Located in Wyoming and established as the world’s first national park in 1872, Yellowstone encompasses a vast expanse of natural wilderness boasting a combination of extraordinary geology, rugged landscapes and jaw dropping scenery that’s virtually unsurpassed.
Situated atop a super volcano, the park is a geothermal hotspot best known for its dramatic erupting geysers, notably “Old Faithful” which draws millions of visitors every year. But there are numerous more geothermal features to marvel at (some 10,000 to be exact) with everything from gurgling mud pots to hissing fumaroles and colourful hot springs. Throw in dizzying canyons, ancient forests, massive lakes, flower-filled meadows and plummeting waterfalls and you have a truly remarkable landscape unlike anywhere else on the planet.
The park’s other big draw is undoubtedly its teeming wildlife. You’ll find some of America’s most emblematic species here, from vast bison herds and vocal wolf packs to bald eagles and grizzly bears. Yellowstone is also home to elk, marmots, prairie dogs, plenty of birdlife, copious trout and more than 1,000 species of native plants, including an abundance of fragrant wildflowers that set the grassy meadows ablaze every spring.
How best to experience it all? Unlike many of America’s national parks, most of Yellowstone’s landmark features are easily accessible from the roadside. A driving tour along the Grand Loop is ideal for those who want to experience the highlights in a day or two. Meanwhile, endless hiking paths provide opportunities for further immersion in the backcountry and more wildlife watching opportunities away from the crowds. Yellowstone is also a fantastic winter destination with cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling drawing visitors in the chillier months.
Top reasons to visit Yellowstone
It’s home to the largest and most impressive concentration of geothermal features in the world, much of it easily accessible to visitors regardless of fitness levels
The sheer diversity and beauty of the natural terrain is quite remarkable. Highlights include Mammoth Hot Springs, the park’s Grand Canyon and the azure Yellowstone Lake
Get active and venture deeper into Yellowstone’s wilderness along more than 1,000 miles of exciting hiking trails. Summit majestic peaks, venture into depth-defying canyons or fish in vast lakes and picturesque creeks
Memorable wildlife encounters can be had even from the confines of your vehicle. Buffalo, elk and bears all roam freely here and share the park’s road and trail system with visitors