Yellowstone National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. Every year, millions of visitors from all over the world come to see its fantastic scenery and wildlife. There are many things to see and do in Wyoming‘s Yellowstone, but some of the main attractions include Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Hayden Valley. The park is also home to a variety of animals, including bison, elk, deer, bears, and wolves.
If you’re planning a trip to Yellowstone, be sure to book your accommodations well in advance. The park is extremely popular and tends to fill up quickly during peak season. There are several different types of lodging available, including hotels, cabins, and campgrounds. No matter what time of year you visit, Yellowstone is sure to be a memorable experience.
Keep reading to learn more about what to expect from the top attractions and experiences in Yellowstone, as well as helpful facts for planning your adventure! Here are over 38 amazing things to do in Yellowstone National Park that you don’t want to miss.
19 TOP ATTRACTIONS AT YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Near the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park, Lamar Valley is one of the best places to see wildlife in Yellowstone. Often called America’s Serengeti, the Lamar Valley is home to large populations of animals, including bison, elk, pronghorn, badgers, grizzly bears, bald eagles, osprey, deer, and coyotes.
There are many pull outs along the road, so you can stop and scan the area with binoculars or a spotting scope. If you want to see wolves, prepare to arrive early and camp out before sunrise. It is rare to see wolves, but it is a magical experience when you do.
GRAND CANYON OF THE YELLOWSTONE
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River is a spectacular sight that should not be missed when visiting Yellowstone. The canyon is formed by the Yellowstone River, and is over 20 miles long and up to 1,500 feet deep. The walls of the canyon are brightly colored, with shades of yellow, orange, and red. Puffs of steam can often be seen rising from hydrothermal features in the canyon walls.
The Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River add to the grandeur of the canyon. The Upper Falls are 109 feet high, while the Lower Falls are 308 feet high. The best way to experience the beauty of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River is to drive along North Rim Drive and stop at various overlooks. Inspiration Point and North Rim Drive offer the best views of the canyon.
When I visited in 2020, I completed a 7-mile trail that began at the Grand Canyon from Artists Point. While the surrounding area is mostly flat, the hike took me through a variety of terrain, including geysers, prairie, and dense forest. I even encountered a bison and black bear on my trail.
If you have just one day in Yellowstone National Park, make sure to include a visit to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River on your itinerary.
GRAND PRISMATIC SPRING
The Grand Prismatic Midway Geyser Basin, also known as the Prismatic Springs, is perhaps the most colorful and unique geothermal area in Yellowstone. Boardwalks wind through the basin, providing up-close views of the hot springs, geysers, and other hydrothermal features. The brilliant colors of the waters are a result of thermophilic bacteria that thrive in extreme temperatures.
Because the springs can be victim to winds, plan your visit to the Prismatic Springs early in your trip. This way, if the wind blows smoke over the Springs and blocks your view, you have another chance to catch the glorious colors.
There is a huge parking lot that makes visiting this natural wonder simple and accessible for all.
Read More: GRAND PRISMATIC SPRING – YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
OLD FAITHFUL GEYSER
Old Faithful is perhaps the most popular place to visit in Yellowstone National Park. Erupting every 92 minutes on average, it’s hard to miss! The geyser and surrounding area are a great place to learn about the park’s history and geology. There are also plenty of hiking trails and picnic areas nearby.
Just steps away from the eruption is the Old Faithful Lodge. The lodge has become a beloved and treasured place to stay in Yellowstone. The lodge also has a variety of amenities, including a restaurant, gift shop, and tour desk.
Looking for another geyser with a predictable eruption schedule? Try visiting Castle Geyser, which erupts water nearly every 14 hours. You’ll be able to watch the eruption for about 20 minutes before it starts to die down.
Read More: OLD FAITHFUL – YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
UPPER AND LOWER YELLOWSTONE RIVER FALLS
The Lower Falls is the tallest waterfall in Yellowstone. It is located in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River and is a popular attraction in the park. The falls can easily be accessed for viewing by a picnic area and trail. The 308-foot drop is more than double the height of Niagara Falls, making it a must-see for visitors to the park. The falls are at their most majestic during the spring runoff season, but the warmer, drier seasons of late summer and fall are preferable to visiting the park.
