Yellowstone was the world’s first national park and remains one of the most iconic and beloved national parks in the entire world.
Yellowstone is unique because it sits high in the Rocky Mountains (over 7,000 feet high), yet much of it is relatively flat and has many green meadows. That’s because much of the mountain range was blown away during a volcanic eruption over 600,000 years ago.
What remains are forests, meadows, geysers, canyons, valleys, and waterfalls. This makes it a wonderful refuge for wildlife such as bison, bears, wolves, elk, and much, much, more.
Yellowstone is like many national parks rolled into one. It’s most iconic features are Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and Grand Prismatic Spring.
Welcome to Wonderland!
Yellowstone is located mostly in Wyoming, but three entrances – including the two most popular – are located in Montana.
The park is HUGE, which makes it challenging to visit for first-timers. Don’t worry, we’re here for you!
There are FIVE entrances to the park, and these are all located very far away from each other. Just choosing where to enter the park can be a big decision for a lot of people.
All five entrances lead to the Grand Loop Road which contains almost all the main attractions in the park. It looks like a “Figure 8.” We just refer to it as the Upper Loop and the Lower Loop.
Areas to visit
The layout of the park is quite simple, but there are many things to do that are spread out over a huge area. I’ve broken the park down by region here so you can start to understand it. I’ve ordered it in a counter-clockwise manner, which is how the early visitors to Yellowstone toured the park. (Each rated from 1-3 stars).
- North Entrance (Gardiner, MT) **
- Mammoth Hot Springs **
- Norris Geyser Basin **
- Madison *
- Geyser Basins (Grand Prismatic & Old Faithful) ***
- Grant Village & West Thumb **
- South Entrance (Grand Teton NP) *
- Lake Area ***
- East Entrance (Cody, WY) ***
- Hayden Valley ***
- Canyon Village (Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone) ***
- Mount Washburn **
- Tower-Roosevelt **
- Lamar Valley ***
- North East Entrance (Cooke City-Silvergate) ***
- Northern Range **
We’ve written the book on Yellowstone. Here are all of our videos and articles.