Yellowstone National Park travel guide

Yellowstone National Park Tourism | Yellowstone National Park Guide

You're Going to Love Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is famous for being the first dedicated National Park in the world, and has since also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many visitors come to hike along the park's many trails, swim in the warm hot springs, view the natural geyser phenomenons, and observe local wildlife.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Yellowstone National Park

1. Mammoth Hot Springs

Relax in the hot water travertine springs that are terraced on the side of a hill in Yellowstone National Park.

2. Old Faithful

One of the most popular attractions in Yellowstone, this famous geyser shoots hot water up from the ground at consistent intervals.

3. Morning Glory Pool

This hot spring in the Upper Geyser Basin is an artist's dream with its multi-colored pool.

4. Mount Washburn

This 10,000ft mountain was named after Henry D. Washburn, who led an expedition through the area in the 18th century.

5. Artist Point

Located to the south of the grand canyon of Yellowstone, this impressive waterfall is the perfect place to snap a scenic selfie.

What to do in Yellowstone National Park

1. Old Faithful: Get Blown Away

Few natural landmarks are as deserving of their name as Old Faithful -- if you visit you're sure to see why. The massive cone geyser erupts once every 44 to 125 minutes, a range that it hasn't deviated from since 2000. The geyser isn't the only attraction worth seeing in the area -- nearby walking paths will take you up close to a range of geothermal features. When strolling next to rivers ripe with the smell of hot sulfur, you'll be reminded that earth is just another planet floating along in space; Yellowstone is an eerie testament to the natural forces that shift beneath your feet.

2. Grand Canyon of Yellowstone: The Mighty Answer to That in Nirvada

Another aptly named feature, the mighty Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone offers you the chance to see the roaring Yellowstone River rip through towering cliffs. The mighty Lower Falls bellow out into forests of pine as they send thousands of barrels of water flowing downstream each minute. With numerous hiking paths lining its sides, the Grand Canyon is as fit a place as any to catch sight of one of Wyoming's great rivers.

3. Yellowstone Lake: Bask in the Beauty

While much of the basin can seem a bit barren due to the region's high concentration of earth metals, Yellowstone Lake is an oasis for hot days. The largest lake in the park beckons with plenty of walking trails as well as fishing and boating. Charter a boat and get the chance to catch trout on a mountain-top lake surrounded by snow-covered peaks -- it's truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

4. Mt. Washburn: Challenge Yourself to Reach the Summit

Towering at over 10,000 feet above sea level, Mount Washburn is a truly epic sight to behold. Better still is the vista on offer from the peak. There are numerous ways to summit, but the best is to hike up a wildflower-carpeted trail that starts about 1,400 feet below the summit. Once at the top, you'll be able to drink in views of the basin that can stretch as far as 50 miles on a clear day. Those who bring a map will identify landmarks such as the Tetons and the Beartooth Plateau. Be sure to bring warm clothes as weather in Yellowstone can vary from morning til noon!

5. Grand Prismatic Spring: Take in the Colors

Yellowstone is nothing if not monumental, and the Grand Prismatic Spring may be the epitome of the park's offerings -- it's simply huge. The third largest hot spring in the world, the Grand Prismatic steams in brilliant hues of red, yellow and blue. It's truly a sight to behold -- from afar, that is! Not only is it huge, the Grand Prismatic is piping hot, and steam from the spring can be seen from the road.

1. Old Faithful: Get Blown Away

Few natural landmarks are as deserving of their name as Old Faithful -- if you visit you're sure to see why. The massive cone geyser erupts once every 44 to 125 minutes, a range that it hasn't deviated from since 2000. The geyser isn't the only attraction worth seeing in the area -- nearby walking paths will take you up close to a range of geothermal features. When strolling next to rivers ripe with the smell of hot sulfur, you'll be reminded that earth is just another planet floating along in space; Yellowstone is an eerie testament to the natural forces that shift beneath your feet.

2. Grand Canyon of Yellowstone: The Mighty Answer to That in Nirvada

Another aptly named feature, the mighty Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone offers you the chance to see the roaring Yellowstone River rip through towering cliffs. The mighty Lower Falls bellow out into forests of pine as they send thousands of barrels of water flowing downstream each minute. With numerous hiking paths lining its sides, the Grand Canyon is as fit a place as any to catch sight of one of Wyoming's great rivers.

3. Yellowstone Lake: Bask in the Beauty

While much of the basin can seem a bit barren due to the region's high concentration of earth metals, Yellowstone Lake is an oasis for hot days. The largest lake in the park beckons with plenty of walking trails as well as fishing and boating. Charter a boat and get the chance to catch trout on a mountain-top lake surrounded by snow-covered peaks -- it's truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

4. Mt. Washburn: Challenge Yourself to Reach the Summit

Towering at over 10,000 feet above sea level, Mount Washburn is a truly epic sight to behold. Better still is the vista on offer from the peak. There are numerous ways to summit, but the best is to hike up a wildflower-carpeted trail that starts about 1,400 feet below the summit. Once at the top, you'll be able to drink in views of the basin that can stretch as far as 50 miles on a clear day. Those who bring a map will identify landmarks such as the Tetons and the Beartooth Plateau. Be sure to bring warm clothes as weather in Yellowstone can vary from morning til noon!

