People traveling the west coast spend a lot of time exploring the California Coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles. But an equally-exciting adventure is the road trip from S.F. to L.A. via Las Vegas and the Yellowstone National Park.
The Yellowstone National Park features 3,5000 square miles of lush greens, dramatic canyons, alpine lakes and rivers, and jaw-dropping cascades. Thanks to its volcanic soil, it also homes spectacular hot springs and geysers.
You should spend at least a day unveiling its many marvels, giving into your favorite outdoor activities, from boating to hiking to wildlife-spotting. To avoid ending up overwhelmed, here is a top pick of the best attractions you must see.
10. West Thumb Geyser Basin
The Basin is a hot spot in Yellowstone all year round. It is the rendezvous for snowmobilers during wintertime and the beginning point of many hiking trails.
You definitely should check out the West Thumb Geyser Basin and its attractions such as the Black Pool or the Twin Geysers. Definitely, don’t pass on your chance to spot elks, bisons, and the animals who frequent the area, and for breathtaking views of the Yellowstone Lake.
photo credit: wikipedia
9. Lower Geyser Basin
Spread over more than 10 square miles, the Lower Geyser Basin is the largest basin in the Yellowstone National Park. It features plenty of gushing geysers, thermal springs, as well as mud pools.
Follow the Fountain Paint Pot Trail to access the Fountain Geyser – famous for erupting water above 75 feet, the Leather Pool, the Celestine Pool, and the many other natural wonders in the area.
photo credit: nps
8. Tower Fall
The Tower Fall is a must-see 130-foot-high waterfall. The best place to admire its dramatic drop is at the base, only accessible by a short but steep trail.
Tower Fall is most popular during wintertime when it freezes over and offers an unique view to the cross-country skiers and visitors who venture down the icy trail.
photo credit: drmccubbin
7. Lamar Valley
Located in the Northeast area of the park, the Lamar Valley is a number one destination for anyone serious about wildlife-spotting. No wonder there are so many tours and excursions organized around this area.
Find a good vantage point in time to admire the sunrise or the sunset — both are great times to see bears, wolves, elk, and many other crepuscular animals going on by their daily routine.
photo credit: nps
6. Mount Washburn
If you are serious about hiking in a most-stunning setting then you nust head to Mount Washburn. Located some 20 miles north of the Yellowstone Lake, this peak towers at 10,000 feet, and features beautiful trails suitable for all levels of hiking.
From its observation deck, you can enjoy stunning vistas of most of the Yellowstone National Park. Needless to say the view is most romantic and a wonderful reward for a hike à deux.
photo credit: nps
5. Mammoth Hot Springs
The Mammoth Hot Springs are a popular destination in the Yellowstone National Park, thanks to its beautiful travertine terraces with chances to see an elk hop them on their way to the bottom.
However, the Mammoth Hot Springs are also the place to go for history buffs, interested in the glorious past of the park. Visit the Albright Visitor Center & Museum to see exhibits dedicated to the natural and cultural history of Yellowstone.
4. Hayden Valley
The Hayden Valley is another spot for wildlife-spotting. As you drive through this gorgeous, spaced valley, make time to awe at the herds of bison, elk and the occasional scattered grizzly bears that can be seen.
Take advantage of the roadside turnouts for stunning panoramic views of the Hayden Valley and its geothermal features, such as the Mud Geyser and the Black Dragon Caldron. Or take on one of the two trails — Hayden Valley Trail and Mary Mountain Trail — crossing the valley to get even closer to the fascinating wildlife.
3. Yellowstone Lake
The Yellowstone Lake is the heart of the Yellowstone National Park and its largest water spot — allegedly, also the largest freshwater reserve in the US. It is one of the easiest-accessible part of the park and is surrounded by two villages with everything you need to make your stay pleasant. The views of the snow-capped mountains across from the Yellowstone Lake is amazing.
2. Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Yes, the Yellowstone National Park has its own Grand Canyon. And yes, it is worth checking out. 20 miles long, the Grand Canyon’s width varies between 1,500 and 4,000 feet and is, in average, 1,000-feet deep.
However, the most impressive feature of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone National Park is the Lower Falls. Visitors, after checking out the 300-feet drop from both sides of the Grand Canyon, take the hike down to the best of the Lower Falls to better contemplate its magnificence.
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and the Lower Falls are two of the most breathtaking and most photographed attractions in the park.
1. Old Faithful
Surely the Old Faithful needs no introduction. Although it is not the largest geyser you will ever see, it is one of the most awe-inspiring there are. The Old Faithful blows water as high as 150 feet every 90 minutes or so.
If you want a bird view of this impressive phenomenon, take a short hike to the Observation Point. Note that there are plenty of other points of interest in the Upper Geyser Basin, including thermal pools, geysers, but also hotels and cabins.
photo credit: topthingsincity
There are many other spectacular natural attractions and points of interest to see in the Yellowstone National Park. Be sure to also check out the Grand Prismatic Spring and the Norris Geyser Basin.
Have you ever visiting Yellowstone? What is your favorite sites? Tell us all about it in the comments.