Epic Yellowstone National Park Travel Guide: Hikes, Stays, Wildlife, & More

foreign [Music] true as it can be that's not just the beginn...

foreign [Music] true as it can be that's not just the beginning of a great Disney song it's also the best way to describe Yellowstone welcome back to wonderfully lost your home for all things travel today we're going to talk about Yellowstone National Park it's ancient famous and sitting on top of a ticking Time Bomb but don't let that scare you away it's also one of the most fascinating and downright awesome places on Earth let's break down the best this park has to offer location and history but first if you're new to this historic landscape and don't know where it is let us Enlighten you Yellowstone National Park is located in the northwest of the United States and spans parts of three states Wyoming Montana and Idaho however 96 of the park is located in Wyoming the southern entrance of Yellowstone is just 10 miles north of Grand Teton National Park which is home to to the Teton range both parks are connected by U.S Route 191 so you have plenty to explore but the real doozy is this place is so massive it makes Shaquille O'Neal look like a garden gnome this bad boy is so huge it could fit Rhode Island and Delaware inside and still have room to spare yep you heard us right this park covers a whopping 3500 square miles which is like trying to explore an entire country in a single vacation it's also old as dirt we're not messing with you this park has been around longer than your great great grandma having been established way back in 1872 by President Ulysses Grant it's not just the oldest National Park in the USA it's also considered by many to be the first national park in the world it's like the ultimate playground for nature lovers with more geysers hot springs and Wildlife than you can shake a stick at why don't we break these brilliant attractions down down for you so you understand what you're missing out on if you don't go star power volcanic Bliss let's start with Yellowstone's star power volcanoes that would put Mount Doom to shame that's what Yellowstone National Park is all about sure it might look like a peaceful painting of Peaks lakes rivers and rocks but don't be fooled this place has a fiery pass that's anything but Serene you see Yellowstone is a giant volcanic caldera a Caldera is a large cauldron-like hollow space that appears after the magma within a volcano erupts so Yellowstone is formed by not one not two but three super eruptions that happened millions of years ago that's right this place is so hot it makes your ex's temper look like a cool breeze on a summer day and if you want proof just look too Old Faithful the geyser that's as reliable as your grandma's Apple Pie every two hours like clockwork this bad boy shoots Steam and water High into the air reminding us all whose boss around here but Old Faithful is just the tip of the volcano if you will the grand prismatic spring is like something out of a sci-fi movie with hot water that changes colors like a chameleon on steroids and let's not forget about the steamboat geyser the tallest one on earth when it blows it shoots up so high you'll swear you're watching a rocket launch but if you're ready for some volcanic action and geothermal excitement then this is the place for you so whether you're a history bar for Geology nerd or just someone who appreciates a good view Yellowstone National Park has got something for everyone despite its explosive past Yellowstone is a playground for nature enthusiasts with over 10 000 hydrothermal features and more than 300 geysers it's like a giant science experiment coming to life Wildlife out of national discovery and if that's not enough to convince you to visit maybe this will the park is home to more than 67 species of mammals including grizzly bears wolves and bison it's like Noah's Ark but cooler Yellowstone is like a giant petting zoo just don't get too close these animals aren't afraid to show you who's boss first up we've got the American Bison and we're not talking a few scattered here and there we're talking the largest herd in the whole country that's right more than 4 800 of these Majestic beasts call Yellowstone home but they're not the only ones strutting their stuff in the Park oh no we've also got elk and they're pretty numerous too with over 30 000 of them you're as likely to run into one as you would a Kardashian on your Instagram accounts you can't avoid them but what about the big boys you ask well Yellowstone's got plenty of those too black bears Czech grizzly bears yes they're making a comeback with over 700 of these behemoths prowling around the park it's like a scene from from a nature documentary and let's not forget about the wolf once upon a time they were hunted to near Extinction in the area but thankfully someone had the sense to bring them back using Canadian Imports now there are more than 13 packs of these Majestic Predators roaming around keeping the ecosystem in check and giving visitors a thrill geological Landscapes and more if you're lucky enough to take a tour of Yellowstone you can add some Unforgettable experiences to your list how about a visit to the other Grand Canyon sure it may not be as big as the one in Arizona but the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is still a stunner carving out 24 miles of impressive terrain and dropping down to a depth of 1200 feet in some spots for those with a thirst for adventure why not hike up to Eagle Peak it's the highest point in Yellowstone reaching a nosebleed inducing altitude of 11 372 feet 3466 meters this this isn't for the faint-hearted mind you but there are plenty of gentler walks and Hikes to enjoy along the Park's 900 miles of trails or if you fancy exploring the park from a different perspective hop onto a horse for the day several licensed operators including Yellowstone National Park lodges offer guided horseback tours and let's not forget about the continental divide the geographical line that divides the Americas and determines which way the water flows Yellowstone is one of the lucky few places where you can see it in action with a photo-worthy spot next to ISA Lake on Route 191 finally a winter visit to Yellowstone means you can enjoy the snowy Delights of the park with groomed Trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing including the Canyon Rim ski trail that follows the Grand Canyon for 4.5 miles so dust off those snow boots and get ready for a winter wonderland Adventure during winter the park transforms into a winter wonderland making it even more spectacular the snow-covered landscape is breathtaking and if you're brave enough to face the cold you can explore the park on escorted snowmobile tours without the summer crowds just remember to bundle up our top pick for campsites with over 2 000 campsites spread across 12 different campgrounds it can be tough to choose but don't worry we've got you covered with our top picks Mammoth Campground is the only year-round option making it perfect for those who love winter camping plus you might just spot show-stopping Wildlife wandering nearby Madison Campground is a popular choice due to its central location nearby rivers and long camping season you'll have the chance to see bison and bull elk for a more remote Lakeside experience check out Lewis Lake Campground there aren't many amenities but the stunning scenery and access to the lake make up for it Grant Village Campground is a great choice for those who want access to nearby stores a restaurant a gas station a visitor center Center and a boat ramp plus it's situated near Yellowstone Lake if you're traveling in an RV fishing Bridge RV park is the only option with hookups for water sewer and electricity just be aware that grizzly bears are frequent visitors to the area and if you prefer to stay outside the park Baker's whole Campground is just three miles from the West entrance and offers Scenic views and fishing in the Madison River if you're already making plans aim for a trip between May to June summer is the perfect season to experience sleeping under the stars just pack thermal underwear so the cold nights don't knock your teeth out thanks for wandering with us if you enjoyed our Yellowstone Park guide check out the Utah Mighty 5 road trip guide linked here [Music] thank you yeah

Welcome to Wanderfully Lost, where Moms and Dads go for travel advice. Today, we’re exploring the majestic Yellowstone National Park. 

As the first national park in the world, Yellowstone is a treasure trove of natural beauty and geothermal features that attract millions of visitors every year. 

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a nature lover, Yellowstone offers an unparalleled experience that is sure to leave you in awe.

If your time on our site is as WANDERFUL as we hope, we’d be super thrilled to have you share this post with your fellow wanderers.

Yellowstone Location and History

Yellowstone Sign Marking the 45th Parallel of latitude halfway between the equator and north pole

Yellowstone National Park is a massive wonderland located in the northwest of the United States that spans across parts of three states – Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. However, 96% of the park is situated in Wyoming.

The park is located just 10 miles north of Grand Teton National Park, which is famous for the majestic Teton Range. And the cherry on top is that both parks are connected by US Route 191, making it easier for you to explore to your heart’s content.

Let’s address the elephant in the room – Yellowstone National Park is huge. The size of it is so large that it could fit Rhode Island and Delaware inside and still have some room left over. That’s right, this park covers an enormous 3,500 square miles! It’s like trying to explore an entire country in a single vacation. 

And it’s not just massive; it’s also old as dirt! This park has been around since 1872, established by President Ulysses Grant. Many consider it to even be the first national park in the world.

Keeping the numbers aside, what makes this place a nature lover’s paradise? Yellowstone National Park is home to a plethora of attractions that will leave you in awe. It boasts more geysers, hot springs, and wildlife than one can remember the names of.

Yellowstone is home to grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk, just to name a few. You might even spot a bald eagle or two soaring overhead.

Star Power: Volcanic Bliss

Yellowstone National Park's "Old Faithful"

Yellowstone National Park is no ordinary nature reserve. It’s a geological wonderland, boasting a massive volcanic caldera beneath its stunning peaks, rivers, and rocks. This incredible natural feature has produced three super-eruptions that took place millions of years ago. 

Old Faithful, the park’s most famous geyser, is a must-see, erupting every two hours like clockwork and spewing steam and water high into the sky. It’s a testament to the sheer power of nature, and watching it in action is a humbling experience. But that’s just the beginning – the park’s Grand Prismatic Spring is another marvel that will leave you mesmerized. The hot water in this spring changes colors like a magical chameleon, shifting from deep blues to fiery oranges and vibrant greens.

We love this FULL DAY TOUR that takes you to both Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic Spring!


However, that’s not it. The Steamboat Geyser is the tallest one on Earth, shooting up so high you’ll swear you’re watching a rocket launch. And with over 10,000 hydrothermal features and 300 geysers, Yellowstone is like a giant science experiment coming to life.