The Upper Falls of Yellowstone is also a must-see for any visitor to the park. These dramatic falls, plummeting over 109 feet, can be accessed via a short hike from the parking lot. Despite their smaller size when compared to the Lower Falls, the Upper Falls are still an impressive sight and are well worth the hike.
Both Upper and Lower Falls offer great photo opportunities, so make sure to bring your camera!
Artist Point is a viewpoint that offers stunning views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. It’s located on the south rim of the canyon, about 5 miles east of Canyon Village. The hike to Artist Point is relatively easy, with a slight elevation gain of 50 feet. The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, making it a great option for families or hikers with limited experience.
The view from Artist Point is one of the most iconic in Yellowstone National Park. Visitors can see the Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon, as well as the vast and rugged canyon itself. The viewpoint is also a great place to watch wildlife, especially bighorn sheep. On my 2020 visit, I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a Grizzly Bear!
If you’re looking for an easy and rewarding hike with incredible views, Artist Point is a must-do while visiting Yellowstone National Park.
MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS
Mammoth Hot Springs is another beloved attraction in Yellowstone National Park. The hot springs are located in a large valley and are made up of several different geysers, pools, and springs. The drive north to Mammoth Hot Springs from Old Faithful is one of my favorites in the park. You pass huge boulders and waterfalls, plus, you’re almost guaranteed to see herds of elk! Of the five times I’ve made my way to Mammoth Hot Springs, every drive, I’ve seen at least 20 elk grazing just feet off the road.
For some background, the hot springs were first discovered by Native Americans and used for centuries as a place to heal the sick and injured. The springs get their name from the huge piles of mammoth bones that were found in the area by early settlers. The first European to see Mammoth Hot Springs was John Colter in 1807. He had just escaped a brutal winter trapping trip and was allegedly the first white man to see the Yellowstone area.
Mammoth Hot Springs is one of the most visited areas in the park, and for a good reason. The hot springs are beautiful, and there are plenty of trails to explore in the area. While it may be a hike from where you’re staying in Yellowstone, it is absolutely worth the long drive.
Read More: 5 SPECTACULAR THINGS YOU MUST DO IN MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS
The floor of Hayden Valley is covered with grasses and sedges, and the hillsides are forested with lodgepole pine and Douglas-fir. Hayden Valley is one of the primary grazing areas for elk in Yellowstone. The valley was named for Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden, who led the first government-sponsored survey of the Yellowstone region in 1871.
The valley floor is at an elevation of 7,700 feet above sea level and is approximately 7 miles long and 7 miles wide. The Valley is home to a variety of wildlife, including elk, bison, pronghorn, deer, coyote, and bear. The valley is also a popular destination for bird watching, as it is home to many different species of birds, including eagles and osprey.
In the summer months, Hayden Valley is a popular destination for hikers and campers. There are many different trails that wind through the valley, and visitors can also enjoy fishing in the Yellowstone River or canoeing on one of the many lakes in the area.
Wintertime brings its own set of activities to Hayden Valley. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular ways to explore the valley, and wildlife watching is also a great way to spend a day in Hayden Valley. Elk can often be seen grazing on the valley floor, and bison are often seen wallowing in the snow.
Read more: YELLOWSTONE IN WINTER: 11 TOP THINGS TO KNOW AND DO!
The Boiling River is a hot spring located near the northeast entrance of the park. The river’s average water temperature is about 92 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can get as hot as boiling. The river’s name comes from the fact that it often looks like it’s boiling, even though the water is not actually boiling.
The Boiling River is popular with visitors because it’s a great place to soak in the hot springs and relax. However, it’s important to be careful when visiting the river, because the water can be very hot and there are no lifeguards on duty.
People love to enjoy the Boiling River to relax after a long day of hiking!
GRAND LOOP ROAD
The Grand Loop Road is the scenic drive located in Yellowstone National Park. The road circles the park and provides visitors with amazing views of the park’s natural wonders.
