Yellowstone is a huge part, with many distinct areas. Each area is very unique—geysers or wildlife, and off-the-beaten path trails or boardwalks, there is something for everyone in Yellowstone. Below is a basic breakdown of the most popular attractions in each area of the park. Something is sure to spark your interest.
1. OLD FAITHFUL AREA: A must-visit area of the park, and a bucket-list item for most visitors, Old Faithful—located in Upper Geyser Basin, is famous for a reason. Upper Geyser Basin contains over 150 geysers, and in the surrounding area are Midway Geyser Basin—where Grand Prismatic resides, Biscuit Basin and Black Sand Basin, which are all worth checking out.
2. YELLOWSTONE LAKE AREA: Yellowstone Lake is the largest alpine lake in North America, and is so large it creates it’s own weather patterns. There are many hiking trails around shores of the lake, as well as peaks you can hike up to get a panoramic view of the area. Boat rentals, and kayak tours are available at the lake. West Thumb Geyser Basin is located near Grant Village on the lake.
3. LAMAR VALLEY: This is where you want to go if you want to watch wildlife. Lamar Valley is home to bison, wolves, black and grizzly bears, pronghorn and many other animals. The wide-open plains of the valley is a glimpse into the past, when the west was still wild.
4. GRAND CANYON OF THE YELLOWSTONE AREA: The Yellowstone River cuts through rhyolite rock for 20 miles, creating a spectacular canyon. Trails lead down to the river, on the North and the South side, where you can feel the power of the river as it drops down two waterfalls. The color of the rushing water contrasted against the yellow rhyolite walls is every photograph’s dream.
5. MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS AREA: Located at the northern entrance of Yellowstone, this high country is surrounded by big peaks, and is a great spot to see elk—birthing season in the spring, and mating season in the fall. The main attraction here is Mammoth Hot Springs itself, a travertine terrace that is out-of-this-world.
6. NORRIS GEYSER BASIN: The hottest, oldest and most dynamic thermal features in Yellowstone are in Norris Geyser Basin. Steamboat Geyser is the tallest geyser in the world, shooting 300 feet in the air; it has no predictability, and can go 9 years, or 5 days between eruptions. However, it has erupted more times in the last year then ever before.