Yellowstone National Park is America's first national park. It was established in 1872. Yellowstone extends through Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The park's name is derived from the Yellowstone River, which runs through the park. It's unclear if the name first referred to the sulfurous yellow rocks below the falls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River or to the sandstone bluffs that border its shores.
Within the massive park boundaries, you can find mountains, rivers, lakes, and some of the most concentrated geothermal activity in the world. The park has 60% of the world’s geysers as well as many hot springs and several mud pots. Perhaps the most famous feature of the park is the geyser Old Faithful.
You can also see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, one of the world’s largest petrified forests, and countless waterfalls. The park is also home to diverse wildlife, including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk.
Outdoor recreation is boundless in this iconic national park. Madison and Yellowstone River are stocked with brown and rainbow trout and mountain whitefish. The many bike trails include an abandoned railroad bed that winds along with the wild Yellowstone River. You can backcountry camp or hike on the extensive trail system throughout the entire park, or boat on Yellowstone Lake. Stock outfitters lead horse and llama trips into the backcountry.
Historic points of interest include Fort Yellowstone, the permanent post of the cavalry when they managed the park in the late 19th century before the National Park Service was established in 1916. Old Faithful Inn is one of the last log hotels in the United States and is an impressive seven-story building of beautiful rustic architecture.
The original American national park and an icon of the entire National Park System, Yellowstone National Park is an American gem with millions of park visitors each year. Because of its magnitude and diversity, it is a park that really requires several visits to appreciate all it has to offer. Created in 1872 as the first national park in America, it set the standard for the entire national park system and is for many the most iconic park in the country.
—Caroline Griffith and Felicia Carr
Did You Know
The Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) region is a 2,000-mile-long wildlife migration corridor encompassing the Columbia, Mackenzie and Rocky Mountain ranges of Canada and the United States. The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative works to preserve the mountains, ecosystems, wildlife and human communities of Y2Y.