A Guide to Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is one of the best known places to camp and experience the great outdoors in the world. Yellowstone is often credited as being the first nationally protected park on Earth. Founded March 1, 1872 by President Ulysses S. Grant, Yellowstone Park is widely recognized not only for pristine beauty but for it's very unique geothermal activity and abundance of wildlife.
Yellowstone National Park is located mostly in the State of Wyoming in the United States of America with some portions located in the States of Montana and Idaho. The park covers an area of almost 3, 468 square miles (8983 square kilometers). Over two million people visit the park every year with July being the busiest month for tourists. The park is open all year, however some of the roads in the park are closed from November to April for maintenance and reconstruction. Yellowstone is also designated a UNESCO world heritage site.
Terrain and Wildlife
Yellowstone contains many lakes, rivers, plains, canyons and mountain ranges along with many geysers and hot springs. Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest of the high-altitude lakes in North America, and the park sits on the Yellowstone Caldera which is the largest supervolcano in North America. The Yellowstone Caldera is considered an active volcano whose eruptions have had devastating effects on North America several times in the past two million years.
Several hundred different species of animals can be found in the park. Some of the best known are the park's herd of bison, elk, wolves, and of course bears. There are other animals such as birds, mammals, and reptiles that can be found in the park too, many of them are listed as endangered or threatened underscoring the need to keep this area protected. All animals found in Yellowstone National Park are wild and must not be fed or approached.
The majority of trees found in the park are conifer trees such as the Lodgepole Pines. Willow and Quaking Aspen are also prevalent in the park. As an example of how an ecosystem works together, the Aspen trees are making a comeback in the park because as wolves are reintroduced to the area, the elk change their grazing locations which allows the trees to grow. There are many different species of wild flowers in the park which mainly bloom from May to September.
Geysers and Attractions
Yellowstone National Park's best known attractions are the geothermal features which are located throughout the park. The park is located over an active volcano which heats up the ground water causing geysers to erupt and natural hot springs. There are over 300 active geysers in the park and over 10, 000 geothermal features. The Yellowstone area is home to 65% of the geysers and 50% of the geothermal features found on the planet. The best known geyser is "Old Faithful" which erupts every 91 minutes and has for centuries. The world's largest geyser the "Steamboat Geyser" is also located within the park. The Beehive Geyser is yet another popular, although smaller geyser located within the park boundries.
There are 9 visitors centers and museums in Yellowstone Park and nearly 2000 historical landmarks and buildings open to the public. There are approximately 1,100 miles of hiking trails. Visitors can reserve one of 2000 campsites in 12 campgrounds at rates of around $12 to $22 per night. Spectacular backcountry campsites require a permit and are only accessible by hiking or horseback. Hunting is not permitted in the park, however fishing is permitted with a park fishing permit. Many areas are fly fishing only and boating is restricted to non-motorized vehicles on a 5 mile (8 Kilometer) section of the Lewis River. There is a marina for park visitors on Yellowstone Lake. There is also a Medical Clinic located at Mammoth Hot Springs which can provide emergency care.
Weather and Reservations
Dress for the conditions in Yellowstone. Summer month temperatures range from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 28 degrees Celsius) during the day and down to 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) at night. During the winter, temperatures range from 0-20 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 to -5 degrees Celsius) in the day to below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius) at night. Snow is possible during any month of the year.
If your family is looking to experience the marvels of mother nature this year, take a camping or day trip to view the ancient wonder of Yellowstone National Park.
For more information visit the website: http://www.nps.gov/yell/