The Ultimate Guide To Yellowstone National Park
The world’s first and one of the oldest national parks, Yellowstone, is awe-inspiring and astounding. It contains the most extensive concentration of thermal features found anywhere in the world. Yellowstone is home to around 500 geysers, several thermal pools, bubbling hot mud pots, steaming vents, majestic peaks, and abundant wildlife. Yellowstone is one of those places that you must see in your lifetime! Here is my ultimate guide to Yellowstone National Park, featuring major attractions, an attractions map, and a suggested itinerary.
Best Way To Explore Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone Park Entrances
There are five entrances to Yellowstone National Park, the West being the busiest. I have highlighted all entrances on a map, in the following section of my Yellowstone travel guide.
West Entrance: It is the busiest entrance of the park and is for everyone arriving from the West.
East Entrance: If you’re arriving from western Wyoming, Eastern Montana, or Western South Dakota, the East Entrance will provide the most convenient access to Yellowstone.
Northeast Entrance: This is for people arriving from the Billings area in Montana.
North Entrance: If you’re coming from the Pacific Northwest, North entrance is your most convenient point of entry to the park, the North Entrance leads to the Mammoth Hot Springs.
South Entrance: If you’re coming from southern Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, or Colorado, the South Entrance is for you.
Yellowstone Attractions Map
Yellowstone is full of wonders, while there is a lot to do, but considering a lot of us go there for a day or two, I have compiled a list of must-see places in Yellowstone. The map above shows all entrances and the major viewpoints in the park. Depending on which entrance you’re using, the order you will visit these viewpoints might be different, but I highly recommend seeing all of them.
In my travel guide to Yellowstone and also during my visit, I used the west entrance. If you enter from the west entrance, you will find the park divided into two sections – South and North. I recommend starting from the southside of the park, at the Old Faithful Geyser, and then making your way up the northside of the park.
The National Park Services maintains the latest geyser eruption predictions on their website, which is very useful while planning your visit.
Old Faithful Geyser
Old Faithful is the most popular and iconic landmark in Yellowstone National Park, it’s a cone geyser and is a highly predictable geothermal feature, erupting every 90 minutes. The geyser and the nearby Old Faithful Inn, the park’s only lodge, are part of the Old Faithful Historic District. The duration of Old Faithful’s eruptions ranges from 1.5 – 5 minutes, around 3,500 – 8,500 gallons of hot water is discharged during each eruption. During each eruption, hot water gushes out and reaches an average height of 130–140 feet. Watch the Old Faithful Geyser in action, in my short video – The amazing Old Faithful Geyser.
It’s a one-of-a-kind experience to see this natural wonder! There are several other colorful thermal pools and steaming vents in the area. Below I have listed all the hikes that start from here. I would highly recommend the Geyser hill loop hike; there’s a lot to see in the area.
The historic Old Faithful Inn: Is one of the country’s grand national park lodges, an architectural landmark, and part of the Old Faithful Historic District, with a restaurant and a gift shop.
Hiking around Old Faithful: Old Faithful is part of the Upper Geyser Basin, there are several other trails starting from the Old Faithful Visitor Center:
- Old Faithful Geyser Loop: 0.7-miles roundtrip
- Geyser Hill Loop: 1.3-miles roundtrip
- Observation Point Loop: 2.1-mile roundtrip
- Morning Glory Pool: 2.8-miles roundtrip
- Black Sand Basin: 4.0-miles roundtrip
- Biscuit Basin Loop: 5.2-miles roundtrip
Grand Prismatic Spring
The Grand Prismatic Spring of Yellowstone National Park is the biggest hot spring in the US and the third-largest in the whole world. The vibrant colors: red, orange, yellow, green, and blue are from the bacteria that dwell in the hot pools, shifting colors depending on the temperature of the water. There’s a wooden trail, an easy hike of 0.8 miles, that leads you to the Grand Prismatic Spring.
Mud Volcano Area
The bubbling Mud Volcano and the rotten Sour Lake are some of Yellowstone’s most unique hot spots. The extreme heat from the steaming vents underneath the clay makes it look as if it’s molten hot lava.
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
The enormous deep valley canyon, located towards the northeastern side of the park, is called the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. There are a couple of viewing points, including the Artist Point and the inspiration point, offering some breathtaking panoramic views of the enormous canyon. If time permits, I would recommend visiting both the vista points, but if you’re short on time, the inspiration point is for you.
Mammoth Hot Springs
It’s a group of hot springs over a cliff covered in layers of mineral deposits from the hot spring. It looks like a cascading waterfall carved in stone, the view of it is extraordinary! You can explore the Mammoth hot springs area either by hiking the Lower Terrace Area or by driving your car at the Upper Terrace Drive. If you have time, I would recommend walking the Lower Terrace area; it’s an hour hike, but it is worth it!
Lamar Valley, located in the northeast corner of the Yellowstone National Park, is your gateway to wildlife viewing. Lamar Valley is home to bears, wolves, bison, elk, bighorn sheep, and more, please maintain a safe distance and do not approach any animals at any cost.
I have included the major attractions in my travel guide to Yellowstone National Park. However, if you have more time, there are few other places to see and hike in Yellowstone National park. I recommend visiting the National Park Service’s website for further details.
Other Wyoming Attractions & Related Posts
I hope you enjoyed reading the post, The Ultimate Guide To Yellowstone National Park, and I hope this will help you plan your trip to Yellowstone National Park. I would recommend spending at least two days in Yellowstone so that you have ample time to explore this awe-inspiring wonderland!
Happy feeding your soul!
Shop Camping Gear
This is not a sponsored post, and I recommend products based on my experience. This may contain affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase using my link at no extra cost to you. More Camping Accessories.