One of the highlights of the drive is the sight of the park’s iconic basalt columns. These columns were formed by ancient lava flows and are a truly unique sight.
Along the way, drivers can experience diverse landscapes, including the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains, the Gallatin and Lamar Valleys, and Yellowstone Lake. The road is also home to iconic features like Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs.
The Grand Loop Road is the perfect way to see all that Yellowstone has to offer. If you only have one day to spend in the park, driving the Grand Loop Road will ensure you hit many of the park’s highlights.
UPPER GEYSER BASIN & MORNING GLORY POOL
The Upper Geyser Basin is located in the southwestern section of Yellowstone and is home to a number of geysers, including Old Faithful and numerous hot springs and pools.
Morning Glory Pool is perhaps the most famous of the thermal features in the Upper Geyser Basin. The pool is approximately 20 feet wide and 23 feet deep, and its blue-green waters are a beautiful sight. Morning Glory Pool derives its name from the shape of its walls, which resembles a morning glory blossom.
The Upper Geyser Basin is a fascinating area to explore, and it’s definitely worth spending some time in this iconic part of Yellowstone National Park.
Fairy Falls is a beautiful trail and one of the most popular hiking trails in the park, and for a good reason – the views are incredible! There are two trailheads that can be accessed from either Fountain Flat Drive or south of Midway Geyser Basin at the Fairy Falls Parking Lot.
The Fairy Falls trail is just over two miles long, and it is mostly downhill. The falls themselves are about 200 feet high. When you reach the falls, you will be treated to a breathtaking view of Yellowstone Lake and the surrounding mountains. Make sure to take a few minutes to relax and enjoy all the great things around you before hiking back up this moderate trail.
WEST THUMB GEYSER BASIN
West Thumb Geyser Basin is located on the shores of Yellowstone Lake, and it’s known for its abundance of geysers. The heat sources for these thermal features are thought to be relatively close to the surface, which makes them unique compared to other geyser basins in Yellowstone.
Some of the most popular attractions at West Thumb include Big Cone, Beach Geyser, Lakeshore Geyser, Twin Geysers, Black Pool, Fishing Cone, Abyss Pool, King Geyser, and Occasional Geyser. Fishing Cone is a geyser that’s located on the lakeshore, and it’s one of the most famous attractions at West Thumb.
If you’re interested in learning more about the geology and history of this area, there are ranger-led programs available. These programs are a great way to learn about the unique features of West Thumb Geyser Basin and why it’s such a popular destination in Yellowstone National Park.
NORRIS GEYSER BASIN
Steamboat Geyser is the world’s tallest active geyser and is located in Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser Basin. The basin is the hottest, oldest, and most dynamic of Yellowstone’s thermal areas. Steamboat Geyser erupts periodically, but when it does, it can shoot water up to 300 feet into the air! Steamboat Geyser is truly a sight to behold.
In addition to Steamboat Geyser, Norris Geyser Basin is also home to Excelsior Geyser Crater. This massive crater measures over 200 by 400 feet and consistently shoots 4,000 gallons of water per minute into the Firehole River.
Additionally, the Norris Geyser Basin consists of two important areas: the Porcelain Basin and Back Basin. The porcelain basin is a stark and beautiful area located in the Norris Geyser Basin. It’s characterized by its barren ground and lack of trees, which provides a unique sensory experience. A 3/4-mile bare ground and boardwalk trail accesses this area, making it easy to explore.
Back Basin, which is more heavily wooded, is also worth exploring. A 1.5-mile trail of boardwalks and bare ground encircles it, providing a variety of different landscapes to see.
Biscuit Basin is a beautiful, albeit short, boardwalk trail located in the Sapphire Pool section of Yellowstone National Park. Following the 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake, Sapphire Pool erupted and blew away the unusual “biscuit” deposits that used to surround it. The basin last erupted in 1991.
