Scenic USA - Wyoming

Firehole River

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Firehole River - Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Firehole Falls in the winter by Jim Peaco - NPS

     Covering well over two million acres, Yellowstone National Park is the largest national park in the Firehole River Sunrise - Yellowstone National Park, WY contiguous United States, and encompasses 700,000 more acres than the next largest parkland, the Everglades National Park. Taking up a 3000 square mile corner of Wyoming, the park boundaries drift slightly into Montana and Idaho. Here in this enormous section of land, the park is dominated by one of the world's largest calderas. But it's the park's mountain ranges that add the most dramatic features to the skyline. Three major rivers flow through this wonderland, and a dozen more help create the park's splendid 290 waterfalls, Yellowstone's 10,000 thermal features and its enchanting scenery. Firehole Canyon Road - Yellowstone National Park, WY
     Even though the Firehole River isn't a major river in Yellowstone Park, its fascinating name and busy location by the Upper Geyser Basin and Old Faithful Geyser make it one of the most familiar park names by the time guests depart. Flowing down from the Continental Divide, early traders followed the Firehole meanders in search of furs and undiscovered sights in this fairytale land. During the early 1800s, these mountain men witnessed steam spewing up from underground and assumed it was smoke from fires below. Firehole Falls - Yellowstone National Park, WY After piecing together the notion of underground fires and a word they used for valley, the Firehole name was coined.
     The Firehole Canyon Drive is one of those seldom seen backroads that most visitors usually miss. While most park guests flock to see Old Faithful, this scenic drive among the pines is a two mile one-way road through a beautiful canyon. Notably bear country, wildlife sightings are frequent along the quiet Yellowstone drive. Visitors probably won't need a sign, as Firehole Falls is one of those sights that signal photo stop. After enjoying this short detour, the wonderful canyon view, Firehole Falls, a riverside cave and the Firehole River swimming area, the road pops back out on the main highway where it's a right turn to Old Faithful and a left to Madison Junction.

   Area Map
   River Map


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