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Yellowstone National Park (30)

One of America's greatest treasures is the Yellowstone National Park. Located primarily in Wyoming, it covers over 3,400 miles. It is the first worldwide national park and holds a very rich history. Unique plants and abundant wildlife can be found here along with the famous Old Faithful Geyser.

Native Americans were Yellowstone's first dwellers. Here Native Americans used the natural quarries to make tools and weapons. They used the material obsidian which is naturally found in Yellowstone. The area was also a major hunting ground for many tribes. Years ago Buffalo was abundant and tribes would follow their routes through numerous trails in Yellowstone. Hot Springs were used for cooking and preparing hides. Today tribes do not reside in Yellowstone but are allowed to enter and use the land with no fees.

Yellowstone is a natural beauty filled with mountains, canyons, lakes and rivers. There is an abundance of things to do during a stay at this park. With so many activities it is best to visit one of their eight visitor centers. The Albright Visitor Center is the main one and is open year round. Located near Mammoth Hot Springs; it offers a wealth of information, exhibits, films and a bookstore. If you are an angler, a visit to the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center is a must. Here there are exhibits about the park's wildlife and information about Yellowstone Lake. You can also receive a relief map of the lake's bottom. A fun visitor center to visit is the Museum of the National Park Ranger. Here you can learn about the history of Park Rangers through films and exhibits. The jewel of Yellowstone is featured at the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center. Here you can learn about geysers and hydrothermal features. Park Rangers also post predictive eruptions times of Old Faithful Geyser each day. There are four other visitor centers located throughout the park. All can help visitors with any questions they may have.

Yellowstone offers an abundance of lodging. For campers there is over 12 campsites and 2000 individual campsites. Reservations are highly recommended as campsites fill up fast. Amenities vary from campsite to campsite, some will have showers and RV hookups. All campsites have bear proof boxes where campers can store food safely away from hungry bears. These boxes also help to keep bears away from the campsite. Weather permitting, wood and charcoal fires are allowed in designated areas. For those who like to enjoy more modern living, cabins and hotels are available. Be aware that some are only open during the summer or winter.

There many outdoor activities to choose from. Walking tours and hikes are offered year round, children will enjoy the Junior Ranger school, bicycles are welcomed and have their own trails. Fishing is encouraged here, if you plan to fish be sure to have a current permit and understand all regulations. While hunting is prohibited on National Park land, there are numerous hunting tours that operated just outside of the park's boundaries.

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