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Overview

Yellowstone is one of the oldest national parks in the world, one of the largest, the USA's first and arguably the best. This 2.2-million-acre wonderland underpins the very definition of wilderness, with its amazing wildlife, inexplicable geothermal plumbing bubbling up and over the surface of the Earth, and rugged alpine landscape, complete with a vast lake and an awe-inspiring canyon.

The figure eight of blacktop that cars take around the park zips right by many of the best-known wonders — Old Faithful Geyser, Mammoth Hot Springs, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and Tower Falls, to name a few — but travelers to the park ...

Yellowstone is one of the oldest national parks in the world, one of the largest, the USA's first and arguably the best. This 2.2-million-acre wonderland underpins the very definition of wilderness, with its amazing wildlife, inexplicable geothermal plumbing bubbling up and over the surface of the Earth, and rugged alpine landscape, complete with a vast lake and an awe-inspiring canyon.

The figure eight of blacktop that cars take around the park zips right by many of the best-known wonders — Old Faithful Geyser, Mammoth Hot Springs, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and Tower Falls, to name a few — but travelers to the park who stick to their cars are missing the point. This is a hiker's park, laced from top to bottom with trails of every description. But it's also an angler's park, a wildlife-watcher's park, and a park for anybody who appreciates nature. Of the gateway towns, check out funky little Gardiner at the north entrance, complete with well-worn watering holes and a bevy of river rats.

Eric Peterson
About the Expert

Eric Peterson has written and contributed to numerous Frommer’s guidebooks covering the American West, including Montana & Wyoming, Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks, and Texas.

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Eric Peterson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer is the nicest weather-wise; most of the park's roads are closed between fall and spring.