Marvel at water rocketing hundreds of feet into the air, boiling mud pots, rainbow colored hot springs, one of the world’s largest petrified forests and a bounty of wildlife from bison on the plain to golden eagles soaring in the sky; it’s all there for you to experience at Yellowstone National Park. Located mostly in the the northwest corner of Wyoming, the park sits atop North America’s largest volcanic system and is actually the caldera for a supervolcano. Yellowstone National Park is also home to 290 waterfalls, Yellowstone Lake, the largest freshwater lake above 7,000 feet, over 500 geysers with Steamboat geyser being the largest active geyser in the world, and Eagle Peak, standing a majestic 11,358 feet above sea level. So important, wonderous, and singular is Yellowstone’s landscape that in 1872, Yellowstone National Park was designated the world’s first national park in order to study its mysteries and to preserve its incredible natural treasures for all generations.
Although Yellowstone National Park boasts the most geysers of any place on Earth with over 500 of them, no trip would be complete without a visit to Old Faithful, the most famous of them all. As its name implies, you can count on Old Faithful to erupt at predicted times over 90% of the time. Watch 8,400 gallons of water at about 204 degrees fahrenheit shoot 130 feet into the sky in the very rare natural fountain.
Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook Trail
Grand Prismatic Spring is certainly one of the wonders of the natural world. This spring is often photographed from an aerial view and looks like a vibrant rainbow encircling the central pool. The Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook Trail was recently completed to allow visitors a great view of this hydrothermal feature while protecting its delicate surroundings.
Mammoth Hot Springs
Watch geology happen right before your eyes as this hot water cascades over the rocks and sculps them. The terraced white travertine steps of Mammoth Hot Springs look like marble Roman bath. These naturally sculpted hydrothermal features look inviting, but at over 170 degrees Fahrenheit, the water is scalding hot. The browns, yellows, and oranges are due to algae living in this extreme environment.
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Get ready for stunning views! Massive volcanic and glacial forces sculpted these steep canyon cliffs. Waterfalls thumble their way through this dramatic terrain, falling over 300 feet from Lower Falls. Get a close up view fat Inspiration Point and get your camera out!
Mud Volcano Area
This area features the most roiling, belching mud pots, with Black Dragon’s Cauldron being one of the most active. Here, Yellowstone bestows on you the privilege of experiencing to yet another natural rarity.
The Lamar Valley is paradise for wilderness enthusiasts. Since the Lamar River threads its way through this bountiful valley, wildlife of all sorts is attracted to this area. Watch moose in the river, bison grazing, an owl hunting, or if you’re really lucky, wolves on the hunt. With sweeping views of the snow capped Absaroka Mountains in the distance, the glittering river and the gently swaying grasses, the Lamar Valley is certainly the definition of picturesque.
At over 20 miles wide and 14 miles long with 110 miles of shoreline, Yellowstone Lake is the largest high elevation lake in North America. It also has the largest population of wild cutthroat trout in North America. Fishing, boating, and hiking along this beautiful and peaceful lake are popular activities.
The Hayden Valley, the largest valley in the park, is called the “heart of Yellowstone.” Because the Yellowstone River winds its way through the Hayden Valley and because it is at the center of the Yellowstone Plateau, large wildlife lingers in this area. Its many hydrothermal features attract the animals. Elk, bison, moose, birds, wolves, and bears call this fertile, beautiful valley home.
Tower Fall and Roosevelt Junction
Watch as Tower Creek plunges 132 feet into the Yellowstone River, forming a perpetual rainbow with the water’s spray. This famous falls has been immortalized in many pieces of art, perhaps most famously, the painting by Thomas Moran that helped sway congress into designating Yellowstone as the world’s first national park. The dramatic granite rock spires and pinnacles at the top of the falls give it its name.