Yellowstone National Park, America’s first national park, holds a myriad of wonders and mesmerizing views that captivate the hearts of many. With its sprawling landscapes, rich history, and abundant wildlife, there’s no shortage of things to do in Yellowstone. In this guide, we walk you through the top 14 experiences that should be on every visitor’s list. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or an adventure seeker, Yellowstone promises a memorable experience.
See below the List Of the Top 14 Things to Do in Yellowstone:
1. Witness the Old Faithful Eruption
One of the most iconic things to do in Yellowstone is watching the Old Faithful Geyser erupt. This natural wonder has been a source of fascination for over a century. Located in the Upper Geyser Basin, Old Faithful erupts approximately every 90 minutes, shooting boiling water over 100 feet into the air. The power and consistency of this natural display have earned it a rightful place as a top attraction. To enhance your experience, we recommend visiting the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center. Here, you can learn about the science behind the eruptions, the history of geysers in the park, and what makes Old Faithful so special.
2. Explore the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, a breathtaking 24-mile-long canyon, offers some of the most picturesque views in the park. Carved by the Yellowstone River, the canyon’s walls are a tapestry of yellow, red, and pink, making it a photographer’s dream. The two primary waterfalls, the Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls, add to the scenic splendor. A must-do for visitors is the Brink of the Upper Falls trail, where you can get up close to the roaring waterfall. The vantage points like Artist Point and Lookout Point offer panoramic views of the canyon, making them ideal for those postcard-perfect shots.
3. Visit the Mammoth Hot Springs
Mammoth Hot Springs is another testament to the geological wonders of Yellowstone. These terraced springs, formed over thousands of years, are a visual spectacle. The limestone deposits from the hot water create stunning white terraces that stand in contrast to the blue skies. The boardwalk around the springs allows visitors to view these formations from various angles. Moreover, Mammoth Hot Springs is also home to historic Fort Yellowstone. This fort, built in the 19th century, played a crucial role in the park’s early management.
4. Take a Wildlife Safari Tour
Yellowstone boasts a rich biodiversity, making wildlife viewing one of the most sought-after things to do in Yellowstone. The park is home to the iconic gray wolf, elusive grizzly bears, majestic bison, and a host of other animals. Opting for a guided safari tour increases your chances of spotting these creatures in their natural habitat. Tour guides, with their expertise and knowledge, can provide insights into animal behaviors, ensuring a fulfilling wildlife experience. Depending on the season, different areas of the park are ideal for viewing specific animals.
5. Hike the Mount Washburn Trail
For the avid hiker, the Mount Washburn Trail promises an exhilarating experience. This moderately challenging hike rewards visitors with panoramic views of the park, including the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, the Absaroka Range, and Yellowstone Lake. Along the trail, interpretive signs provide insights into the area’s geology, flora, and fauna. And, if you’re hiking in the summer, you’ll be treated to a colorful display of wildflowers. This trail, with its elevation gain and scenic vistas, embodies the essence of what makes hiking in Yellowstone a must-do activity.
6. Relax by Yellowstone Lake
Covering an area of 132 square miles, Yellowstone Lake is North America’s largest high-elevation lake. Its serene blue waters, set against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains, offer a tranquil retreat. There’s no shortage of things to do in Yellowstone Lake. From boating and kayaking to fishing for native cutthroat trout, the lake provides numerous recreational opportunities. Additionally, the Lake Village area houses the historic Lake Yellowstone Hotel. This century-old hotel, with its colonial architecture, adds to the charm of the Yellowstone Lake region.
7. Dive into the History at the Museum of the National Park Ranger
For those interested in the history of America’s national parks, the Museum of the National Park Ranger is a treasure trove. Housed in the Norris Soldier Station, this museum chronicles the evolution of park rangers over the years. Exhibits showcase the challenges faced by the early park protectors, their uniforms, equipment, and more. It’s a testament to the dedication and commitment of the individuals who have safeguarded America’s natural heritage.
8. Experience the Norris Geyser Basin
The Norris Geyser Basin, with its dynamic hydrothermal activity, is a must-visit spot for those seeking the quintessential Yellowstone experience. It’s divided into two sections: the Porcelain Basin and the Back Basin. Both areas boast an array of hot springs, geysers, and fumaroles. What’s unique about Norris is its acidic waters, resulting in vibrant mineral deposits that are a treat to the eyes. The distinct geothermal features, coupled with interpretive signs, make Norris a fascinating area to explore.
9. Discover Hidden Falls
Hidden Falls, aptly named, is a gem tucked away near Jenny Lake. Accessible via a short boat ride and hike, this waterfall is a haven for those seeking solitude. The sound of cascading waters, surrounded by dense greenery, creates an enchanting atmosphere. While many things to do in Yellowstone are grand in scale, the charm of Hidden Falls lies in its seclusion and tranquility.
10. Embark on a Horseback Riding Adventure
Experience Yellowstone from a unique vantage point – on horseback. Various outfitters within and around the park offer horseback riding tours. These tours, ranging from a few hours to multiple days, allow visitors to traverse meadows, forests, and high country. It’s an authentic Western experience, providing an intimate connection with Yellowstone’s wilderness.
11. Try Fly Fishing in the Madison River
The Madison River, with its clear waters and abundant fish population, is a paradise for anglers. Fly fishing in these waters, surrounded by scenic beauty, is an experience to cherish. The river is teeming with brown and rainbow trout, making it a favorite spot for both novice and experienced anglers. Guided fishing tours, available within the park, ensure that visitors adhere to the park’s conservation regulations while enjoying this pastime.
12. Join a Ranger-led Program
One of the most informative things to do in Yellowstone is participating in a ranger-led program. These programs, tailored for different age groups, delve into various aspects of the park – from its geology and history to its wildlife and conservation efforts. Whether it’s a guided walk, a campfire talk, or a children’s program, the rangers bring Yellowstone to life with their stories and knowledge.
13. Camp Under the Stars
Camping in Yellowstone is an experience like no other. With the starry skies overhead and the sounds of nature all around, it’s a chance to truly immerse oneself in the park’s wilderness. Several campgrounds, each with its unique features, cater to different preferences. Whether you’re looking for a lakeside spot or a campground amidst dense forests, Yellowstone promises an unparalleled camping experience.
14. Conclude with a Scenic Drive
Finally, no trip to Yellowstone is complete without a scenic drive. The Grand Loop Road, encircling the majority of the park’s primary attractions, offers jaw-dropping views at every turn. From vast meadows and roaring waterfalls to geothermal basins and dense forests, this drive encapsulates the diversity and grandeur of Yellowstone.
Yellowstone National Park, with its myriad attractions, promises memories to last a lifetime. While this guide covers the top things to do in Yellowstone, the park’s magic lies in its ability to offer something for everyone. So, pack your bags, and let the adventures in Yellowstone unfold.