While driving from Florida to California this summer, we visited various state parks. Yellowstone National Park was our first stop, and the one with the most wildlife encounters. It is America’s first national park and was established in 1872. The 3,468 miles of land stretch across three states – Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. If you are hoping to see bears, rangers suggest the lake (pictured above) early in the morning.
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (pictured above) offers various views from different trails. Uncle Tom’s Trail involves many steep stairs but is well worth it if you don’t have a fear of heights. Pack water, preferably in a CamelBak or something similar that holds a lot of water, and snacks if you plan on hiking.
We hiked all over the park over two days and saw hundreds of bison, five bears, a few elk, one moose, and various kinds of birds. See some of our favorite moments that we shared on Instagram below. If you go, make sure to pack bear spray and keep your distance from all the animals. They are wild and will attack if they feel threatened. Every year, rangers have to respond to several emergency situations involving animals and people who got too close for comfort. Here are some extra safety tips.
Yellowstone also has about 300 active geysers, including the famous Old Faithful. It was cloudy and rainy the day we visited Old Faithful, but despite the bad weather it was still worth the wait to watch it erupt. While the Old Faithful Inn is fun to visit, we recommend skipping the meals there. You’ll find better dining options that are reasonably priced outside of the park.
According to park experts, Yellowstone’s hills that surround Old Faithful “are reminders of Quaternary rhyolitic lava flows. These flows, occurring long after the catastrophic eruption of 600,000 years ago, flowed across the landscape like stiff mounds of bread dough due to their high silica content.”
About 60 percent of the world’s geysers are in Yellowstone. After watching Old Faithful, take a short walk to view the Upper Geyser Basin and see 150 of the hydrothermal creations. You’ll see beautiful views like the one pictured above. Have you been to Yellowstone? Tell us your favorite things to do there in the comments below.