Yellowstone National Park is one of Wyoming’s top destinations for visitors. Some travel great distances, and others travel from nearby Idaho, Montana, and other areas of Wyoming. Why do so many people come to Yellowstone annually? Why is summertime in Yellowstone so popular? The answer is simple: geysers, wildlife, mudpots, fumaroles, waterfalls, lakes, hot springs, paddling, hiking, fishing, vistas and much more. It would be near impossible to list all of the wonderful attractions found in this magnificent park in detail, but we will highlight a few. Taking a Yellowstone Tour is a great way to see the top spots in Yellowstone.
Old Faithful, the world’s most famous geyser, is the top attraction for visitors to Yellowstone. The geyser is located in Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin in the southwest section of the park. The Old Faithful viewing area is very accessible and visitor-friendly. Old Faithful can vary in height from 100-180 feet, and eruptions normally last between 1.5 to 5 minutes. It currently erupts around 20 times a day with intervals that range from 60-110 minutes.
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Another top attraction, and second most photographed in the park, is the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. The Yellowstone River has carved down rock more than 1,000 feet deep to create this 20-mile long canyon. Due to the erosion over the years, three waterfalls have been formed: Lower, Upper and Crystal Falls. The most spectacular waterfalls in the park is the Lower Falls with a spectacular 308-foot drop. Don’t miss seeing the falls from one of the great vantage points: Inspiration Point, Grandview Point, Lookout Point, or Artist’s Point.
Grand Prismatic Hot Spring
Located in the Midway Geyser Basin, the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring is not only unique but breathtaking. It is the third largest hot spring in the world, measuring 370 feet in diameter, and is the most photographed thermal feature in the park because of its bright colors and enormous size. Extremely hot water travels 121 feet through a crack in the Earth to reach the surface. Many people might wonder why it is so colorful, with bright bands of orange, yellow, and green ringing around the deep blue waters. The multicolored layers get their hues from different species of thermophile (heat-loving) bacteria living in the progressively cooler water around the spring.
Yellowstone is world renowned for the quantity and variety of wildlife. This list includes: grizzly bears, black bears, gray wolves, bison, moose, elk, sheep, bald and golden eagles, trumpeter swans, and wild horses. Your greatest odds for animal sightings are at dawn and dusk. To see wolves, head to Lamar Valley (also known as the Serengeti of North America), and to see bison and elk, go to Hayden Valley. The Yellowstone bison herd exceeds 5000, and is the largest public bison herd in the United States.
Popular activities in Yellowstone National Park are hiking, fishing, boating and horseback riding. Summer is the best time to hike in Yellowstone, with many parts open between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Although many trails aren’t sufficiently clear of snow until mid or late July. Always be sure to carry bear spray when you hike in this part of the Wyoming. Fishing is common on Yellowstone Lake, and you’ll need a Yellowstone-issued permit. In addition, rivers are also a fun place to throw a fishing line, like the Madison and Gardner Rivers, where you’ll find plenty of brown trout. For boating, motorized watercraft are only allowed on two lakes in the park: Lewis Lake and Yellowstone Lake. The other lakes are limited to kayaks, canoes, and such. River-wise, the only one open to kayaks and canoes is Lewis River. Guided horseback trail rides are available up near Roosevelt Lodge offering rides in an especially beautiful area of the park, with rolling hills and waving grasses.
Coming to Yellowstone is not a typical vacation or excursion, but rather an experience. Many people come back many times in their life, as you can’t see it all in one trip. Each visit is slightly different than the last, except for the dependable Old Faithful!
Yellowstone Tours run daily throughout the summer and winter. There are a variety of Yellowstone tour options to choose from. Call us today to learn more.