In order to receive my Yellowstone Junior Ranger Patch (they’re patches not pins at YNP), I had to attend a Ranger Program. My options were the Ranger Talk at Steamboat Geyser in Norris Geyser Basin or the 9 PM Ranger Talk at the Canyon Campground at 9 PM that evening. (I had decided due to the amount of people in YNP and the amount of anxiety it was causing me that I would leave the next day instead of spending two nights in the park, so I only had one day in which to attend a Ranger Program.) During this trip I found that I really like going to bed with the sun and waking up with the sun. Because of this, I knew I’d be asleep when the Canyon Campground Ranger Talk was happening, so I decided to attend the Ranger Talk in Norris Geyser Basin and then explore the area.
Steamboat Geyser had erupted the night before. It is the world’s tallest active geyser. I enjoyed learning about the geyser during the Ranger Talk. The Park Ranger giving the talk was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. I was able to talk to him before the program started and found that we had been to some of the same lesser known National Parks, like Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. We discussed how popularity and congestion affects the type of experience you have in a National Park. (We had this discussion while a group of twenty teenagers overwhelmed the viewing area we were at and started causing a commotion taking pictures and goofing off.)
I liked the Norris Geyser Basin because if you got far enough out on the boardwalks from the trail-head the number of people drastically dropped. If you’re wanting to see thermal features in Yellowstone while avoiding the crowds I would personally recommend Norris Geyser Basin over Mammoth Hot Springs and Upper Geyser Basin.
To read more about my adventures in Yellowstone National Park click here.