Continuing beyond Old Faithful, the majority of the thermal features are now in the rearview mirror. But what this area of Yellowstone lacks in geysers it makes up for in mountains, lakes, and waterfalls. The Firehole River flows through this area and a few small lakes dot the landscape along the main road. There is also a short detour to the Kepler Cascades.
Beyond Upper Geyser Basin, the main road through the park begins to climb. To be exact, it climbs up and over the Continental Divide. Twice. On a clear day, the Teton Mountains are visible from these high points.
After dropping down from the Continental Divide for the second time, Yellowstone Lake comes into view. Yellowstone Lake is the largest lake in the park and one of the largest high altitude lakes in North America. One arm of the lake extends quite a distance to the southwest – the West Thumb. Along the shores of West Thumb is the small West Thumb Geyser Basin. This basin doesn’t have many geysers, but is home to numerous hot springs. Some old thermal remains are also visible in the lake. I really love West Thumb; the contrast of the colorful hot springs against the backdrop of the lake is really beautiful.
Beyond West Thumb, the main road turns north and begins traversing the lake shore. For now, though, I’m going to head south towards the southern park boundary. I haven’t spent nearly as much time in this area because it’s so much farther from my house. However, I’ve been to the Lewis Lake area. There is a small waterfall on the Lewis River that can be accessed by a short hike.
To be continued…