Let’s go on a tiny tour of the BIG Yellowstone National Park, shall we?
Yellowstone is pretty special because it is the world’s first National Park.
As you drive along the Grand Loop of the park, you will no doubt see wildlife, which is an exciting element of this park! You’ll likely have to share the road with bison, elk, and moose.
The most popular attraction in YNP is Old Faithful. This predictable geyser erupts every 65-92 minutes with the eruption lasting 1.5-5 minutes. Although I am glad that I got to witness Old Faithful do her thing, it was not the highlight of YNP for me.
As you drive along the Grand Loop of the park, you’ll see signs for the many different geyser and pool basins this park has. Some of the most popular basins are: Mammoth Hot Springs, Upper Geyser Basin, Lower Geyser Basin, Midway Geyser Basin, Norris Geyser Basin, and Artists Paintpots. With an early enough start, these are all doable in a day’s visit.
The Grand Prismatic Spring was a major highlight for me! It is located in the Midway Geyser Basin and is the most majestic of all the Springs. Not only is the Grand Prismatic Spring the largest Spring in the U.S., but the bright, geothermic rainbow of colors are so fascinating.
Another mind-blowing must-see is the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. My mind could not even process the enormity of this canyon. There are several viewpoints here – take a few moments to just take it all in.
There are many hiking trails throughout YNP – in fact, there are 92 trailheads. Some of the most popular, shorter hikes are:
Uncle Tom’s Trail: This hike is only 0.8 miles, but because of the incline and stairs, it’s a bit on the strenuous side. The views of the Canyon are completely worth the effort you’ll put in.
Mystic Falls Trail: This is a 2.5 mile loop. The Falls are quite impressive and the views from the overlook are stunning on this moderate-effort hike.
Elephant Back Mountain Trail: This easy, 3.7 mile loop offers panoramic views of Yellowstone Lake from the top.
I loved the Beaver Ponds Trail, which is a 5.6 mile easy loop. This was a gorgeous trail with mountain, pond, and wildlife views. I highly recommend the Beaver Ponds Trail!
Word of warning: If you are hiking in Yellowstone, please carry bear spray, know how to use it, and hike with caution.