Biscuit Basin is traversed by an easy 0.6-mile lollipop loop boardwalk trail, which leads past several geothermal features, including the bright blue Sapphire Pool, Jewel Geyser (which erupts every 7-10 minutes), and Mustard Spring. The views from the boardwalk are simply stunning, and the trail is suitable for visitors of all ages.
If you’re looking for a short but sweet hike in Yellowstone, be sure to check out Biscuit Basin!
MIDWAY GEYSER BASIN
Midway Geyser Basin is home to a small but mighty collection of geysers and hot springs. Despite its size, Midway boasts two of the largest hot springs in the world – Grand Prismatic Spring and Excelsior Geyser Crater.
Rudyard Kipling visited Yellowstone in 1889 and famously referred to Midway as “Hell’s Half Acre.” Even today, the area is still known by that name.
Whether you’re looking to take in the otherworldly views or soak in some of nature’s finest thermal waters, a visit to Midway Geyser Basin is sure to leave a lasting impression.
DRAGON’S MOUTH SPRINGS
Dragon’s Mouth Springs is a hot spring located just down the boardwalk from the historic Mud Volcano. The springs boil out of a deep cave, and because of the water’s exceptionally hot temperature, large amounts of steam rise from the mouth of the cave. This leaves visitors with the impression of smoke billowing from the mouth of a dragon—a sound resembling said dragon can be heard from the boardwalk.
The area around Dragon’s Mouth Spring is rich with other thermal features. Just to the right of Dragon’s Mouth is a group of small geysers collectively called “the Geyser Family.” And directly across from Dragon’s Mouth on the other side of the boardwalk is Mud Volcano.
One of the most popular day hikes in Yellowstone is Mount Washburn. The trail to the summit climbs 1,400 feet of moderate switchbacks with diverse plant life and open views along the way.
The 10,243-foot summit offers an endless panorama from the Tetons to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and beyond. The peak also boasts a fire lookout tower with restrooms and an enclosed deck.
Tower Fall is a plunging 132-foot waterfall located in northeast Yellowstone near Tower Junction. The falls are surrounded by unusual rock columns that were created by a lava flow that cooled and cracked over time.
Up until 1986, visitors could see a large boulder perched on the edge of the fall, but it fell victim to gravity in June of that year. In 2021, the park redesigned and constructed a new trail leading to a viewing area for the waterfall. The trail is about 150 yards long and made of asphalt. It has a 2-4 percent grade, making it accessible for all visitors.
19 BUCKET LIST EXPERIENCES IN AND AROUND YELLOWSTONE NPS
SOAK IN A HOT SPRING
Yellowstone National Park is home to many hot springs, but the Boiling River is one of the most popular. Located near the north entrance of the park, Boiling River is a secluded spot where visitors can relax and enjoy Montana’s natural beauty.
The water in the Boiling River comes from a geothermal spring that the nearby Norris Geyser Basin heats. The temperature of the water can vary depending on the time of day and season, but it is typically around 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit. Visitors can soak in the river or swim in a nearby pool fed by the spring.
Another popular hot springs destination near Yellowstone is the Montana Hot Springs (in Gardiner). This spring is a little more challenging to reach than Boiling River, but it is worth the effort. The water in the pool is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and it offers stunning views of the Yellowstone River. Visitors can also enjoy a picnic lunch while they relax in the hot springs.
There are many great places to go swimming near Yellowstone National Park. One of the most popular spots is the Firehole River Swimming Area. The river is a beautiful blue-green color, and it’s perfect for swimming, tubing, and fishing. There are also several picnic areas nearby where you can enjoy a meal in the great outdoors.
Another popular swimming spot is the Madison River. It is a little further from the park than the Firehole River, but it is well worth the trip. The river is wide and deep with a gentle current, making it perfect for swimming, rafting, and fishing. There are also several beautiful hikes in the area that you can do while you are there.
If you are looking for a more adventurous swimming experience, you can try swimming in one of Yellowstone’s lakes. The water is extremely cold, but it is a great way to cool off on a hot day!
GET STUCK IN A BISON JAM
Getting stuck in a bison jam is a right of passage for any visitor to Yellowstone. What is a bison jam? Well, it’s not adding jelly to your toast!
