Have you ever dreamed of conquering the western frontier in the way the Lewis and Clark Expedition did in the 1800s? Thanks to the United States Government, the Yellowstone National Park is a pristine location to see how the West appeared then. The Yellowstone area is virtually unchanged by man and here are some tips to guide you along the way.
History of the Yellowstone National Park
Native Americans have lived in the Yellowstone area for over 11,000 years. The Park was established in 1872 by President Ulysses S. Grant. Yellowstone is primarily located in Wyoming but extends into Idaho and Montana. It was bypassed by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early 1800s, but a member of the team named John Colter left the group to join a group of fur traders. In this journey, he reported the steaming lakes, geysers, boiling mud and other geothermal activities, but it was considered myth for over 40 years. In 1917, Yellowstone was transferred to the domain of the National Parks Service, which has been formed the previous year.
Today, the park hosts over three million visitors per year and the region has over 1,000 archeological sites. The park is located on and around the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent. Half of the world’s geothermal features are in the Yellowstone National Park. The park is larger than the states of Rhode Island and Vermont combined.
Lodging Options in Yellowstone National Park
Most of the accommodations around Yellowstone are located in Wyoming in the Jackson Hole area. Here you can find many lodges in every price range. Even well known hotel chains are arranged in lodge like environments.
Camping inside Yellowstone Park is another possibility. The park has everything from primitive campsites to lodges within the park. These are reserved through the National Parks Service and are available on a first come, first serve basis. There is some RV accessibility as well, and reservations can be made in advance for all of the lodging possibilities. There are twelve camping areas with over 2,000 campsites. There are nine visitor centers.
Dining Out Near Yellowstone National Park
Jackson Hole, Wyoming will have the most dining options, as well. From cowboy cuisine to international delights, the eateries have it all and in every price range. You will be able to find sushi, Italian, Thai, tacos or tempura-whatever your taste and budget desires, you can dine well in Jackson Hole. Many of the lodge accommodations have restaurants and food available on site.
When to Visit Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is beautiful in all the seasons of the year, but each season is distinct. In the warmer month, there is ample opportunity for swimming and other water activities. Wildlife sightings will be more likely to occur in these months. For the winter enthusiast, Yellowstone is open year round. Hiking and exploring is available in the snow and will provide an adventurous escape into the cold pure environment of Yellowstone. Guides lead the winter expeditions into Yellowstone by way of snow mobile and snow coach.
Yellowstone National Park Sites Not to be Missed
One of the most famous landmarks is the Old Faithful geyser, which erupts with a steam show approximately every 91 minutes. There are many other geysers in the park, but this one remains popular both for the show and its predictability. Visitors will not be disappointed and will not miss seeing an eruption.
There is active wildlife within Yellowstone. Many species of animals live within the park, including moose, eagles, and grizzly bears. Keep in mind they are indeed wild, and the photo opportunity may be one with bragging rights. Pack those long range lenses and keep a safe distance.
Certainly visit some of the higher portions of the park for the panoramic views that will mesmerize both during the trip and in the photographs upon the return home. There are plenty of river experiences to be had, as well as waterfalls. Fly fishing enthusiasts will find many places to cast their lines, so be sure to pack gear. The Petrified Forest and petrified trees located within the park are another phenomenon of geothermal activity.
Planning Your Trip to Yellowstone
Contact the National Parks Service for information and brochures. The state of Wyoming has many brochures and information regarding are lodging and attractions. Be sure to plan a loose itinerary and allot several days to exploring the vast areas of the park.
Sources: National Parks Service-Yellowstone, Around Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park