WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Yellowstone National Park in the US has long been on my bucket list. So when our US contributor Jess from Bon Traveler recently ventured to the park, I just had to get her to share her experience. Take it away Jess!
It’s no secret that Yellowstone has long been one of the best national parks in the US and for good reason. The incredible wildlife, the scenery, and heaps of geothermal activity make this destination feel like the land before time.
With over 3,400 square miles of land, knowing what to see and do in Yellowstone National Park is crucial before setting foot on an incredible adventure.
With that in mind, I want to break down the perfect trip plan as each region of Yellowstone is unique. If you’re into animals, don’t worry you will see plenty, though there are a few that can be difficult to see and need some planning.
The geothermal activity is evident in almost every quadrant of the park, with the main highlights being quite spread out. So here it is, where and what to see in Yellowstone National Park.
1. WILDLIFE There are no fences, if you didn’t figure that out the first time you got in a traffic jam due to a herd of wild buffalo crossing the road. They seem to be everywhere and they are. Keep in mind a safe distance is incredibly crucial to seeing the wildlife, especially when it comes to bears.
Grizzlies/Black Bears Often during the day, they can be found throughout Hayden Valley, Lamar Valley, Roosevelt, and towards Mammoth Hot Springs.
Elk/Deer/Antelope The Elk are thick through Hayden Valley, but generally can be found most places. Antelope are thick between Roosevelt and Lamar Valley. Deer are a bit more shy, but can be found throughout the park as well.
Bison Just about everywhere!
Wolves Lamar Valley at dawn and dusk and Hayden Valley at dusk. The Wolf Project crew is often spotted out early at daybreak in Lamar Valley with their radars waiting to hear if the wolves are coming through. If you see someone holding a radar out, check in with them and they can point you in the right direction.
Foxes Throughout the park, during dawn/dusk.
Eagles/Fowl When near a river or lake, keep your eyes peeled on the treetops for eagles. Often they can be found perched along the water.
Bighorn Sheep High, rocky places and often near the bridge from Roosevelt heading to Lamar Valley
Badgers/Porcupines Typically found in backcountry, these creatures are rarely, often seen. Sometimes at night can be seen crossing the road.
2. GEOTHERMAL You’ll see an abundance of steaming gases coming from many holes as you drive through the valleys and gorges of Yellowstone. The mud pits, boiling and bursting are so enchanting to see. I think of course Old Faithful, and its shooting water is truly second to none.
Here are the top things to see for those into geothermal activity: Grand Prismatic Springs Old Faithful and surrounding catwalks through the pools Cleopatra Terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs Morning Glory Pool Norris Geyser Basin Cistern Springs Artist Paintpots
3. SCENERY You’ll find yourself pulling over more then you like, so plan to have a car that will be efficient in gas as you a lot of driving is involved.
Everywhere you go, some swooping valley filled with elk herds are waiting, thick pine forests with deer peering out, or the occasional grizzly bear fishing in the river awaits you.
Having a solid camera while on this trip is a definite must. Here are the best scenery points in Yellowstone National Park:
Grand Canyon Lower Falls Lamar Valley, the morning is extremely peaceful The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Hayden Valley for lush views Artist Point Inspiration Point