A bison jam happens when these 2,000-pound creatures decide they want to stand in the middle of the road – and it’s usually not just one. Once these magnificent creatures choose to stand somewhere on the road, you are at their mercy for getting to the other side.
This experience is not limited to bison either – you may very well find yourself in a bear or elk jam! Either way, this will be the best traffic jam you will ever be in.
TAKE A GUIDED TOUR
One of the best ways to see Yellowstone is by taking a tour. Guided tours in Yellowstone are a great way to learn about the park and see things you might not be able to see on your own. They also give you the opportunity to ask questions and get advice from experts. Tours can last a few hours or a few days, and there are different types to choose from depending on your interests. For example, you can take a wildlife tour, a geology tour to learn about the formation of the park, or a chance to catch up on your history with a historical tour of the greater Yellowstone area.
Wildlife tours give you the opportunity to see animals in their natural habitat. They can last a few hours or a full day, and you can choose from a variety of different tour operators. Wildlife tours are a great way to learn about the animals that live in the park and how they interact with their environment.
Geology tours focus on the formation and history of Yellowstone National Park. These tours typically last around three hours and visit some of the most famous geological sites in the park.
History tours offer a look at the historical past of Yellowstone National Park and the people who have shaped it. These tours are usually led by historians or park rangers and focus on the stories and events that have shaped the park. History tours can last a few hours or a full day.
Tour operators are familiar with the park and can take you to places you might not find on your own. They often provide transportation, so you can simply sit back, relax, and enjoy the views.
HIKE DUNRAVEN PASS TO MOUNT WASHBURN
Dunraven Pass to Mount Washburn Overlook is an excellent 7-mile out and back trail that offers impressive views of the Grand Tetons. The trailhead can be found near the Stagecoach Road within Yellowstone. This route is considered moderately challenging, taking an average of 3 h 41 min to complete.
The best times to visit are June through Ausut when the weather is most pleasant. Please note that the NPS does not recommend hiking in September and October because of the elevated grizzly bear activity in fall.
Be sure to be bear aware, bring plenty of water and snacks, and don’t forget your camera! The views are simply breathtaking.
RAFT YELLOWSTONE RIVER
The Yellowstone River rafting experience is unique and unforgettable. You can access the river near Gardiner, Montana, just minutes from the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. There are plenty of outfitters in town who will provide you with all the supplies and instructions you need for a safe and fun trip down the river.
Rafting on the Yellowstone River offers something for everyone. The calm stretches of water near Gardiner make it great for families with young children, while the more adventurous can take on the rapids farther downstream.
An even more wild alternative not too far away is Snake River in Jackson, WY. The rapids here are some of the most challenging in the country and can provide an adrenaline rush like no other.
Regardless of which river you choose, rafting is a great way to experience the beauty and power of nature up close. So grab some friends or family and head on down for a trip you willl never forget!
BECOME A JR RANGER
The Junior Ranger program is an excellent way for kids to learn about the natural wonders of the park and their role in preserving them. With age-appropriate activities and a full-color booklet, this self-guided program is perfect for kids four and up. At the end of the program, participants will receive an official Yellowstone Junior Ranger patch.
I vividly remember completing this program as a third-grader, and I still have the patch in a scrapbook alongside a photo with a park ranger. Your child will genuinely make lasting memories from completing this unique program.
To get started, you simply have to stop by any Visitor Center.
PARTICIPATE IN A RANGER PROGRAM
Yellowstone National Park offers ranger-led programs throughout the year, the majority of which are usually in the summer and fall. Most are free to attend, and they offer a great opportunity to learn about the park and its history. My favorite ranger programs are the astronomy sessions, which offer an amazing view of the night sky.
Whether you’re interested in learning more about the geology of Yellowstone or want to take a hike with a ranger, there are plenty of programs to choose from. These ranger-led programs are a great way to explore Yellowstone and learn more about this amazing place in a one-of-a-kind way.
