Everything You Must Know Before Your Visit to Yellowstone National Park
Beauty is everywhere within Yellowstone National Park. You cannot possibly look in any direction and not see something incredible. The best part about visiting this park is you will never find yourself without something to do. In fact, you will find yourself with more things to do than time available!
History of Yellowstone National Park
The area where Yellowstone National Park is located was not always a national park. Before it earned its prestigious recognition, it was an area where the Native Americans spent their lives. In total, there have been twenty-six different tribes associated with this area of the country. Some of them were around long into the past, while others have present day ties with the park.
People, other than the Native Americans, never knew this part of the country existed back in the 1800s and even earlier. However, that changed when Thomas Moran and Willian Henry Jackson spent forty days exploring the area back in 1871. The two men spent all that time photographing and painting the sights they saw. A couple of their favorite locations were Old Faithful, Hayden Valley, and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
It was those paintings and pictures that caused President Ulysses S. Grant and Congress to create Yellowstone National Park in 1872. Yellowstone was the first national park in the United States.
Weather in Yellowstone National Park
The weather in Yellowstone National Park can be slightly unpredictable. This is because of the high elevation of many areas of the park. Some sections of the Park sit at six thousand feet, while a few are even higher. You can easily visit at any time of the year and be met with snow and cold.
The summer months bring temperatures in the seventies, but it can reach a high of eighty degrees on occasion. The nights do get really cool though and it is common to have thunderstorms in the afternoon.
Winter can be brutal inside this national park. The daytime temperatures range from zero degrees all the way down to negative twenty. It gets even colder at night. It snows quite often in Yellowstone National Park during the winter months. While there is normally around one hundred fifty inches of snow, some areas of the park can get twice that amount.
The spring and fall bring cooler temperatures, but not as cold as the winter months. There can still be snow at these times of the year, so you will definitely want to be prepared during your visit.
Best Time to Visit Yellowstone National Park
Every season brings a different type of awe-inspiring beauty, so there really isn’t a good answer as to when the best time to visit is. Basically, it will depend on what you are looking for during your vacation. The summers bring the wildflowers and lush surroundings inside this park. However, that is also when most people choose to visit, because the weather is much nicer.
The foliage is one of the best reasons to visit Yellowstone during the fall season. Plus, since most of the crowds have dissipated, you can easily see many of the sights without long wait times.
The winter months turn this part of the country into a magical destination. The steam creates frost on nearby trees and some of the water erupting from the geysers freezes as it hits the air. The best part about this part of the year though is the chance to see the frozen waterfalls.
The spring is almost the worst time to visit Yellowstone National Park. The snow does start to melt, and some precipitation falls as rain before ultimately freezing. This is the muddiest time of the year in the park. Many roads, visitor centers, hotels, and restaurants are closed at this time of the year.
Interesting Facts About Yellowstone National Park
There are so many interesting facts about Yellowstone National Park that you should know before your visit. First, there are more than two million acres of land within this park. 2,221,866 acres to be exact. That makes this National Park larger than both the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.
Ninety-six percent of Yellowstone National Park is in Wyoming, while three percent is in Montana and one percent can be found in Idaho.
Approximately four million people visit Yellowstone National Park each year. While that number may not seem that high, more than half of those people visit during the summer months of June, July and August.
Yellowstone National Park currently has eleven visitor centers, museums, and contact stations. Inside the museums, you will discover more than seven hundred thousand items on display. In addition to those artifacts, there are more than twenty thousand rare books and millions of different archived documents.
There are more than fifteen hundred buildings within Yellowstone. You can easily access all these places from any of the five park entrances.
Once you enter the park, you can go along any of the four hundred sixty-six miles of roadways. There are also fifteen miles of boardwalks and thirteen trails that are self-guided. If you love hiking, you can explore any of the one thousand miles of hiking trails.
As you are wandering through this park, you will see some of the many animals that live there. Sixty-seven different animals are native to this park. While there was a time when some of those animals were no longer roaming these parklands, you can now see them all once again. Two of the species are being threatened again though and those animals are the Canada lynx and the grizzly bear.
Over the years, there have been record-breaking temperatures at Yellowstone National Park. Most recently, in 2002, a record high temperature of ninety-nine degrees was recorded at Mammoth Hot Springs. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Yellowstone National Park was at the Riverside Station, which is the West Entrance. It was negative sixty-six degrees there in 1933. BRRRRRR!!!!
These are all things you must know about Yellowstone National Park before visiting. Of course, there is so much more that you will learn while you are there, so you must put this incredible destination on your must-travel list today!
Looking for campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park? Read our list of the best campgrounds in Yellowstone.