As summer approaches, many families are starting to plan their vacations. One vacation destination your family may want to consider is Yellowstone National Park. U.S. News and World Report has included Yellowstone on several of its lists of great vacation destinations, including #1 in Best Affordable Destinations in the USA and Best Affordable Family Vacations. It is also included in the Top 10 for World's Best National Parks, Best Places to Hike in North America, and several other categories. If you are considering a Yellowstone vacation, there are several things you should know.
Things to Enjoy
The most famous geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful, is so named because of the predictability of its eruptions. While Old Faithful does not erupt on an exact schedule, it does erupt on average every hour and a half, often spewing water over a hundred feet in the air. The nearby visitor center can give you a more accurate idea of the next eruption.
Many visitors to Yellowstone also enjoy the park's many hiking trails. There are many short hiking trails, some of them under five miles long. For more adventurous hikers, there are back-country hiking and camping areas in the park. Depending upon the specific hike, visitors may see geysers, forested areas, hot springs, and other beautiful natural features.
Some people also enjoy other activities, such as fishing or boating in Yellowstone. If you are not afraid of the cold, Yellowstone is even open during the winter, when cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling are the most common activities.
Things to Remember
Safety should be a top priority when you are visiting Yellowstone or another national park. While you will likely see wildlife, such as bison, wolves, bears, and elk, you should not approach these animals. Instead, stay in your vehicle. If the animals are far enough away, you may be able to step just outside your vehicle to take a picture or to get a better view of the animals. If you have gotten out of your vehicle, be ready to get back in it right away if an animal starts to move closer to you. You will likely encounter another person or a group of people not obeying these safety rules, but that does not make it safe to approach a wild animal, no matter how calm the animal appears.
Another important thing to remember is to stay on the trails and boardwalks. Wandering off trails and boardwalks, especially in thermal areas, could result in serious injury or even death.
A third thing to remember is to dress appropriately for the weather. Even during the summer, it can get cold suddenly. While shorts and a t-shirt might be appropriate for most of the day, it is a good idea to have long pants and at least a jacket, just in case the weather changes suddenly.
Things You May Not Know
Yellowstone experiences small fires each year, often caused by lightning strikes, but the Yellowstone Fires of 1988 were more extreme than other years. During that summer, over 50 fires burned throughout the park, affecting about 36 percent of the park. While the damage seemed significant at the time, the rich soil caused by the ash helped many of the plants to flourish. New plants and trees have regrown to replace those destroyed by the fires of 1988, but you can still see some of the scorched trees lying on the forest floor throughout the park.
While some people do not know it, Grand Teton National Park is located just south of Yellowstone. Visitors to Yellowstone often enjoy taking a trip to Grand Teton as well. In Grand Teton, people can enjoy things such as boating, hiking, and fishing. During the winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are also popular activities. Seven-day passes can be purchased, giving visitors access to both parks during that seven-day period.
Contact us to learn more about great vacation spots for you and your family.