A 9,000 square kilometer area of preserved parkland that constituted the world’s first ever national park formed way back in the 1870s, Yellowstone varies from the popular tourist spots, where you can drop in and have a quick glance at one of those geysers, to remote areas of wild wilderness that are miles from the nearest road, and take several days trekking to reach.
For the more casual visitor, you’re most likely here for the thermal reputation of the park, which makes for an array of incredible attractions and intense photo opportunities. Old Faithful, the world’s most famous geyser - which shoots up a dramatic burst of water approximately every hour and a half – is the area’s biggest draw. Within the geyser basin area, you’ll also come across an extensive selection of other sights including the Grand Prismatic Spring, which is edged by a rainbow of colors and makes for an incredible souvenir image, especially if you climb the nearby hillsides to take an ‘aerial’ photo.
Tourists have their favorites, of course, but you’ll find springs, geysers and gorges all over Yellowstone; visit a ranger’s office and then jump in the car, or head out with your tent towards the horizon to get a heads up on known information on geyser eruptions and more remote locations. The local animal sites, of course, are pretty special too. Beer, elk, wolves, ample birds of prey and two different species of bear frequent the park, with wildlife spotting a relatively easy undertaking yet still unsurprisingly popular. Animal sightings are nearly guaranteed, but care should be taken, these are wild animals!
Elsewhere in the park, sites worth tracking down include bubbling mud volcanoes, the bassy sound of ‘Dragon’s Mouth Spring’, a petrified forest, caves, waterfalls, the colorful Artist’s Paint Pots array of spring and vents at Madison and Norris’ Roaring Mountain.
In fact, those with a fixation with nature – especially the kind of nature that is a match for almost anywhere in the world – Yellowstone could easily occupy an entire trip in its own right, with serious wilderness hikers able to stay for weeks or even months without tiring of the incredible array of sights and sounds.