No visit to Yellowstone National Park is complete without experiencing at least one eruption of Old Faithful. Old Faithful erupts more frequently than any of the other big geysers, although it is not the largest or most regular geyser in the park. Take an hour or two to walk around the boardwalks and visit some of the many other geysers in the Upper Geyser Basin, such as Castle, Grotto, Riverside and Daisy. Be sure to take the 1.4 mile walk to Morning Glory Pool, one of the most colorful thermal features in all of Yellowstone. In addition, be sure to visit the Old Faithful Inn, which is the single most impressive human structure in Yellowstone.
Yellowstone National Park’s Grand Canyon may not be as big as the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but it is nonetheless breathtaking. The Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon, at 308 feet high, is one of the most photographed features in all of Yellowstone. There are numerous vantage points on both the North and South sides of the Canyon, and we recommend that you take the time to view the Canyon from both sides. Also, be certain to take the 3/8 mile (one way) hike down to the edge of the Lower Falls. The experience at the lip of the falls is breathtaking.
The Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park is the first place to go to see wildlife in Yellowstone. There are a number or roadside turnouts along the Hayden Valley, offering views on both sides of the road. The Yellowstone river is positioned on the east side of the roadway. Several turnouts are scenic overlooks that allow panoramic views of the Valley floor below.
Mammoth Hot Springs are the main attraction of the Mammoth District. These features are quite different from thermal areas elsewhere in the park. Travertine formations grow much more rapidly than sinter formations due to the softer nature of limestone. As hot water rises through limestone, large quantities of rock are dissolved by the hot water, and a white chalky mineral is deposited on the surface. Due to its year-round access and comparatively mild winters, Mammoth has always been the headquarters for the park. Mammoth has a Visitor Center. In addition, a number of hiking trails are located in the Mammoth area.
With a surface area of 132 square miles, Yellowstone Lake is the largest lake at high elevation (i.e., more than 7,000 ft.) in North America. It is a natural lake, situated at 7,733 ft. above sea level. It is roughly 20 miles long and 14 miles wide with 141 miles of shoreline. It is frozen nearly half the year. It freezes in late December or early January and thaws in late May or early June. Fishing Bridge, Lake Village, Lake Lodge, and Lake Yellowstone Hotel are all popular attractions.
Norris Geyser Basin is home to Echinus (one of the Park’s most popular geysers) and Steamboat (the world’s tallest geyser). Steamboat can reach 380 feet and its steam phase can be heard miles away. Norris Geyser Basin is constantly changing. New geysers are born, old ones die. Even the major geysers change from year to year. This makes Norris an interesting place to study but a difficult place to predict. This is part of the fun of Norris. In addition, there are several miles of boardwalks from which you can explore dozens of multi-colored thermal features.
Located between Tower Junction and the Northeast Entrance at Cooke City Montana, Lamar Valley is a must-visit area for serious wildlife watchers. Lamar Valley is the top destination for viewing wolves in Yellowstone National Park. Bison, elk, pronghorn, eagles, and bighorn sheep are frequently seen. Bears and coyotes can also be spotted. Most of these animals are crepuscular(most active at dawn and dusk) so explore this area early in the morning, or make it the last attraction for the day.
Tower Fall is a 132 feet tall waterfall located in a canyon near the Tower Falls general store. Tower Fall is the 2nd most popular waterfall in Yellowstone(The Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon is the most popular). A short walk will take you to an overlook, but we also recommend you take the short-but-steep hike down to the base of the waterfall. Its name comes from the rock pinnacles at the top of the fall. Tower Creek and Tower Falls are located approximately three miles south of Roosevelt Junction on the Tower-Canyon road.
The Lower Geyser Basin is the largest geyser basin in Yellowstone National Park and features regularly-erupting geysers, hot springs, and mud pools. It covers approximately 11 square miles. By comparison, the Upper Geyser Basin only covers about one square mile. The popular area to explore in the Lower Geyser Basin is the Fountain Paint Pot area.
The West Thumb Geyser Basin is situated at the western edge of a large bay along the shores of Yellowstone Lake.
West Thumb Geyser Basin is the largest geyser basin along the lake with many features lying underneath the water. The basin’s geysers pour 3,100 gallons of hot water into the lake every day. The West Thumb Geyser Basin Trail is an easy 3/8 mile walk to the lakeshore and back. This handicap-accessible boardwalk leads to several great views of the basin’s hydrothermal features, including Abyss Pool, the park’s deepest hydrothermal pool.