Places to Visit: Yellowstone National Park

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Yellowstone National Park

When visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, a side trip to Yellowstone National Park to view the famous geothermal attractions and other sights is an important addition to your vacation itinerary.

  • Take a side trip from Rocky Mountain Park to see Yellowstone and all its geothermal features
  • Yellowstone is open all year, but can only be accessed by snow vehicles in winter
  • $25 per vehicle, $12 for visitors on foot, bike or skis
  • Don’t miss seeing Old Faithful erupt when visiting

Overview

Yellowstone remains one of the last vestiges of the wild and untamed in the United States. It’s the oldest park in the country and each year draws 3 million visitors to the region. Some estimates claim that at least one-third of the US population will visit Yellowstone in their lifetime.

Hours/Seasons

Yellowstone is open every day of the year. During November and in late March and early April, most of the entrances are closed for winter preparations being done on the roads, but the North and Northeast entrances remain open. During the winter months the roads through the park are only open to snow vehicles.

Visitor Center Hours

  • Albright Visitor Center
    Open daily all year expect November 11 (Veteran’s Day) and November 25 (Thanksgiving).
    Spring through 30 September: 8 am to 7 pm
    1 October through winter: 9 am to 5 pm
  • Canyon Visitor Education Center
    Open daily up to 17 October
    Spring through 30 September: 8 am to 8 pm
    1 October to 17 October: 9 am to 5 pm
  • Fishing Bridge Visitor Center
    Open daily up to 30 September
    Spring through 30 September: 8 am to 7 pm
  • Grant Visitor Center
    Open daily up to 30 September
    Spring through 30 September: 8 am to 7 pm
  • Old Faithful Visitor Education Center
    Open daily up to 7 November
    Spring through 30 September: 8 am to 8 pm
    1 October to 7 November: 9 am to 5 pm
    Opens again in mid-December for the winter season
  • West Thumb Information Center
    Open daily up to 30 September
    Spring through 30 September: 9 am to 5 pm
  • West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center
    Spring through 6 September: 8 am to 8 pm
    7 September to 7 November: 8 am to 4 pm

Fees

Entrance fees are:

  • $25 for a private vehicle
  • $20 per snowmobile or motorcycle
  • $12 for visitors on foot, bike or skis (16 years old and up)

Camping fees are between $12 and $14 for first-come, first-served sites, $19.50 for reserved camping sites and $28 for RV sites.

Contact

Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY
82190-0168
Phone:
Visitor Information - 307-344-7381 (recorded information)

Highlights

Yellowstone was formed when a huge volcanic eruption shot a large amount of ash that covered the entire western United States, most of the Midwest, northern Mexico and some regions of the eastern Pacific. It left a caldera 30 miles wide by 45 miles long. This event happened 640,000 years ago and was one of the key processes that formed Yellowstone National Park.

There are so many incredible attractions and geothermal features in Yellowstone, it’s difficult to list them all in one place. Here are just a few:

  • Old Faithful
    Probably the most popular geothermal destination in Yellowstone is Old Faithful. It gives true testimony to one of the world’s largest active volcanoes. You can’t miss its impressive display of steam and water.
  • Yellowstone Lake
    Yellowstone’s largest lake was known and written about by fur trappers and other western explorers as far back as 1827. Today, it’s popular for fishing, boating and its scenic beauty.
  • Artist Paint Pots
    This spot, south of Norris Junction, offers views of colorful hot springs and bubbling mudpots. A short hike takes you right to these thermal attractions.
  • Madison River
    This blue-ribbon fly-fishing stream is perfect for fishing for rainbow and brown trout as well as mountain whitefish. This river is formed at the junction of the Firehole and Gibbon Rivers.
  • Mammoth Hot Springs
    Mammoth Hot Springs is a unique attraction with hot water rising through limestone and depositing mineral formations. This area is in a state of continual change as volumes of water ebb and flow, shifting on a daily basis.
  • Tower Fall
    Tower Fall is a spectacular 132-foot cascade, fascinating visitors for decades. The landscapes around this waterfall have captivated artists and become the subject of numerous paintings.

Getting Here

To get to Rocky Mountain National Park from Yellowstone, you begin on US Highway 14 from the east entrance of Yellowstone, and follow that about 80 miles to Wyoming Highway 120. In another 80 miles you will come to US Highway 20. Take a right and stay on this road until you come to Interstate 25. Go south, take exit 257 and continue on US Highway 34 right to Rocky Mountain National Park. The trip will be a little over 9 hours, but well worth it.

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