Yellowstone National Park was the first National Park in the United States and the world. It is most famous for its geothermal activity and especially Old Faithful Geyser. Half of the world´s geothermal features are here in Yellowstone, which is located over the Yellowstone Caldera, considered the largest supervolcano on the continent. Yellowstone National Park not only has geothermal features but also has lakes, canyons, rivers, and mountain ranges. Its name is coming from ´Roche Jaune´, the name given by French trappers to the Yellowstone River. Later, this French name was translated into Yellow Stone.
During our visit, we were amazed by the size of the park. It spans 3 states, although it is mainly located in Wyoming. You have to be aware that there will be a lot of driving when visiting the park.
Here we share our top things to do while visiting Yellowstone National Park
Go to Old Faithful
A visit to Yellowstone National Park wouldn’t be complete without seeing an eruption of its most famous geyser. It is one of the most predictable geothermal features on earth, hence the name. In the visitor center, there is a display showing the time of the next eruption.
If you time it right, you can hike up to Observation point to have a view from above. Unfortunately, we were just too late to see it.
Visit the rest of Upper Geyser Basin
Old Faithful is not the only geyser in this park. Although the other ones are not so predictable, there is a chance you might see them erupt. And it is also a nice walk along all those steaming geysers.
When we were there, we saw the eruption of the Riverside Geyser (with the rainbow) and the Grand Geyser.
If you walk all the way to the end, you come at the Morning Glory Pool. The colors here are amazing but they are less bright than in the beginning because of all the trash people throw into the pools and geyser.
Visit Grand Prismatic Spring
Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the United States. The colors ranging from green to red are the result of microbial mats around the edges. The center of the pool is sterile due to the extremely high temperatures.
The colors are more visual when you can look from above, which is not possible but from up close you can see the microbial mats.
See the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
There are not only geothermal features in Yellowstone National Park but also canyons. From a number of observation points, you can watch the Lower and Upper Falls.
We took a hike along the canyon following the Ribbon Lake Loop Trail, which follows a section of the South Rim Trail along the Canyon.
At the end of the South Rim Trail, we hiked through the forest towards Ribbon Lake.
The trail takes us to the shore of the small Clear Lake. You pass along a white ground with steaming vents and boiling mud.
It is a very nice walk, away from the busy crowds at the viewpoints along the canyon.
Visit West Thumb Geyser Basin
West Thumb Geyser Basin is located on the shores of Yellowstone Lake.
For a nice view of Yellowstone Lake, you can walk the Yellowstone Lake Overlook trail.
Visit Norris Geyser Basin
This is the hottest geyser in the park and you can follow a path that wanders through Norris Geyser Basin. We were there in the late afternoon and were practically alone. And this is also the time when the light is the most beautiful.
In Yellowstone National Park, there are a lot of animals and the chance of seeing one is big. But, always keep a safe distance when you encounter wildlife. To be sure, we bought bearspray to take with us on our hikes.
We saw bison, deer, moose, and a grizzly bear.