The first national park in the world, Yellowstone was established in 1872. It protects Not only plentiful wildlife but also countless natural wonders. First, you get to see a grizzly bear playing with a log, then a pack of wolves, to eventually end up in front of an erupting geyser. Or a sparkling blue lake. Or a fabulous waterfall. There’s no end to the Yellowstone National Park’s treasures. Here’s a list of the best attractions and top things to do in Yellowstone National Park.
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Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone National Park
The park’s highlight, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is the largest canyon on the Yellowstone River. The river meanders from the Yellowstone Lake to the Upper Falls and Lower Falls to finally reach the deep canyon. The canyon is magnificent, 39 kilometers long, over 1 kilometer wide and about 300 meters deep. It offers lots of scenic views, including the Lower Falls, are the Upper Falls, both of them beautiful and incredibly photogenic. On both sides of the canyon, you can find viewing points, take your time to stop there and see as much as you can. One of the landmarks is the Artist Point, a stunning lookout point on the south rim of the canyon, due west of Yellowstone Falls. Facing this landscape is one of the things to do in Yellowstone National Park you really shouldn’t miss. The canyon has a few more must-see spots, like the Inspiration Point, Overhanging Cliff, and Silver Cord Cascade.
Upper Geyser Basin
Upper Geyser Basin hosts various geothermal features, including hot springs, fumarole, mad spots and, last but not least, the grand geysers. There are plenty of them; some are among the largest geysers in the world. Five of the geysers are predicted by the Park Rangers. Grand Geyser, Daisy Geyser, Castle Geyser and Riverside Geyser are marvelous and worth-seeing, yet Old Faithful Geyser is the most famous of all. It’s erupting almost every 63 minutes. Before you start discovering this area, head to the Old Faithful Visitor Centre. That’s where you’ll get prediction times for the geysers so that you could plan your explorations accordingly.
Hayden Valley is sometimes called the Grizzly Overlook – not without reason. For those who’re interested in viewing wildlife, going to the valley is one of the best things to do in Yellowstone National Park. It’s located between Yellowstone Falls and Yellowstone Lake, mostly west of the Yellowstone River. As you drive along the valley, you may pass a variety of animals, including the famous grizzly bears. With a bit of luck, you can see them rolling on the snow, digging a day bed or adorably napping. Besides of the bears, buffaloes, elks, coyotes and various birds also chose to live in the Hayden Valley.
One more great place to watch the wildlife, Lamar is a picturesque river valley surrounded by mountain ranges. It’s a habitat for species like elk, bison, bears, wolves, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and many birds. The valley is accessible all year long, so you can also see the animals during winter.
You don’t need a permit to hike during the day, but you’ll need one in case you want to stay in the park overnight. Hiking is one of the things to do in Yellowstone National Park through which you can explore the area. There are lots of trails in the park, including popular routes and rather wild trails for more adventurous hikers. Natural Bridge, starting at the at the Bridge Bay Marina parking lot and leading to a spectacular a natural bridge, is one of the great options.
The park features 12 campsites. 5 of them are operated by Xanterra Parks and Resorts and the other seven by the National Park Service.
The Yellowstone National Park shelters an abundant and diverse wildlife, with an incredible variety of species. Which animals you get to see, depends mostly on the time of your visit, with a bit of luck and coincidence also playing a role. Habitat preferences of the animals vary and influence their behaviors. Seasonal cycles of movement are also significant. Usually, early mornings and evenings are the best time to view animals, since that’s when most of them tend to be feeding. As for the seasons, spring is especially charming, because of the flowers appearing across the park.
Fishing is a favorite visitor activity, and it’s allowed, but you need a permit. A three-day permit costs $18 and buying a seven-day permit means spending $25. You can also purchase a license for the whole season; it costs $40. The permits are to be found in visitor centers, ranger stations and many stores located in the park.
These are just a few things to do in Yellowstone, but the park also offers great possibilities for horseback riding, boating, bicycling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or picnicking. Boredom will surely not be your problem in Yellowstone National Park. The only thing that might be a bit problematic is choosing which sites to visit if you have limited time. Don’t worry though, because most of the park is just stunning and whenever you go, you’ll see something beautiful.