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Must See in Yellowstone National Park

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Hotel Room Horror Story
By David Leonhardt

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Six hundred forty thousand years ago, a volcanic eruption magnitudes greater than the eruption of Mount Saint Helens in 1980 formed the area now known as Yellowstone National Park. Considered by many National Park vacationers as the Crowning Jewel of the United States' National Park System, the land known as Yellowstone, was the first National Park protected by law in 1872 by then President Ulysses S. Grant. Many natural wonders can be found within the confines of Yellowstone National Park. Probably the best known of these is the geyser Old Faithful but, Old Faithful is by no means the only site worth seeing during your vacation in Yellowstone National Park. There are many must see attractions to consider during your trip to this well known National Park.

The Old Faithful Area

Old Faithful is without a doubt the most well known natural attraction in Yellowstone National Park and arguably the most well known attraction in the United States' National Park System. Sixty percent of the world's geysers are located in Yellowstone Park. The largest number of geysers is located in the Upper Geyser Basin. In fact, over one hundred fifty geysers are located within a one square mile area in the Upper Geyser Basin. Yellowstone naturalist staff is able to predict the eruption of at least five of the major geysers in this small area including Castle, Grand, Daisy, Riverside, and of course Old Faithful. Many other smaller geysers may frequently erupt in this area as well. You can also view numerous hot springs and a recently developed mudpot. The Old Faithful Inn is a great place to stay while visiting the Upper Geyser Basin and Old Faithful. The lobby of the hotel features a sixty five foot ceiling, a huge fireplace, and railings made of lodgepole pine. Three hundred twenty seven rooms await vacationers visiting this area of Yellowstone National Park. If you prefer cabin-style accommodations, your best bet is Old Faithful Lodge. The lodge features a cafeteria, gift and coffee shops. Guests can check in at the front desk. A popular resting place for visitors is the Knotty Pine Porch. It provides a great view of Geyser Hill and is the oldest building at Old Faithful. This building was built for F. Jay Haynes as a photo studio in 1897.

The Mammoth Area

Venture into the Mammoth area and you'll notice the red-roofed, many-chimneyed buildings that make up part of historic Fort Yellowstone. Fourteen years of poor management of Yellowstone led officials to turn management of the National Park over to the United States' Cavalry in 1886. For the first five years, the Cavalry, lived in Camp Sheridan but, after five bone chilling winters the soldiers built the more perminant post known as Fort Yellowstone.

Prior to 1903 visitors to Yellowstone National Park took the train to Cinnabar, Montana then climbed into horse-drawn carriages to enter the park. Eventually the railway extended all the way to Gardiner and people then entered the park through the immense stone gateway, known as the Roosevelt Arch. Designed by Robert Reamer, a renowned Yellowstone architect, the arch was designed for coaches to travel through as they entered the park. During construction, President Theodore Roosevelt was visiting the park and took the opportunity to lay the cornerstone of the arch which now bears his name. The top of the arch is inscribed with the words "For the benefit and enjoyment of the people" a quote from the Organic Act of 1872 which enabled the legislation for Yellowstone National Park.

Other Must See Sites in Yellowstone National Park.

As you enjoy your Yellowstone National Park Vacation, you'll want to be sure to see these other sites including, the Engineers Office, built by the Corps of Engineers; the Scottish Rite Chapel and Capitol Hill, the former site of Superintendent Norris' headquarters. The Kite Hill cemetery is a great place to visit and contains the graves of early Yellowstone settlers and employees. Another Yellowstone landmark designed by architect Robert Reamer is the Reamer House. Reamer House is a beautiful example of Prairie-style architecture. Finally, check out the photographic studio used by the Haynes family, the old roads, bridges, railroad beds and the historic structures in the town of Gardiner.

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