More than 2 million acres of greatness create the majestic and awe-inspiring Yellowstone National Park. Inhabited by early Native Americans more than 10,000 years before white explorers named it the first national park of the world, in 1872, Yellowstone is an iconic piece of American history. Home to breathtaking natural beauty, rugged wilderness, imposing peaks and a plethora of wildlife, this national park is one of the most treasured places in the country.
Moreover, here you’ll find the largest concentration of geysers and thermal features on the planet with bubbling hot mud pots and steaming colorful thermal pools minding their own business while impressing visitors. The iconic Old Faithful won the popularity contest in Yellowstone and gathers annually thousands of admirers. However, there is a lot more to do on the prehistoric grounds of Yellowstone National Park than to greet the Old Faithful.
Yellowstone is home to thousands of square miles of wilderness. You’ll have more than 900 miles of trails to choose from for fascinating hikes and to discover an astounding ecological diversity. You’ll have the chance to see elk, bison, mule deer, moose, bighorn sheep, grizzly bears and an abundance of birds. Carved by glaciers and sitting on one of the largest active volcanoes in the world, the Yellowstone region is ideal for all the outdoor activities you can imagine, from camping and hiking to boating and fishing. It’s also a great place for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, horseback riding and bicycling.
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
One of the wonders of Yellowstone is the majestic Grand Canyon carved by the Yellowstone River. It is 20 miles long and up to 1,200 feet deep, famous mostly for the photogenic Lower Falls. This is where the river tumbles 308 feet before abandoning itself on the canyon floor with a staggering force. The canyon walls are dressed in shades of red and ochre and adorned with an emerald-green forest. The waterfall creates a frenzy of colors and, if you’re up for a six-hour hike known as Seven Mile Hole, you can admire it away from the (lazy) tourist crowds that gather at the north and south rims to take a look.
The Lower Geyser Basin
The Lower Geyser Basin is situated on the west side of the lower loop road. It has the distinction to be known as the largest geyser basin in the park, a busy factory of hot springs, mud pots, geysers, and fumaroles that work together to create a phenomenal painting. The main characters are the White Dome and Great Fountain geysers, as well as the Fountain Paint Pots, all real divas, bubbling and adding colors to the scenery.
The Upper Geyser Basin
The highest concentration of geothermal features in the park awaits at the Upper Geyser Basin. This is where the legendary Old Faithful is venerated. It is not the largest or most regular geyser in the park but the crowds love it, especially since they can predict when its eruption – at intervals of 94 minutes or so. Just take a seat on a bench, only a few yards away from the old guy, and have a snack while waiting for a glorious up to 180 feet eruption. However, there is more to this area than the Old Faithful. The dazzling beauty of the park is illustrated by other splendid features like the Chromatic Spring, Beauty Pool, and Morning Glory Pool too.
Mammoth Hot Springs
The terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs are famous for their unexpected beauty and passion. Mixing water, heat, minerals, and limestone, these terraces are nature’s one of the most intriguing designs. Variously colored travertine have been dissolved from the limestone hiding in the ground and was brought to life by daring hot springs that rise above joyful and eager to make a change. One of the most beautiful features of this part of Yellowstone is the Minerva Terrace, an embroidery carved in stone by the talented hands of nature.
The largest alpine lake in North America, Yellowstone Lake lures anglers, boaters, and curious travelers with its massive 132-square-mile body of water, scenic beauty, and wildlife variety. The lake was formed when the glaciers that once ruled this land melted into a caldera and, since then, this has been the home of moose, waterfowl, elk, and other species. Fishing is excellent in the streams that flow into the lake and reward patient anglers with trout. Boats can be rented at Bridge Bay Marina and used to capture superb views of the lake.
Waiting in the northeast corner of the park, Lamar Valley dazzles with a rich landscape diversity and an abundance of wildlife. The usual inhabitants of the area are wolves, bears, moose, elk, and bison, but if you want to spot them, you should be here early in the morning or at dusk, when they’re more active and willing to be seen. Anglers are usually gathering at the Lamar River hoping to capture some trout while hikers prefer to head to Specimen Ridge, where they’ll discover marvelous petrified forests buried alive by lava ash.
Grand Prismatic Spring
Don’t leave Yellowstone without admiring the largest hot spring in the park. The Grand Prismatic Spring awaits in the Midway Geyser Basin, dressed in a stunning deep blue color and adorned with yellow and orange rings. The spring has a 370 feet diameter. If you want to capture it in all its splendor, head to the Fairy Falls Trail and look down. You’ll never want to forget this mesmerizing sight!