Fall is a fabulous time to take in the natural beauty and wonder of Montana. From the awe-inspiring ranges of the Rocky Mountains to the world-famous geysers at Yellowstone National Park, there’s a good chance you’ll find something that leaves you open mouthed. The autumn colours of the forests aren’t to be missed. On a clear night in rural Montana, star-gazing is a perfect way to end your day snuggled up by a campfire.
Yellowstone National Park, regarded as the first national park in the world, is unlike many other nature preserves. The landscape is almost alien-like with rugged terrain and strange geological formations. Old Faithful Geyser draws enormous crowds in the summer, but in the fall, the masses of tourists thin out, allowing visitors a special and more intimate experience with nature. Wildlife is fairly active in the fall as the animals prepare for the winter months. It’s very likely you’ll spot elk, bears, bighorn sheep, mule deer, mountain goats, and herds of buffalo.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872 as the first-ever national park in the U.S. It has four entrances (North, South, East and West) and is designated as a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. It boasts a fragile landscape that contains the largest collection of the world’s active geysers and wildlife. The park covers 2.2 million acres and has an average elevation of 7,300 feet (2,300 metres).
At the west entrance of the park, tall alpine trees line the highway and a lone buffalo grazes on the banks of Madison River.
Old Faithful Geyser erupts every 90 minutes, sprouting hot water into the air and reaching heights from 90 to 130 feet. The geyser is located within walking distance from the historic Old Faithful Inn and draws the largest number of visitors in the park.
These frontier cabins are very basic and provide comfortable accommodations with bathroom facilities. The cabin closest to the Old Faithful Lodge affords guests views of the Old Faithful Geyser.
The Alien fragile landscape of Yellowstone National Park – geysers and bubbling springs everywhere you look.
Getting up close and personal with Bison in Yellow Stone Park
Grizzly Bear sightings in Yellowstone are not that frequent. With winter fast approaching, bears will venture down from the mountains to forage for food. We spotted this Grizzly as we headed north out of the park, a pure chance encounter.
As you head north of the park the landscape goes through dramatic change with lots of flowing rivers and rugged terrain.
Wild free-roaming buffalo move from one plain to another. When they cross over highways, traffic must come to a standstill.
Elk herds return to lower valley pastures in the fall and winter and can be easily spotted in the northern part of Yellowstone National Park. Bull elks (males) tend to stay separate from female elks and are one of the most photographed animals in the park, due to their massive antlers.
Big Sky Country’s majestic views. Popular in winter for skiers and winter activities.
The Gallatin river winds through high alpine meadows for 120 miles through Montana and Wyoming. It’s a popular spot for fly fishing and whitewater rafting, especially in the summer and fall months.
Breathtaking view of Emigrant and surrounding valleys in Montana.
Mountain Sky Guest Ranch Horses, mounting and tackling action by wranglers.
NB: That some of these photos and content were originally published on Slice.ca in November 2014 as a photo essay.
For more information about Montana & Yellowstone National Park read:
Big Sky Chef, Jake Irwin – Raising the Bar at Rainbow Ranch Lodge in Big Sky, Montana