Yellowstone was the first national park in the United States and is even considered the first national park globally. The massive park is over 2.2 million acres and sees over four million visitors per year, and with good reason! This national park is frequently on people’s bucket list of trips to conquer. Keep reading to find out what adventures you should include in your upcoming trip to Yellowstone.
Old Faithful & Geyser Hill
Geyser Hill in Yellowstone gets its name from having a massive gathering of geysers in one area. In fact, Geyser Hill has the highest concentrations of geysers in the world.
And, you can’t talk about Geyser Hill without mentioning the famous Old Faithful. This cone geyser can shoot water as high as 150 feet into the air. No matter how many times you’ve seen it, it never fails to stun people! On average, Old Faithful erupts every 44-120 minutes, so you might have to settle in and wait a bit before you see something.
As you walk around the Geyser Hill loop, you’re bound to see a few more geysers explode. The experience is refreshing, adding some excitement to an otherwise relatively peaceful walk.
Grand Prismatic Hot Spring
Yellowstone National Park has plenty of hot springs that are colorful and impressive to watch. One of the most popular destinations in Yellowstone is the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring. This hot spring is the third-largest in the world, spanning more than a football field and being deeper than a 10-story building. When you see it in person, you witness an astounding combination of bright orange, yellow, and clear blue colors. The yellow and orange colors result from thermophile bacteria living in the water while the blue is how our eyes interpret the blue wavelengths of light.
You absolutely have to see this hot spring for yourself!
Wild Animals in Nature
Natural parks are always full of wildlife. Most natural parks receive their government protection to help save the precious species of animals and plant life in these areas. Well, Yellowstone Park is no different and offers its visitors a wide variety of wild animals.
As you explore the park, you may find:
- Bears (grizzly and black bears)
- Bighorn sheep
- Mule deer
- Various birds
Unlike a zoo, these animals get to enjoy their freedom and are free to go in whatever direction they wish. This means sometimes they can be hard to spot or can surprise park visitors. While you watch these beautiful animals, always remember to keep your distance and follow park safety guidelines for wildlife interactions.
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
When you search up images of Yellowstone, one of the iconic views you’ll see repeatedly is the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. This view perfectly showcases the lower waterfalls against yellow and pink canyon walls and is known as Artist’s Point. You can hike to Artist’s Point to see this fantastic scene for yourself. The hike is more like a trail, spanning one-tenth of a mile along a paved path from the South Rim Drive.
Uncle Tom’s Trail
You simply can’t go to a national park and not take the time to go on a hike and explore the beautiful views. While Yellowstone National Park has several hikes to offer, we recommend trying Uncle Tom’s Trail. This trail is said to get its name from a guide from the early 1900s who would take people through Yellowstone. Today, it’s a pathway that is easy to follow, with 328 steps, and a final destination at the Lower Falls.
In total, Uncle Tom’s Trail is 0.6 miles round trip with lots of benches and views along the way so you can make stops. Bring plenty of water and go slowly as the stairs make this hike slightly more challenging.
Camp in the Backcountry
Yellowstone doesn’t have to be a day trip. If you want to get the most out of what the park has to offer, consider camping in the backcountry. Yellowstone National Park has over 300 campsites, but visitors do require a permit to stay overnight.
The majority of Yellowstone’s trails are 7,000 feet above sea level. This means that the snow can still be present late into the summer months. Make sure you come prepared for the weather, get your necessary permits, and make the most of it!
If you don’t feel comfortable backpacking with just your group, consider hiring professional help. Several businesses are permitted to act as guides and help people camp in the backcountry as safely as possible.
If you have an adventurous streak in you, consider booking a water rafting excursion along one of the Yellowstone rivers. You can find rafting trips near all the entrances to the park. These excursions can last anywhere between two hours to four hours long, so be prepared for this to take up a large part of your day. However, this unique way of viewing Yellowstone National Park simply can’t be beaten. Battle the water as you coast along the rivers and take in all the scenery Yellowstone has to offer.
Whether you’re choosing a calm hike to a beautiful view, an excursion to find some wildlife, or a crazy adventure rafting down the rivers, there’s something at Yellowstone for everyone.