5. Grand Prismatic Spring: Take in the Colors

Yellowstone is nothing if not monumental, and the Grand Prismatic Spring may be the epitome of the park's offerings -- it's simply huge. The third largest hot spring in the world, the Grand Prismatic steams in brilliant hues of red, yellow and blue. It's truly a sight to behold -- from afar, that is! Not only is it huge, the Grand Prismatic is piping hot, and steam from the spring can be seen from the road.

Where to Eat in Yellowstone National Park

Grant Village Dining Room is open from May to September and serves tasty dishes such as bison top sirloin and wild Alaska salmon. A meal for two costs $50-60.

When to visit Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park in February
Estimated hotel price
$196
1 night at 3-star hotel
Yellowstone National Park in February
Estimated hotel price
$196
1 night at 3-star hotel

The best time to visit Yellowstone National Park is May to September when the snow has melted and there is a greater opportunity for hiking, swimming, and viewing natural wildlife.

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How to Get to Yellowstone National Park

Plane

Yellowstone Airport (WYS) is located one mile north of West Yellowstone, Montana and is the closest airport to the National Park. There are regular domestic flights in the summer tourist season with connections from Salt Lake. Most travelers then transfer to private car to reach Yellowstone National Park.

Train

There is currently no train leading to Yellowstone National Park. The closest Amtrak destination with bus transfers to West Yellowstone is Salt Lake City, Utah.

Car

There are five entrances into Yellowstone National Park. From Wyoming, you can cross over in the north through Gardiner along Route 89; Silver Gate and Cooke City on US Route 212; or West Yellowstone along US Routes 20, 191, 287. Entrances into Yellowstone National Park from Cody can be found along Routes 14, 16, 20 and Grand Teton National Park through US Route 89, 191, 287.

Bus

The Salt Lake Express Shuttle will take you from Utah to West Yellowstone, Montana where you can transfer by private car to Yellowstone National Park. The trip takes 9.5 hours and costs $80 one way.

Airports near Yellowstone National Park

Airlines serving Yellowstone National Park

United Airlines
Good (3,035 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,442 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,602 reviews)
KLM
Good (366 reviews)
Air France
Good (453 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,635 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,246 reviews)
Iberia
Good (985 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,358 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (615 reviews)
Finnair
Good (756 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (2,943 reviews)
JetBlue
Good (1,349 reviews)
Aeromexico
Good (782 reviews)
Korean Air
Excellent (299 reviews)
Japan Airlines
Good (546 reviews)
Copa Airlines
Good (544 reviews)
Qantas Airways
Good (203 reviews)
Virgin Atlantic
Good (378 reviews)
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Where to stay in Yellowstone National Park

Bridge Bay - this area in the north is centered around Yellowstone Lake, with many boating, fishing, and thermal options available.

Popular Neighborhoods in Yellowstone National Park

Madison - this area between Old Faithful and Norris Geyser Basin is home to such sites as Gibbon Falls, Artists Paintpots, and Firehole Falls.

Tower-Roosevelt - this region is perfect for observing local wildlife such as elk, bighorn, and buffalo.

Where to stay in popular areas of Yellowstone National Park

Most booked hotels in Yellowstone National Park

Crosswinds Inn
Excellent (8.8, Excellent reviews)
$197+
Kelly Inn West Yellowstone
Excellent (8.6, Excellent reviews)
$187+
The Hibernation Station
Excellent (8.4, Excellent reviews)
$252+
Holiday Inn West Yellowstone
Excellent (8.4, Excellent reviews)
$220+
Yellowstone Lodge
Good (7.9, Good reviews)
$168+

How to Get Around Yellowstone National Park

Public Transportation

There is no public transportation within the National Park, as most visitors travel by tour or private car. Xanterra Parks and Resorts offers adventure tours of different sections of the park for $1,200; the price includes food, lodging, transport, guided walks, and more.

Car

Most visitors travel to Yellowstone by private vehicle. A park pass valid for one week costs $30. Vehicles can be rented from Avis or Budget in West Yellowstone, starting at $40 a day.

The Cost of Living in Yellowstone National Park

Shopping Streets

There are several general stores and park shops located in Bridge Bay, Lake Village, Grant Village, and West Yellowstone where you can buy hiking gear, food, and tourist items.

Groceries and Other

General stores in the Mammoth Hot Springs area and Canyon Village are the main grocery markets. A dozen eggs costs $5.

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