Top 7 Things to Do in Yellowstone National Park
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Known for its world famous attractions such as Old Faithful Geyser, a visit to Yellowstone National Park is a truly memorable experience. Here are the top 7 things to do on your future trip to the park.
1. See the thermal characteristics of the park
While the park is perhaps best known for Old Faithful Geyser, it is also home to hundreds of other thermal features, including hot springs and geysers. Consider visiting the Grand Prismatic Spring, a vast, multi-colored hot spring that is the largest in the United States. Or, head to the Lower Geyser Basin to see features like the bubbling fountain paint pots or the almost supernaturally blue sapphire pool at Biscuit Basin. Some thermal features, such as Dragon’s Mouth Spring, even have fun traditions behind them. The source was named for the way steam escapes from the cave that surrounds it, giving the impression of a dragon hiding inside. It should be noted that the warning signs for staying on the trail near thermal features should be observed. While the pools and geysers are beautiful, many are very hot.
2. Go camping
Camping in Yellowstone is a totally immersive way to experience the park! Camping season is just beginning in Yellowstone, making it a great time to soak up the fresh air and sleep under the stars. Currently, Madison and Mammoth campsites are open for the season. Several more campgrounds will follow in the coming weeks. The areas near the Mammoth campsite are ideal for observing wildlife such as bison. Campsites are available by reservation with the National Park Service. Madison Campground, meanwhile, accepts reservations through Yellowstone National Park lodges. Guests can expect to be close to a variety of attractions, including the city of West Yellowstone, the Madison River, and fields full of wildflowers in early summer.
3. Take a guided tour
With so many attractions, knowing what to do in Yellowstone can be stressful. Taking a tour is a great way to relieve some of that stress – let one of the area’s trained guides show you some of the best spots. Yellowstone National Park Lodges, operating within the park, offer a variety of tours, including a guided photo safari. Yellowstone Vacation Tours, meanwhile, operate out of the neighboring towns of West Yellowstone and Gardiner. They offer tours of the Upper and Lower Yellowstone Loop. Tours can fill up quickly – those looking to book one will want to plan ahead as much as possible.
4. Go boating
Enjoy a day on one of the park’s scenic lakes. Boating can be a fun way to experience the park, and it alone is a moment to remember! Boats, as well as guided boat tours, are available at Bridge Bay Marina from June 11e. You can also bring your own boat, however, you must acquire a boating license and the boat must pass a Yellowstone Aquatic Invasive Species inspection.
5. Stay in one of the lodges in the park
Yellowstone is best viewed over a number of days, which begs the question of where to spend your nights. Camping, as well as staying in a nearby town like Gardiner, are two options. If camping isn’t quite your thing and you still want to stay in the park itself, don’t worry! There are a number of hotels and cabin rentals in Yellowstone. Currently, the Mammoth Hotel & Cabins, Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Old Faithful Lodge are open. Some options are currently not available due to COVID-19, such as cabins without en-suite bathrooms (showers at the campsite are closed at this time). As with tours, availability can fill up quickly. If you want to stay at a lodge in the park, plan as much as possible to make sure you get the room you want.
6. Go hiking
Yellowstone is home to miles and miles and scenic wilderness, and hiking is a great way to experience it! Due to the region’s long and cold winters, the hiking season is just beginning. Nonetheless, visitors can expect hikes that wind around the park’s stunning thermal features or trails that showcase other natural features. A few things to keep in mind before your hike: The trails can be snowy or slippery all year round. Plus, hiking can be a great way to view wildlife, but be sure to give them plenty of room if you encounter any creatures!
7. See incredible wildlife
Yellowstone is a great place to see some of these magnificent creatures such as bison, wolves and bears in their natural environment. Because wild animals are unpredictable, you’ll want to make sure you always stay a safe distance from them. It is recommended to stay 100 meters from predators such as wolves and bears and 25 meters from other wildlife. In order to stay safe and have a good look at them, you may want to bring binoculars with you. When it comes to when you need to go outside, many animals are most active in the early morning or at dusk – the early bird really has the worm (or animal watching) in this case.
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