Things to Do in Yellowstone National Park
In many ways, Yellowstone is the epicenter of everything that's still wild and untamed in the United States, established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is America's first national park. Located in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Yellowstone was the first national park in the world, and is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most popular features in the park, it is home to a large variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk.
Please be extra cautious when driving the park at dawn, dusk and at night.
Yellowstone is famous for its hydrothermal features – more than 10,000, in fact – including over 300 active geysers (2/3 of the world’s geysers). Yellowstone is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including 67 species of mammals and 320 recorded species of birds.
Official National Park Service Newspaper
Official Park Map
These maps reflect the most recent map modification date as printed in the current edition of this park's brochure or handbook.
2,219,789 acres (Larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined) comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges.
The park is home to one of the world's largest calderas with over 10,000 thermal features and more than 300 geysers. It has one of the world's largest petrifiied forests. It has over 290 waterfalls with the 308' Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River as it's showpiece.
Top Attractions in Yellowstone National Park
Things to Do in Yellowstone National Park
Old Faithful is the most popular attraction in Yellowstone, and everyone who visits for the first time should watch this most famous of geysers erupt. Although neither the highest or most regular geyser in the Park, it is spectacular. Also, take an hour or two to walk around the boardwalks and visit some of the many other geysers in the Upper Geyser Basin, such as Castle, Grotto, Riverside and Daisy. And be sure to take the 1.4 mile walk to Morning Glory Pool, one of the most colorful thermal features in all of Yellowstone.
This valley, centrally located in Yellowstone, is the first place to go to see wildlife in Yellowstone. As you drive along this beautiful, broad valley you are likely to see herds of bison, scattered elk (and the occasional herd), and the occasional grizzly bear. You are also likely to see waterfowl, including ducks, Canadian geese and pelicans, swimming in or lounging near the Yellowstone River.
Upper Geyser Basin
Most of the geysers in Yellowstone Park can be found here.
Grand Loop Road
A 140-mile scenic drive past some of Yellowstone's most famous sites.
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
This 10,243-foot peak is located in Yellowstone National Park.
Mammoth Hot Springs
This is the largest high-altitude lake in the lower 48 states, and it is breathtaking in grandeur.
Grand Prismatic Spring
Norris Geyser Basin
Popular hiking and cross-country trail around Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park.
Lower Geyser Basin / Fountain Paint Pots
West Thumb Geyser Basin
Spring and fall are favorite times of year for wildlife watchers from all over the world. Fewer visitors and lots of wildlife make it a most enjoyable experience
Please be extra cautious for wildlife that can appear out of nowhere to cross the road. It's bad for wildlife and will destroy your vehicle and your vacation.
Some places in the park are extra special for wildlife watching, and the Lamar Valley is one of them. Its inhabitants include grizzlies, wolves, bison, pronghorns, bighorn sheep, coyotes, and eagles. Bring along a good spotting scope or pair of binoculars and head for one of several turnouts between the Tower-Roosevelt intersection and the Northeast Entrance.
Whether you’re an avid hiker, birdwatcher or photographer, or just seeking a relaxing or educational experience, Yellowstone has something for you. Take advantage of these fee-free days and see the sites at the world’s oldest national park for family fun, fresh air, and opportunities to learn about our great country.
Yellowstone National Park - Getting There
Yellowstone National Park is located in the northwest corner of Wyoming. In summer, all five entrances are open:
North: From Livingston and Gardiner, MT, via US 89.
West: From West Yellowstone, MT, via US 20 or US 191.
South: From Jackson, WY, via US 26, US 89/287/191.
East: From Cody, WY, via US 14/16/20.
Northeast: From Billings, MT, and Red Lodge via I 94, US 212.
The north entrance of Yellowstone National Park is the only one open year round. Interior roads close to wheeled vehicles on the Monday after first Sunday of November, and re-open to tracked, over-the-snow vehicles mid-December through mid-March. The road from Gardiner to Cooke City is open to automobiles all winter, but you have to drive back to get out. Entrances re-open to wheeled traffic in the spring.
Commercial airlines fly to these nearby cities:
Billings, MT (129 miles to northeast entrance)
Bozeman, MT (87 miles to north entrance)
West Yellowstone, MT (3 miles to west entrance, flights in summer only)
Jackson, WY (56 miles to south entrance)
Cody, WY (52 miles to east entrance)
Getting to Yellowstone National Park by Car
Driving distances from some major western cities to the nearest Yellowstone National Park entrance:
Cheyenne, WY - 462 miles
Denver, CO - 563 miles
Las Vegas, NV - 809 miles
Salt Lake City, UT - 390 miles
Seattle, WA - 800 miles
Getting to Yellowstone National Park by Bus
Commercial bus lines are the least practical and convenient option for getting to Yellowstone, but they do run from Bozeman, MT to West Yellowstone, MT year round, and from Bozeman to Gardiner, MT and from Cody and Jackson, WY in the summer.
No modern technology will ever substitute to actually visiting Yellowstone National Park. For those that have been here, you know the wonders.