Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is located in the northwestern part of the United States predominantly in the state of Wyoming with small overlaps into the states of Idaho and Montana. The park boundaries encompass an area of 3,468 square miles (8,983 sq km).

Yellowstone is the first national park of the United States, and although not the first protected area, it is the first national park of the world. The park is renowned for its canyons, geothermal features, lakes, mountains, rivers, waterfalls and the abundance of wildlife.

Yellowstone Lake is the largest lake in the park measuring 136 square miles (350 sq km) with a depth of 394 feet (120 m). Being located at 7,732 feet (2,357 m), this makes it one of the largest high-elevation lakes on the continent.

Similarly, the Yellowstone Caldera stretching 34 by 45 miles (55 by 72 km) making it the largest supervolcano on the continent. It is still an active volcano. Eagle Peak is the highest summit of the park reaching a height of 11,358 feet (3,462 m).

The geothermal features are one of the leading attractions with the park accounting for half of the world’s geysers and hydrothermal features. Old Faithful, is a renowned geyser, erupting every 44 to 125 minutes with Steamboat Geyser being the largest active geyser in the world. There are over 10,000 thermal features within the park boundaries.

There are 290 waterfalls with a fall of at least 15 feet (4.6 m) with the tallest being Lower Falls on the Yellowstone River which reaches a height of 308 feet (94 m). The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is the largest of three canyons which also include Lewis Canyon and Black Canyon.

Grizzly bear, black bear, herds of bison, elk, timber wolf, coyote, bighorn sheep, cougar, moose, mountain goat, mule deer, white-tailed deer, and pronghorn top off the larger species of mammals that visitors can hope to see.

Highlights

  • Old Faithful Geyser
  • Steamboat Geyser
  • Grand Prismatic Spring
  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Varied and abundance geothermal features

It is hard not to find a highlight in Yellowstone National Park almost every time you turn around. The park is renowned for wildlife sightings with the Yellowstone bison herd being the largest in the United States. Wildlife is only the icing on the cake with all that the park has to offer.

Hiking the trails to the Lower Falls, the boarded trail around the Grand Prismatic Spring, or any of the other numerous trails around geothermal features is amazing. Yellowstone is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of North America and it doesn’t take long to see why.

There is a figure 8 road the navigates around the park. This drive is an incredibly scenic drive by itself and provides opportunities for spotting wildlife as well. The figure 8 drive also delivers you the majority of geothermal features that can be explored with boarded trails around them.

Sources:

Britannica, Yellowstone National Park, https://www.britannica.com/place/Yellowstone-National-Park, retrieved September 2019.

Lonely Planet, Yellowstone National Park, https://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/rocky-mountains/yellowstone-national-park, retrieved September 2019.

National Geographic, Everything to know about Yellowstone National park,https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/national-parks/yellowstone-national-park/, retrieved September 2019.

Travel Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, https://www.travelwyoming.com/national-parks-and-monuments/yellowstone, retrieved September 2019.

UNESCO, Yellowstone National Park, https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/28/, retrieved September 2019.