Yellowstone National Park – History, Things to do

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Yellowstone National Park is America’s first and foremost National Park. Yellowstone attracts approx. 4.1 million visitors every year. It was established in 1872 by the United States Congress for the conservation of its many wonders and the enjoyment of the people. On March 1, 1872, Yellowstone became the first national park for all. Yellowstone in its early days was known simply as “Wonderland”. Yellowstone National Park spans an area of about 2.2 acres embracing lakes, canyons, rivers, and mountain ranges. It is located in the northwest corner of Wyoming and contains edges of Montana and Idaho as well.

yellowstone national park history
Yellowstone national park history

The park is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful geyser. Because of its dramatic mountaintop and immaculate lakes, Yellowstone National Park is outdoor fanatic heaven. With so much flawless natural beauty, it’s no wonder why it is so fascinating to visitors. It’s been called America’s finest and most diverse vacationland. Yellowstone is a jewel that stimulates a feeling of amazement in travelers around the world.

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Yellowstone National Park Top Attractions

1. Old Faithful Geyser/Upper Basin

Geysers are hot springs that erupt periodically. It’s the most famous geyser in the park located in the upper geyser basin. No visit to Yellowstone is complete without experiencing at least one eruption of Old Faithful. Old Faithful erupts more frequently than any of the other big geysers. Its average interval between eruptions is about 91 minutes, varying from 65 – 92 minutes. An eruption lasts 1 1/2 to 5 minutes, expels 14,000 – 32,000 liters of boiling water, and reaches heights of 106 – 184 feet (30 – 55m).

yellowstone national park Old Faithful Geyser/Upper Basin
Yellowstone national park Old Faithful Geyser/Upper Basin

2. Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is breathtaking. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River expresses the park’s complex geologic history in dramatic colors and shapes. Grand Canyon’s Lower Falls, at 308 feet high, is one of the most photographed and eye-soothing features in all of Yellowstone. Also, surely take the 3/8 -mile (one way) hike down to the edge of the Lower Falls. The experience at the lip of the falls is astonishing.

yellowstone national park Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Yellowstone national park Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

3. Hayden Valley

Hayden Valley is a large, sub-alpine valley in Yellowstone National Park straddling the Yellowstone River between YellowstoneFalls and Yellowstone Lake. The valley is well known as one of the best locations to view wildlife in Yellowstone.The Hayden Valley is approximately 7 miles long north to south and 7 miles wide east to west and occupies about 50 square miles of the park.All the rivers, creeks and ponds in the valley are closed to fishing, and there are a number or roadside turnouts along the Hayden Valley, offering views on both sides of the road.

yellowstone national park Hayden Valley
Yellowstone national park Hayden Valley

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4. Mammoth Hot Springs

This is the park headquarters and it emits history, presenting some of the oldest buildings in the Park, including structures from the days when the U.S. Army was managing Yellowstone. Mammoth Hot Springs is a must-see feature of Yellowstone National Park in part because they’re so different. It is a large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine in Yellowstone National Park adjacent to Fort Yellowstone and the Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District. The Mammoth Terraces extends from the hillside, across the Parade Ground, and down to Boiling River.

ys-mammoth hot springs

5. Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake is the largest high-elevation lake. It has 136 square miles of surface area and 110 miles of shoreline. Its deepest spot is over 390 ft. according to recent research. It is a natural lake. It begins on the slopes of Yount Peak in the Absaroka Mountain Range outside the southeast boundary of the park and completes its 671-mile run by joining the Missouri River near the Montana and North Dakota border. Yellowstone Lake is easily accessible from both the park’s East and West entrances.

yellow stone lake
yellow stone lake

6. Norris Geyser Basin

One of Yellowstone National Park’s well-liked geyser basins. Norris Geyser Basin is the hottest, oldest, and most dynamic of Yellowstone’s thermal areas. It is located on the northwest edge of the caldera. It is the hottest geyser basin in Yellowstone, and home to the famous Steamboat Geyser. The basin is comprised of two distinct sections: Back Basin and Porcelain Basin. Besides the thermal features, Norris Basin also offers wonderful views of the surrounding mountains and gets you up and close to swaths of lodgepole saplings born in the end-results of the 1988 Yellowstone Fire.

