of course the park is also about the wildlife and one of the must see stops is the grizzly and Wolf discovery Center.
An article of this size can only scratch the surface of the things you will want to check out while visiting Yellowstone Park and there is no way you can see it all in one visit. Be sure to check out some of the websites featuring the best of Yellowstone park like Yellowstone Park Vacations to decide which ones you want to check out first.