Yellowstone is of course the first national park but in many ways it is also still the very best. It’s full of amazing sites spread across an immense area of natural wilderness. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, the geyser basins, Yellowstone Lake, Mammoth Hot Springs, Hayden and Lamar Valleys, and even the grand historic lodges like Old Faithful Inn and Roosevelt Lodge. In many parks you could go days seeing no more than a couple deer and chipmunks, while at Yellowstone you’ll probably see bison, elk, moose, bears (grizzly and black), mountain sheep, pronghorns, and more all in the same day.
I had been to Yellowstone as a small child and later as a nine year old on family vacations, but it wasn’t until I was able to take my own family there in 2010, 2017, and 2019 that I really got to experience and explore the park in a memorable way. I remember as a kid the fires of 1988 and the fire damage still remains but one very noticeable change between 2010 and 2019 is just how much the forests have recovered. Pine forests take many years to regrow following a devastating fire, but in places that had suffered the worst of the fires new forests have emerged and stand tall and vibrant.
We visited all of the primary must-sees but this is a park that really has thousands of miles of trails and areas like the Beartooth Highway yet to be visited. We’ll certainly be back again to explore some more.
There are a few parks I could easily paint more than once and this is one of them. When it came time to choose which feature to paint I eventually settled on the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. But I could not leave out some of the terrific wildlife and the most memorable of all were the grizzlies. So with that in mind I created this painting of Yellowstone National Park. Later I will work on one featuring a geyser basin.