Things to Do in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is an unforgettable experience. Lose yourself in the wonder of nature – deep canyons, stunning wildlife and steaming geysers

Please be extra cautious when driving the park at dawn, dusk and at night.

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is famous for its hydrothermal features – more than 10,000, in fact – including over 300 active geysers (2/3 of the world’s geysers). Yellowstone is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including 67 species of mammals and 320 recorded species of birds.

Official National Park Service Newspaper
Official Park Map
These maps reflect the most recent map modification date as printed in the current edition of this park's brochure or handbook.

Yellowstone Fee-Free Days

2,219,789 acres (Larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined) comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges.

The park is home to one of the world's largest calderas with over 10,000 thermal features and more than 300 geysers. It has one of the world's largest petrifiied forests. It has over 290 waterfalls with the 308' Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River as it's showpiece.

Top Attractions in Yellowstone National Park
Things to Do in Yellowstone National Park

We suggest allowing at least 3 days to visit the Park, Attractions are endless in Yellowstone.

Old Faithful Geyser and Upper Geyser Basin
Old Faithful is the most popular attraction in Yellowstone, and everyone who visits for the first time should watch this most famous of geysers erupt. Although neither the highest or most regular geyser in the Park, it is spectacular. Also, take an hour or two to walk around the boardwalks and visit some of the many other geysers in the Upper Geyser Basin, such as Castle, Grotto, Riverside and Daisy. And be sure to take the 1.4 mile walk to Morning Glory Pool, one of the most colorful thermal features in all of Yellowstone.

Hayden Valley
This valley, centrally located in Yellowstone, is the first place to go to see wildlife in Yellowstone. As you drive along this beautiful, broad valley you are likely to see herds of bison, scattered elk (and the occasional herd), and the occasional grizzly bear. You are also likely to see waterfowl, including ducks, Canadian geese and pelicans, swimming in or lounging near the Yellowstone River.

Upper Geyser Basin
Most of the geysers in Yellowstone Park can be found here.

Grand Loop Road
A 140-mile scenic drive past some of Yellowstone's most famous sites.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is the first large canyon on the Yellowstone River downstream from Yellowstone Falls in Yellowstone National Park. The canyon is up to 900 feet deep (275 m) and a half mile (0.8 km) in width

Mount Washburn
This 10,243-foot peak is located in Yellowstone National Park.

Mammoth Hot Springs
Mammoth is a large hill of travertine that has been created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate (over two tons flows into Mammoth each day in a solution). Although these springs lie outside the caldera boundary, their energy has been attributed to the same magmatic system that fuels other Yellowstone geothermal areas.

Yellowstone Lake
This is the largest high-altitude lake in the lower 48 states, and it is breathtaking in grandeur.

Grand Prismatic Spring
The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park is the largest hot spring in the United States, and the third largest in the world, next to those in New Zealand. It is located in the Midway Geyser Basin.

Norris Geyser Basin
Norris Geyser Basin, named after an early Yellow-stone Superintendent, may be the hottest geyser basin in Yellowstone.

Lamar Valley
Lamar Valley is home to herds of elk, bison, and several packs of wolves, making it Yellowstone National Park's prime location to view wildlife. The best time to see wildlife is in the early morning or late evening.

Tower Fall
Tower Fall is a waterfall in the northeastern region of Yellowstone National Park, in the U.S. state of Wyoming

Fairy Falls
Popular hiking and cross-country trail around Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park.

Lower Geyser Basin / Fountain Paint Pots
The Lower Geyser Basin encompasses nearly 12 square miles, with most of the thermal features widely scattered in small groups. Some of the groups include the Fountain Group, Firehole Lake Group, White Dome Group, Great Fountain - White Creek Group, and the Imperial Group.

West Thumb Geyser Basin
West Thumb Geyser Basin is one of the smallest geyser basins in Yellowstone yet its location along the shore of Yellow-stone Lake ranks it as the most scenic.

Spring and fall are favorite times of year for wildlife watchers from all over the world. Fewer visitors and lots of wildlife make it a most enjoyable experience

Please be extra cautious for wildlife that can appear out of nowhere to cross the road. It's bad for wildlife and will destroy your vehicle and your vacation.

Some places in the park are extra special for wildlife watching, and the Lamar Valley is one of them. Its inhabitants include grizzlies, wolves, bison, pronghorns, bighorn sheep, coyotes, and eagles. Bring along a good spotting scope or pair of binoculars and head for one of several turnouts between the Tower-Roosevelt intersection and the Northeast Entrance.

Whether you’re an avid hiker, birdwatcher or photographer, or just seeking a relaxing or educational experience, Yellowstone has something for you. Take advantage of these fee-free days and see the sites at the world’s oldest national park for family fun, fresh air, and opportunities to learn about our great country.

Yellowstone National Park - Getting There

Yellowstone National Park is located in the northwest corner of Wyoming. You can access two entrances to Yellowstone National Park from Wyoming. In summer, all five entrances are open:
  • North: From Livingston and Gardiner, MT, via US 89.
  • West: From West Yellowstone, MT, via US 20 or US 191.
  • South: From Jackson, WY, via US 26, US 89/287/191.
  • East: From Cody, WY, via US 14/16/20.
  • Northeast: From Billings, MT, and Red Lodge via I 94, US 212.

The north entrance of Yellowstone National Park is the only one open year round. Interior roads close to wheeled vehicles on the Monday after first Sunday of November, and re-open to tracked, over-the-snow vehicles mid-December through mid-March. The road from Gardiner to Cooke City is open to automobiles all winter, but you have to drive back to get out. Entrances re-open to wheeled traffic in the spring.

Commercial airlines fly to these nearby cities:

  • Billings, MT (129 miles to northeast entrance
  • Bozeman, MT (87 miles to north entrance)
  • West Yellowstone, MT (3 miles to west entrance, flights in summer only)
  • Jackson, WY (56 miles to south entrance)
  • Cody, WY (52 miles to east entrance)

Getting to Yellowstone National Park by Car

Driving distances from some major western cities to the nearest Yellowstone National Park entrance:
  • Cheyenne, WY - 462 miles
  • Denver, CO - 563 miles
  • Las Vegas, NV - 809 miles
  • Salt Lake City, UT - 390 miles
  • Seattle, WA - 800 miles

Getting to Yellowstone National Park by Bus

Commercial bus lines are the least practical and convenient option for getting to Yellowstone, but they do run from Bozeman, MT to West Yellowstone, MT year round, and from Bozeman to Gardiner, MT and from Cody and Jackson, WY in the summer.

Summer access:

Roads inside Yellowstone National Park start to open for the summer season in late April but are not completely open until the end of May, depending on the weather.

Yellowstone National Park offers a number of recreation opportunities with specific rules and guidelines that visitors should be familiar with prior to arriving at the park. These include fishing, backcountry camping, hiking, horseback riding, and boating.

No modern technology will ever substitute to actually visiting Yellowstone National Park. For those that have been here, you know the wonders.

Yellowstone National Park Official
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park Wikipedia
Geothermal areas of Yellowstone
Grand Prismatic Spring
Norris Geyser Basin


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