Yellowstone National Park is a United States National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It Yellowstone is the first and oldest national park in the world and covers 3,472 square miles (8,987 km²) . Was established in 1872 to preserve the vast number of geysers, hot springs, and other thermal areas, as well as to protect the incredible wildlife and natural beauty of the area. The park is principally contained within the northwest corner of Wyoming, but also extends into the states of Idaho and Montana.
The park is famous for its various geysers, hot springs, and other geothermal features and is home to grizzly bears, wolves, and free-ranging herds of bison and elk.
Yellowstone National Park is a protected area showcasing significant geological phenomena and processes. It is also a unique manifestation of geothermal forces, natural beauty, and wild ecosystems where rare and endangered species thrive. As the site of one of the few remaining intact large ecosystems in the northern temperate zone of earth, Yellowstone’s ecological communities provide unparalleled opportunities for conservation, study, and enjoyment of large-scale wildland ecosystem processes.
The extraordinary scenic treasures of Yellowstone include the world’s largest collection of geysers, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, numerous waterfalls, and great herds of wildlife.
Yellowstone is one of the world’s foremost sites for the study and appreciation of the evolutionary history of the earth. The park has a globally unparalleled assemblage of surficial geothermal activity, thousands of hot springs, mudpots and fumaroles, and more than half of the world’s active geysers. Nearly 150 species of fossil plants, ranging from small ferns and rushes up to large Sequoia and many other tree species, have been identified in the park’s abundant fossil deposits. The world’s largest recognized caldera (45km by 75km – 27 miles by 45 miles) is contained within the park.
Flora and fauna
The park is the core of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the largest intact temperate zone ecosystems remaining on the planet. Black bears, grizzly bears, deer, elk, bison, bighorn sheep and wolves can all be found within the park borders.
Yellowstone is world-famous for its natural heritage and beauty – and for the fact that it holds half the world’s geothermal features, with more than 10,000 examples. Travelers to Yellowstone can view more than 300 geysers (such as “Old Faithful”), pools of boiling mud, and an amazing assemblage of wildlife, such as grizzly bears, wolves, bison and elk, all while standing on the surface of the Earth’s largest known “super-volcano”.
Sightseeing is the number one attraction in Yellowstone National Park. As soon as you enter the park, you should slow down and drive carefully, because you will likely encounter other vehicles stopping in the middle of the road as they spot nearby wildlife. It may be a herd of elk grazing beside the road, a coyote prancing through a car park or even a gigantic bull bison meandering down the middle of the highway. The local wild animals are so accustomed to visitors that they no longer fear humans. Unfortunately, this can be dangerous when naïve tourists approach within a few meters of a 2000 pound (1000 kg) bison. Yellowstone National Park is not a zoo and the animals are not tame. You must exercise caution when approaching the wild animals.
The geothermal features are everywhere. As you drive throughout the park, you can see plumes of white steam rising from the fields, from the hillsides, from the edges of the lakes even from the bottoms of the rivers. Along the western half of the loop roads, there are eight geyser basins with as many as a dozen geysers and a hundred hot springs in each of them, but numerous other geothermal features are scattered throughout the entire park. The mud volcanoes and sulphur springs are concentrated near the eastern part of the loop and the gigantic buildups of calcium deposits known as the Mammoth Hot Springs are close to the northern entrance.
There are more than a dozen campgrounds within Yellowstone Park. Campgrounds within Yellowstone are operated by the National Park Service and are available on a first-come basis. During the busy summer season all of the campgrounds inside the park may fill, but you can usually find something outside of the park. There are more than a dozen private campgrounds located outside of the park near the various entries.