BOAT YELLOWSTONE LAKE
Yellowstone Lake is a great place to go boating. Surrounded by epic views of the mountains, you can rent kayaks, canoe, float tube (while fishing), or take a boat tour or a fishing excursion. You can even bring your own boat (needs a permit)!
Yellowstone Lake and Lewis Lake are essentially the only areas in the park that allow motorized boats. You can float tubes in areas that are open to fishing, but you must have a boat permit to do so.
BACKPACK ELECTRIC PEAK
At nearly 11,000 feet, Electric Peak is the tallest peak in the park. The views from the top are incredible, with 100 miles of visibility on a clear day. Climbing Electric Peak is a classic Yellowstone adventure.
The hike to Electric Peak begins in Wyoming and ends in Montana. It is a backcountry permit hike, which means that you will need to obtain a permit from the park ranger station before beginning your journey. The trail is well-marked and relatively easy to follow. There are two excellent campsites (1G3 & 1G4) located on the Gardner River, just past the turnoff to the Electric Peak-Southeast Ridge Trail.
The trail is lined with wildflowers (in spring), and the views are unbeatable. The hike can be done as a very long day or an overnight trip. Electric Peak is a strenuous hike but offers the best views to make it well worth it! Electric Peak is one of the best hiking trails to take on during your Yellowstone adventure.
GLAMP YELLOWSTONE IN LUXURY
Glamping is a great way to experience all that Yellowstone has to offer. It is a type of camping that allows you to live in luxury while still enjoying the outdoors. It is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle but still enjoy all the amenities of a luxury hotel while you are camping. Plus, glamping allows you to see wildlife up close and personal.
There are many great glamping resorts in Yellowstone. Some of the best include the elegant Under Canvas (I have stayed in their Mt. Rushmore location, and it is top-notch), Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel, and Collective Yellowstone, to name just a few.
ENJOY HORSEBACK RIDING
Yellowstone offers many options for those looking to explore the park on horseback. Guided tours are available for both novice and experienced riders, and llama day hikes (an alternative, they just carry gear and not people) are an excellent option for those who want to explore the backcountry without having to carry all their gear.
Many trails are open to horseback riders that do not require a guide. So bring your own saddle and giddy-up!
TRY THE COWBOY LIFE
Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding areas are great places to experience the cowboy lifestyle. There are plenty of authentic cookouts available, that come usually with a horseback ride included or stagecoach ride. This is a great way to taste the Old West while enjoying the beautiful scenery that Yellowstone has to offer.
There are a plethora of tours available such as the Roosevelt Arch Stagecoach Tour or the Western Outdoor Cookout Dinner, to name a few. So come on out and cowboy up; you might just have the time of your life.
TOUR THE GRIZZLY AND WOLF DISCOVERY CENTER
The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is a non-profit organization that opened in 1993. It is located in West Yellowstone, Montana, and is dedicated to educating people about grizzly bears and gray wolves. The center has a variety of programs that are geared toward different age groups. For example, the “Bear Nonsense” program is for younger kids, and the “Grizzlies Alive!” program is for older tweens, teens, and adults.
The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center has been incredibly successful in its mission to educate people about grizzly bears and gray wolves. Thousands of people visit the center every year, and it has helped to change the way that many people view these animals. Visitors will have the opportunity to come face-to-face not only with wolves and bears but otters, raptors, and other native animals.
Thanks to organizations like the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, we now have a better understanding of the important role that grizzly bears and gray wolves play in the greater Yellowstone ecology.
HUNT FOR DINOSAURS
The Wyoming Dinosaur Center houses one of the largest and most unique fossil collections in the world, with over 10,000 specimens on display. Visitors can see fossils from all over the globe, including many rare and unique specimens from Wyoming’s own Morrison Formation.
The Wyoming Dinosaur Center also has several interactive exhibits that teach visitors about the geology and paleontology of Wyoming.
The Wyoming Dinosaur Center is a 501c(3) non-profit organization, and all proceeds from admissions and purchases go towards preserving Wyoming’s natural history treasures for future generations. It’s a bit of a drive from Yellowstone – about four hours depending on where you leave from — but it is a worthwhile day trip.
