Encompassing an area of over 2.2 million acres (890,000 hectares) and with over 310 miles (500 km) of paved roads, there are endless adventures to be had in Yellowstone National Park. This guide is designed to give you the best way to see Yellowstone and make the most of all it has to offer. Plan your visit between late May and late October as some roads close in Winter.
The best route to take is the circular Grand Loop Road. It doesn’t matter from which entrance of the park you arrive, just make your way onto this road. For this guide, we assume you are starting at the northern entrance and travelling in a clockwise direction.
From the Northern entrance, travel south along route 89. It won’t be long until you are out of the car and into your first attraction, Mammoth Hot Springs. This collection of thermal pools is like something from another world. The steam rising of the limestone formed pools is a photo opportunity and an unforgettable memory.
Your next stop south should be the Norris Geyser Basin followed by the Lower Geyser Basin. These two areas sit on top of the caldera. For this reason both areas are dotted with thermal features ranging from geysers to boiling mudpits.
Further south and just off Grand Loop Road is Old faithful. This geyser faithfully erupts water up to 130ft high about every 97 minutes. The eruption is surprisingly lengthy in duration allowing for plenty of time to take the perfect picture. There is a visitors centre nearby which provides a relatively accurate schedule of eruptions.
From Old Faithful, continue east along Grand Loop road to Yellowstone Lake. Situated in the centre of the park, Yellowstone Lake is vast and impossible to miss. It is the park’s largest body of water. From the northern edge, a spectacular view of the lake and surrounding mountains can be seen.
Heading further north along Grand Loop Road, you find the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Formed thousands of years ago due to glacial activity, this area is extremely popular with hikers. Approximately 20 miles long and 1000 ft deep, this canyon is truly awe inspiring.
From the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone heading west you we eventually arrive back at Mammoth Hot Springs. There are countless lodges and camping grounds within Yellowstone so this adventure around the park can be done over days or weeks. Enjoy!
Written by Joel Mein for The Essential Destination