Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hotels.com to bring forth some of the stunning wanderlust destinations in the USA. As always the opinions and ideas are my own.
Yellowstone National Park is one of the popular destinations in the USA. From geysers, waterfalls to stunning landscape; here are the must-see Yellowstone highlights to add to your bucket list.
Before we share the amazing Yellowstone bucket list items, we want to showcase some of the interesting facts and quick tips to help prepare your trip!
7 Yellowstone Highlights: Must-see Yellowstone Bucket list items
As travel remains uncertain today, it is important to make preparations ahead of visit for your safety and the safety of others. Travel only when it is safe to do so, and please travel responsibly and follow local regulations.
Here are our recommendations to help you prepare – as always any travel is at your own risk.
- Wear a face mask.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands on a regular basis.
- Check official websites before your trip for the latest updates on policies, closures, and status of local businesses.
- Check the national parks’ official website to ensure they are open and roads accessible. State parks have outlined precautionary measures and guidelines for visitors to follow. Check out – Recreate Responsibly guidelines here
- Book a hotel with free cancellation in case you need to change your plans at the last minute.
Yellowstone National Park Quick Guide
Yellowstone National Park is the world’s first designated national park. It was designated in 1872. Today it is also a designated World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve.
The national park covers an enormous area of 3472 square miles (8987 square kilometres), and is spread over in 3 states of the USA, with Wyoming constituting 96% of the park (other 2 states are Montana 3%, Idaho 1%).
The best time to visit Yellowstone is during the shoulder months. April to May and between September and October are a great time to head to the national park as the weather is mild and fewer crowds.
Where to stay in and around Yellowstone? There are about 9 hotels inside the park. You can browse for hotels in and around Yellowstone National Park for your trip. You can browse for hotels in and around Yellowstone National Park within any budget for your trip.
- Active volcano: Approximately 1,000-3,000 earthquakes annually
- Approximately 10,000 thermal features
- Geysers: More than 300 geysers
- Tallest waterfall: Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River
- Highest Point: 11,358 ft / 3,462 m (Eagle Peak)
- Lowest Point: 5,282 ft / 1,610 m (Reese Creek)
- Trails: With 5 park entrances, the park has about 1,000 mi / 1,600 km of backcountry trails, 92 trailheads and 301 backcountry campsites
- Fauna & Flora: 67 species of mammals, 7 species of conifers, thousands of petrified trees in northern Yellowstone and more than 199 species of exotic (non-native) plants
- Heritage Sites: Approximately 1,600 archeological sites, with more than 300 ethnographic resources (animals, plants, sites) and 900+ historic buildings. Plus one National Historic Trail
Grand Prismatic Spring
This image is the ONE that got my attention to learn more about Yellowstone National Park. I have never seen any unique and intriguing landscape as this one.
This is the Grand Prismatic Spring, which is the largest hot spring in the country. Due to the stunning myriad of colors – blue, yellow, green, orange and red – the hot spring’s name is inspired by rainbows and optical prisms.
The center of the pool is deep blue in color, and it is the hottest area, reaching a high of 87 degrees Celsius. Swimming is not allowed, and is illegal at the Grand Prismatic Spring for obvious reasons. You could get burned and it can even be fatal.
Other hot springs in the park
- Mammoth Hot Springs – It is a large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine near Fort Yellowstone and the Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District.
- Morning Glory Pool – This is another hot spring located in the Upper Geyser Basin.
READ: Road Trip Ideas in the West Coast – Read our 16 Road Trip Ideas in the USA exploring Yellowstone National Park, New Mexico, Lake Tahoe, and more.
Old Faith Geyser
Old Faithful Geyser is not one, but one of the 500 geysers located in the park. For such amazing natural wonders, this is one the must see Yellowstone highlights to add to your bucket list.
NatGeo had an amazing video on the Old Faith geyser and its eruptions every 40 to 90 minutes. The timing of the eruption varies as it’s a natural phenomenon. Recent geological reports indicate that at some point it may not erupt at all.
The geyser is part of the Old Faithful Historic District in Wyoming. Located nearby is the Old Faithful Inn (hotel), you can view prices and book reservations here.
Yellowstone Lake is the largest body of water in Yellowstone Park, and the largest freshwater lake in North America. It is a scenic spot where you can embark on hiking trails, and fishing.
This lake is situated at 7,732 feet above sea level and it covers 136 square miles, and it offers very limited opportunities to swim or soak. Due to the high-elevation, and cold water it always presents a risk. And this in a park which is filled with hot springs and geysers – isn’t nature so marvelous?
80% of Yellowstone National Park is covered in forest, and one of the coolest things to do is to embark on scenic road trips. Dunraven Pass is one of them, it is a mountain pass on the Grand Loop Road between Tower and Canyon in Yellowstone.
Another amazing loop is to take the Firehole Lake Drive, for example. Firehole Lake Road is a 3-mile, one-way road off the Grand Loop between Old Faithful and Madison.
Admire the diverse wildlife
Yellowstone is home to a diverse wildlife from bears, bison, elk, wolves, sheep, deer, moose, antelope, to birds. Due to the vast area, wildlife can roam about freely when they are inside the park.
It is easy to spot animals at any time of year here – summers are great for birds, spring for bears, and winters to sight wolves. If you are hiking or backpacking here, remember to stay in designated areas and trails.
Roosevelt Arch is the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park. It is located in Gardiner, Montana. It is a triumphal arch, and its cornerstone was laid down by President Theodore Roosevelt in the beginning of the 20th century.
The top of the arch has a quote, which reads: “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People” (taken from the Organic Act of 1872).
Cultural History & Yellowstone Highlights
Learn all about the historic Indian Tribes here. The Yellowstone Park has been home to Indians for thousands of years (before it even became a national park). Crow, Blackfeet, Shoshone, Kiowa, and Bannock, were some of the tribes.
Yellowstone National Park’s National Historic Landmarks include the Northeast Entrance Station, the Old Faithful Inn, Obsidian Cliff, Fort Yellowstone, Lake Hotel, and the trailside museums at Norris Geyser Basin, Fishing Bridge, and Madison.
So these are the 7 amazing things to do at the park that you must add to your Yellowstone bucket list! Happy Planning!
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