Thursday, October 06, 2016

Yellowstone's Lower Loop

When we arrived in West Yellowstone the night of August 17, there was ash falling from the sky from two nearby wildfires. The streets were filled with smoke the next morning.

20161006 Yellowstone's Lower Loop
Smoke in West Yellowstone
The smoke made breathing a little difficult. Our motel didn't have air conditioning, and we couldn't leave our motel room windows open because of the smoke. Thankfully, it cooled down enough at night to be comfortable in the room. We half expected a knock on the door in the middle of the night to tell us we were being evacuated, but that knock never came.

The roads in Yellowstone National Park form a sort of figure 8, with an upper loop and a lower loop. Today's post features scenes from Yellowstone's Lower Loop, all from August 18.

PicMonkey Collage_Gibbon_Falls
At Gibbon River Falls

Lower Falls from Artist Point

Looking the other way down the canyon from Artist Point

View of the canyon from the brink of Lower Falls on the North Rim

An osprey nest, located on a pinnacle in the canyon, can be seen from Lookout Point. There was one osprey in the nest, and Doug just happened to catch a second one coming in for a landing. I never even saw that one and was surprised to find Doug's shot of it on the camcorder. But I did catch a series of shots of one of them leaving the nest and flying down the canyon.

PicMonkey Collage_Osprey
Our last destination that day was the Firehole Lake Drive. It's the home of Great Fountain Geyser, and we were hopeful of seeing that one erupt. But it's next eruption was estimated for the wee hours of the morning. We continued on our drive to Firehole Lake, though. Actually, there was no choice since it's a one-way road.

White Dome Geyser on Firehole Lake Drive

Firehole Lake
The colorful sky in the last two photos is due in part to sunset and clouds, but smoke from the fires near West Yellowstone also contributed.

Lastly, I've put together some video clips from this day in Yellowstone:

The next day, we toured the Upper Loop; but that will be another post.


  1. A huge falls, nice to listen to it roar.Sad to hear the fire is still raging

  2. Linda, I love the video of the falls! I love the sound of waterfalls and fountains. Your photos are gorgeous! Sorry to hear about all the smoke and it is sad there was no air conditioning, as this would have helped quite a bit. I am glad it cooled down at night, though, as it is very difficult to sleep when it is too hot.

  3. The smoke you encountered reminded me of our first visit to Yellowstone. We've driven the lower loop a couple of times now, and I enjoyed your beautiful pictures and the memories they brought out.

  4. Beautiful scenes. The smoke does add nice color to the sky.

  5. Beautiful captures, Linda. The video clips are a nice addition to your photos, they add dimension to the places, and I love your collages, great idea to connect those photos!

  6. I suppose you just never know how a trip is going to turn out. Sorry about the smoke and no air-conditioning, but you managed to take beautiful photos. And the Lower Falls in the video is magnificent. Thank you for sharing!
    Have a great weekend!

  7. gosh, how beautiful. glad you weren't driven out by the smoke and/or fires! yikes!

  8. the falls are magnificent and I loved the video Linda

  9. Steve - Those falls are so beautiful; and, yes, the roar is wonderful. As for the fires, it seems that they occur every summer, usually started by lightning strikes. The park is so big and the fires are usually in such remote areas that it seldom interferes with tourism. Having two so near the town of West Yellowstone did cause some issues in town, though.

    Linda - We've stayed at this motel before and knew that there was no air conditioning. It's usually not a problem because the town sits at an elevation of nearly 7000 feet above sea level. It does get pretty warm during the day, but we're only in the room at night; so it's not usually a problem.

    George - I remember how terribly smoky it was for you that year when you visited the Tetons. I'm glad you were able to go back later to see the area without the smoke.

    Ruth - So true. And, since we were staying west of Yellowstone, we were always privileged to enjoy the smoky sunsets as we drove back to our motel in the evenings.

    Thanks, Petra. I appreciate your encouragement about the video clips and collages. I just began experimenting with the collages, wanting to cut down on the number of individual photos in my posts. I'll probably continue to use them from time to time. These were done on

    Toni - The smoke in town wasn't too much of a hindrance to our vacation since we were only in town briefly in the mornings and at night. Air conditioning would be an unnecessary expense in that location most of the time since they're at a high enough elevation to stay fairly cool. Doug's going to get a big head when I tell him how much people are enjoying his videos. :)

    Theresa - The Canyon area of Yellowstone is absolutely beautiful. If you've never been there, I hope you can go sometime. The fires near the town of West Yellowstone were the only ones that really affected us, and that was more of a nuisance than a threat.

    Thank you, Margaret. I'll pass your words of praise for the video to Doug, my husband and videographer.


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