Yellowstone National Park – A brief overview

Yellowstone National Park, established on March 1, 1872, is the world’s first national park. It is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and is spread across northwestern Wyoming, southwestern Montana and parts of northeastern Idaho.

Yellowstone is a UNESCO World Heritage site and covers over 3500 square miles of the most pristine natural environment. Yellowstone Park has been often described as masterpiece of nature’s handiwork and is home to serene scenery, wildlife, outstanding geysers.

It is a supreme location that must be enlisted in every traveler’s bucket list. If you are planning to head out to the beautiful Yellowstone, here are the details of everything you need to know:


Geographical Features of Yellowstone

Yellowstone Volcanic Caldera/ Yellowstone Caldera

Yellowstone sits on top a 1,500 square mile volcanic caldera. The continuing volcanic activity of the caldera fuels the geysers and the hot springs in the area. It is one of the world’s largest calderas that consist of over 10,000 thermal features and more than 300 geysers.


Geyser: A geyser is a hot spring with the habit of tossing underground water into the air. The amount of water and the frequency of the tossing vary from geysers to geysers. The most popular geysers in the area are: Old Faithful Geyser and Castle Geyser.


Old Faithful Geyser:

Old Faithful is one of the world’s most famous geysers. The eruptions of Old Faithful are around 130 feet high in average. The eruptions have also been recorded at a staggering 180 feet. The greatest specialty of this geyser is its punctuality. The geyser erupts at a regular interval of 65-92 minutes. These eruptions normally last from 1-5 minutes.

Castle Geyser:

Crystal geyser is one of the oldest hydro-thermal features in the park. The eruptions average at a modest height of around 90 feet. Castle Geyser’s eruptions provide a sensational visual and sound effect. The eruptions of the Castle Geyser create an incredible steam that roars like a train.

The other popular geysers in Yellowstone National Park are:

  • Riverside Geyser
  • Norris Geyser
  • Echinus Geyser

The visitors have an array of around 300 geysers to visit in Yellowstone National Park.

Hot Spring: A hot spring is a spring created by the heated water that emerges from the underground. The water is heated geothermally from the earth’s inner volcanic activities. The Yellowstone has the highest concentration of hot springs in the world. Mammoth Spring and the Morning glory pool. There are thousands of hot spring in this area

Morning Glory Pool:

The pool is famous for the orange and yellow colored bacteria. These bacteria create a colorful display in the spring. Morning Glory Pool is a favored location for many visitors to relax and enjoy a serene scene.


Mammoth Hot Springs:

The Mammoth spring runs through the ancient limestone deposits. Hot water ascends through the underground and deposits limestone is the surface. The water flowing over colorful travertine limestone has created a very beautiful scene. It presents itself as a beautiful fountain and is a great attraction

The other popular hot springs in the park are

  • Emerald Spring
  • Carter Spring
  • Cistern Spring
  • Grand Prismatic Spring:

The volcanic caldera also is the source of energy for mud pots and fumaroles in the Yellowstone. Yellowstone National Park is a geological marvel of the nature


Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake is the largest lake at high elevation in the whole of North America. It has a surface area of 132 square miles and is situated at an altitude of 7,733 ft above sea level. The most popular activities in the Yellowstone Lake are cycling, camping and boating. The lakes host a range of activities that includes boating, camping, kayaking fishing and even hiking.


Biological specimens in Yellowstone


The park is home to exotic wildlife. The wildlife in the area includes – 7 species of ungulates (bison, moose, elk, and pronghorn), 2 species of bear, grey wolf and 67 other mammals, 322 species of birds, and 16 species of fish.

The park area is the habitat to many different species of wild animals. The visitors must beware of the many carnivores living in the area.


The park includes a various mini ecosystem. There are various plant species that include – over 1,100 species of native plants, more than 200 species of exotic plants and over 400 species of Thermopile

Yellowstone Permits – Cost of Entering Yellowstone

To get inside the National Park visitors require a permit. The cost of the permits per person is listed below:

  • $25 – Private, noncommercial vehicle
  • $20 – For Motorcycle or snowmobile (winter)
  • $12 – For 16 and older visitors entering by foot, bike, ski

This fee provides the visitor with a 7-day entrance permit for both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

The $10 Senior Pass (62 and older) is a lifetime pass available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Check out further details on Entry costs of Yellowstone National Park

Entrances/ Entry points | How to Enter Yellowstone?

