Known for world-famous attractions such as Old Faithful Geyser, a visit to Yellowstone National Park is a truly memorable experience. Here are the top 7 things to do on your future trip to the park.
1. View The Park’s Thermal Features
While the park is perhaps best known for Old Faithful Geyser, it’s also home to hundreds of other thermal features, including hot springs and geysers. Consider checking out the Grand Prismatic Spring, a sprawling, multi-colored hot spring that is the largest in the United States. Or, head over to the Lower Geyser Basin to see features such as the bubbling Fountain Paint Pots, or the almost supernaturally blue Sapphire Pool at Biscuit Basin. Some thermal features, such as Dragon’s Mouth Spring, even have fun lore behind them. The spring was named for how steam billows out of the cave surrounding it, giving the impression of a dragon hiding inside. It should be noted that caution signs to stay on the trail near thermal features should be adhered to. While the pools and geysers are beautiful, many are very hot.
2. Go Camping
Camping at Yellowstone is a fully immersive way to experience the park! The camping season is just getting started at Yellowstone, making it a great time to enjoy fresh air and sleeping under the stars. Currently, both Madison and Mammoth campgrounds are open for the season. Several more campgrounds will follow in the coming weeks. Areas near Mammoth campground are great to view wildlife such as bison. Campsites are available via reservation through the National Park Service. Madison campground, meanwhile, takes reservations through Yellowstone National Park Lodges. Guests can look forward to being near a variety of attractions, including the town of West Yellowstone, the Madison River, and fields full of wildflowers in early summer.
3. Go On A Guided Tour
With so many attractions, figuring out what to do in Yellowstone can be stressful. Going on a tour is a great way to ease some of this stress – let one of the skilled guides in the area show you some of the best spots. Yellowstone National Park Lodges, operating within the park, offers a variety of tours, including a guided photo safari. Yellowstone Vacation Tours, meanwhile, operates out of nearby towns West Yellowstone and Gardiner. They offer tours of both the upper and lower loop of Yellowstone. Tours can fill up quickly – those seeking to book one will want to plan ahead as much as possible.
4. Go Boating
Enjoy a day out on one of the park’s scenic lakes. Boating can be a fun way to experience the park, and makes for a memorable time all on its own! Boats, along with guided boat tours, are available at Bridge Bay Marina starting June 11th. You’re also able to bring your own boat, however, you have to acquire a boating permit and the boat must pass a Yellowstone aquatic invasive species inspection.
5. Stay at One of The Park’s Lodges
Yellowstone is best seen over a number of days, which brings up the question of where to spend your nights. Camping, as well as staying in a nearby town such as Gardiner, are two options. If camping isn’t quite your thing, and you still want to stay in the park itself, however, don’t fret! There are a number of hotels and cabin rentals inside Yellowstone. Currently, Mammoth Hotel & Cabins, Old Faithful Snow Lodge, and Old Faithful Lodge Cabins are open. Some options are not currently available due to COVID-19, such as cabins without attached bathrooms (campground showers are closed for the time being). Just like with tours, availability can fill up quickly. If you’re looking to stay at a lodge in the park, plan ahead as much as possible to make sure you get the room you’re wanting.
6. Go Hiking
Yellowstone is home to miles upon miles and scenic wilderness, and hiking is a great way to experience it first-hand! Due to the area’s long, cold winters, the hiking season is just opening up. Still, visitors can look forward to hikes winding around the park’s stunning thermal features, or trails that show off other natural features. A couple of things to keep in mind prior to your hiking trip – trails can be snowy or slippery year-round. Additionally, hiking can be a great way to view wildlife, but make sure to give them plenty of space if you do run into any critters!
7. View Amazing Wildlife
Yellowstone is a great area to see some of these magnificent creatures such as bison, wolves, and bears in their natural environment. Because wild animals are unpredictable, you’ll want to be sure to always maintain a safe distance from them. It’s recommended that you stay 100 yards from predators such as wolves and bears, and 25 yards away from other wildlife. In order to remain safe and get a good look at them then, you may want to bring binoculars with you. As for when you should head out, many animals are most active either early in the morning or at dusk – the early bird really does get the worm (or animal sighting) in this case.
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