Photo Of The Day: Sunny Side Up

This Photo of the Day comes from Gadling Flickr pool member oilfighter who captured this image titled Sunny Side Up in Yellowstone National Park.

Oilfighter tells us, “I’ve always wanted to see the Grand Prismatic Pool, so on my way up to Mammoth, I took a short, but extremely steep and slippery hike (I almost rolled down the hill on my way down) to look over midway geyser basin. The color was incredible.”

Upload your best shots to the Gadling Group Pool on Flickr. Several times a week we choose our favorite images from the pool as Photos of the Day.

Tips for getting featured: in your Flickr account, check “Privacy and Permissions,” and check “yes” on “Allow others to share your stuff.” Adding information about your image does not hurt your chances either. Oilfighter added some tips on how he captured this image.

“The wind was blowing hard, making all kinds of swirls with the steam. I stacked every single piece of filter I had with me, and managed to get a 2-sec. exposure in mid afternoon. Each image was different, because of the ever-shifting wind. I chose this image, because the steam trail is leading you into the center.”

Plenty Of Campsites Available In Yellowstone This Spring

Unlike last year when late season snows hampered travel, visitors to Yellowstone this spring will find plenty of campsites open and available. The park has 12 campgrounds sprinkled across its 2.2 million acres of wilderness and each of them offers a unique and affordable way to visit one of the most spectacular wildernesses in all of North America.

Spring is the perfect time to visit Yellowstone for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the lack of crowds. By summer the park begins to fill up and during the peak months of July and August it can get quite crowded at times. But book your visit before June 15 and you’ll avoid the high season altogether, giving you peaceful solitude across most of the park.

The return of spring also means that Yellowstone’s trees and flowers are in bloom and its plentiful wildlife is on the move once again. Not only have the bears left their winter dens, cubs in tow, but the elk and bison are also birthing their calves throughout the region. Sharp-eyed visitors might even catch a glimpse of a moose or an elusive wolf as they explore the park’s landscapes.

If you would like to experience spring in Yellowstone for yourself then book a campsite online by clicking here. Reservations can be made at five of the 12 sites online and at a cost of just $20.50 per night it is a real bargain.

New Mapquest Website Allows Visitors To Explore National Parks

A new website, powered by MapQuest, is giving travelers a unique way to plan their next visit to America’s National Parks. The site, which has launched in beta form, features detailed profiles on all 58 National Parks in the system and provides visitors with information on their history, available activities and much more.

As you would expect, the site offers readers the ability to locate national parks close to home simply by using a map of the U.S. It also lists each of the parks by state, as well as alphabetically, making it extremely easy to find the specific destination you’re looking for. Clicking on the name of any park on the list will open its corresponding guide which includes a general overview of the park itself as well as information about wildlife in the region, insights on what to expect while visiting and useful tips on what to do while you’re there. You’ll find those tips are highly specific to the individual parks, offering suggestions for fishing, hiking and climbing in Grand Teton for example, while also providing options for paddling and scuba diving in Isle Royale.

MapQuest has included plenty of great images to help give readers a good sense of the landscapes they’ll experience while visiting the parks and there are a number of excellent videos as well. For example, the video below serves as an introduction to Yellowstone and includes commentary and insights from several of the park rangers. These videos are a great way to learn more about the parks they feature and are likely to inspire visits to those places too.

This new site is an excellent resource for planning a visit to any national park in the system. If your summer travel plans include a stop in Yosemite, The Great Smokey Mountains or any other national park, do yourself a favor and bookmark MapQuest National Parks now.

Celebrate National Park Week: 5 Luxe Places You Can ‘Camp’ Sans Tent

National Park Week has begun! Many travelers will be taking advantage of free access to our country’s best national parks but, if they’re anything like this writer, won’t want to sleep in a tent after.

So, instead of camping try “glamping” at some of these great hotels near national parks that let you enjoy nature without giving up your creature comfort – no camping required.

Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Just minutes from Grand Teton National Park and a short drive from Yellowstone National Park, Four Seasons Jackson Hole offers a famed wildlife safari program, complete with an in-house wildlife biologist. Can’t make it during National Park Week? Enjoy special backstage access to these National Parks through the hotel’s summer packages.

Moonlight Basin, Montana
Located just 18 miles from Yellowstone National Park, Moonlight is surrounded by Montana’s spectacular Rocky Mountains. Moonlight Basin’s Mountain Concierge Team can plan experiences from rafting on the Gallatin River to fly-fishing adventures and more.

Estes Park, Colorado
As a gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, the year-old Della Terra Mountain Chateau is one of the area’s most luxe boutique properties.

Terranea Resort, California
This Destination Hotels & Resorts property located on the Southern California coast in Rancho Palos Verdes offers a unique starting point for exploration of Channel Islands National Park.

Travaasa Hana, Maui
The closest lodging to Haleakala National Park, filled with beautiful hikes through bamboo forests, past towering waterfalls and the famous “Pools of Ōheo.”

[Image courtesy of Yellowstone National Park]

Video: Scenes From Greater Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding wilderness is one of the most beautiful destinations in all of North America no matter what time of year you visit. For outdoor lovers and adventure travelers it is an amazing place that deftly blends breathtaking views, exceptional wildlife encounters and crazy geothermal features that are unlike anything else on Earth.

Last year cinematographer and photographer David Stubbs spent a considerable amount of time in the area working on various projects. He compiled some of his footage into the video below, which serves as an excellent two-minute example of what makes the Greater Yellowstone region such a great place for travelers. The video features snow capped peaks, time-lapse images of geysers, sparring moose and so much more.