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Yellowstone National Park

Updated on September 14, 2012

Yellowstone: America's Best Known National Park

First established as a National Park in 1872, Yellowstone remains America's best-known National Park for its geothermal features, array of wildlife and stunning scenery. It covers three states--Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana--however, most of the park lies in Wyoming. The best known parts of the park are the Old Faithful Geyser and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

The largest volcanic system in North America lies in Yellowstone National Park. With constantly erupting geysers, bubbling hot springs, and a "supervolcano" system historically erupting every 600,000 years or so, Yellowstone is a huge attraction drawing nearly 3 million visitors per year.

Castle Rock Geyser

The Super Volcano

Yellowstone National Park is under great scrutiny from geologists for its geothermal activity. Most of the park is actually a giant caldera, or volcano hole, with a giant magma chamber 4 miles beneath the park's surface. This magma chamber is what powers the parks geysers, pools, and of course, Old Faithful. The giant caldera is referred to as a "supervolcano" because of its catastrophic history. Scientists have confirmed that there is no reason to believe there is an eruption in the near future, nor that we are "overdue."

Sulfur pools

Old've heard of it many times, and probably have seen it on TV. Old Faithful is just one of hundreds of geysers in Yellowstone. It erupts every 74 minutes at a height between 100-180 feet for up to 5 minutes straight. The water temperature has been measured at 204 degrees, while the steam is a scorching 350 degrees!

You'll notice in the picture above the azure blue color of the pools. This is created from black bacteria dying off when the pool heats up from thermal activity.

Old Faithful

Yellowstone on YouTube

Not as well known as the Grand Canyon in Arizona is the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. However, this waterfall canyon may be just as visually impressive with its half mile width and 900 foot drop. The Yellowstone River cascades through the canyon eroding away and carving into the rock.

Wildlife in Yellowstone

Yellowstone offers an extensive array of animal wildlife, including the reintroduced gray wolf, the american bison, lynx, and foliage particular only to Yellowstone. It's one of the few places where it isn't hard to spot wildlife.

American Bison

Gray Wolf


More Wildlife...

Nearby to Yellowstone and included in the Greater Yellowstone area is the Grand Tetons National Park. Its high peaks contrast with the comparatively low-lying valleys, lakes and meadows below offer some of the best photography, hiking, and camping of any of the National Parks. What makes the Grand Tetons unique are its lack of foothills leading up to the glacier-topped mountains.

A Poll on Yellowstone...

Do you plan on visiting Yellowstone National Park?

See results

Greater Yellowstone

The area surrounding and leading into Yellowstone National Park remains a spectacle as well. Covering 14 million acres, there are many more lakes, streams, rivers and mountains to be discovered.

A winding road outside of Yellowstone

A rainbow hits in the early morning hours outside of Yellowstone

The closest major town you'll find to the Yellowstone region is Jackson, or Jackson Hole as it's commonly referred to. Expect to see temperatures around 79 degrees during peak summer in July and August. With lows around 42 even in summer, you'll need to pack warm clothes with you for this trip. Winter temperatures rarely crack above freezing, and often dip down to single digits at night.

Yellowstone Books & Guides

Yellowstone is a very large area. Large enough that you could miss some of the hidden gems located in the park! It's so large that bison hid out here in the 1800's (unintentionally?) to avoid being totally decemated as a species and managed to be virtually undetected. An area this large needs a good guide book! Read up on Yellowstone with this top rated guides on Amazon. All have excellent reviews.

An Interesting Take on Yellowstone

This is very different, morbid take on Yellowstone. The author airs on the side of caution, telling the tales of the unfortunate people that have perished in Yellowstone National Park. Some 250 people have died from incidents natural and man made...some could have been prevented, some not. There are many perils in the parks that you may not know about! From landslides, avalanches, hot geyser blasts, car accidents, bison goaring (!), bear attacks and plane crashes, anything can happen here.

The Yellowstone Guestbook - Been to Yellowstone? Have a story? Tell us about it!

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    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 5 years ago

      Yellowstone is one of the most beautiful sports on the planet. You've never seen wildlife until you have been to Yellowstone.

    • montanatravel52 profile image

      montanatravel52 5 years ago

      I was also lucky enough to grow up around Yellowstone Park, and have been there at least 100 times also - great lens with great photos b/c everyone needs to visit once in their lifetime! I also have a lens about Montana Travel Attractions that includes a section Yellowstone Park that others may be interested in reading....

    • GrowthSpark profile image

      GrowthSpark 5 years ago

      Lovely pics you have here, thanks.

    • Donallphin profile image

      Donallphin 5 years ago

      @Alexander_Bedrik: Yellowstone is many things to many people. For some it is completely restful, for others they can't stay still and want to hike until they drop. Yet others wouldn't think a trip to the park would be complete without a fishing trip. And, yet others think that viewing and photographing the wildlife is as good as it gets. And, you know what's funny? They are all correct. I hope you get a chance to see this incredible part of our world.

    • Donallphin profile image

      Donallphin 5 years ago

      @ChrisKelleyUSA: Yellowstone National Park is truly one of life's best destinations. I hope you do get the opportunity to see and explore it. If you need any help whatsoever with regards to planning a trip, don't hesitate to ask. We will be returning in mid June this year but love the park in any season. Good Luck!

    • profile image

      ChrisKelleyUSA 5 years ago

      Really like to take my family to Yellowstone. Gotta get there! Chris Kelley - Framingham

    • profile image

      Alexander_Bedrik 5 years ago

      must be one of the most beautiful places in the world!

