Yellowstone National Park, USA’s first national park is not just known for a rich biodiversity but also its geothermal features. Grizzly bears, elks, bisons and wolves are just some of the animals that call this place home. Besides, wildlife spotting, the varied landscape allows visitors to enjoy myriad of activities such as camping, fishing, and kayaking. There also is so much to see, like the Grand Canyon and vibrant Grand Prismatic Spring.
This Yellowstone Guide features most important tourist information for smoother planning of your visit. Activities, places to visit, when to go, where to stay, how to reach are covered in this blog
Yellowstone National Park Location
The Yellowstone National Park covers an area of 2,219,791 acres. It falls in the U.S states of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.
Yellowstone National Park attractions
1. Old Faithful
A major attraction in the park, Old Faithful erupts and shoots water up in the air, in an interval of 35-120 minutes. The eruptions last for a period of 1.5-5 minutes, hitting a height of as long as 184 feet.
This geyser is in close proximity with Black Sand Basin, which again is a huge attraction and can be covered in a single easy trip.
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2. Grand Prismatic Spring
The largest hot spring in USA, Grand Prismatic is 370-foot wide. This iconic hot spring is named after its color combination, which reminds us of the prism – Blue, green, yellow, orange and red. This vivid coloration make it a perfect spot for photography as well.
3. Hayden Valley
A soulful valley to behold, Hayden is often seen dotted with the herds of bisons. This happens to be a prime spot for viewing the wildlife. Other than bison, one can expect to spot coyotes, grizzly bears, bald eagles, shorebirds, ducks, geese, elk, and pelicans.
4. Yellowstone Lake
Surely one of the most famous tourist spots in Yellowstone National Park, this lake is a delight to watch. It happens to be largest high-altitude lake in North America, at an elevation of 7,737 feet. The shores of Yellowstone are dotted with small townships, and also quenches thirst of various wildlife creatures, and thus one can catch many birds and animals on its embankment.
5. Grand Canyon
This one often comes up when we talk about the top attractions in the United States. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park is 25 miles long and is between 800 and 1200 feet deep. This forms a breathtaking sight you will always cherish. You wouldn’t want to blink for a long while and hail lord for the beauty he bestowed upon the planet.
6. Mammoth Hot Springs
Located on the eastern side of Terrace Mountain is yet another iconic site of Yellowstone National Park. The Mammoth Hot Springs consists of about 60 hot springs boiling with temperatures between 64 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The water mix calcium carbonate with limestone, leading to travertine steps which looks magnificent.
7. Mount Washburn
Rising to an elevation of 10,243 feet, Mount Washburn will make you weak in the knees with the spectacular views of Yellowstone National Park which you can behold right from here. The hike up to the peak is counted among the best hiking trails. The summer landscape is even more stunning, with wildflowers prettifying the surrounding.
Beside the listed attractions Grand Loop, Upper Geyser Basin, Lower Geyser Basin, and Mud Volcano are some spots to not miss during your tour.
Things to do in Yellowstone National Park
There are plenty of activities to indulge in Yellowstone National Park, whether you’re a slow traveler or an adrenaline-junky. Here’s a list of what to expect in terms of things to do in Yellowstone National Park:
1. Camping under the starlit sky
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2. Kayaking amidst crystal clear waters
3. Biking through the scenic landscape
4. Fishing during the sunset
5. Wildlife viewing and sightseeing
6. Skiing your way to glory
The best time to visit Yellowstone National Park
When you’re planning a visit to Yellowstone National Park, you must know that this is a year-round destination and each season has it own charm to flaunt. For season-wise weather details, keep reading:
- Summer – Summer, or the road trip season, in Yellowstone National Park happens to be the peak tourist season. The pleasant weather condition allow indulgence in different activities, tours and hikes. It is suggested that you make reservations for your accommodation well in advance, as they get filled up very quickly during this time of the year.
- Fall – As fall knock the door in Yellowstone National Park weather begins to get beautified with foliage. This is a good time to visit the park as it’s not crowded at all. However, due to unpredictable weather, some of the roads are closed, so make sure you do your research before you go.This is the rut season for the elks, bears prepare for hibernation, and bison start migrating to winter feeding farms. Surely, a good time to be in the Yellowstone National Park.
- Winter – As winter arrives, the landscape turns into a wonderland covered in snow, which leads to closing of most roads. However, the visitors can explore and travel through on snow-coaches and snowmobiles with authorized guides. The best thing is you get to enjoy snow activities like cross-country skiing.
- Spring – This is a lovely time to visit Yellowstone National Park as well. With most of roads opened and less crowd around, someone looking for a peaceful time would love it. Hiking, spring biking and wildlife watching are some of the activities you can enjoy during your visit.
Accommodation in Yellowstone National Park
Visitors have a choice of nine lodges in Yellowstone to spend the nights in. These lodges are operated by Xanterra Parks and Resorts and offer everything from rustic cabins to plush hotel rooms. However, if you are visiting in the winter season, you’ll have just two lodges – Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Old Faithful Snow Lodge.
When you’re in Yellowstone National Park camping under the starlit sky is something to consider for sure. There are about 12 campgrounds. Some of the camps require prior booking, while some work on first-come-first-serve.
How to reach
By now you must be all excited and planning to get going already. So, here’s all you need to know about how to reach Yellowstone National Park:
- By air: Jackson Hole Airport is the closest airport for south entrance of Yellowstone National Park. For eastern entrance of the park, Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody is the best.
- By road: The State Highway 191/287 are taken for southern entrance. The routes remain open between second Friday in May through early November (depending on the weather condition).
For eastern entrance take the State Highway 20/14/16. The routes remain open between first Friday in May through early November (depending on the weather condition).
It is suggested that you check the road closure and opening schedule before you depart for your Yellowstone National Park vacation. The entrance to the park is open 24 hours in the summer season, however, adverse weather condition may cause closure of routes.
Now for better clarity regarding the national park, here are some common queries answered for you!
Where is Yellowstone National Park ?
Since the park alone covers an area of 2,219,791 acres, it falls in three U.S states; i.e. Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
What to see in Yellowstone National Park ?
Right from a rich wildlife, birdlife, to colorful hot springs, Yellowstone National Park is full of incredible places to see. Old Faithful, Grand Canyon, and Grand Prismatic Spring are among the places that you must see when you’re here.
Which is the best season to visit Yellowstone National Park?
Each of the season – summer, fall, winter, and spring – has its own charm. The best season for visiting Yellowstone National Park actually depends on how you want your vacation to be. Summer, however, happens to be the peak tourist season.