See massive rock columns formed by lava flow 1.3 million years ago. They look like rock fence posts and can be found at the Tower and Sheepeater areas in Yellowstone.

Yellowstone's Calcite Springs

The Yellowstone River beside Calcite Springs lava formations

The Yellowstone River beside Calcite Springs lava formations

Calcite Springs, in the Tower-Roosevelt area of Yellowstone, feature massive rock formations that look like rock fence posts. The Yellowstone River exposed the landscape's violent past here. The orderly columns across the canyon are volcanic. Their formation is the same as its famous cousins - Devils Tower in northeastern Wyoming and Devil's Post Pile in eastern California.

Today, they tower over the Yellowstone River like soldiers standing at attention.

"From vents in the Yellowstone Plateau lava welled up and flowed - a vast flood of fire 25 feet deep," says an exhibit sign at the overlook. "As the lava cooled and contracted about 1.3 million years ago, it formed contraction cracks, producing hexagonal columns of basalt. The rock layers are a geologic photo album. Lava Flows and other dynamic events have become benign scenic features, frozen in time. Above the below the basalt lies a loose mix of gravel carried here by glacial meltwater."

Closeup of columnar basalt north of Tower Fall in Yellowstone

Closeup of columnar basalt north of Tower Fall

Overhanging Cliff by Greg Willis

Basalt columns overhanging a cliff  near Tower Fall in Yellowstone

Yellowstone's Sheepeater Cliff Columns

Basalt columns can also be seen at the Sheepeater Cliffs along the Gardner River between Mammoth and Norris.

Sheepeater Cliff columns

Columnar basalt on Sheepeater Cliff


Firehole Falls. Photo by Gloria Wadzinski

Firehole Canyon Drive to Waterfall & Swimming Area in Yellowstone

Firehole Canyon Drive is a 2-mile, one-way road off the Grand Loop south of Madison. The drive has a waterfall overlook and swimming area. Watch the time-lapse video.


Mysterious Sounds like Whispers on Lake Yellowstone

What are the strange sounds? Some talk about ghosts and lost-at-lake souls. A paranormal investigator and Yellowstone's historian talks about the mystery.

Tower Fall in Yellowstone

Tower Fall is Beautiful, Accessible Waterfall in Yellowstone

Located in the northeastern part of Yellowstone near Tower Junction, the fall plunges a stunning 132 feet past pinnacles that surround it.

Big Cone on Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake - Where Fire Meets Ice

Compared to Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake seems fairly dull, but appearances can be deceiving. There's a dome as big as 7 football fields and lava spires.

The Yellowstone River above the Upper Falls

The Untamed Yellowstone River

As the only undammed river in the lower 48 states, the Yellowstone River flows 692 miles through Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota.

The Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in Yellowstone National Park

Did You Know There is a Grand Canyon in Yellowstone?

Giant waterfalls pierce the Yellowstone River while pastel colors mark the locations of hot springs and steam vents in the canyon walls.

Sinks Canyon by Scott Copeland courtesy of Wind River Country

7 Natural Wonders On the Way to Yellowstone

Your route to Yellowstone includes some of the world’s most unusual natural wonders including a volcano plug and the world's largest mineral hot spring.

Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone

Mammoth Hot Springs Looks Like an Inside-Out Cave

About 50 hot springs and colorful limestone terraces lie within the area of Yellowstone known as Mammoth Hot Springs. Drive to this geyser basin year-round.

Upper Falls in Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

3 Waterfalls of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Thanks to the Yellowstone River, tourists to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone have three spectacular sights in the Lower, Upper and Crystal Falls.