Yellowstone National Park was founded on March 1st, 1872 as a “public pleasuring ground, for the benefit and enjoyment of the people”. That was 150 years ago! In 2022 we celebrate the Sesquicentennial birthday of the worlds first national park!

  1. Yellowstone National Park is the first national park on planet Earth.
  2. It was dedicated on March 1st, 1872 by an act of Congress and the signature of President Ulysses S. Grant.
  3. The first white man to walk through what is Yellowstone National Park was John Colter. During the winter of 1807-08 he passed through the area now known at the Thorofare, the most remote area in the lower 48 states.


Yellowstone National Park was designated on March 1st, 1872 by the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act. This act was created by Congress and signed by President Ulysses S. Grant. Many people believe Theodore Roosevelt was the president who made this happen because of his conservation efforts when he was president. Interestingly Roosevelt did not visit Yellowstone until the year 1903, almost 30 years after the dedication.

Solider leading tour at Giant Geyser F.B. Johnston 1903


The first white man to visit the area now known as Yellowstone National Park was John Colter. Colter was a member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition that made its way across the western frontier. When the expedition was making their way back east they stopped in the Mandan villages in North Dakota. While there, Colter was approached by Manuel Lisa to head back west with his Missouri Fur Company. Colter eventually separated from the party and ended up walking through what is now the southeastern corner of the park. Along the way he came across some thermal areas which were later dubbed “Colter’s Hell”.

Possibles bag or hunters bag contents: l-r/top-bottom – screwdriver/turn key, nipple wrench, Hudson Bay brass tobacco box with burning glass, inside – char cloth, flint & steel striker, tin of percussion caps, short start patch material & 50c balls Andrew Langford No date


The first written account of Yellowstone National Park was included in a letter by Daniel Trotter Potts to his brother Robert in Philadelphia. The letter in question was dated July 8, 1827. In this letter he describes Yellowstone Lake and thermal features including a geyser that erupted daily and mudpots in the colors of pinks and grays erupting to great heights. Below is the letter (Click on it to go to the original website)


The mountain man Jim Bridger may have been a reason the Yellowstone plateau was not explored earlier and here’s why. Bridger was known as a yarn spinner, a tall tale teller. Sitting around a fire with old Jim would have been quite the hoot. He was known to stretch the truth in his tales.

“A great Crow Indian medicine man once cursed a mountain, Bridger said, and instantly everything on it was petrified, doomed to stand frozen in time. Sagebrush, grass, prairie fowl, antelope, elk, and bears could be seen as perfect as in actual life. Flowers bloomed in colors of crystal, and birds soared with wings spread to motionless flight. Even the sun and moon shone with petrified Light, he maintained”. (NPS Handbook 108, Petrified Forests Of Yellowstone)

Jim Bridger, Mountain Man.


Did you know that the Roosevelt Arch is constructed of native columnar basalt? It was quarried locally and built over 6 months in 1903. No one actually knows who the designer of the arch is as these facts were lost to history.

President Theodore Roosevelt just happened to be on holiday as the arch was being constructed. He was in the right place at the right time to have hundred of people show up as he did a speech dedicating the arch as the grand entrance to Yellowstone’s most popular entrance. The cornerstone reads April, 24 1903.

The arch is 50 feet tall at the top and 30 feet in the middle of the arch itself. It’s only 25 feet wide on the ground, not as wide as our modern day two lane roads. The arch can be seen from miles away ever since it was finished in 1903. Once you arrived by train to Gardiner from Livingston you’d hop on a stage coach and start making your way into Wonderland. It would take many days to move around the park and see all its features, unlike today. With today’s technology and a good guide you can get a highlight reel of Yellowstone National Park in a quick swoop.

The Roosevelt Arch under construction.
President Theodore Roosevelt at the cornerstone laying ceremony, Gardiner, MT 4/24/1903


Geyserite or Siliceous Sinter is a type of non gem quality opal that forms around hot springs. It forms as a crust around geysers and hot springs.

Siliceous sinter also would be the reason that geysers are able to erupt. The silica creates a barrier that is very hard and makes geysers able to erupt. If there were no silica the ground would not be able to withstand the pressure that occurs during the eruption process, it would most likely blow itself up.


Did you know that Yellowstone National Park has the highest concentration of geothermal features in the world? We also have the highest concentration of geysers as well! 

There are over 14,000 counted geothermal features in the park as of now. A couple years back I got to talk to some geologist that are currently redoing the geothermal inventory for the park and they estimate we might have as many as 30,000, over DOUBLE the current count! Only time will tell how many actually occur in the park.

Grand Geyser, the worlds largest predictable geyser is always a crowd pleaser.


Did you know that a grizzly bears paws can be the size of your average dinner plate or bigger?

Grizzly bear track near Clear Lake, south of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.


Did you know that Grand Prismatic is the third largest hot spring in the world? Third you say… 

The largest hot spring in the world is located in New Zealand, it’s the Inferno Crater Lake. The second largest is the Boiling Lake on the island of Dominica. 

There are two different avenues you can use to access this amazing feature of mother nature. You can take the traditional route and walk the boardwalks. This gives you the opportunity to see how large the Grand Prismatic and Excelsior Geyser Crater up close. The only problem is that you don’t get the view that’s shown in this photo.

To get the view in the photo you must take a one mile, round trip hike to the viewing point just off the old Fountain Flats service road (now a trail).There’s only 135 feet of elevation gain on the trail so it’s great for most folks. If you’re having trouble breathing heading up the final push to the overlook stop and take a breath. Remember once you make it to the top you’ll get a beautiful view of the one of a kind, iconic, Grand Prismatic Spring.

The view of Grand Prismatic from the new overlook.


Have you ever heard of Harry Yount?

Harry is given the title of being the first ever park ranger! His official title was Game Keeper after being hired on by Philetus Norris, Yellowstone National Park’s second superintendent. He was hired to stop the rampant poaching that had been continuously part of the parks history up to this point. He only lasted 14 months in this position because it was WAY too much work for one guy to handle.

Harry’s cabin was located by the intersection of the Lamar River Trail and Specimen Ridge Trail.

Horace Albright, the National Park Service’s second director called Yount “father of the ranger service as well as the first park ranger”.

The bronze bust of Harry is located at The Museum of The National Park Ranger at the entrance of the Norris Campground in Yellowstone National Park.


Did you know the most mature bighorn sheep rams will “file” the ends of their horns off? The reason?

Avoidance of predators, their peripheral vision can be blocked by their giant horns. Horns are made of keratin, the same material as your hair and fingernails, while antlers are made of bone that grows back yearly.