Fun things to do in Yellowstone National Park

  • Great Fountain Geyser gives us a blast!
    Great Fountain Geyser gives us a blast!
    by Bwana_Brown
  • Pronghorn Antelope on road to kelly
    Pronghorn Antelope on road to kelly
    by Homanded
  • Street in West Yellowstone
    Street in West Yellowstone
    by grandmaR

Most Viewed Things to Do in Yellowstone National Park

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    Winter visits

    by Dymphna1 Updated Jan 26, 2012

    There are two ways into the the park in the winter, cross country skiing, snowmobile or snowcoach. They do not allow private vehicles into the park in the winter and actually close the roads. Before going check to make sure they are allowing the snowmobiles into the park. If there isn't enough snow, they won't allow the snowmobiles in. The day we left (Dec. 31st 2011) was the first day they were allowing snowmobiles into the park.

    There are different companies you can rent the snowmobiles or skis from at each of the entrances. There are also several different companies that contract w/ the park to be able to get in during the winter months.

    The snowcoach company I used was Yellowstone Vacation. They picked me up at my hotel and dropped me at the end. The driver was not in a hurry and stopped when ever we wanted to take a picture. They were the most reasonably priced of those listed from the West Entrance.

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  • Viewing wildlife?

    by trevorbart Written Jul 29, 2011

    We were very disappointed with the wildlife (lack of it) in Yellowstone Park. In four days of visits we saw a few bison, one grizzly (a long way away), three elk (a long way away) and a herd of "tame" elk at Mammoth springs. What happened to all the other "great" views = moose (almost nine in the PArk according to a Ranger who said go to Grand Teton), pronghorn, mule deer, wolf, coyote, etcetera, etcetera. My opinion is that the park authorities are very close to misrepresentation.

    If you wan to seee wildlife spend your money going to EAst or South Africa

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    Fort Yellowstone

    by jasperdo Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    When Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872 the American West was still a wild and desolate place. The early years of the Park were difficult times. Anyone wishing to visit the area had to endure a long journey across untamed lands, fearful of Indian attacks, Outlaws, Grizzly Bears and perhaps worse of all, shifty tour guides. By the mid 1880's the US Government realized that it couldn't just set aside a National Park and hope for the best...it had to be properly Administered. Since the concept of Park Rangers hadn't entered anyone's mind yet, the task naturally fell to the US Army, who already had a large presence in the West. Fort Yellowstone is a result of that.

    Today, Fort Yellowstone is the most historically significant area of the Park. Most of the buildings built between 1891 and 1909 still exist. And it still serves as the Administration area for the entire park...although now that task is done by the National Park Service.

    There is a Tour Guide pamphlet that describes a walking tour of the grounds at Fort Yellowstone. I find it a nice change of pace from the geysers and bears. You can easily do the self guided walk in less than an hour. You can pick up the guide inside the Albright Visitor Center, which just happens to be the first stop on the tour.

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  • melissa_bel's Profile Photo

    Walk a trail...

    by melissa_bel Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Yellowstone has many, many trails like this one to get you closer to nature. This boardwalk will also provide you with information about the landscape, geology, fauna and flora of the area.
    The boardwalks trails are the shortest and most accessible but the park is filled with hiking trails more or less difficult.
    Check out the National Park Services' site about Yellowstone for more information about day hikes trails.

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  • Dymphna1's Profile Photo

    Ride your motorcycle!

    by Dymphna1 Written Sep 8, 2010

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    I have been almost high for several days now coming back from this trip. No drugs, just the ride through the park. The corners are perfect for a great ride. The scenery is much more vivid on a bike and you get the smells. This has become my favorite way to see the park! Just dress warm, very warm! We got snow the last couple of miles one day.

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    Grand View.

    by pfsmalo Written Nov 29, 2009

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    This viewpoint is situated on the North Rim drive. Although you cannot see the falls from here, there are lovely views up and down the canyon.

    There are, on the North Rim other views of the falls from the brink, but oh to have more time.

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    Views along Madison Valley.

    by pfsmalo Written Nov 22, 2009

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    Lovely driving in from West Yellowstone in the early morning. The cold at 8 o'clock seems to make the rivers and pools steam even more than normal. The bison can be seen all along this stretch of road. Be very careful, they look tame but they ARE NOT.

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    Norris Geyser Basin

    by Krumel Written Oct 11, 2009

    And yet more geysers and hot springs!!

    The Norris Geyser Basin is divided into two sections, the Porcelain Basin and the Back Basin. The porcelain basin just looks like like a large flat pan, interspersed with bright blue pool, which form a stark contrast to the near-white ground. It can become baking hot there, and there is absolutely no shade whatsoever. Apparently even the boardwalks have to be moved occasionally due to the intense ground heat.

    The Back Basin is also quite flat, but a few trees and bushes here and there provide some shade occasionally. At the beginning of the 1.5 mile loop through the Back Basin you will descend some steep steps past the area's most famous feature, the Steamboat Geyser. This is the world's tallest geyser and its eruptions can reach the dizzying height of 90 metres. Unfortunately these major eruptions are highly unpredictable, and have occurred at intervals of between 4 - 50 years. Interestingly, the nearby Cistern Spring will be drained completely during one those major eruptions, but will then quickly refill again. But it is very active nevertheless, and small eruptions occur very frequently, maybe every 15 minutes or so.

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    Mud Volcano

    by Krumel Written Oct 11, 2009

    I went on one of the daily 4pm ranger walks around the mud volcano area, which led us around a collection of rather ugly muddy pools, which were bubbling away with different degrees of intensity, while the sulphurous smell of rotten eggs hangs over the whole area, occasionally becoming very intense around the more active hot springs.

    The great thing about the ranger walks is that you get a lot of background information about what is happening in that particular area, and it makes you appreciate much better what you are looking at, and ugly, boring mud holes suddenly turn into windows into the volcanic depths below the ground. The ranger that was leading our walk also told us many anecdotes of incidents that happened here, and also Indian legends connected to this place.

    The mud volcano was discovered during the Hayden expedition in 1871, and at that time it used to explode much more furiously, but has calmed down since then and is now reduced to a bubbling mud hole. Similarly, other formerly very active mud pots have quieted down, with others becoming much more violent, some so much so that they are no longer accessible. One of those is the Big Gumper, which was only discovered in the area's back country in the 70s. There used to be ranger walks to the Big Gumper, but it has become so violent now that it is too dangerous to take visitors there. All these changes are probably due to minor earthquakes, which constantly change the underground "plumbing" in Yellowstone, i.e. the channels through which gases and hot water escape to the surface.

    Another thing that keeps changing in Yellowstone are place names. What is now "The Dragon's Mouth" used to be called "The Belcher", but apparently one tourist didn't like the name and left a note there saying that "Dragon's Mouth" would be a much better name, and well, so they simply renamed it.

    So I would definitely recommend going on a ranger walk when visiting the area in order to fully appreciate what you are looking at.

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  • PALLINA's Profile Photo

    amazing wildlife in Lamar Valley

    by PALLINA Updated Jul 23, 2009

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    Animals are easy to see everywhere in Yellowstone NP but in Lamar Valley especially. Besides this, Lamar Valley has very scenic routes and view. You will definitely see a lot of buffalos and deers and every type of colorful birds. Elks are not so easy to see, bears and wolves even less. If your trip is especially focused on animals, I'd raccomend to go outsite for sunset or follow rangers' instructions. Never approach animals and never get so close. If the animal moves because of you, it means you are too close.

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  • basstbn's Profile Photo
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    Firehole Canyon Drive

    by basstbn Written Mar 13, 2009

    One of our favorite drives! This side road follows the Firehole River, highlighted by a stop at the Firehole Waterfall, an 84-foot (26-meter) waterfall that tumbles over remnants of the Yellowstone Caldera rim.

