Treasures of America’s National Parks: Yellowstone – Visit For More Than Just Old Faithful

How many people in this country will spend thousands of dollars each year on vacations outside of this country, yet never manage to visit destinations within our borders?  There are so many beautiful places to see in this country and yet people never think about these places when planning a vacation.  Despite the name, this disc highlights two National Parks, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton.

The quality of these documentaries is terrific.  The filming is beautiful, capturing the highlights of the parks.  Viewers are treated to familiar vistas as well as more out-of-the-way scenes that aren’t the usual tourist destinations.  The narration is good and incorporates the history of the park with a travelogue of sorts to give viewers a good overview of what exactly there is to do and see in these parks.  I dare anyone at the end of this disc to not feel the need to plan a vacation here.


Right from the start, all I could think was this was one beautiful park. It’s nice to view on a small screen, but on a large screen, the picture comes alive.  The camera shots are simply beautiful and are best appreciated there.

Yellowstone is a park that often seems like it’s actually a different world.  There are geysers, hot mud, steam vents, and an active volcano.  The park officials talk about the volcanic activity in the park and what sets it apart from other volcanos around the world.  The park is subject to seismic activity that has also helped carve out some of the park’s features.

The documentary gives a good overview of all that there is to do in Yellowstone without it being a hard sell.  From the various inns to fishing, kayaking, and swimming, to wildlife tours, it’s all here.  Winter events are featured as well with snowmobiling highlighted.  The controversy and restrictions surrounding snowmobiling in the park are detailed and again, it’s not in such a way that it feels like I’m watching a video trying to sell me a tour.  There’s good information about the park as well as history mixed in to make it all very interesting.

There is a segment on the great fires that took place over the summer of 1988 that left one-third of the park bare by the time the September snows came and finally extinguished them all, despite man’s best attempts to put them out prior to that.  In the end, though, the fire was part of nature’s cycle, and the life that sprang up after the fire created a terrific new environment.


More than just majestic mountains, Grand Teton National Park abuts the town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a place where modern conveniences meet “the wild west.”

The park has some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the country.  The movement of glaciers over the centuries helped carve out the topography of the park and fill the lakes that are contained within the park’s boundaries.  Trails go alongside many of the most beautiful scenes available in the park, including rapids, falls, and beautiful reflective lakes.  As a hiker, this was a real incentive to visit this park.

Wildlife contained within the boundaries includes many of the same found in Yellowstone, such as moose, bison, bears, elk, wolves, and much more.

Ballooning is another popular activity in the park and the viewer is taken on something of a virtual ride.  There is river rafting, canoeing, kayaking, and even surfing available on the park’s many rivers and lakes.  Mountain climbing is another popular activity, and there are guides available to teach all ages.  In the tradition of the West, there are ranches in the park that offer various activities including trail rides.

In the winter there are still activities in the shadow of the beauty of the mountains covered with snow. Cross-country skiers can often be found, and alpine skiers hike up to ski down in fresh snow.  Snow-shoeing is another popular activity, especially in the traditional wooden snow-shoes rather than the modern metal contraptions.  There are sleigh rides available for wildlife viewing.

Backcountry skiing is popular here, especially with the proximity of Jackson Hole ski resort. The lifts there allow skiers to get to out-of-bounds areas where they can ski the backcountry.  There’s a lot here on the Jackson Hole resort including the ski resort’s rescue squad, leading me to believe there’s a good deal of overlap between the resort and the national park.

The history of the park includes the controversy surrounding its inception and the involvement of the Rockefeller family in purchasing its land and gifting it to the government. That included the ranch the family maintained on it for many years, which had the building removed when it was gifted.  I thought they were ducking the meaning behind the park’s name, but there is a ranger who comes on and gives the background of the name of the mountain range.

The lodges here are also highlighted and the food prepared at Jenny Lake Lodge was enough to whet my appetite. There is also a segment on the rescue squad that needs to go out and rescue people who have been injured or gotten themselves into a situation they can’t extricate themselves from.

These two segments are much more than just a nature show and much more than just a travel show.  Both of these are quite well-rounded in presenting the parks and the stories behind them while also showing the audience just why it would make a great vacation.

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