    • Donallphin profile image

      Donallphin 5 years ago

      Hey, Great lens! I was raised near Yellowstone and have visited more than 100 times in my lifetime. I love the wildlife, the hiking, and especially the bears. Please visit my lens "Bears In Yellowstone". I can teach you exactly how to locate, view and even photograph both grizzly bear and black bears throughout the park. Once again, great lens!!

    • profile image

      baseballchris46 6 years ago

      This past summer several friends in my scout troop and I hiked through there for 2 weeks and it was the best trip of my lives. ANIMALS EVERYWHERE. We saw about 2 dozen bears throughout the trip. It was almost like being in Jurassic park because at times we felt like we were no longer at the top of the food chain.

      If you don't go hiking or backpacking down the trails then you haven't really seen Yellowstone. You have to spend a night out where you listen to the wolves howl and watch the eagles soar above you

    • LikinTrikin LM profile image

      LikinTrikin LM 6 years ago

      We'll be riding our trike across the country in August. Planning to go through Yellowstone and down through the Grand Tetons. This is a great lens for planning the trip.

    • profile image

      nitinslash 6 years ago

      Yellowstone is my favorite

    • profile image

      cyberwizzard 7 years ago

      It is hard to believe that Yellowstone park actually has remote areas that few humans have ever seen. Heaven on earth!

    • kraji lm profile image

      kraji lm 7 years ago

      Yellowstone is my favourite NP in USA, so many wonders there

    • BuildABetterMouse profile image

      Steve and Annette 7 years ago

      We haven't been to Yellowstone since the year after the big fire but we're looking forward to going again in 2011.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      It is crazy to consider how much I love bears, grey wolves, nature and travel, yet I have never been to Yellowstone. I really, really hope to get to go someday. Your photos are beautiful!

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 7 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      We loved our vacation in Yellowstone (and Tetons) June 2010. It was incredibly beautiful and restful.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 8 years ago from New Zealand

      When I started reading this, it reminded me of Rotorua, but then I got to the animals. Looks like an amazing place to add my list of stops next time we visit the US

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 8 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      ~angel blessings to you~

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I was looking for information on Yellowstone, because it's one place we're considering going on vacation next year. I'm putting together a lens about the destinations we're considering (so people can help us decide), and I'll be featuring this lens there. As always, you've done a great job!

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 8 years ago

      Your lenses about this area are proving so helpful to me as I am planning a trip in this area next month. Blessings to you.

    • HenryE LM profile image

      HenryE LM 8 years ago

      What beautiful pictures! You did an excellent job with this lens. Next time I'm out west I hope to be able to visit Yellowstone.


    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 9 years ago from Covington, LA

      I've ALWAYS wanted to visit Yellowstone. Your lens is fantastic. Welcome to the Naturally Native Squids group. Don't forget to add your lens link to the appropriate plexo and vote for it.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 9 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Beautiful lens and great pictures. I really enjoyed it and am lensrolling to my Christmas Tree in the White House.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 9 years ago from Massachusetts

      Yellowstone is unbelievable, but I haven't been in the winter. I'd love to do that someday, and take a trip to the Tetons during that time of year while I'm at it.

    • CrypticFragment1 profile image

      Tammy Winand 9 years ago from McleodGanj HP India

      Had to re-visit you since I came back from Wyoming. Yellowstone is indeed fabulous. I found it a bit surreal. I visited in May when it was still snowing, and steam was rising from the lakes and ground. It's just weird to see mud boiling!

      Thanks for the memories.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I'd love to visit Yellowstone someday! Great lens!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 9 years ago

      Beautiful lens! I would love to see Yellowstone someday. Welcome to All Things Travel, and you get a Squid Angel Blessing too!

    • profile image

      drwhit 9 years ago

      Since we are planning a trip within the next month, this is awesome to see and help with details for the trip.

    • profile image

      LeslieBrenner 9 years ago

      Another great lens Kiwi! Yellowstone is gorgeous, and the entire park is the caldera of a huge volcano. Eeek.

    • CrypticFragment1 profile image

      Tammy Winand 9 years ago from McleodGanj HP India

      very nice! the beauty of the west is breath taking; as you know I worked at Grand Canyon last year and leave this week to work at Grand Tetons the next six months!

      thanks for the pics

    • profile image

      bdkz 9 years ago

      Great lens. I love the photos! I gave you 5 Stars and a Squid Angel Blessing!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 9 years ago

      Beautiful Lens! I would love to go to Yellowstone National Park but this summer is booked. I will be spending the summer promoting my new book. Maybe next year....



    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 9 years ago from Royalton

      A Gray Wolf sniffed out your lens and liked it so well that he is sending you a virtual heart shaped waffle.

    • profile image

      eUndies 9 years ago

      Great lens! Found it on the ebay boards. Best of luck! =)

    • EvieJewelry profile image

      EvieJewelry 9 years ago


    • profile image

      flowski lm 9 years ago

      I have been to Yellowstone National Park many times and look forward to visiting again. If you go bring your camera and extra memory for it, you'll take lots of pictures!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 9 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks for adding this to your lens! I'm going to add your link as well.

    • mythphile profile image

      Ellen Brundige 9 years ago from California

      Good lens! I'm adding it to my featured lenses on my Volcanoes Lens. One tip: check the spelling on "Geothermal Feautres" up at the top -- it should be "features".

    • The-Bard profile image

      The-Bard 10 years ago

      Superb travel lens. Great pics and info, 5*s. Welcome to the Tru-Travel Group. - Paul

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      Great lense - saw you on the boards at ebay. Do check out my lense on St. Patrick's Day at: