Introduction to Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park Entrance
Yellowstone National Park North Entrance

Welcome to America’s first national park!  Yellowstone was established in 1872 by act of Congress, and today the park encompasses more than 2.2 million acres of wilderness.  Yellowstone is a diverse ecosystem that is home to a variety of species of wildlife including grizzly and black bears, wolves, elk, moose, bison, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and many others.  The park also contains the world’s largest concentration of geysers, including the world-famous Old Faithful Geyser.

There are five entrances to the park – north, south, east, west, and northeast.  The road system inside  Yellowstone National Park is laid out like a figure eight with the upper loop covering the northern half of the park and the lower loop traversing the southern half.  There are several lodging options from which to choose inside the park including the Old Faithful Inn, Canyon Lodge, Lake Hotel, Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, Roosevelt Lodge, Grant Village, Lake Lodge Cabins, Old Faithful Snow Lodge, and Old Faithful Lodge Cabins.  Lodging inside the park often sells out months in advance due to the popularity of Yellowstone.  However, there are also excellent lodging options just outside of the west and north park entrances.  West Yellowstone, Montana (the west entrance) offers a variety of lodging options along with attractions such as the  Yellowstone IMAX Theater, the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, and the Yellowstone Museum.  Gardiner, Montana (the north entrance) also offers convenient lodging just a few miles north of Mammoth Hot Springs.  For those visitors who feel lucky, there are casinos with keno machines and live poker tables in West Yellowstone and Gardiner.

While you’re certain to see wildlife from the road as you drive through the park, you should consider a hike into the wilderness.  Even if it’s only a short hike off the road, you’ll see and experience the park from a different perspective if you venture into the wild.  Stay on the trails and following directions provided on trail signs.  Also, don’t forget your camera as you may see one of the countless natural wonders that Yellowstone has to offer.

There are a number of other activities that visitors may choose to experience including white water rafting in Gardiner, horseback rides in the park, guided tours, and the Roosevelt western cookout.  We recommend that you plan to visit the park for at least five days in order to comfortably explore all of its regions and major attractions.  Be sure to visit the Old Faithful geyser basins, Norris Geyser Basin, Mammoth Hot Springs, the petrified forest, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Lamar Valley, Hayden Valley, Fishing Bridge, and the mud volcano.  There’s so much to see, and the adventure of a lifetime awaits you.  Don’t delay, plan your next Yellowstone National Park adventure today!  For more information about the park, visit our Yellowstone National Park website at