LEARN ABOUT NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURE
Many different tribes have historical ties to Yellowstone National Park. These include the Crow, Blackfeet, Nez Perce, Shoshone, Bannock, and Arapaho. Each tribe has their own unique connection to the land and its resources, which has been shaped by their cultural traditions and history.
A great way to further your education on the area’s Native American culture is to visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Their five museums are all located under one roof, and each one has something different to offer.
You can explore Plains Indian cultures, trailblazing cowboys and cowgirls, classic and modern western artworks, and more. Admission is good for two days, so you can really take your time and see everything we have to offer.
Their location is right off the east entrance of Yellowstone, making it the perfect place to start your explorations of this amazing park.
STAY IN ONE OF YELLOWSTONE’S HISTORIC LODGES
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Yellowstone National Park, you’re in luck! There are nine lodging facilities with over 2,000 rooms available. Whether you’re looking for something luxurious or want to try out some ol’ western rustic cabins, you’ll find something to your liking. Remember – accommodations fill up fast in Yellowstone, so book early!
If you’re looking for a place to stay near the Old Faithful Geyser that drips with rustic elegance, you’ve got to visit Old Faithful Inn. This historic lodge is located right in the heart of Yellowstone National Park and offers guests beautiful views of Old Faithful as well as plenty of other amenities and activities. I stayed as a child, and its rustic architecture and aesthetic are something I vividly remember to this day.
The Old Faithful Inn has more than 300 rooms available, including newly renovated suites and deluxe rooms that combine old-fashioned and modern characteristics indicative of Yellowstone’s history. You’ll also find a variety of on-site restaurants and lounges, as well as a gift shop, laundry facilities, and more.
For a more rustic experience near the Tower Falls area of Yellowstone, consider the Roosevelt Lodge Cabins. These cabins were built in 1920 and are located near a campsite that was once used by President Theodore Roosevelt. The lodge is a favorite among families and fishermen alike, and its front porch rocking chairs offer guests an opportunity to relax and unwind. Other amenities at the lodge include a large corral operation with horseback trail rides and stagecoach adventures, as well as an Old West Dinner Cookout where you can enjoy steak and other hearty dishes.
There are plenty of other places to stay within the park, including the historic Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins. This hotel stands as it was upon its creation in 1936 and is located in the north-central part of the park and features beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. It is a great spot to stay if you want to visit Lamar Valley before sunrise to catch the wolves!
For those looking for a more remote experience, the Grant Village Campground is located in the southwest part of the park and features nearly 400 sites for tents and RVs. The campground also has a general store, laundry facilities, and showers. There are also plenty of hiking and biking trails nearby for guests to explore.
Whichever place you choose to stay, you are sure to create lifelong memories in America’s backyard.
Read more: OLD FAITHFUL INN – YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
TRY FLY FISHING
Fly-fishing in Yellowstone is a popular pastime. The Madison River and its tributaries are world-renowned for their trout fishing, and the Lamar River offers excellent opportunities for grayling fishing. There are also many smaller streams and meandering backwaters that offer great fishing for those who know where to look.
The best time of year to fly-fish in Yellowstone is early summer when the rivers are high, and the trout are biting. However, the park is open all year round, and there are always opportunities to catch fish. Don’t forget – a valid fishing license is required in order to fish in Yellowstone National Park.
VISIT IN WINTER
Yellowstone National Park is a winter wonderland, and there are plenty of winter activities to enjoy. One of the most popular winter activities is a winter wildlife safari. You can explore the park on a snowmobile or snow coach and see some of the fantastic wildlife that calls Yellowstone home. Snowmobiles are available for rent at many locations throughout the park, and snow coaches can be booked through tour operators.
If you’re looking for a more active winter experience, cross-country skiing is a great option. There are many cross-country ski trails throughout the park, and they offer a great way to explore Yellowstone in a unique way.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK FAQS
HOW MANY DAYS TO YOU NEED IN YELLOWSTONE?