Yellowstone Wildlife out of National Discovery

Buffalo herd traversing Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is more than just a pretty place to take a walk. It’s a wildlife wonderland! With over 67 different species of animals, it’s like a zoo on steroids.

One of the most iconic animals in Yellowstone is the American bison. The park is home to the largest herd in the country, with more than 4,800 majestic bison roaming around. These gentle giants can be seen grazing in open fields or blocking the road, making for a truly unforgettable experience. But the bison aren’t the only animals that call Yellowstone home. 

With over 30,000 elk, the park is teeming with these majestic creatures. During the fall, the elk are in their rut, making for some prime wildlife viewing opportunities. Keep your eyes peeled for the males bugling and sparring for dominance over their harems.

However, the true kings of the park are the bears. Yellowstone is home to both black bears and grizzly bears, with over 700 of these magnificent beasts prowling around the park. Seeing a bear in the wild is an unforgettable experience, but remember to keep a safe distance and never approach a bear.

Another iconic Yellowstone animal is the wolf. Once nearly extinct in the area, the park brought in Canadian wolves to help restore the ecosystem. Now, there are more than 13 packs of these majestic predators roaming around, keeping the balance of nature in check and providing visitors with a thrilling sight.

Yellowstone’s Geological Landscapes and more! 

The Grand Canyon Of Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park boasts some of the most impressive natural wonders and thrilling outdoor activities you can imagine.

First up, don’t miss the chance to visit the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. While it may not be as well-known as the one in Arizona, it’s still a jaw-dropping sight to behold. With 24 miles of awe-inspiring terrain and depths of up to 1,200ft, this is one canyon you won’t forget in a hurry.

For those of you who like to push the limits, hiking up to Eagle Peak is a must. This magnificent peak stands at 11,372 feet above sea level, the highest point in Yellowstone, and offers unmatchable views from the top. If that sounds too extreme, don’t worry because there are plenty of more gentle trails to explore as well.

Want to see the park from a different perspective? Hop on a horse and take a guided tour with one of the licensed operators, like Yellowstone National Park Lodges. It’s a unique way to explore stunning landscapes and immerse yourself in nature.

And speaking of unique experiences, Yellowstone is one of the few places in the world where you can see the Continental Divide – the line that separates the flow of water in the Americas. 

Finally, a winter visit to Yellowstone is a real treat. The park transforms into a snowy wonderland, and you can enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and even escorted snowmobile tours without the summer crowds. There is also the Canyon Rim Ski Trail which is a must-do, as it follows the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone for 4.5 miles, leaving you breathless!

Our Top Picks for Yellowstone Campsites

Yellowstone Campsites

With so many options and so many sites, it is exceptionally hard and downright overwhelming to plan a camping trip to Yellowstone National Park. But don’t sweat it; we’ve got you covered with our top picks from the 2,000 campsites spread across 12 different campgrounds. 

For those who love winter camping, Mammoth Campground is the only year-round option. And who knows, you might just spot some show-stopping wildlife wandering nearby. Unfortunately, due to a flood in June 2022, the campground is closed, but nearby lodges are open and we’re sure it’ll be back in good shape soon.

Madison Campground is a popular choice for its central location, nearby rivers, and long camping season. Plus, you’ll have the chance to see bison grazing and bull elk bugling.

For a more remote lakeside experience, check out Lewis Lake Campground. There aren’t many amenities, but the stunning scenery and access to the lake make up for it.

However, for those who crave convenience, Grant Village Campground is the perfect choice. It has everything at arm’s length including nearby stores, a restaurant, a gas station, a visitor center, and a boat ramp. Plus, it’s situated near Yellowstone Lake, which is great for fishing enthusiasts.

And if you are feeling even more adventurous and hop onto an RV, then Fishing Bridge RV Park is the only option to connect with water, electricity, and sewers. But be warned, grizzly bears are frequent visitors to the area!

Prefer to stay outside the park? Baker’s Hole Campground is just three miles from the west entrance and offers scenic views and fishing in the Madison River.  Or, if you fancy a hotel instead, a variety of options can be found here.

Yellowstone National Park is a true wonder of nature, with its vast expanse of stunning landscapes, awe-inspiring geysers, and a diverse array of wildlife that calls it home. 

If you love U.S. National Parks as much as we do, don’t miss our Utah Mighty Five Ultimate Road Trip Guide


For the most cost efficient flights, always book through our friends at WayAway.

Rental cars for Cody, Bozeman, and West Yellowstone are great options to make the most of your trip.

Disclaimer:  This post includes affiliate links.  If you click on one, we may receive a small, but wanderful commission at no extra cost to you.  Thanks for WANDERING with us!

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