Yellowstone. The mere name conjures up images of sprawling forests, grandiose mountains, and other startling creations of nature. Unfortunately, many Americans have never gotten the opportunity to visit this great national treasure, and those who do often find themselves strapped for time, limited to only 2-3 days. Naturally, these people want to be able to visit the must-sees, the most spectacular sights. But what exactly are the must-sees? To help with this decision, here are a few suggestions.
1.) Old Faithful Geyser: The most famous and most popular of all the geysers in Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful is definitely a must-see on any visitor’s list. While not the tallest or most powerful geyser (that title belongs to Steamboat Geyser, also located in Yellowstone), it is the most powerful geyser that erupts on a predictable basis. Wait times between eruptions differ, but average around 90 minutes. The actual eruption time is also subject to change, lasting anywhere from 1.5 minutes to 5 minutes in total. After checking the estimated time of eruption in the Visitors’ Center nearby, be sure to avoid the crowds and grab a seat early to get a good view.
2.) Midway Geyser Basin: Though one of the smaller basins found in Yellowstone, the Midway Geyser Basin is nonetheless home to a number of spectacular sights. The Excelsior Geyser, while no longer active as a geyser, is still beautiful as a hot spring. Similarly, the largest hot spring in Yellowstone, the Grand Prismatic Spring, features an array of stunning colors that will be sure to wow any visitor.
3.) Mammoth Hot Springs: Also known as the park headquarters, Mammoth Hot Springs is home to a slew of historical buildings that will be sure to pique any history buff’s interest. The Mammoth Hot Springs Terrace is also a must-see, featuring a series of terraces created by the constant trickle of water. Keep an eye out for elk grazing on the lawns of the nearby Mammoth Village.
4.) The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone: Though less famous than its similarly titled counterpart in Arizona, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is nonetheless breathtaking. Featuring gorgeous views of the canyon and the famous waterfall named Lower Falls, the Grand Canyon is a definite must-see. Be prepared to spend several hours exploring the full-scope of the Grand Canyon. Also, take the hike down to the edge of Lower Falls. The view next to the waterfall is truly a sight to behold.
If time is left over after Yellowstone National Park, be sure to also visit Yellowstone’s neighbor park to the south, Grand Teton National Park. The mountain ranges seem impossibly beautiful, and should definitely not be missed.