West Thumb Geyser Basin is situated on the shore of Yellowstone Lake’s West Thumb, a submerged volcanic caldera within the larger Yellowstone caldera. It was created about 162,000 years ago when a magma chamber bulged up under the earth’s surface, which it cracked along ring fracture zones, releasing the magma as lava. Once emptied, the chamber collapsed and, later, the caldera was filled with water, forming an extension of Yellowstone Lake.
The boardwalk trails at West Thumb provide easy walks that let visitors take in the beauty of the deep thermal pools and Yellowstone Lake.
While we’ve visited West Thumb Geyser Basin over the years, before 2007 we had not looked at the Yellowstone Lake Hotel, a few miles to the northeast. The hotel is one of three hotels in the park constructed by the Northern Pacific Railroad. Originally built in 1891, it was re-designed, expanded, and remodeled in 1903, 1922-23, 1928 and 1894 to 1990. The building is a “relatively plain clapboarded Colonial Revival structure with two large Ionic porticoes facing Yellowstone Lake.1”
Yellowstone is one of the most popular destinations in the U.S. and there are a lot of available resources, including books and DVDs as well as internet resources. I’ve included links to a few reliable resources below and have more on my Yellowstone page at Haw Creek.
- National Park Service
- UNESCO World Heritage Site
- National Geographic
- New York Times Travel Guide