Park Guide: Yellowstone National Park

Park Guide: Yellowstone National Park

In this guide, we introduce you to some of the coolest things to see and do in Yellowstone National Park.

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Ask a random person to name just one national park in the US, and there is a good chance they will reply, "Yellowstone" right away. Each year, millions of visitors flock to Yellowstone National Park from countries around the world to explore more than 2 million acres of rugged scenery and spectacular wildlife.

In this park guide, we will introduce you to some of the coolest things to see and do in Yellowstone National Park. We will also tell you what you need to know about camping in and around the park.

Old Faithful

Yellowstone National Park: Things to See and Do

Yellowstone National Park is easy to navigate and explore. The main road makes roughly the shape of a figure 8, with five roads leading out of the park in five different directions. Alas, the park is so huge that there is no way to see it all in a single visit, especially if you will only be there for a few days. Here are some top recommended destinations and activities:

  • Old Faithful: This large geyser erupts "faithfully" at pretty regular intervals, thus its name. If you visit this geyser basin and walk around, you should see it go off at some point before you leave. You also will enjoy lots of other gorgeous colorful pools while you are there. Note that there are multiple basins to explore in this area. You also can check out the breathtaking historic lodge.
  • The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone: One of the most photographed sights in the park is the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Take some photos of the falls from the top, and then take the hike down to the bottom and back.
  • Norris: If you take the road west out of Canyon Village, you will come to another geyser basin called Norris. This basin is not nearly as famous as Old Faithful, but it is just as worthwhile.
  • Firehole River: Following the road north out of Old Faithful, you will be driving along a river called "Firehole." Pack your swimsuit, as there is a wonderful swimming spot here in a hot springs (the rest of the water in the park is very cold, even in midsummer).
  • Lamar Valley: You will find Lamar Valley in north-eastern Yellowstone. Even though Lamar Valley is famous for its wildlife and awe-inspiring scenery, it is a bit out of the way from the park’s main attractions. So, you will often have it more or less to yourself. This is one of the best areas to see bison in the park.
  • Mammoth Hot Springs: In the northern part of the park is this famous formation. Alas, they are a bit dried out compared to in the past, but still amazingly beautiful.
  • Tower Roosevelt: This is a cool area where you can pay a visit to Tower Falls, or head over to Specimen Ridge to check out petrified trees. There are some cool lava columns along the road in this area as well.
  • Yellowstone Lake: The shores of this lake offer many lovely spots where you can relax. You can even go on a boat or fish (both at once, if you want; there are usually fishing tours available). Swing by the Yellowstone Lake Hotel as well to enjoy another historic lodging.
Old Faithful

This is truly just a sampling of the amazing destinations in the park, and we have largely gone over the more popular destinations. There are plenty of off-the-beaten-path hikes you can take to explore deeper into the park.

Pro Tip: Consider taking a drive at night. Watch out for wild animals, as they are all over the roads after dark. But what you won’t see is a lot of other tourists. There are some geysers that go off at night, and the entire character of the park transforms when you see the steam from the basins glowing in the moonlight.

What kinds of wildlife can you see in Yellowstone? You can look forward to spotting bison, coyotes, elk, otters, wolves, moose and more.

Where to Camp in Yellowstone National Park

There are twelve campgrounds in Yellowstone:

  • Bridge Bay
  • Canyon
  • Fishing Bridge RV Park
  • Grant Village
  • Madison
  • Indian Creek
  • Lewis Lake
  • Mammoth
  • Norris
  • Pebble Creek
  • Slough Creek
  • Tower Fall

Although there are around 2,000 campsites, they book fast every season. You will have to reserve as early as possible, otherwise you will be typically be stuck camping outside the park. Only Mammoth Campground is first come, first served through the off-season (October 15th through April 1st).

Check the amenities at each of the campgrounds to see what you will and will not need to bring. Some of them are located close to general stores. These stores carry some basic foodstuffs and supplies. Check out our guide if you are in the market for a camping tent that provides protection from rain.

Most people visit Yellowstone National Park during summer. One thing to know about Yellowstone in summer is that there are huge temperature swings between day and night. Not only that, but the weather can change at the drop of a hat. So, pack with that in mind, especially if you are going to be camping in a tent. You will need a warm sleeping bag. And during the day, you are going to want clothes you can layer up or down as needed.

A 10x10 canopy tent can also be a great addition to your camp supplies. You can set it up at your site and relax under it after a day out hiking. It will ensure that you stay comfortable whether the sun is beating down or it is raining.

Enjoy Yellowstone National Park in All its Splendor

Now you have a preview of what you can expect when you visit Yellowstone National Park. But reading about these sights in text does not in any way capture the majesty of this park’s picturesque views or the delight of its wildlife. You will just need to plan a trip and experience it for yourself. Have fun camping in Yellowstone!

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