If you love being outdoors, the Yellowstone National Park surely needs to be on your bucket list. Apart from being the first national park in the world, there are so many things to see, do and experience in this massive stretch of unadulterated land. It is home to the Old Faithful Geyser, and it also boasts of a diverse flora and fauna.
For those outdoor lovers who are planning to make a stop at the Yellowstone country, here’s a list of experiences you must absolutely make time for:
- Watch geysers erupt
As the Yellowstone is the largest active geyser field in the world, it is the perfect location to watch geysers erupt. There are also giant hot springs within the park itself such as the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring that is worth seeing for yourself.
- See wild animals in their natural habitat
In the United States, there is no better place to see wildlife up close and personal than the Yellowstone. You can see grizzly bears, grey wolves, bald eagles and other birds and mammals freely roaming and flying in their natural habitat. In fact, the Yellowstone is home to the largest concentration of mammals in the southern state of America.
- Take a nice, long hike
For hiking enthusiasts, the Yellowstone National Park has a 1,300-mile trail system that allows you to immerse in its diverse ecosystem and see captivating views while you’re at it. Some of the most popular hikes include the Bunsen Peak, Uncle Tom’s Trail and Fairy Falls. Whether you’re hiking with friends or kids, you’ll surely find a trail that matches your hiking level.
- Go on a paddling trip
Yellowstone Lake is one of the most famous attractions in the park, as you can take a paddling trip with your friends or raft down of its nearby rivers. You can book a paddling trip in the many different entrances of the park.
- Spend a night
The best way to experience Yellowstone National Park is inside a tent under a blanket of stars. Aside from it being a surreal experience, it is also very calming. There are a number of campsites inside the park itself, but there are also campgrounds surrounding the park and in the backcountry.
- Experience the cowboy lifestyle
As Yellowstone is located in the middle of a cowboy country, there are plenty of activities you can do while visiting the park that involve donning on a funky cowboy boots and learning how to use a saddle. Whether you plan to watch a rodeo, explore the Yellowstone on horseback or attend an old west gun fight, it’s definitely quite a Wild West adventure down there.
- Go fishing
Fishing in the Yellowstone Country is quite an experience. Its lakes and rivers are home to native Yellowstone cutthroat, brown trout and rainbow trout that come in massive sizes even seasoned anglers can attest to. If you’re passing by Wyoming on your way to Yellowstone, you can even go fishing at Carbon County’s Miracle Mile, or Casper, touted as the #1 big fish destination.
- Explore Yellowstone’s paleontological sites
As a well-recognized national conservation area, the Yellowstone is heavily protected and is well-preserved. You can see a number of paleontological sites scattered over – from dinosaur and fossil museums to pictographs on rock walls. Inside the park itself you can also see a petrified forest and basalt columns formed by lava.
- Immerse yourself in Native American culture
There are several Indian reservations nearby Yellowstone. As such, it offers an authentic atmosphere for culturally-smart individuals to attend a powwow and participate in traditional rituals. You can even visit Sacajawea’s gravesite and see the Plains Indian Museum, if you’re interested more about culture and history, and are around the area.
Tips to Maximize Your Visit in Yellowstone
As the Yellowstone Country offers different kinds of experiences for every kind of traveler, here are some tips to help you maximize your stay in the area and make the most out of your drive down south:
- Visit the various regions
The Yellowstone National Park has five entrances and several different regions for you to explore. The northern region is home to the Yellowstone Caldera, which is considered the largest super volcano on the continent, while the Southern region boasts of many iconic geysers such as the Old Faithful and Morning Glory. If you’re more interested in a lake view, you can explore Yellowstone Lake in the southeastern side of the park. It is considered the largest mountain lake in the States.
- Plan for a multi-day trip
As the Yellowstone National Park boasts of a wide array of natural wonders, it is only prudent to stay a night or two at various locations around the park. Apart from making sure you don’t rush yourself while enjoying a certain scenery, it also allows you to experience the different unique hotels scattered around the park. The Old Faithful Inn, for example, was built in 1903, and is considered a landmark in itself.
- Explore different ways to get around
Because of the park’s vastness, you need to be strategic about how you plan to get around. While driving your own vehicle can get tricky because of the park’s 45mph speed limit, there are other fun ways for you to travel around and explore what the Yellowstone National Park has to offer. You can either sign up for the Wild West Tour or join the park’s organized llama trek operator tours!
- Book your activities in advance
If you’re looking at camping in the park or booking a suite for a night or two, it is best to reserve your accommodations in advance. Aside from sorting out your lodging arrangements beforehand, it is also best to identify the activities and programs you plan to do while inside the park. Some of them need advanced reservations, while others are first-come-first-serve. Being prepared goes a long way in ensuring you don’t miss out on any experience.