July 5, 2013
Five Reasons To Visit Yellowstone National Park
After visiting California, the Oregon Coast, and the state of Washington, we started toward the next national park on our plan, Yellowstone National Park. Located in parts of Montana and Wyoming, this National Park has much to offer to all of its visitors. Here are five reasons why all Americans (and international visitors) should visit Yellowstone. Note: these are in no particular order.
Yellowstone is home to some amazing animals. From fish to birds to mammals, visitors can see it all. Here is a list of some of the animals that call Yellowstone home:
- American White Pelican
- Lesser Scaup
- Green-winged Teal
- Trumpeter Swan
- Grizzly Bear
- Black Bear
- Mule Deer
- Bighorn Sheep
- Yellow-bellied Marmot
I also saw ground squirrels, chipmunks, and even the majestic bald eagle. Often, you can see animals simply by driving on the main roads. It truly is incredible to be driving and see the wildlife doing what they do…eat, drink, walk, and lay.
Like most of the national parks in our country, Yellowstone also has an abundance of flora from trees, brush, and bushes to flowers, grasses, and other plants. And each of these attract stunning birds and butterflies and other bugs. A botanist would have so much fun in the park. And even just common admirers (like me) enjoy the flora.
Yellowstone is stock full of different activities. It has the usual camping and hiking all throughout the park. There are day hikes down to waterfalls and into the canyons, as well as up into the mountains and all around the hydrothermal activity. If you want to do more vigorous hiking, Yellowstone has backcountry hiking and camping, too. One of the attractions for me was the fishing. The rivers Gibbon, Madison, and Firehole are legendary for me. To be able to fly fish in these rivers, and at their confluences, was so fulfilling. Plus, fishing in Yellowstone allows for the possible opportunity to catch the native Yellowstone cutthroat. I did not catch one, but I enjoyed every second of casting with the potential.
The park also offers ranger tours and exhibits, boat rides, bus ride tours, amphitheater shows in all the campgrounds, and ample opportunity for photography, artwork, and writing. These activities draw millions of people a year. Really, over 3 million visitors go to Yellowstone every year.
Additionally, the hydrothermal activity throughout the park is definitely worth checking out. It is one of the world’s most active areas of hydrothermal activity. It is, after all, one huge volcanic caldera. The park has hot springs, mudpots, fumaroles, travertine terraces, and geysers. All visitors must check out Old Faithful, the world’s most famous geyser, but don’t skip out on the sapphire pools, fumaroles, and mudpots all around the park. Some of the most impressive hydrothermal activity I saw was far from Old Faithful.
Two Parks for One
With the entrance fee of $25, visitors have access to Yellowstone and the Grand Teton National Park. Now, even though it does not have the popularity of Yellowstone, Grand Teton is just as breathtaking and interesting. It also has miles and miles to explore; over 200 miles actually. Plus, the Teton Mountain stretch of the Rockies are some of the most diverse in the way they look. They are beautiful for sure.
I actually enjoy Grand Teton National Park more than Yellowstone, so I love the access to both with just one entrance fee.
And since I brought up entrance fees, I should let you in on the America the Beautiful National Park Pass. For $80 a year, you can forgo paying the entrance fees, as well as have some other benefits. Plus, there are some discounted or free pass options for certain individuals. If you are U.S. Military, you can gain a free pass by showing your Common Access Card (CAC) or Military ID (Form 1173). If you are a senior (U.S. citizen 62 or over), you can gain a Senior Pass for only $10 a year. And if you have a permanent disability, you can obtain an Access Pass for free. If you plan to travel to multiple national parks, any of these is well worth the cost, time, and effort.
Role as National Park
Above all else, Yellowstone is a part of American heritage. It is our first national park, and that alone makes it worthy of visiting. We would not have parks such as Great Basin and Redwood without Yellowstone.
Every American should experience Yellowstone National Park at least once in his or her life. Our National Parks are a national treasure to be admired and experienced. So, get out there for some truly awesome beauty.
Image Credit: Rayshell Clapper