Yellowstone National Parkstretches across the secluded north-west corner of Wyoming, reaching into Idaho and Montana.
Founded in 1872, Yellowstone was the world’s first national park and now hosts over 4 million adventurers each year.
A 12-hour drive from Seattleor a five-hour drive from Salt Lake City, there’s no doubt that it’s a trek to get here, but the moment you step foot in this vast park, you’ll know it was worth every mile.
With endless green prairies, spectacular mountain ranges, and abundant wildlife, Yellowstone is the very best of North American wilderness, wrapped up into a 2-million-acre gift for nature lovers.
Yellowstone is proudly managed by the National Park Service and its highlights are easily accessible by the loop road which can be reached from each of the park’s five entrances.
So, buckle up and get ready to explore a land untouched by humanity.
Yellowstone is a geothermal extravaganza that sits atop a slumbering super volcano, which is said to have violently erupted over 60, 000 years ago.
Geologists have long debated the caldera’s origins, and theories abound as to when the next big eruption is due.
But don’t let the merchants of doom put you off, seismic activity is closely monitored to ensure the safety of park visitors.
One of the best places to witness the geothermal activity bubbling beneath Yellowstone is at Grand Prismatic Spring, just under 25 miles from the park’s west entrance.
Admire the vivid pool from afar, but don’t get any ideas about plunging in, these steaming waters can reach temperatures near boiling.
Just to the south is Old Faithful, one of the most visited geysers in the world.
Aptly named, Old Faithful punctually spews boiling water and steam into the sky every 60 to 90 minutes.
The explorers of yesteryear once used Old Faithful as their laundry, placing garments at the vent, which were blasted into the sky and thoroughly washed by the boiling water.
This landscape is not only an impressive display of geothermal activity; it is also laced with lush forests, rivers, and lakes.
Yellowstone Lake is the tranquil heart of the park, and outdoor enthusiasts congregate here for all sorts of recreational activities.
Cast a line in the icy, high altitude waters, ….
venture out in a kayak, .
… or explore the lapping shores on foot The park is not only rich with legends and precious views; it is also teeming with wildlife.
Yellowstone has long been a refuge for America’s native animals, and the park’s greatest success story is the restoration of the mighty bison.
Today, Yellowstone is home to the planet’s largest remaining wild herd.
In Hayden Valley, a close encounter with this sturdy beast is almost guaranteed.
So, remember to keep your eyes on the road! One of the most dramatic sights in the park is the Yellowstone River.
Fed by Yellowstone Lake, the river winds its way north before plummeting 300 feet off Lower Falls and into the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
Leave your car and embark on the short hike to Artist Point, one of the best places to sit and marvel at the immensity of this natural wonder.
Natural beauty can lift the spirit like nothing else, and there are countless places in Yellowstone which seem to be designed for travelers to simply sit back and admire.
Unfold a picnic chair at Pebble Creek and let the sound of its rushing waters clear your mind and soothe your soul.
Still in the park’s north, dense trees open out into rolling prairies in Lamar Valley.
Its lush fields are watered by babbling brooks and framed by a backdrop of snowcapped peaks.
Bring your binoculars to catch a closer glimpse of more wild bison, along with Yellowstone’s other native animals.
When evening sets in, set up your tent at one of the many campsites or head out of the park’s north entrance to Gardiner.
This gateway town is theperfect haven for weary travelers.
Warm yourself with a hearty meal at one ofthe many saloons before continuing your epic Yellowstone adventure.
In Yellowstone, a step in any direction is like a journey to another continent, and sometimes… another planet.
Just south of Gardiner is Mammoth Hot Springs.
The springs carry minerals which solidify into ever-changing limestone terraces.
The ethereal formations are breathtaking reminder that even in the natural world, change is the great constant of life.
Make your way south to Norris, an area surrounded by hundreds of geothermal wonders.
Listen to clay bubbling and boiling from the depths of the earth at Artists’ Paintpots.
Wander boardwalks set just inches from the trembling surface of Norris Geyser Basin and hold your breath as you advance through billowing clouds of vapor rising from beneath the planet’s crust.
Yellowstone National Park has long been a land of epic horizons, legendary stories and endless renewal.
As the grandfather of all national parks, its legacy has inspired wildlife preservation across the globe.
Today, a trip into the heart of Yellowstone is like a journey back in time.
A journey to the great landscape of America before Europeans arrived.
It’s a journey to creation itself.