Yellowstone National Park is one of my favorite destinations for stunning landscapes and watching wildlife in North America! From spouting geysers to waterfalls and towering mountain ranges, you can’t walk or turn without memorable sights. You’ll be able to spot wildlfie on a simple drive through the park, without ever leaving your car! And all of this is just a short flight from most of the US – no wonder almost 4 million people visit every year!
Yellowstone was established in 1872 as the first National Park in the US, covering the huge area around the inactive volcano! One of the most popular sights in the park is Old Faithful. While it isn’t the biggest geyser with eruptions of 32-56m in height, it does erupt regularly, 17 times a day on average, and without any “help” from the rangers. You have a very good chance of seeing it during your visit – we saw a large and long eruption, just as predicted by the park rangers! They have a 90% accuracy in forecasting them, so if you spend some time in the area, you should be able to see one, too! And while you wait for Old Faithful, you can tour the area and see many more springs and geysers! Yellowstone has 60% of the world’s geysers and there are 150 of them in just one square mile in the Upper Geyser Basin. One of my favorite spots was the Grand Prismatic Spring in the Midway Geyser Basin.
Another result of the volcanic activity in Yellowstone are the beautiful, almost unreal travertine terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs. They are formed from limestone by the rising hot water, creating intricately shaped, white terraces with water continuing to trickle down. You can see colorful stripes on them, making for lots of great photos!
If you prefer slightly colder water, the Upper and Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone are a spectacular sight! They were carved into the mountains by the Yellowstone river and the lower falls are higher than Niagara Falls at almost 100m. There are a number of viewing spots to get a good look. If you want to be more active, there are also plenty of hiking paths in the area to get up close and personal with nature!
As you are driving from one sight to the next, you will be able to spot plenty of wildlife along the way, right from your car window. The best viewings, as always, are in the early morning or late afternoon, so you might want to get up early! You can also seek out wildlife in the vast park or run into it on hikes around the park. The park publishes warning against bears, because you really don’t want to “run into” them, both for your and their sakes!
What makes Yellowstone so special is that all of these amazing sights are so accessible.
You don’t have to hike for days to get to them, you can see many of them by driving around the park with a car and going on short, easy walks. Even with physical limitations, you’ll be able to have a great time. While that leads to big crowds in some spots, it’s easy to leave them behind with a short hike! It’s an exceptionally well run park and you can lots of information about the park at the Yellowstone National Park website, including a free, downloadable map and a trip planner! If you live in the US, there is no excuse not to visit, it’s an experience of a lifetime that’s in such easy reach!