yellowstone national park Norris
Yellowstone national park Norris

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7. Lamar Valley

It is located in the northeastern corner of the park. The Lamar Valley, along the Lamar River, is often called America’s Serengeti because of its large and easy-to-see populations of large animals. It rises in the Absaroka Range, on the eastern edge of the park, and flows northwest through the northeast corner of the park. Visitors who are keen to wake up early in the morning or wait up until dusk also may have the golden opportunity to see bears and wolves. Lamar Valley is the #1 destination for viewing wolves. There are also abundant fishing scopes in the Lamar Valley.

yellowstone national park lamar velly
Yellowstone national park Lamar valley

8. Tower Fall

This is the most admired waterfall in Yellowstone other than the Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon. Tower Fall has beguiled the imaginations of explorers, travelers, and even legislators for more than 140 years. The waterfall is located roadside between Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon Village near the Tower Falls general store. Tower Fall was named in 1870 for the stunning, rocky pinnacles that frame the falls. It was a beautiful 132ft waterfall. Tower Fall is also a popular winter destination, as in winter the entire waterfall is wrapped in an ice dome. The name “Tower” is derived from the sky-high volcanic evolutions surrounding the top of the falls. Tower Fall began as a low ledge at the junction of two different bedrocks.


9. Lower Basin

Exploring Lower Geyser Basin is like stepping into another world. Lower Geyser Basin is discovered between Madison Junction and the Old Faithful area and is home to approximately 100 geothermal features. The Lower Geyser Basin is the largest geyser basin in area, in Yellowstone National Park. It covers approximately 11 square miles. In comparison, the Upper Basin only covers about one square mile. Due to its large size, the thermal features clustered in widely spaced groups. It includes all four types of features, including fumaroles, hot springs, geysers, and mud pots. The Fountain Paint Pots are truly a sight to behold – bubbling away like a huge vat of soup. The Fountain Paint Pots, where many small vents bubble noisily through thick, clayish mud of varying colors and consistencies.

yellowstone national park Lower Basin
Yellowstone national park Lower Basin

10. West Thumb Geyser Basin

West Thumb is the first major thermal area you arrive at when entering from the south. It is the largest geyser basin on the shores of Yellowstone Lake. West Thumb is a caldera within a caldera. Thermal features at the West Thumb include Big Cone, Beach Geyser, Lakeshore Geyser, Twin Geysers, Black Pool, Fishing Cone, Abyss Pool, King Geyser, and Occasional Geyser. The West Thumb area used to be the site of a large campground, cabins, a photo-shop, a cafeteria, and a gas station. Fishing Cone and Abyss Pool is a hot spring of the West Thumb Geyser Basin known for its impressive deepness. The basin is a favorite stopping point for snowmobilers and snow coaches in the winter months.

west thumb yellowstone national park basin
west thumb Yellowstone national park basin

Yellowstone Nation Park things to do

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• Explore: There are so many ways to explore the Yellowstone. Some of them are mentioned below:
a) Explore thermal features.
b) Hike a trail.
c) Capture the moments.
d) Watch wildlife.
e) Ride a horse.
• Relax: Yellowstone also offers ways to slow down and relax in nature by following ways:
a) Camp in the campground.
b) Camp in the backcountry.
c) Have a picnic.
• Go Fishing, Boating, and Soaking: Fishing and boating are two most favored activities in Yellowstone.
• Explore in winter: Winter in Yellowstone is entirely a different experience, cars and camper-vans give way to snowmobiles and snow-coaches, and snow-covered landscapes invite you to explore on skis or snowshoes.
a) Ski &snowshoe.
b) Ride a snowmobile or snow-coach.
c) Camp in the backcountry in winter.
• Watch Geysers Erupt and See Giant, Colorful Hot Springs.
• See Wild Animals in their Natural Habitat.
• Experience the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
• Go Rafting and Paddling.
• Live the Cowboy Life.
• Hunt for Rocks, Fossils, and Dinosaurs

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