Wanderlust America

Visit the glorious Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is in the western United States, in the northwest corner of Wyoming and reaching into Montana and Idaho. Yellowstone has continued to attract visitors for thousands of years whether it be the colonial era settlers or just families looking for a great summer trip. It is open 10 months out of the year, meaning there is no bad time to visit Yellowstone. You are sure to be in for a treat even if you are visiting the park after years as it always has something new to experience. Let us look deeper into the world of Yellowstone National Park.

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Yellowstone has been evolving now for millions of years. It used to be an ordinary area of rivers, mountains, and valleys. However, a hot spot that was sitting beneath Idaho’s Craters of the Moon National Monument shifted itself northeast where the Rocky Mountains meet the Snake River Plain. After a huge catastrophic eruption, Yellowstone was born, adorned with its falls, hot springs, and geysers.

Underneath the park’s thermal features, there is the mouth of enormous eruptions, the last of which occurred 630,000 years ago. It is due to the volcanic activity that is going on underneath, that the various springs and rivers have formed.

It did not take long for colonizers to realize that they should look to preserve the area rather than looking to open it for logging and mining to private developers. In 1872, then President Ulysses S. Grant decided to make Yellowstone United States the first-ever National Park for the benefit and enjoyment of the people. They saw the wilderness and realized it was more like a playground than a resource to be exploited.

This decision was fundamentally huge in terms of tourism and recreation as soon the visitors made long journeys across the country to see the mythic West for themselves. It also led to the establishment of National Parks Services and Park Rangers.

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Things to see & do.

There are plenty of ways for you to work up a sweat and look for an adventure at Yellowstone National Park. From climbing to the top of summits, taking in views of the caldera, or just fishing in Yellowstone Lake. Let us look at some of its amazing features: –

  • Thermal highlights – These include some of the oldest and must-see features in the park which include the Old Faithful, Upper Geyser Basin, Grand Prismatic Spring, Fountain Paint Pot trail, Mud Volcano, and the Porcelain Basin. All these thermal highlights are connected by wonderful, picturesque drives that provide plenty of opportunities to take amazing photographs. These thermal features pop out, especially during winter with the backdrop of the snow behind it.
  • Impressive Vistas – Tower Fall is something that you must watch. It is a 132 feet high volcanic tower just like something out of Lord of the Rings movie. It is close to the Tower Fall Campground and is a short walk from there. The tallest waterfall in the world is Lower Falls, which is viewable from Lookout Point and Red Rock Point. Another one of the must-see views is Inspiration Point, which you should visit if you are traveling to Yellowstone for the first time. Lastly, there is Point Sublime which is just a mile-long, walk from where you will be able to see steam rising from the opening in a volcano highlighting how much living breathing space Yellowstone is.
  • Wildlife – You should be able to see Bison as they are present almost everywhere, sometimes even stopping the traffic to cross the road. Even though it is an incredibly special moment to see one of America’s finest wildlife, always remember to keep your distance and never feed any of the animals. You should get yourself a pair of binoculars before visiting which will allow you to see some of the park’s permanent residents such as elk, moose, wolves, coyotes, bears, lynx, foxes, mountain goats, and more. During the winter, you can take one of the snow coaches to see more of the wildlife. The guides are knowledgeable, and they will give you the best shot of capturing some animals with your eyes and camera.
  • Hiking – If you have decided to go out backpacking overnight, remember you need to have a backcountry camping permit. For hiking and backpacking, the Morning Glory Pool is situated close to the Upper Geyser Basin and looks even more wonderful in person than in photos. You can also reach Lone Star Geyser by hiking or mountain biking. The Bunsen Peak is a five-mile hike that is moderately challenging and offers amazing views of the north part of the park right around Mammoth Springs. Finally, there is the Black Canyon, a 13-mile adventure filled with suspension bridges, falls, and rockslides that can be incredibly challenging.
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Time to Visit Yellowstone national park

Even though Yellowstone is open all year round, it does close for two short periods during the year. These periods are between March through April and September to October to winterize its structure.

  • Summer – Throughout the year, the most famous time to visit Yellowstone is between July and August as the temperature is the warmest and families are usually on vacation. To avoid significant crowds during your visit, make sure you come at the start or end of summer even though the temperature might be a bit cooler. The weather is very warm and pleasant during the summer days, so make sure you are packing your sunscreen and sunglasses to get that UV protection.
  • Winter – Even though the winter can be harsh, it provides a fantastic opportunity to see the wildlife such as elk, foxes, and the famous wolves from close quarters. Winter also has significantly fewer crowds except for Christmas allowing you to take your time in the park and take as many photographs as you want. You need to wear clothes such as silk or wool and avoid cotton clothing.
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How to get there

  • Air – You can fly into one of the region’s airports such as Jackson, Wyoming; Bozeman, Montana, or Idaho Falls. During peak season, try to fly directly into West Yellowstone, Montana. You will get the best deal at Bozeman and can also grab some food over at Montana Ale Works. Jackson, Wyoming has a reputation for being a vacation mountain town and you can go to Snake River Brewing to grab a beer or some food.
  • Road – If you are driving in from Montana, Idaho, or Wyoming, highways 20, 191, 89, 212, and 14/16 all connect to the border of Yellowstone National Park. If you do not mind making a road trip, you can drive through Grand Teton National Park and reach Yellowstone. There are five entrances to the park and the roads linking these include Grand Loop Road, Norris Canyon Road, West Entrance Road, North Entrance Road, and South Entrance Road. Traffic can be terribly slow especially during peak season or due to bison’s standing in front of the traffic.
  • Public Transport – Train service is not available to Yellowstone National Park. The closest train depots are in southeast Idaho, Salt Lake City, and northern Montana. There is a bus service from Bozeman, MT to West Yellowstone, MT via Highway 191 available all year round. From Idaho to Yellowstone bus service is limited.
  • Other – Once you get to the park, no reservation is required to enter, just a park entrance pass. It can get busy during the summer, so to save time, purchase your pass online beforehand.
  • Clothes – Wear comfortable hiking and walking shoes along with hiking gear. Dress according to the weather as it can get extremes of both kinds of weather.
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You can stay at the Old Faithful Inn, which was opened in 1904 and is a wonderful place to curl up after a long day of sightseeing in Yellowstone. Mammoth Springs Hotel is another great place to rest your head while at Yellowstone. There is also a dining room across the street from there. Grant Village, established in 1980, is a beautiful place for visitors to rest with stunning views from Lake House Restaurant.

For camping options, there is the Madison Campground, Canyon Campground, and Bridge Bay Campground, all available at Yellowstone National Park.

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