What to Do in Yellowstone National Park

Sunset over a mountain.

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Yellowstone — the world’s first national park — became official in March 1872. Stretching three states in distance, over 10,000 feet in the air and containing hundreds of animal species, Yellowstone is one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. But what is there to do in Yellowstone National Park?

Sitting atop one of the world’s most well-known supervolcanos, Yellowstone’s lively geysers, diverse wildlife and breathtaking valleys are only a few of the must-haves on your park to-do list.

Grand Prismatic Spring

Located in the Midway Geyser Basin, the Grand Prismatic Spring is a sight to see in photos — it looks so otherwordly it must be Photoshopped. In reality, the images don’t lie. This hot spring is a vibrant rainbow of color larger than a football field. The colors radiate from temperature-sensitive organisms in the water, allowing Instagram photos to look good without a filter.

Old Faithful

There are more than 300 active geysers in the park, but Old Faithful is the most well-known. Erupting almost every 90 minutes, every tourist can experience the mesmerizing water spray, hence why it got its name. Every eruption contains between 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of water that sometimes shoots over 180 feet in the air. This site is a must if you’re picking and choosing what to do in Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon

Yellowstone’s own Grand Canyon is not the one in the North American southwest, but it also deserves the name. Other top sites of the park are visible along the pathways of the 24-mile-long crevice, including Artist Point and Lower Falls. The Canyon can tick many tourist boxes if your time is short.

The Valleys

There are many valleys in Yellowstone, including Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley. These are perfect for animal lovers who want to see some wild elk, bears, coyotes and more if you’re lucky. Driving through these valleys can transport you immediately. Be sure to say hello to the bison — but safely and from a distance.

Mammoth Hot Springs

The incredible pearly white rock formations of Mammoth Hot Springs almost look like winter was happening in summer. The crystalline limestone — called travertine — is coated with calcium carbonate to give it that snowy look. Multiple boardwalks make it easy to get close and toasty with its many geothermal features.

Park Attractions

Still thinking about what to do in Yellowstone National Park? Though you could spend your entire vacation in Yellowstone staring at its natural beauty, you can also engage with it, to a point.

Due to having so many species on the property, safaris are a significant tourist attraction in the park. Each safari is curated depending on the season and what animals you want to see the most. Some safaris even include some of the above natural sites, so you might be in for a package deal. Ever wanted to see bears, wolves, bison or elk? This is your chance.

Many cyclists, horseback riders and boaters come to travel the park’s many acres on every mode of transportation. Feel free to trek the park on foot with your dog, see views climbing rocks or raft down the many waterways.

There are plenty of other awesome activities to indulge in:

  • Skiing and snowshoe hiking in the winter.
  • Camping in their many campgrounds.
  • Backpacking the mountains.
  • Fishing — if you understand the regulations.
  • Becoming a junior park ranger.

Considerations for Your Visit

Not only is the park an evident natural wonder, but it is also rich in Native American history. All tourists should consider these things to ensure they preserve and respect the land. Part of the park’s mission is to incorporate Indigenous communities into tourism programs so it provides a more detailed view of the land.

The park has even instituted the Yellowstone Pledge so tourists can keep it happy and healthy. This includes practicing safe selfies, leaving what you find and mindfully disposing of or recycling trash.

Learn What to Do in Yellowstone National Park

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or not, Yellowstone’s sites will appease every visitor. It contains some of the most unique feasts for the eyes on the planet. When visiting the park, there is no shortage of attractions and activities to fill your itinerary.

Make sure you come prepared and enjoy every moment — you will witness some of the most majestic sites on Earth.

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