Top 7 Attractions of the Yellowstone National Park

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7. Lamar Valley


Photo: Bruce Gourley.

This wide, expansive valley is home to bison, elk, coyote, grizzly and wolf, and is must-visit area for serious wildlife watchers.   Bison and elk are readily visible, and coyotes can oftentimes be spotted.  Visitors who are willing to rise early in the morning or wait up until dusk also may have the opportunity to see bears and wolves.  In fact, Lamar Valley is the #1 destination for viewing wolves.  There are also abundant fishing opportunities in the Lamar Valley.

6. Norris Geyser Basin

One of Yellowstone's most popular geyser basins, Norris is home to Echinus (one of the Park's most popular geysers) and Steamboat (the world's tallest geyser).  In addition, there are several miles of boardwalks from which you can explore dozens of multi-colored thermal features.  Finally, elk and the occasional bison can sometimes be spotted in the area.

5. Yellowstone Lake


Photo: Yellowstone Lake by Bruce Gourley.

This is the largest high-altitude lake in the lower 48 states, and it is breathtaking in grandeur.  As you follow the long shoreline both east and north, you will see snow-capped mountains rising across the lake.  On windy days, ocean-like waves break onto the shore.   Be sure to visit Lake Village and walk through the Hotel.  You might also want to sit on the porch of Lake Lodge and take in the view.

4. Mammoth Hot Springs

This is Park headquarters and it radiates history, featuring some of the oldest buildings in the Park, including structures from the days when the U.S. Army was managing Yellowstone.  Be sure to drop by the Visitor's Center and allow enough time to watch a film, browse the history exhibit, and walk through the upstairs wildlife museum.  In addition, Mammoth Hot Springs Terrace is quite magnificent, and the Terrace drive is a must.  Finally, be sure to look for the seemingly ever-present elk grazing on the green lawns of Mammoth Village.

3. Hayden Valley

This valley, centrally located in Yellowstone, is the first place to go to see wildlife in Yellowstone.  As you drive along this beautiful, broad valley you are likely to see herds of bison, scattered elk (and the occasional herd), and the occasional grizzly bear.  You are also likely to see waterfowl, including ducks, Canadian geese and pelicans, swimming in or lounging near the Yellowstone River.

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