Yellowstone is arguably the world’s most popular national park, and yet most of the visitors only see 1% of it! People tend to stick to the major sights and paved roads, and with good reason, it is possible to see any kind of wildlife just driving through its 3,400 square miles. To read more about Yellowstone’s wildlife you can find my first Yellowstone post here.
The largest attractions are The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Old Faithful, and Yellowstone Lake. To be honest we didn’t even stop by Yellowstone Lake. We did however see Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon, along with some amazing other places as well!
I had heard that Yellowstone could be particularly crowded, but I don’t think Matt and I were ready for exactly how many people would be meandering through the park. Old Faithful alone draws up to 30,000 people a day. And after seeing it, I’m a believer. So with that being said, here are my recommendations for what to see in the park, and also how to beat the crowds!
Unfortunately there are so things in the world that no matter how touristy they are you have to go and see the attraction. I was not thrilled about seeing a geyser erupt, however my husband (nerd alert) loves things like this with the geography of the earth and what not, so we stopped by. I was actually pleasantly surprised, they have a boardwalk trail that explores the upper geyser basin that explores not only Old Faithful, but a numerous amount of hot springs, boiling springs, and fumaroles. This area contains the largest concentration of geysers in the world! A lot of these springs have names, and they provide the most intense colors. Its a quick easy walk to conquer while waiting on Old Faithful to erupt!
Grand Prismatic Spring
The largest hot spring in the United States, and third largest in the world. Coming in at a blistering hot 160 degree faranheit, this spring has a spectacular array of colors. The yellows, oranges, and blues go on and on. You can hike the trail to fairy falls for an aerial view, or walk along the boardwalk to take in its beauty.
Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley
Wanna ditch the crowds? Then take a drive/hike through Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley. These two valleys are your best shots at spotting wolves (refer to my first Yellowstone post to read all about the Yellowstone wolves) bison herds, eagles, ospreys and even grizzlies like these prime territories. Best advice: get up before dawn if you are looking for wildlife, or come back to an area at dusk.
Blacktail Plateau Drive
This is a 7 mile gravel road that is one way, heading eastbound. Aspen forests and tall pines cut between lush fields that area also perfect to spot wildlife. Wolves, elk, bison, and bear all cut through this area of land. AND we didn’t see any other cars. It was lovely!
As much as I enjoyed the sights Yellowstone had to offer, I was not impressed with the crowds. At some point in time we will head back in the winter, the time of year the wildlife really comes out to play!
Need more info on Yellowstone National Park – their website is here!