I was amazed when I first saw the pictures of Yellowstone National Park and the first thought that came to my mind was “How can something be so beautiful?”. It is without a doubt one of the most iconic places to visit in the United States.
Yellowstone National Park was officially declared as a national park in 1872 and is the second oldest national park, first being Mongolia’s Bogd Khan Uul. The park is famous for its spectacular scenery, diverse flora & fauna, and fascinating geothermal wonders. Yellowstone boasts the world’s largest number of active geysers and offers a window into the powerful forces deep beneath the earth’s crust. Because it lies on top of a super-volcano, the area is literally a hotbed of geothermal activity.
The best times to visit Yellowstone National Park are from April to May and between September and October. These shoulder months offer mild weather and the national park is comparatively less touristy.
With snaking rivers and sweeping green valleys, to canyons, vast lakes, hot springs, thundering waterfalls, and hissing lunar-like landscapes, Yellowstone is truly a place of wonder that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.
The national park itself has a number of natural attractions which are stunningly beautiful. Let’s take a look at some of the best places to visit there and get to know what it has to offer us!
Old Faithful – a major attraction in the park which you absolutely cannot miss. People from all over the world come to see Old Faithful Geyser as it is Yellowstone´s most famous geothermal object.
It got its name because of the consistent eruptions that happen daily with nearly 90 percent accuracy. It is unquestionably mind boggling how a certain geyser can maintain such punctuality over decades.
The Grand Prismatic Spring – While Old Faithful is the most popular geothermal wonder in Yellowstone, Grand Prismatic is the largest hot spring in USA being. This is a must-see attraction and a photographer’s favourite with its vivid hues of blue, green, orange and gold.
Hayden Valley – is a fertile, post card pretty area that sits astride the Yellowstone river. The area’s unique geothermal features and the river attract a variety of protected wildlife. Large herds of buffalo can often be seen grazing on this valley’s meadows, and it’s not uncommon to spot elk, pronghorn antelopes and bears, as well.
For people who enjoy longer hikes, there is no better way to get the full Yellowstone experience than by hiking the Hayden Valley Trail.
West Thumb Geyser Basin – which is an incredibly diverse area on the shores of the Yellowstone Lake. It offers spectacular views and colourful geothermal features.
Thermal features include the Abyss Pool, Twin Geysers, Black Pool, Fishing Cone, Big Cone, Lakeshore Geyser, Lakeside Spring, Seismograph and Bluebell Pools and Thumb Paint Pots.
Mammoth Hot Springs – consisting of about 60 hot springs boiling with temperatures between 64- and 165-degrees Fahrenheit.
This is the place where you can watch steaming water gush down terraced rocks that have been naturally painted brilliant reds, pinks and yellows through the constant activity of the geothermal water running over them – it’s magical!
Lamar Valley – often referred to as the American Serengeti, this valley is a hotspot for wildlife activity. It is home to large herds of buffalo and is also where visitors have the best chance of spotting wolves. Other creatures that can be spotted in the Lamar Valley on a fairly regular basis are pronghorn antelope, elk, coyotes and bears. Bears and wolves can be best observed either early in the morning or late in the evening.
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone – which is another famous spot in Yellowstone. Its most famous attractions are its two very stunning and large waterfalls — the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls. These two waterfalls fall gracefully down the cliffs, gradually carving out the massive canyon.
Yellowstone Lake – which sits at over 7,000 feet above sea level and is the largest body of water at Yellowstone National Park. Underneath its surface lie geysers, hot springs and canyons that are up to 390 feet (120 meters) deep.
Norris Geyser Basin – is famous for being the oldest, hottest, and most active of the hydrothermal areas in Yellowstone. Because of the abundant seismic activity that triggers geothermal changes, there are nearly always new geysers to see at Norris Geyser Basin.
When walking through this landscape of spewing geysers, stinking mud pots, and brilliant hot springs, you´ll feel like you´ve been transported to the surface of another planet.
Mount Washburn – is a spectacular peak in Yellowstone National Park. It rises to an impressive 10,243 feet and is the main mountain of the Washburn range.
It allows people of all ages to get to the top of one of the highest peaks in the area in order to enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.
How to Reach?
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 nearest airport.
By Road: Getting to Yellowstone via car is the most popular way. Car rental services are available at all the gateway towns, and the park is best accessed by having your own car as well. There are 5 entry points to the park, Gardiner, Montana (north), Silver Gate and Crooke City (northeast), Cody, Wyoming (east), Jackson Hole (south), and West Yellowstone (west).
Click here to read about Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, USA!