Yellowstone National Park is beyond compare and is one of the most popular national parks in America. It is a wonderland that everyone should visit if possible. It is a massive park and while most of it is in northwest Wyoming, parts of it extend into Montana and Idaho. It was created back in 1872 and is America's first national park - some consider it to be the world's first national park. It is dominated by lakes, forests, canyons, mountain ranges, calderas, volcanoes, and is full of stunningly diverse wildlife. In addition to that, it is known to have more than a thousand archeological sites.


About Yellowstone National Park

The area of Yellowstone is geologically active giving rise to the many geothermal features of the park. The most famous of course is the Old Faithful geyser. Yellowstone lays over the Yellowstone Hotspot and it is this geological activity that has created the marvels we see today (along with glacial carving and processes). The Yellowstone Plateau itself is a result of the uplift from the hot-spot volcanism. The land formations of Yellowstone even influence the weather patterns that result in large amounts of snowfall. Over half of the world's geysers are located in this stunning national park.

  • Record: First American National Park
  • Size: 3,468.4 sq mi
  • Date: Created 1872
  • Status: Yellowstone Is UNSECO World Heritage Listed

Yellowstone Caldera

Also known as the Yellowstone Supervolcano, it is massive measuring some 43 by 28 miles. The caldera was formed after the last supereruption of the volcano. The supervolcano has had 3 supereruptions over the last 2.1 million years. Today volcanic rocks cover much of the Yellowstone landscape.

  • Huckleberry Ridge Eruption: Date 2.1 Million Years Ago, Formed Island Park Caldera And Huckleberry Ridge Tuff
  • Mesa Falls Eruption: Date 1.3 Million Years Ago, Formed Henry's Fork Caldera And Mesa Falls Tuff
  • Lava Creek Eruption: Date 630,000 Years Ago, Formed Yellowstone Calder And Lava Creek Tuff

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Wildlife And Bison

Yellowstone is famous for being the home and refugee for much of America's remaining megafauna, in addition to hundreds of smaller species of birds, mammals, and reptiles. Much of the forests and grasslands include various unique species of plants too. Megafauna of the park includes the famed Grizzly bear, Mountian wolves, bison, elk, moose, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer, mule deer, cougars, and black bears.

  • Recommended Distance: Keep 100 Yards From Bears And Wolves
  • Recommended Distance: Keep 25 Yards From Bison, Elk, And All Other Wildlife

Yellowstone is generally considered the finest megafauna wildlife habitat anywhere in the lower 48.

  • Major Bison Concern: The Disease Brucellosis

Bison once numbered some 30-60 million throughout North America, driven to the edge of extinction Yellowstone is one of their last strongholds. In 1902 the population had plummeted to a mere 50 or less. By 2003 that reached 4,000. The Yellowstone Park bison herd peaked in 2005 with 4,900 bison. This then fell to around 3,000 in 2008 after a very hard winter and controversial management strategies that saw many killed. Most recently 4,680 were counted in summer 2020 for the whole park. There are three other herds of Bison.

  • Utah: Henry Mountains Bison Herd
  • South Dakota: Wind Cave National Park
  • Alberta: Elk Island National Park
  • Number Of Bison: Approx. 4,680

Activities In The Park

Today there are many things to see and do in the park. Some of the activities include camping, boating, fishing, hiking, guided tours, and sightseeing. During the winter the park is accessed by snowmobiles and snow coaches.

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When To Visit

Summer is the most popular, this is when the park is the most accessible and all of the park's services are running. However, the flip side is that this is also the park is the most crowded. Over half of the visitors come in the three summer months.

Sping and fall are also great for visiting the park. The weather is cooler and the crowds are much smaller. On the downside, the park is offering fewer services.

Winter and the park is transformed into another snow-bound world. The park has only a few visitors but many of the facilities are closed, access around the park is limited due to the snow. Access to some of the park's most iconic features like the Canyon and Old Faithful are limited. It is important to plan a winter visit well in advance.

Access And Fees

  • Cost Of Seven Day Pass: $35 For A Private Non-Commerical Vehicle
  • Cost Of Seven Day Pass: $20 Per Individual (If On Foot, Bicycle, etc)
  • Annual Pass: $70.00
  • Fee-Free Days: There Are Around 6 Fee-Free Days Annually

Yellowstone is one of America's finest geographic marvels and a place that will leave every visitor spellbound. It is well worth a special trip in itself to see this spectacular park.

Next: 10 National Parks In The US Worth Visiting Now (And 10 To See Later)