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Should I Visit Yellowstone National Park?




On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act, thus making Yellowstone National Park the first national park. It is worth visiting simply for that historical detail. However, just as Yellowstone is the origin story for the 63 National Parks in the United States, the historical reason is just the beginning into the many reasons Yellowstone should be on your list of destinations to visit. Here are a few more:


The Wildlife. According to NPS.gov, Yellowstone is the home of nearly 300 species of birds, 16 species of fish, five species of amphibians, six species of reptiles, and 67 species of mammals. 108 Gray Wolves have made Yellowstone home. Black bears are common. As of 2021 statistics, close to 1,100 grizzly bears are there. Elk, mule deer, bison, moose, white tailed deer, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep are prominent, if you know where to look. Mountain goats can be seen at times in the northern areas of park. Cougars, Coyotes, Red Foxes, Bobcats, and the Canadian Lynx are there. You will even see beavers, badgers, marmots, and if you are lucky, river otters playing along the banks of the various lakes and streams. Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley are the best places to find wildlife. Needless to say, if you love wildlife, Yellowstone is a must-see place to visit.


The Ecosystems are intact. We have never visited a place so popular for tourism, yet so vastly unaffected by human influence. Yellowstone consists of over 2.2 million acres, with around 2 million of that designated as wilderness. That means about 99% of the park is just as it would be if humans were not there. Park managers work hard to make sure that the park is affected as little as possible by human interaction. This park is packed with wildlife, but this is no zoo. The animals are wild and unpredictable. They are not fed, still keeping the balance of predator and prey. It is one of the purest places you can visit, still giving vibes of the old American west.


Solitude. Even though Yellowstone remains a major tourist attraction, there is still plenty of time and space to find quiet moments of reflection and solitude. Again, with 99% of the park designated as wilderness, there is ample room to get away from the crowds. If viewing beautiful valleys from mountainside overlooks, sitting next to peace streams flowing through colorful forests, taking in breathtaking waterfalls, and observing uninterrupted wildlife away from the hustle and bustle of tourism is your thing, Yellowstone provides that.


Hiking. It is hard to find more majestic scenery to hike through than the trails provided by this park. Yellowstone has more than 900 miles of trails waiting to be explored. Due to the fact that the many of the trails are over 7,000 feet above sea level and may be covered in snow some of the year, and some of the trails are affected by floods in the spring, the national park service's website provides an up-to-date report on trail information and park weather. The best part, almost all of the trails, no permit is needed to day hike.


Camping. Yellowstone has 12 different campgrounds with over 2,000 campsites. These campsites must be booked months in advance. They can be difficult to book because they are on a first come - first serve basis. If you are a last-minute planner, you will probably be out of luck. Most of these campsites have tremendous views and are relatively inexpensive. You should read the amenities of each campsite if restrooms, showers, handicap accessibility, or camper hookups are needed.


Great places to stay outside of the Park. We actually stayed in cabins through VRBO last time we visited Yellowstone (will be detailed in later blogs). There were so many rentals to choose from with a variety of beautiful landscapes and views. This option is definitely more expensive, but worth it if you are traveling in a large group or unable to cope with the uncomfortable nature of camping.


Geysers. Yellowstone is home to around 60% of the world's geysers, with Old Faithful being the most famous (later post coming). The geysers and hot springs are a can't miss.


Yellowstone Lake. Yellowstone Lake is the highest lake in North America. It is absolutely stunning most of the year, but seeing the entire lake as a frozen tundra during the winter is an unforgettable experience.


The Beauty. Yellowstone National Park is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The weather is variable. It can be snowing in one part of the park and sunny and clear on other. There are breathtaking mountains, valleys alive with wildlife, and spectacular streams, rivers, and lakes, all within a few miles of each other. Few places compare to the majestic views of Yellowstone.


If you have not been, this place definitely needs to be on your bucket list.

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