Powerful geysers, towering waterfalls, colorful hot springs, and gurgling mud are just a few of the wonders in store for guests at Yellowstone National Park. Established in 1872, Yellowstone is the world’s oldest national park, and many people still consider it America’s best. At over 3,500 square miles, the park offers something for everyone!
Where to Stay
Campgrounds are abundant within Yellowstone, but the park offers a unique chance to stay in historic lodging. During our most recent visit, we spent two nights at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins followed by two nights at Old Faithful Inn. Our cabin at Mammoth Hot Springs was cozy and comfortable. We watched elk grazing from our window each evening.
Old Faithful Inn may be our favorite hotel we’ve ever stayed in. We saved a little money by staying in a rustic Old House room, which requires guests to use a shared restroom, but offers the chance to experience what the park was like for visitors in the early 1900s. The Inn’s unique design was labeled “parkitecture” because it attempts to bring the natural beauty of the park inside. Fans of national park history will enjoy the concessionaire’s free tour of the inn offered daily. In the evening, enjoy a mug of hot chocolate by the Inn’s massive stone fireplace. The rumbles you feel in the middle of the night, are just Old Faithful’s eruptions. Step outside to enjoy the geyser by moonlight.
Must See Yellowstone
Over half of the world’s geysers are located in Yellowstone, and Old Faithful is the park’s most famous. It erupts every 44 minutes to two hours shooting approximately 8,000 gallons of water up to 150 feet in the air. While there is plenty of seating surrounding the geyser, guests can take in a more panoramic view from Observation Point atop a series of switchbacks overlooking Old Faithful. For a more old-fashion experience, grab a huckleberry ice cream cone inside Old Faithful Inn and enjoy Old Faithful’s eruption from the viewing platform located on the Inn’s second floor.
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is another must see! The canyon is capped off by the enormous Yellowstone Falls – the largest waterfall by volume in the entire Rocky Mountains. A number of viewpoints along the canyon present slightly different views of the falls.
Our favorite feature in the park is Grand Prismatic Spring. It is the largest hot spring in the park and third largest in the world. It is known for its amazing colors created by microbial mats that radiate from the center of the spring.
Off the Beaten Path
We always enjoy exploring less visited (and less crowded) locations within national parks. For instance, while Old Faithful is amazing, we enjoyed watching Riverside Geyser’s eruption just a much and with far fewer other parkgoers. Riverside Geyser is located near Old Faithful in Upper Geyser Basin. Its eruption arcs into the Firehole River. Nearby Grotto Geyser is another interesting geyser to visit with its loud gurgles and swirling eruption.
For an even less visited geyser basin, check out Norris Geyser Basin. The gray soil and large steam vents surrounding the basin gives this area an otherworldly feeling. Nearby you’ll find colorful Artists’ Paint Pots where a short trail loops around boiling mud that ranges in color from red to green.
Don’t Forget to Check Out the Wildlife
Animals are abundant in Yellowstone! Wildlife viewing is one of Yellowstone’s biggest draws. Lamar and Hayden Valleys are great for wildlife watching in the mornings or evenings. Bison and elk are prevalent, but it isn’t unusual to see a grizzly bear wondering through the valleys. Black bear and deer can be found throughout the park’s forests. We also loved seeing smaller animals like yellow bellied marmots and foxes as we explored the park. Pay heed to park warnings about safe viewing distances and give these wild animals the respect they deserve.
Take a Little Yellowstone Home
A Yellowstone mug by Americaware makes a perfect souvenir. Relive those peaceful evenings by the Old Faithful Inn’s fireplace with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate in your Americaware mug!
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This Months Destination Spotlight was written by Land of Liberty Explorers
About Land of Liberty Explorers
The Land of Liberty Explorers are a husband and wife team based in Kansas City that started their blog landoflibertyexplorers.com to share their love of nationals parks. The blog is named after their dog Liberty, the sweetest little black lab mix who loves to join her family on national park adventures! Check out landoflibertyexplorers.com for information to assist in planning your next national park adventure.