If the world’s largest collection of geysers that smell like rotten eggs isn’t enough to entice one to book a trip to Yellowstone, there are plenty of other cost-effective attractions that are more pleasing to the senses.
According to Yellowstone Net, Yellowstone is 3,468 square miles and comprises 2,219,823 acres of land. That is larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. Popular tourist attractions are spread all over Yellowstone.
The park is home to canyons, waterfalls, geysers and a slew of wildlife, including bears, elk, wolves and bison. It sits on an active caldera that could technically ert at anytime.
Ninety-six percent of the park is located in Wyoming and a small percentage is in Idaho and Montana, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The sheer size of the park can make it difficult to plan an effective visit unless you know where the best spots are.
The website U.S. News Travel offers a list of popular attractions based on rating. Old Faithful is considered the most popular tourist attraction in Yellowstone and can be busy during the summer months.
“Unlike most thermal features in the park, [Old Faithful’s] heights, intervals and length of ertion have changed very little in 100 years. It erts about every 92 minutes, or 18-21 times every day,” according to Wyoming Tourism.
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone Lake and Grand Prismatic Springs also comprise the top five things to do in Yellowstone, according to the same list on U.S. News Travel.
Grand Prismatic Springs is an example of one of the many hot springs and natural geysers in Yellowstone.
“Grand Prismatic Spring pumps out over 4,000 gallons of boiling water every single minute, making it the largest hot springs in North America,” according to Yellowstone National Park. Hayden Valley, Mount Washburn and Lower Geyser Basin are other natural fascinations listed.
According to the Sunset website, Hayden Valley, north of Lake Yellowstone, is one of the best places in the park to see wildlife, like bison, elk, bears, coyotes and more. Tourists usually see wildlife when they wake early in the morning around dusk.
“So far, we’ve seen a few moose and a few elk, and we saw two bison,” said Andy Cordon, a first-time visitor from Arizona.
Besides visual attractions, there is a large list of activities offered in Yellowstone that would please fans of the outdoors.
According to the National Park Service, fishing, boating, hiking, biking, camping, horseback riding and swimming are all permitted as long as participants follow specific rules and regulations.
Many people come to Yellowstone to fish for certain types of fish. Permits, regulations, areas and rules are all listed in the National Park Service website.
Boating is allowed on most of Yellowstone Lake and on Lewis Lake. Only non-motorized boating is allowed on most other lakes. There are also areas specifically for hiking trails, biking trails and campgrounds, and many waterfalls in Yellowstone can only be accessed from these trails.
Visitors should not feel the need to stop at every single site either. Max Shapiro, who was visiting from Chicago, said he likes driving through Yellowstone rather than stopping at every location.
There are also areas to swim and places to go on horseback rides around the park. Additional information on various activities can be found on the National Park Service website.
When planning a trip to Yellowstone, visitors should check to ensure the entrances or areas they plan on going through are still open. There are five entrances, and at times, certain entrances may be closed.
One of the most famous lodges is Old Faithful Inn, near Old Faithful Geyser. It has levels of balconies with sports created by gnarled branches from trees. Even if visitors don’t want to stay the night, they can still check out the interesting architecture of the lodge, according to Fodor’s travel.
Weather can vary in Yellowstone, so it is also helpful to check local weather dates.
The biggest key to planning a successful trip is researching ahead of time. A good website to check all aspects of Yellowstone is www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm.
All the attractions at Yellowstone are free of cost, besides the park entrance fee, which is $25 for a vehicle.