Trailside Notes (Number Two)
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NOTE: The text is arranged in three columns. Objects on the tourist's right are described on the right hand side of the page; those on the tourist's left, on the left-hand side. Objects in front and general descriptions occupy the middle of the page.

Web Edition Note: Due to numerous changes in the years since this guidebook was published, the text should solely be used for historical purposes.

0.0 Old Faithful Museum, Upper Geyser Basin. (Set speedometer at 0.0) The trip logged below is from Old Faithful Museum and Ranger Station to West Thumb Junction on Yellowstone Lake, thence to Lake Junction and on to Fishing Bridge Museum. 0.0

Take road to the right for the housekeeping cabins, general store, campground. This is the utility area for the Upper Geyser Basin.

Haynes Picture Shop on the right0.15
Ranger residence and entrance to Old Faithful Lodge on the left.

0.4 Continuing straight ahead, we cross the Firehole River on bridge. From here on for a number of miles we climb toward the Continental Divide.


Kepler Cascade on the right1.4
These are cascades on the Firehole River formed by water flowing over the harder rocks of a rhyolite lava flow.

Road to Lone Star Geyser on right. The distance to Lone Star Geyser from this point is 2.4 miles. The road is good but narrow.

Lone Star Geyser has an interval of approximately three hours, although it has been known to play after an interval of only twenty minutes.
Continuing on the road to West Thumb we find rhyolite exposures to the left of the road. The colors here are no doubt due to the action of hot water and gases upon the old lava flows.

3.2Lodgepole forest to either side of the road. 3.2
3.4Three glacial lakes may be noted here, two on the left of the road and one on the right. 3.4
5.0Deposits of glacial till on either side of the road. 5.0
5.3Glacial lake sediments on either side of the road. 5.3
5.5Again we pass through rhyolite, the fine-grained equivalent of granite. In Yellowstone Park rhyolite forms most of the bedrock throughout the central part of the area. 5.5

Norris Pass on the right, named by Colonel P. W. Norris, the second superintendent of Yellowstone National Park.
6.0Going through Craig Pass. Named for Ida M. Craig, the first white woman to go this way. 6.0
6.1 Bridge crossing Isa Lake. Continental Divide, Elevation 8,260. Lake drains from west end to Atlantic Ocean, from east end to the Pacific Ocean. 6.1
6.5 The black sand found here on either side of the road is disintegrated rhyolite and perlite, overlying rhyolite which has been acted upon by hot gases. 6.5
Lake sediments and stratified sands on the left. During the last Ice Age glaciers dammed up the valleys in this area to such an extent that several high level lakes actually spread over the Continental Divide.

Shoshone Point. At this place we obtain a view of Shoshone Lake and the Grand Teton Mountains. Shoshone Lake is about three miles distant, whereas the Grand Teton mountains are about fifty miles away. They form the central attraction of the Grand Teton National Park. The Shoshone Lake drains to the Lewis and Snake Rivers and thence to the Pacific Ocean.

Glacial Lake Beds on the right. The tremendous amount of stratified sands in this area seems to indicate that a high level lake existed here during glacial times and no doubt was a part of old Shoshone Lake at a time when this body of water was greatly expanded due to the melting of glacial ice.
Again we have stratified and unstratified glacial drift on the left.

10.0 Disintegrated perlite and rhyolite, the black sand at this place on either side of the road, is the result of disintegration of former lava beds. 10.0
11.4 Continental Divide, Elevation 8,522 feet. 11.4
12.5 Glacial drift on either side of the road. 12.5
13.3 Directly ahead is Flat Mountain, which is on the south shore of Yellowstone Lake. 13.3
13.7 Glacial drift on either side of the road. 13.7

A view of Yellowstone Lake and beyond it the Absaroka Range. Yellowstone Lake has a shore line of approximately 100 miles and an area of about 139 square miles. Its elevation is about 7,731 feet above sea level. From this point we view only the western extension of the lake known as West Thumb Bay.

Duck Lake on the left.


West Thumb Junction. The South Entrance is 23 miles to the right, and Lake Junction is 20.4 miles to the left. Haynes Picture Shop, campground, cabins, cafeteria and a general store are located at this place. The ranger station is located about 100 yards to the south of the Junction.

The Thumb Paint Pots, numerous hot springs, and beautifully colored hot pools and several geysers may be seen in this area between the Junction and the Lake shore. It is a weird and fascinating area. Some places there is danger of breaking through the crust, therefore it is advisable to follow the walks. There is good fishing in West Thumb Bay.

0.0 From West Thumb Junction we proceed to the left to Lake Junction and the Fishing Bridge. (Set speedometer at 0.0) 0.0

Occasional Geyser is just to the right of the road.

Deposits from the hot springs and geysers (geyserite) are found along the road, particularly to the right.
Here we have hot springs and colored pools on the left.

There are also hot springs beneath the surface of the Lake on the right.

West Thumb Bay of Yellowstone Lake on the right.
From here to 3.0 along the left of the road may be seen decomposed rhyolite.

The little island on the right is known as Carrington Island, and was named for a zoologist who accompanied the Hayden Expedition in 1871.

A good view of the Absaroka Mountain Range on the right.
Old Lake deposits on the left.

5.2 Here we cross Arnica Creek. This creek is named after the yellow flower known as arnica. 5.2

On the right is a natural wave-built bar used for a time as a wagon road.

Pumice Point on the right.


A good view of the Red Mountains across the Lake to the south. Flat Mountain is the one toward the east and may be easily recognized. The next one to the right of it in the distance is Mount Hancock. The next to the right of that, and the commanding peak, is known as Mount Sheridan.
9.6 On either side of the road one may see a mixed forest of fir, spruce and lodgepole. Can you distinguish between them? 9.6

Dot Island on the right.10.7
Glacial drift in cut bank on the left.

The large island to the right and in the distance is Frank Island.

Here the long island to the right is Stevenson Island.

We are now going around the edge of Bridge Bay.
To the left is the road to the Natural Bridge, which is approximately two miles away.

Bridge Bay campground on the left.

One of the old Lake terraces may be seen on the left. This was formed when the Lake was approximately 60 feet higher than it is at present.

Boat house for U. S. Bureau of Fisheries on the right.
Fish Hatchery on the left. You may park and see some typical trout and observe how they are propagated.

Parking area to the right. These boat docks are for official use by the U. S. Bureau of Fisheries and the National Park Service.

At this point boats may be obtained for fishing or for trips out on the Lake.
Lake Hotel on the left.

General Store on the left.

Ranger Station and campground on the left.

Lake Lodge, to the left.

Yellowstone Lake outlet.20.2
20.4 Lake Junction. Canyon Junction is 15.3 miles to the left, and East Entrance 26.5 miles to the right. Also to the right are Fishing Bridge and Fishing Bridge Utility Area. 20.4
20.6 Turning right, and without changing speedometer, we cross Fishing Bridge. 20.6
Cafeteria and housekeeping cabins on the left.

Filling station, general store, and post office on the left.

Fishing Bridge Museum to the right. Visit the free Government Museum and learn about the activities at this place and also of the various features to be seen and enjoyed in this vicinity.

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Last Updated: 02-Apr-2007