Yellowstone National Park is one of the most popular sights to see in America! With sprawling landscapes, plenty of natural wonders, and limitless wildlife, it’s a destination that should be on any nature lover’s bucket list!
Spanning over 22 million acres across Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, Yellowstone is America’s first national park! This park was established in 1872 by congress after explorers repeatedly marveled at the beauty and unique attributes of the area, and it has enjoyed governmental protection ever since!
There are endless possibilities for exploring Yellowstone, whether you choose to explore on your own, or go on guided tours around this pristine park. You can enjoy countless activities like hiking, fishing, canoeing, backcountry camping, bicycling, and much more! Here is a list of some favorite pastimes and must-see sights to visit when you explore this iconic national park!
Yellowstone is home to a vast array of wildlife, with flourishing species of both plants and animals! It is home to the largest concentration of mammals in the lower 48 states of the U.S., and it is not uncommon to see recognizable species throughout the park! The greater ecosystem of Yellowstone is the only spot in the lower U.S. states that has large grizzly bear populations, as it is one of the only places with enough space to accommodate unsettled territory for these bears to flourish in an undeveloped landscape. Yellowstone also has the largest wild, free-roaming herd of bison in the U.S., and it has one of the largest elk herds in North America! It is not uncommon to find wolves (which were reintroduced back into Yellowstone in 1995), black bears, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, moose, and plenty more!
Things To Do
There are plenty of fun things to do and see at Yellowstone, from family activities to intense adventurous activities! Here are some must-see sights and fun activities to try out on your trip!
The Grand Canyon Of Yellowstone
This gorgeous canyon of the Yellowstone River is a wonderful geological natural creation, and is about 24 miles long with picturesque views of its towering walls and beautiful waterfalls! You can get great views of the canyon along several trails and outlook points. It is a highly recommended stop on any Yellowstone trip!
Yellowstone features 1,300 miles of trail systems so you have plenty of choices for adventure! Hiking paths range from short family-friendly trails to more intensive trails for more experienced hikers. Try out the seven-mile Mt. Washburn hike, which is a more difficult hike up Mt. Washburn that provides stunning views of Yellowstone! Uncle Tom’s Trail is quite the hike up several stairs, but the views of the canyon waterfall are more than worth it!
Upper Geyser Basin
This amazing spot is a great epicenter of thermal activity in Yellowstone National Park! About two square miles, this area holds the largest concentration of geysers (around 300), and holds about one quarter of all the geysers in the world! In addition to geysers, you will also find incredible hot springs and steaming fumaroles. Be sure to make this unforgettable sight a stop on your tour!
This awesome geyser, located in the Upper Geyser Basin on the west side of the park, is a must-see famous site in Yellowstone! It is regarded as one of the most predictable geographical features on the planet, as it erupts regularly every 35-120 minutes! Eruptions shoot anywhere from 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of boiling water from 106 to 185 feet in the air, and can last between one and a half to five minutes in length, for an unforgettable sight that you don’t see every day!
Swim In Yellowstone’s Boiling River
The boiling river, which can be found near the north entrance to Yellowstone, forms where a large hot spring enters the Garner River. Hot and cool water mix, creating the perfect warm temperature, which feels like bathwater! It’s a relaxing spot to swim, soak, and enjoy the surrounding beautiful landscape!
Located in the north of Yellowstone Park, this sprawling landscape provides spectacular views of wildlife, including large herds of bison, and frequent sightings of wolves! This is a great site to visit if you love photography, or if you want a great view of the local wildlife!
Yellowstone features 12 campgrounds, which contain over 2,000 campsites for plenty of choices! Unlike other national parks, any type of camping outside designated camping areas is prohibited for the safety of campers and wildlife alike. Here are some favorite spots for Yellowstone camping!
Slough Creek Campground
The beautiful Slough Creek Campground is considered to have the best wildlife watching opportunities in Yellowstone! Slough Creek, which runs along this campground, is a very popular spot for fishing! Campsites are first come, first served and tend to fill up fast as this is one of the most popular campgrounds in the park! Drinking water and vault toilets are available, however generator use is prohibited, and sites are designed for tents and small RVs.
Mammoth Hot Springs
Located in the northern part of the park in Montana, near the famous Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces, this is the only one out of the 12 campgrounds in Yellowstone that offers year-round camping. You’ll enjoy wonderful views of Gardner Canyon, and have opportunity to see wildlife along the road that leads to this campground! It’s not unusual to see elk or bison roaming through or near the park, and you’ll enjoy being close to fishing and hiking! This campground has pull-through sites with a 75’ length, and features drinking water and flush toilets. There are no hookups, but generators may be used between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. A 30-foot RV length restriction is in place in the wintertime, as there is a sharp turn that is harder for longer RVs to make.
Backcountry camping is available throughout Yellowstone, with several clusters of designated campsites in different areas of the park! A permit is needed for backcountry camping and they can only be obtained in person, and they must be requested no more than 48 hours in advance to your stay. If you’d like to make reservations in advance, you can apply between January 1 to October 31. Check out the Shoshone Lake backcountry camping area, which sits on the wonderful 8,050 acre Shoshone Lake, and is near backcountry geysers and has great spots for fishing, canoeing, and hiking!
Plan Your Trip!
This is just a very small taste of what Yellowstone National Park has to offer! There is a lot to see and learn from exploring America’s first national park, and it is an enriching visit for all! Comment with your favorite Yellowstone spots to visit and memories, or if you’ve never been, share what you are most excited to see!