The Best Things to Do in Yellowstone National Park
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Located on the Wyoming / Montana Border, Yellowstone National Park was the nation’s first National Park. It's known for its unique hydrothermal features, plentiful wildlife, and its own Grand Canyon! Thinking of going? We’ve rounded up some of the best things to do in Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone has over 2.2 million acres, and there are lots of great hiking trails within that space. From wheelchair and stroller-friendly hikes, to backcountry adventures, Yellowstone has it all. Here are some of the best:
Brink of the Lower Falls Trail
Lamar River Trail to Cache Creek
Fairy Falls Trail
Dunraven Pass to Mount Washburn
Clear Lake - Ribbon Lake Loop
Grand Prismatic Hot Springs
One of the most famous features of the park is wheel-friendly. Walk around the Midway Geyser Basin to see the Grand Prismatic Spring, a huge pool more than ten stories deep and surrounded by colorful algae. Visit on a sunny day to see the rainbow of colors in this pool. The Grand Prismatic Spring’s vivid colors are caused by the combination of the mineral-rich water, the pigmented bacteria found in the lake, and its temperature. The boardwalk trail here runs part of the way around the spring, and past two smaller pools. The Excelsior Geyser is also located in the Grand Prismatic Yellowstone area.
No visit to Yellowstone is complete without seeing Old Faithful erupt. It’s one of six geysers that park rangers can currently predict out of the 500 in the park. This and other geysers and thermal features in the area show the volcanic activity happening below the park’s surface, and these features are constantly changing. You can watch Old Faithful erupt from the viewing area or from the boardwalks around the geyser.
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
You’ve probably heard of the Grand Canyon, but you may not have heard of Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon. There are lots of lookouts and walking trails along the 24-mile long canyon for you to explore. Artist Point offers a great view of the canyon and lower falls, and some other fantastic spots to see are Inspiration Point, the Lower Falls, and the Brink of the Upper Falls. Some of the best hikes here are Uncle Tom’s Trail, which is steep and has lots of stairs that take you into the canyon, and the Point Sublime Trail, which has wonderful views you can’t see from a car.
Mammoth Hot Springs
Mammoth Hot Springs is a large hot spring created over thousands of years as hot water cooled and deposited calcium carbonate. See these terraced hot springs with their colorful algae living in the water on your adventure in Yellowstone. They’re probably not like any other hot springs you’ve seen before.
If you’re up for a strenuous hike, hiking to the top of Mount Washburn, about 6.4 miles roundtrip, rewards you with amazing views. You may even get to see bighorn sheep and bears. The road is open seasonally, and due to construction, will not be open in 2021, but keep it on your list for a future hike!
Head to Lamar Valley to see wildlife roaming around the plains. While visiting you’ll probably get to see wild bison, elk, deer, bears, coyotes, and possibly even wolves. You may even encounter bison traffic jams if they cross the road! The scenery in this area is spectacular, so make sure to bring binoculars.
With a good lens, you can take some amazing photos at Yellowstone! Many of the places we listed above will give you great subjects: some of the most popular spots are the Grand Prismatic Hot Springs, Lower Falls, Old Faithful, wildlife, geysers, and sunrises at Yellowstone Lake. No matter what you take a photo of, you’ll have memories for a lifetime!
Hopefully this has helped you with what to do in Yellowstone National Park. With lots of Yellowstone hiking, exploring, and sightseeing, you and whoever you go with will be amazed at the beauty and unique sights at the park. Be sure to check out our Yellowstone Getaway, and tag us in any photos you post. We love seeing your adventures!