There is no one answer to this question, as it depends on your individual interests and goals for your visit. However, most visitors find that 2-3 days is a sufficient amount of time to explore the major attractions within Yellowstone. If you have specific bucket list items that you wish to check off while in the park, you may need more time to accomplish these.
If you’re an avid hiker looking to get off the beaten path, spending five nights will allow you time to recover from big hikes, and still check-out the major attractions.
Ultimately, how much time you spend in Yellowstone is up to you and what you hope to get out of your visit.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT YELLOWSTONE?
The best time of year to visit Yellowstone National Park is during the shoulder seasons of April, September, and October. The crowds are smaller, and the weather is milder during these months, making for a more enjoyable experience. However, keep in mind that some parts of the park may be closed during the winter months. If you’re okay with cold weather, there are still plenty of things to do in Yellowstone National Park during winter. Plus, you won’t have to fight as many crowds.
The summer months are the busiest time of year at the park, so be prepared for crowds and extensive bison jams. The park is at its most popular from May to August when temperatures can reach up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Regardless of when you visit, be sure to enjoy all that Yellowstone National Park has to offer. With its stunning scenery and abundance of activities, there’s something for everyone in this world-famous park.
WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO STAY WHEN VISITING YELLOWSTONE?
Some of the best places to stay are inside the park, but it can be hard to secure a reservation due to their popularity. The closest towns with accommodations are Gardiner and West Yellowstone, both located in Montana. Cody, Wyoming (East Entrance) offers the most affordable options, but it is far from the main attractions in the park.
Some of the best places to stay inside the park include Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, Old Faithful Inn, and Lake Yellowstone Hotel. These hotels offer beautiful views of the park and some of the best amenities available inside the park. Another great option for staying inside the park is camping or RVing. Some of the best campgrounds include Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Geyser Basin, and Old Faithful. There are many campsites and RV parks available, but they fill up just as quickly as the hotels.
I’ve stayed in Airbnbs in Island Park, Idaho, about 45 minutes outside of Yellowstone. This can be a more affordable option if you’re okay with driving. However, making the 90-minute drive every day of your trip can become exhausting.
WHAT SHOULD YOU NOT MISS IN YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK?
It is important to visit the essential Yellowstone sights like Old Faithful, Lamar Valley, and the Mammoth Hot Springs. However, especially during the busy season, the crowds risk making you feel like you’re waiting in line at Disney World.
To truly grasp how wild Yellowstone National Park is, I suggest taking at least one backcountry hike. This gets you away from the crowds and shows you a piece of Yellowstone you truly can’t get alongside the hordes of tourists.
WHAT SHOULD YOU NOT DO IN YELLOWSTONE?
Do not approach the animals. It is illegal to get within 100 yards of bears and wolves and within 25 yards of other wildlife. Give them space, and do not try to attract their attention or feed them.
Jumping into the hot springs or thermal pools is strictly prohibited. The water can exceed the boiling point of 199 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius), and there have been multiple fatalities from people who have gotten too close.
Stick to the boardwalks when exploring geysers and hot springs. The ground around these features can be incredibly fragile, and walking on it can damage the delicate ecosystem. Leaving the boardwalks can also be dangerous. There are hidden dangers lurking in the geyser fields and thermal areas, such as boiling pools of water and scalding steam vents. It is easy to lose track of where you are or to wander off the trail and get lost.
Do not litter. Remember always to leave the park as you found it – clean and undamaged. Help keep this natural wonder pristine for future generations!
Don’t underestimate how large the park is. Yellowstone is huge – more than 2.2 million acres. It can take a long time to get from one point to another, so be sure to plan your route ahead of time.
Remember safety first! Observe all park regulations and use common sense while visiting Yellowstone. With these tips in mind, you’re sure to have a safe and enjoyable trip!
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO YELLOWSTONE
- GLAMPING YELLOWSTONE: 7 Experiences You’ll Never Forget
- BEST OF WYOMING: 27 Best Things To Do In Wyoming For Outdoor Fun
- PICNICS IN YELLOWSTONE: The Best Picnic Spots in Yellowstone NPS
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WHERE TO STAY NEAR YELLOWSTONE
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