West Thumb, Yellowstone National Park

Since I STILL haven’t finished sharing vacation pics, here’s another installment for you. I actually started this post yesterday, December 14, which is why I selected the folder from September 14 to share. Looking at these pics, it seems like just last week that we were in Wyoming with Annelies and Yves. Other times, it feels like so long ago…

Anyway, I toyed with the idea of just using “West Thumb” as my post title. To see if y’all would be perplexed. Then I realized none of you probably give my post titles an iota of thought. So I decided to be all forthright and add the Yellostone National Park bit.

Did you know Yellowstone was the world’s first national park? It includes 2,219,789 acres, which makes the park larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined. That’s big. And because it’s so big, it is very diverse.

There’s a great overview map someone posted, which might give you some idea as to the size of the park. If nothing else, it’ll help you understand how West Thumb, on the left (west) side of Yellowstone Lake, got its name.

Annelies and Me

Wait, doesn’t that sign say “Grand Teton National Park”? And didn’t I saw I was highlighting Yellowstone?

Normally, I’d post that pic with the GTNP pics, but I’m sharing by day, remember. And I really like that shot. It was actually taken on our way from GTNP to YNP. The two are only about 40 miles apart.

There’s the YNP sign.

Don’t you just love national park entrance signs?


YNP is most-famous for its glaciers and other geothermal features. But there’s just so much beauty to behold there. In every direction. Even in spots like this where you can see a bunch of dead trees. Those trees were burned in the massive forest fire that swept through the area in 1989.


It was a rather gray day when we started out. And a bit chilly. But sometime gray is good. If I’d taken this shot in the bright, midday sun, most of those colors in the grass would have been all washed out.

I think those pics were captured around Moose Falls, which is just north of the south entrance to the park. The first really exciting stop for the day, West Thumb Geyser Basin, was yet to come.

Annelies and Yves were quite excited. They’d never seen geysers before. And although West Thumb Geyser Basin is one of the smallest geyser basins in Yellowstone, which also makes is less-known, its location along the shore of Yellowstone Lake makes it the most scenic.

Spectacular Colors

I can’t remember if we stopped at West Thumb when we were vacationing with the kids. It was gorgeous. Color, color everywhere. And I love color.

Geothermal = HOT

Hubby was looking into the pool. They really are quite hot. And, in some cases, a bit stinky.

This next shot is really cool. Not because of the image quality, or lack thereof, but because of what is shows…

Swim Party

… swimming elk! Who knew elk liked to swim?

They weren’t doin a we’have-to-do-this-to-cross thing. They were swimming for fun.  They’d go in, swim around a bit, then get out. It was awesome.

Small Pool

The hot spring pools come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. I love how you can see down into the pools. This one was only about a foot across. The colors are actually algae and bacterial growth.

Submerged Cone

Those cones are actually underwater in the lake. Doesn’t that sort of look like a tropical island?

Larger Pool

That pool was much bigger. And very orange. I guess there was lots of iron in the soil.

Yellowstone Lake

Those cliffs are from mineral deposits that have built up over millions of years.

Very Colorful Pool

That’s one of my favorite shots. I just love those colors! It’s the edge of a fairly large pool. If you look closely at the blue areas, you should be able to see how deep the pool is.

Another Big Pool

Actually, that might be a different section of the same pool featured in the previous shot. You can really see the depth there.

Pools with Lake

There you can see the lake and some mountains in the background.


And some more interesting colors. Annelies and I both took gobs of pictures at West Thumb.


I couldn’t help myself. I just love, love, love all the different colors.

Happy Travelers

That’s one of my favorite captures from the trip. We had such a good time.

There are actually a lot more pics from September 14. Rather than make this a really long post, I’ll save them for later. The next post maybe? We’ll have to see. I have lots to do and little time to fit everything in!

Do you have a favorite among today’s pics?

5 Replies to “West Thumb, Yellowstone National Park”

  1. My fav is the one of your hubby on that little bridge, with the steam rising up from the pool. Can only imagine how gorgeous that place would be on a winter day, with all the steam and mist and fog.

    So, does this mean I can still post my vacations pics from way back in July? 😉

  2. I’d love to see Yellowstone in winter, too. Especially with all the critters roaming around. Of course you can post July vacation pics. You’re the blog owner, so you have THE POWER. (Remember that Snap song, or was that before your time?)

  3. The pic that Jess references looks familiar to me, so maybe we did make a stop in West Thumb when we went as a family.

    My fav pic is the “very colorful pool” one.

    I remember that Snap song! It’s fun.

  4. Love the photo of me with “my” two guys! 🙂 The swimming elk were very, very cool. The Yellowstone Lake pics really do look like you’re on some kind of tropical island. Like you, I really like how we have sunny and “gray” pics – makes for a very interesting color palette. (By the way, I remember that song “The Power” you mentioned in your response above – great tune.)

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