With stunning wildlife and unforgettable scenery, Yellowstone National Park is a rugged paradise that's impossible to take in with just one visit - or just one article.
Unfortunately, many of us only have one or two days to visit the park before speeding along to the next best thing. If that's the case for you, here's what you absolutely should not miss in Yellowstone.
1. Grand Prismatic Spring
Yellowstone National Park
When seen from above, Yellowstone's magnificent Grand Prismatic Spring is a blue and green jewel that resembles a gigantic eye 370-feet in diameter. Larger than a football field, its colors emanate from all the bacteria swirling around in the hot water.
2. Old Faithful
Old Faithful is Yellowstone's most famous geyser and is located in the park's Upper Geyser Basin. A seating area and parking lot make Old Faithful easy to visit. However, it packs a huge punch, sometimes erupting 20 times a day. A single eruption can launch between 4,000 to over 8,000 gallons of water - 350 degrees Fahrenheit - and reach up to 180-feet in the air.
3. Lamar Valley
Yellowstone Lamar Valley
Often referred to as America's Serengeti, Lamar Valley is a prime spot for sighting bison, wolf packs, grizzly bears, bald eagles, and coyotes. Want to catch a glimpse of American wilderness as it once was? This is the place. Where else might you see hordes of bison roaming across the wild landscape as they did hundreds of years ago long before this land was colonized?
4. Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Stretching close to 20 miles from the Upper Falls to the Tower Fall area, Yellowstone's Grand Canyon was formed by erosion. The canyon features lovely pink and white stones that were shaped by rhyolite lava flows, heat, faulting, and flooding. Located on the eastern side of the park, the canyon rises 4,000-feet wide and dips 1,200-feet deep in various places. Today, you can view the stunning scenery from Inspiration Point or from a number of other overlooks that will allow you to drink in the place's rugged majesty.
5. Yellowstone Grand Loop Road
Yellowstone grand loop road
The Grand Loop Road is a great way to see Yellowstone. At 140 miles long, the road can be driven in about 4 to 7 hours. Caveat: Don't speed too much, because this is very windy terrain. The loop will take you past Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, Lake Village, and many other memorable sights.
6. Yellowstone's Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
Yellowstone's Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is a not-for-profit wildlife center that contains animals that - for one reason or another - aren't able to live on their own in the wild. While you'll likely catch glimpses of other creatures from a distance, here you can see the animals up close and personal.
7. Mammoth Hot Springs
mammoth hot springs
Mammoth Hot Springs is a collection of hot springs comprised of cooled calcium deposits. It's heated by water from the Norris Geyser Basin and has the greatest number of hot terraces in the world.