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    Roaring Mountain

    by basstbn Written Mar 13, 2009

    Well - it did roar back in 1885 when so named. It's just a hiss and a bit of a rumble now. You can see steam escaping from the side of this mountain, described in park literature as "... the hottest of Yellowstone’s thermal features: fumeroles. They have less water than hot springs and geysers, so the heat immediately flashes any water to steam before it can pool at the surface."

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    John D. Rockefeller, Jr., National Parkway

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Nov 19, 2008

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    John D. Rockefeller, Jr., National Parkway is an area of 24,000 acres of public land that occupies the 27 mile corridor connecting Grand Tetons National Park and Yellowstone National Park. While the scenery here is pretty plain compared to the neighboring parks (especially since much of the forest was decimated by fire in 1988), the area does have an interesting history.

    After Yellowstone was created there was a movement to expand the park to include the Grand Tetons and much of Jackson. Locals in Jackson Hole, however, were vehemently opposed to this suggestion. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., took his wealth and began buying up thousands of acres to preserve the land for when the government finally decided to expand or create this park. When the original section of Grand Tetons National Park was created after careful negotiation between locals and the park service, the government refused to accept the Rockefeller lands because of controversy and dispute between his company and locals. Finally in 1950 the Grand Tetons National Park was extended to its current size, and the government accepted Rockefeller's preserved lands. This section of the park was named in his honor.

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    Visit Nearby Grand Tetons National Park

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Nov 19, 2008

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    Grand Tetons National Park is well known as a spectacular landscape with beautiful mountains, calm lakes, and a variety of wildlife. The park is named after Grand Teton Mountains which tower some 13,770 feet over the surrounding glacial lakes and plains. The park is home to a variety of wildlife including grizzly and black bear, mountain lion, wolf, coyote, American bison, moose, pronghorn, elk, mule deer, and bald eagles. The park was first established in 1929 to cover the peaks and glacial lakes, but in 1950, it was expanded to cover more of the Jackson Hole valley.

    Four million people visit Grand Tetons National Park Each year, making it one of the top 10 national parks, but I'd bet most of these visit on the way between Jackson and Yellowstone.

    We visited Grand Tetons after spending the night in Jackson. From Jackson we drove north out of town on US 191 and passed the elk refuge. Within 10 or 15 miles we approached the edge of Grand Tetons National Park. We took the first major road on the left, called Grand Teton Park Road, bought the $80 National Parks Pass, and were on our way. We drove along the side of these beautiful mountains, enjoying the snow-covered scenery until finally deciding to get some food at the only restaurant in the park sill open for the season: Signal Mountain at Jackson Lake. Here we had a great breakfast, then we headed north into Rockefeller National Parkway then into snowy Yellowstone National Park.

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    It is a very huge park

    by kokoryko Written Dec 2, 2007

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    I spent only one day in this park from dawn to sunset, and it was way too short to see even a small part of what it can offer.
    Yellowstone National Park is a bit managed like an attraction (amusement park) which has the disadvantages I wrote about in the intro, but there are also appreciable advantages:
    When you drive in the park, the rangers hand you over with a map, a newspaper with valuable information about the park, and some flyers telling what is happening in the park at the time you come in.
    Roads are already there, so they cannot be removed, and they are useful if you want to see a lot of the geothermal activity (probably the highest concentration of geysers in the world); my tour follows the green line on the map (Picture3)
    There are lots of tours and education programs organized by the rangers and there is a lot to be learnt there, certainly.
    I had the impression all is done for the motorized visitor, it is not exactly what I was expecting from a National Park.
    The Parks Administration is very (too much to my taste) concerned with safety, and all is done nothing can happen to the visitors, as if they may need assistance all times; visitors are considered a bit like irresponsible children, and I think I could not stay a long time there; they do not want something like on picture 4 happens. . .
    The visitors who look for quietness, solitude, communication with nature need big abstraction skills. . . ; geothermal activity and phenomena are unique, and I do not regret my visit there.
    Camping is allowed only in designated areas, so I wonder if it is possible to make a trek through Yellowstone. . . . . .
    Don’t be impressed by the wide areas of dead trees (second picture), it is a very natural phenomenon.

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    • Eco-Tourism
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