The entry points are seasonal and are open only on specific time of the calendar year. Yellowstone has 5 entry points to the park.

1.      Northeast Entrance – Entry from Silver Gate and Cooke City, MT

The entry point is open year round for wheeled vehicles. The closest airline service to the entry point is Billings, MT.

2.      North Entrance – Mammoth and Gardiner, MT

The North entrance is open to wheeled vehicles from April 20 to November 4, and to the tracked over snow vehicles from around December 17 to March 12. The closest airline service to the entry point is Bozeman, MT

3.      West Entrance – West Yellowstone, MT,

The West Entrance is open to wheeled vehicles from April 20 to November 4, and to tracked over-snow vehicles from December 17 to March 12. The closest airline service to the entry point is West Yellowstone, MT; Bozeman, MT; Idaho Falls, ID; and Salt Lake City, UT.

4.      South Entrance – Jackson Hole, WY

Open to wheeled vehicles from May 11 to November 4, and to track over snow vehicles from December 17 to March 12. The closest airline service to the entry point is Jackson, WY

5.      East Entrances – Cody, WY

Open to wheeled vehicles from May 11 to November 4, and to track over snow vehicles from December 17 to March 12. The closest airline service to the entry point is Cody, WY

Weather/ Climatic Condition – Hot or Cold?

Over the course of a year, the temperature typically varies from 0°F to 73°F and is rarely below-17°F or above 79°F.

Summer: In the summer, the temperatures are often around 70°F and occasionally in around the 80°F in lower elevations throughout the day. The nights are usually cooler and the temperatures may even drop below freezing at higher elevations. Yellowstone Park is very susceptible to thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Winter: In the winter, the temperatures often range from 0°F to 70°F throughout the day. Sub-zero temperatures are very common over-night. Snowfall is highly variable and averages around 150 inches per year.

Spring: In the spring, temperatures range from the 30°F to the 60°F. Snow is very common in the spring with an average of 12 inches.  The weather in Yellowstone park area is very unpredictable and the visitors need to be wary of weather forecast all the time.

In general, the park area is cold throughout the year. It is a great place to release tension and heat.


Clothing/ What Clothes to Take in the Trip to Yellowstone?

The weather in Yellowstone park area is very unpredictable. It is advised to carry a warm jacket and rain gear even in the winter. It is in the best interest to always be equipped with a wide range of clothing options.

The length of the day varies significantly over the course of the year. The daylight averages around 9 hours during the winter and 14 hours in the summer. The shortest day is December 21 with 8:49 hours of daylight; the longest day is June 20 with 15:34 hours of daylight.

The temperature in the area gets low even in the summer. It is wise to take warm clothes, even in the summer.


High Season/ When to Visit Yellowstone Park?

Yellowstone National Park is packed with visitors all the time. The Park facilitates different activities during the summer as well as the winter resulting in great flow of visitors around the year. The number of visitors for the past 5 years has been over the 3 million mark.

The busiest season in the Park is in the month of July. The month of July is the time of spring and wildlife blossoms into action. However, many people do not prefer to go there in July because the park area is simply too crowded.

Yellowstone Park is open throughout the year and visitors are welcome at any season. Visitors should plan the time of travel based on the activity they want to do.


Rules and Regulation

The visitors need to abide by many rule and regulation during their stay in the national park.

Yellowstone has a strict policy over pet animals. The area is home to many species of wild animals and the pet can interfere in the living state of the local animals.

The breaking of rules results in a hefty fine. Hence, visitors are advised to check out the Yellowstone National Park rule of conduct.

 Check out all the rules to be followed in the Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone National Park has a long list of must-see places. It is the perfect place for a long vacation.

Yellowstone National Park is a great place to see the best and wonderful creation of Mother Nature. It is a prime tourist attraction in the North West. A trip to Yellowstone should be in every person’s bucket list. Is it in yours?

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