Field Notes

Yellowstone’s Cultural and Geological History

by JHWS GuideAug 25, 2023

The geologically unique landscape that comprises Yellowstone National Park was once dubbed “Terra Incognita”, meaning unknown territory, by explorers in the early 1800’s who had not yet reached the region.  Dubious natural obstacles such as multiple mountain ranges, lakes, rivers and the fact it was so far removed from main routes of travel made this now highly visited national park inaccessible.  Stories told by Native Americans, fur trappers and gold panners created the fantastical image of a mystical and perhaps hellish terrain with plumes of smoke billowing from cracks in the earth and spouts of boiling water erupting into the sky.  This place was eventually discovered and fortuitously chosen to be preserved for not only its otherworldly beauty but the incredible cultural heritage it holds.  There is really only one way to truly understand and experience these facets of Yellowstone National Park- by exploring the land.  

A Newborn Bison Calf, Called A Red Dog, Lays In A Lush Grassy Field During The Springtime In Yellowstone National Park

Plunge yourself into this enchanting landscape and feel the energy of the ecosystem in the calling of birds, stomping of the buffalo, the roar of waterfalls and rushing of rivers.  Authenticity lives in this place, and it begs to not just be viewed from afar.  Visit the world’s first national park to witness world renown geyser basins, mountains, canyons, rivers, waterfalls and wildlife.  While simply seeing these incredible features is a fulfilling experience, you are only getting half the story.  The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem has been sculpted by cataclysmic volcanic eruptions, major glaciation periods, tectonic plate movements and an extensive history of revolutionary conservation practices.  This is a significant part of Yellowstone that can be easy to miss due to the sheer amount of preliminary research that could be done on the subject.  

Not a fan of doing homework to prep for a vacation?  Well the professional naturalist guides of Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris have you covered!  Expertly trained and equipped with years of experience revealing the wonders of the natural world, our guides are eager and passionate to share their insights while leading you through an experience of a lifetime on a full day Yellowstone Summer Safari.  Curious what native tribes once hunted and foraged on this land?  Where is the best place to find wildlife?  Wonder what kind of rocks comprise the park?  Want to know how geysers work?  Know anything about the supervolcano located beneath Yellowstone?  Worried about where the best picnic spots might be?  These are only a few of the questions a Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris guide is equipped to answer.

Book a summer Yellowstone Day Tour with Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris between the months of May-November and prepare for 10-12 hours of incredible adventures and revelations.  Not sure of the best month to choose based on weather, wildlife or crowds?  Check out the Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris blog for more information to help you pick the perfect time to visit!