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Old Faithful Geyser

8 Top Tips for Visiting Yellowstone National Park (2023)

Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park. This huge park is sprawled over 2.2 million acres of space. So you can well imagine how difficult it must be to explore the entire thing within a limited time that most tourists have. In addition to its massive size, Yellowstone is further divided into many different regions and habitats that include fumaroles, geysers, and other exciting geothermal features. There’s also a lake and a canyon and a series of limestone terraces that all visitors would like to check out. Aside from this, there is an abundance of roaming wildlife that can be found throughout the park.

With such a variety of places to check out and the vastness of the park, exploring the entire Yellowstone National Park can indeed be an overwhelming experience. This is why it is necessary to be aware of some insider tips to help you make the most of your vacation to this stunning national park.

Top Tips for Visiting Yellowstone National Park

Here are some of the top tips for visiting the Yellowstone National Park.

1. Check Out Old Faithful in the Early Morning or Late Evening

One of the biggest attractions of the Yellowstone National Park is the Old Faithful Geyser. However, being so famous means that this place is also the most crowded. Almost everyone who comes to visit Yellowstone heads to check out Old Faithful. This is why it is a good idea to check out Old Faithful in the early morning or come back in the latter half of the afternoon. Many visitors prefer to come late in the evening as well. These are the preferred times to visit the prime attractions in the Upper Geyser Basin to avoid the huge line-ups and enjoy a more intimate viewing experience. Another tip many visitors follow is to hike to the Observation Point Trail Loop, which has its own geyser, and you get some fine views of the Old Faithful geyser erupting.

2. Check Out the Yellowstone Lake in the Afternoon

As the afternoon visitors to the Yellowstone Park are busy checking out Old Faithful and the surrounding area of the Upper Geyser Basin, you should take the time to visit the 136-square-mile Yellowstone Lake, which is the largest lake in the park and also the largest high elevation lake across all of North America. You can venture beyond the shoreline and even sign up for taking a guided boat tour or rent a boat to venture out and explore the lake by yourself.

3. Know The Right Time For Checking Out The Wildlife

Of course, the real star of the Yellowstone National Park is the wildlife. Bison, elk, bighorn sheep, bears, and many more wildlife can be found throughout the park. The best time to explore the park’s wildlife is to get up early and explore the park at dawn or wait until dusk. You should ideally head over to Hayden Valley, which is widely known to be one of the best spots to spot the wildlife. The best chance to catch the legendary bison at the park along with many other animals is in the early morning or evening.

4. Explore The Park While Hiking

One thing you should know before you head over to Yellowstone is that the majority of the park is actually not visible from the road. Almost 98% of the park lies off the beaten path. Your trip to Yellowstone should not be restricted only to marvel at the wonders from your car window. This is why one of the best ways to explore Yellowstone is to hit the walking trails that are spread throughout the park. Even walking just half a mile on a trail or boardwalk will give you a much better and complete sense of the magnificent features and landscape of Yellowstone. So put on your hiking shoes and park your car so that you can check out the wonders of Yellowstone through the hiking trails.

5. Enjoy The Stars

Big open skies and clean air have made Yellowstone the perfect place for stargazing. Stargazing also remains one of the park’s most underrated wonders. Head outside after the dark and check out the night sky full of millions of brilliant stars and breathtaking views all around. With very little pollution in the area, the night sky is visible without any disruptions. And if you are a budding astronomer, don’t forget to bring a star chart and your telescope along.

6. Check Out Lamar Valley

One of the best places to watch the wildlife of Yellowstone is at the Lamar Valley, often referred to as America’s Serengeti. This has been called the wolf-watching mecca ever since the wolves were reintroduced into this area, and apart from wolves, you will be able to see many bears, bighorn sheep, and coyotes. The open vistas of the valley are best explored at dawn and dusk.

Lamar Valley is usually less-visited than the other areas, which is why the habitat here is home to more wildlife, and there are more open vistas here that provide optimum viewing conditions. You can consider booking a spot on the park’s early morning Wake Up to Wildlife Tour to get a breathtaking experience of the valley, and don’t forget to pack your binoculars.

7. Book Your Trip In Advance

The Yellowstone National Park is easily one of the most visited national parks in the United States. And what’s more, the actual season to visit Yellowstone is not very long. This is why it is recommended that when you are planning a trip to Yellowstone, you should really book your accommodation and other details in advance.

For example, if you want to stay inside the park in the summer months, you should ideally book your hotel more than a year in advance. For those who missed this opportunity, there are some great alternatives in the form of the smaller towns located near Yellowstone. You can use these small towns as a base for carrying out the day trips to the park. However, here also, the sooner you book, the more availability you will have and better prices you will get.

8. Begin Your Day Early

Whatever your plan is to do for a given day, the best tip you can follow is to get an early start to your day. There are many main attractions at the park, like the Grand Prismatic Geyser, that have very small parking lots, and it can be difficult to even find space by late afternoon.

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