Visiting Yellowstone is a frequent adventure for many travelers but for some, it may be the first time. With so many things to see and do in the national park, it may be difficult for first-timers to begin an exploration of this massive park. Not to worry, here are some epic things one can do in Yellowstone when visiting for the first time.
Camping is one of the best ways to get a satisfying first visit to Yellowstone National Park. By engaging in this activity, one can spend the night in the beautiful landscape of the region and also stargaze at night. The park features up to 12 campgrounds with thousands of campsites, many of which are usually filled up quickly during the summer months. Many of the campsites are located close to the park’s exciting natural attractions and also feature amenities that include - public restrooms, picnic tables, and fire pits.
9 Wildlife Watching
Wildlife watching is one of the most popular things to do in Yellowstone as the park is known for hosting a wide variety of wildlife. Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley are the park's best spots to enjoy this activity. The wildlife here is best seen during the early hours of the morning or the hours after sunset. Some of the most frequent sightings include - Bears, Bison, Wolves, Elk, Moose, Mountain Lion, Bald Head, and Golden Eagles. Visitors are advised to be extremely careful when in the territory of some wildlife such as Elk, Bears, and Bisons. One important thing to keep in mind about the park's wildlife is to never approach or feed them. A distance of at least 25 yards is a good place to start.
Kayaking is a unique way to see Yellowstone National Park. While engaging in this activity, one does not have to put up with obstacles on the road or trek for miles to enjoy the park’s attractions. All one has to do is sit back and enjoy the float. There are several lakes in the park to enjoy a relaxing ride; however, Yellowstone Lake - the largest freshwater lake in North America is the best place to enjoy this activity. On this lake, one can easily spot numerous wildlife that comes to quench their thirst and relax on the shore. Many of the park’s stunning attractions will also be in the sight of adventurers floating on this massive lake.
7 A Visit To Old Faithful
Yellowstone is known for having an abundance of unique natural attractions. For first-timers, Old Faithful - one of the park’s numerous geysers is a must-see. This natural attraction located in Upper Geyser Basin draws in a huge number of visitors due to its predictability and accessibility. Between 60 - 90 minutes, this geyser is usually expected to erupt up to 8000 gallons of boiling water about 56 m into the air. The fact that it sticks to this schedule is what makes it unique and popular among many visitors.
6 Hiking The Trails
Yellowstone features lots of hiking trails for different levels of hikers from simple walks to difficult treks. The Pelican Creek Nature trail - one of the park’s shortest and finest trails, takes hikers through a beautiful forest and presents views of nearby mountains and scenic shoreline. Many of the park’s trails can be crowded during the peak months, although there are still lots of places to enjoy a peaceful walk. More popular trails to experience in Yellowstone include - Mount Washburn Trail - for elevated views; Fairy Falls trail - for a walk to one of the most popular waterfalls in Yellowstone; and Bechler River Trail - for a long trek and an opportunity to camp, soak in hot springs and enjoy views of some of the park’s waterfalls.
5 Watch Sunrise And Sunset
Many overlooks in Yellowstone offer amazing opportunities to catch impressive views of the sunset. At the Great Fountain Geyser, the sunset combines with the occasional eruption of the geyser to create an otherworldly sight. Mammoth Hot Springs is also a great place to witness amazing sunrise as well as sunset as the steam combines with the magical colors to create Instagram-worthy sights. Other places to watch sunrise and sunsets in the park include - Lake Butte Overlook, Dunraven Pass, and Lamar Valley.
4 Take A Road Trip
For first-timers with limited time, a road trip is the fastest way to see Yellowstone. The Grand Loop Road is the park’s destination for this activity. This road runs through many of the park’s most popular attractions and also links different parts of the park together. A road trip on this road means one can easily make several turns to explore different sections of the Park. Sights of towering mountains, crystal clear lakes, and beautiful trees are common during the scenic drive. Sometimes, lucky visitors can even bump into some of the park’s magnificent wildlife on the road. If one is stuck in traffic on this road, it is most likely caused by an animal that decided to take over the road for some time.
3 See The Grand Canyon Of Yellowstone
Arizona is not the only place with a magnificent canyon. Yellowstone has one too, and it is also impressive. The canyon was carved by the Yellowstone River, and it features most of the park’s waterfalls which include - Upper Falls and Lower Falls. The canyon itself is 24 miles long and up to 370 m deep. Many hiking trails lead to viewpoints offering unparalleled views of this stunning natural attraction. The South Rim and North Rim all have trails that lead to this amazing formation. For those visiting the South Rim, Artist Point is the best viewpoint for the Canyon while those visiting the North Rim will get the best views from either Grand View or Lookout Point.
2 Grand Prismatic Spring
The largest hot spring in the United States is a must-see attraction for visitors in Yellowstone. This hot spring is unique in many ways. The first thing to notice about this site is the unique colors around the edges and the turquoise color of the water in the middle. The colors around the edges are said to be visible due to the microorganisms present on those parts and the color has been noted to change from orange and red during the summer months to green in winter.
1 Swim At Boiling River Hot Spring
Many hot springs in Yellowstone are not suitable for swimming but Boiling River Hot Spring is. This hot spring suitable for swimming is only made possible by the flow of a hot spring into the Gardner River. The mixture of the hot and cold water, therefore, creates a water temperature one can comfortably bathe in. Be aware that this spot gets crowded during summer but the natural hot tub is massive enough to accommodate the crowd. Besides the relaxing soak, the surrounding views also make a visit to this place worth it.