Top Things to See & Do in Yellowstone
1. Visit Old Faithful & other Yellowstone Geysers
Home to over 10,000 geysers, steam vents and mud pots is Yellowstone National Park's largest basin in the Upper Geyser Basin. It is home to Old Faithful, the Castle Geyser, and Riverside Geyser.
Old Faithful erupts approximately every 92 minutes sending water an average of 135 feet into the air. The Castle Geyser erupts every 11-13 hours. Its water reaches 70-80 feet and approximately 15 minutes into an eruption it emits a strident steam series that sounds like a steam engine. The Riverside Geyser erupts over a river every 6 hours sending water 80 feet into a 60 degree angle. Each eruption over Firehole River last about 20 minutes.
The Midway Geyser Basin is home to some of the world’s largest single hot springs. At Midway you'll see the colorful Grand Prismatic Spring. In the Lower Geyser Basin, you will find hot springs, geysers, steam vents and mud pots. Other Yellowstone Basins are the North Geyser Basin, the Mud Volcano area, and Mammoth Hot Springs.
2. Check out the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
One of the parks most awe-inspiring views is the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone which is as wide as 4,000 feet and 1,200 feet deep. From its height, you are able to see the magnificence of the 308 foot cascading Lower Falls and the 109 foot descent of the Upper Falls.
3. Go on a Whitewater Rafting Trip
For water adventure during the summertime, enlist one of the many outfitters for a River rafting trip down the Yellowstone River rapids. Along the way, you will encounter exciting class III and IV whitewater and waves with names like “Man Eater” and “Sleeping Giant.”
4. Take a Hike
Yellowstone National Park contains over 1,200 miles of trails and 97% of its area is backcountry so there are boundless opportunities for hiking and backpacking, regardless of your age or ability. The Storm Point Trail is easily followed and hiked. Its 1 ½ mile loop to Yellowstone Lake is perfect is perfect for the beginning hiker.
Hiking the North Rim or South Rim Trails is a wonderful way to view the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. You can hike the 1 ¾ mile North Rim Trail or the 2 mile South Rim Trail. Some choose to combine the hike. In doing this, you will see some the most remarkable scenery in the park. One of the most impressive views is the stretch from the North Rim Trail’s Brink of the Upper Falls parking area to the Chittenden Bridge.
5. Brush up on the history and culture of the American Indian
Each summer, there are several Indian pow wows held in Yellowstone. In coming to a powwow, you will see the intricate dances, the impressive drumming, and hear the unique singing and chanting of the Plains Indians. There are competitions for all ages and both genders featuring grass dances, traditional jingle and shawl dances, hoop dances, drum competitions and singing/chanting competitions.
If you are touring the region you may be interested in learning more about the American Indians of Montana as well.
Photo Credits: Lake Yellowstone by Dr. Doc;Grand Canyon of Yellowstone by Jim Bowen; Old Faithful by FrankJuarez;