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The Best 10 Things to Do in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park may have been the very first national park in the country, but that is not the only reason why you must add it to your travel list. There are a plethora of things to do inside Yellowstone. You can easily fill every minute of your stay while having fun and enjoying every moment. Plus, if you are traveling with your family, or a group of friends, it is easy to find something that everyone will love! 

The Best Things to Do in Yellowstone National Park

best things to do in Yellowstone

Watch Old Faithful Erupt

The most popular thing to do inside Yellowstone National Park is watching Old Faithful erupt. In fact, this is the attraction that is always at the top of everyone’s list of things to do! Most people will choose to visit this part of the park first before doing anything else. 

Old Faithful might not be the oldest geyser in the world, but it is the most predictable. Old Faithful usually erupts every hour and a half and the water shoots more than one hundred feet in the air. It is recommended that you arrive at Old Faithful early, so you can find an excellent spot to watch. Plus, this geyser is known to be slightly unpredictable and erupt earlier than originally thought on occasion. 

Old Faithful geyser is the number one thing to do in Yellowstone National Park
Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone National Park
Photo by Emily Campbell on Unsplash

Visit the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

If you have been to the Grand Canyon before, you may think that there is no way the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is going to come close to impressing you. However, this massive canyon is just as amazing, and it is one of the best places to hike in Yellowstone. This canyon is only a mile wide, but it is twenty miles long. 

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park
The (other) Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park
Photo by Juliette Herlem on Unsplash

Visit the Grand Prismatic Spring

Most people love visiting hot springs, because they can soak in them to relax. There is no way you can do that in the Grand Prismatic Spring, because the water is way to hot for any human. This spring is more than one hundred feet deep and three hundred seventy feet around. The water sparkles blue towards the center, but the outer rings are all the colors of the rainbow. The colors are constantly changing according to the temperature of the water. You can see this hot spring from many different areas, but one of the best is the Fairy Falls Overlook. 

Experience Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake is the largest lake within Yellowstone National Park. This lake is more than seven thousand feet in elevation, so it is always frozen before winter even arrives. The lake then stays frozen through the month of May and sometimes further into June. Therefore, the best time to experience this lake is during the summer months. While you can easily walk along the shoreline, it is best to take one of the scenic boat rides. Those boat rides will allow you to see the park from a different vantage point. 

Explore the Mammoth Hot Springs

There are many terraces over at the Mammoth Hot Springs. Those terraces have been formed over the years and are constantly changing. You must walk along the boardwalks to see the different terraces during your visit. When you are in this area, you should also take the time to do the Upper Terrace Drive, stop at the Historic Fort Yellowstone, and see the animals along Old Gardiner Road. 

Mammoth Springs in Yellowstone National Park
Mammoth Springs in Yellowstone National Park
Photo by Jéan Béller on Unsplash

Spot Other Geysers Along the Firehole Lake Drive

The Firehole Lake Drive is three miles long and it takes you through the Lower Geyser Basin. This is an excellent way to see some of the other geysers and hot springs located within this park. If you do not want to spend that much time in your car, you can wander along the nearby boardwalks to see the geysers and hot springs from a different perspective. 

See the Wildlife in Lamar Valley

One of the best places to see the wildlife that roams freely throughout Yellowstone National Park is Lamar Valley. The animals are most active in the early morning and later in the day, so you will want to plan your visit accordingly. A few of the animals you will see include bison, wolves, bears, coyotes, pronghorn, and elk. It is recommended to plan a little extra time, because these animals are famous for blocking the roads or just making a nuisance of themselves and preventing you from continuing on your way. Plus, you will be mesmerized by seeing these animals up close and won’t want to leave. 

bison in road at Yellowstone
Bison in the middle of the road at Yellowstone

Stop at the Overlooks Along Dunraven Pass

If you are looking for an unlimited number of incredible views of Yellowstone, you must take a day and enjoy the Dunraven Pass drive. There are many different overlooks and stopping points along this drive and you can stop at them all if you wish. 

Hike Mt. Washburn

There are many hiking options inside Yellowstone National Park, but the trail to the summit of Mt. Washburn is the most popular. You will have two different options for reaching the summit. The Dunraven Pass Trailhead begins on Grand Loop Road. The entire hike is just over six miles. The other trail begins over at the end of Chittendon Road. If you take that trail, it is only five miles round trip. 

See Tower Fall Up Close

There are a few waterfalls inside Yellowstone National Park, but Tower Fall is the easiest of them all to see. This waterfall is located directly next to a road. All you need to do is park your car and walk to the overlook area. 

Tower Falls at Yellowstone National Park
Photo by Kris DeBruine on Unsplash

These are our picks for the ten best things to do in Yellowstone National Park, but they are not the only things that should be on your list. You can easily pack your days with everything this park has to offer and still not see everything. It is best to plan your days well in advance and leave a little extra time in between activities. This will ensure you are not rushing through everything or needing to skip over a few activities because you spent too much time somewhere else. 

If you plan to camp in your Airstream or other RV, be sure to check out our recommendations for the best campgrounds in Yellowstone.