Offering surreal larger-than-life views, dynamic landscapes, and surprising wildlife sightings, a Yellowstone National Park adventure is something that you definitely have to embark on at least once, if not more times, during your lifetime. This magical place makes for the perfect vacation whether you are planning a Yellowstone National Park adventure with kids or as a group of friends. Unfortunately, like most other tourist places, people end up planning their Yellowstone National Park adventure around the popular tourist attractions, and spend very little time actually exploring the place and soaking in the magic at the park. According to studies, approximately 90 percent of the people who go to the Yellowstone National Park don’t even stray ¼ miles off the main road while they are there. Forget your hurried checklist. Here are a few things you need to see to actually experience a Yellowstone National Park adventure like no other!
Visit the Grand Prismatic
The Midway Geyser Basin of the Grand Prismatic is located a few miles away from the Old Faithful. This might be a short stop on your Yellowstone National Park adventure but it really is one worth visiting. The views you’d get to see at the Grand Prismatic are unlike any other. Peak season for visiting this basin is in between the months of July and August. Finding parking here around this time is a challenge so plan ahead. There are longer hiking trails open around the area to please the nature enthusiast in you. Even if you are traveling with infants and toddlers, you can add this spot to your Yellowstone National Park adventure checklist as there is a boardwalk around the Grand Prismatic that is built to accommodate strollers, if need be.
Keep in mind: Don’t wear a hat or scarf or anything that is likely to fly away if it is a windy day. The ground in this area is fragile and delicate; a misstep could cause the crust to split over the boiling water underneath.
Watch the Old Faithful in a New Way
No Yellowstone National Park adventure can be considered complete without stopping to see the Old Faithful erupt a few times. However, there is no need for you to hurry. There are a few places from where you can see the Old Faithful erupt in all its glory. We recommend heading to the Old Faithful Inn – just grab some food and sit tight on the porch of the Inn for this spectacular display every 45 minutes. If you are the sporty kind, head to one of the trails and hiking boardwalks. Not only will you be able to see other small geysers and prismatic pools, but the higher vantage point of the mountain trail makes for some great views of the Old Faithful. Lastly, try to watch the geyser a few times in different lighting – you will be surprised to see how different yet equally magical the Old Faithful looks on a starry night or while the sun is setting. Just slow down and appreciate the majesty of this attraction.
Hike to the top of Mount Washburn
While there are many day hikes that you can add to your Yellowstone National Park adventure itinerary, we recommend the 3-mile uphill hike to the top of Mount Washburn. From the enchanting wildflowers you will stumble upon while hiking to the satisfying views from the fire lookout tower right at the top, this hike is well worth it. Wear comfortable and well-fitting hiking shoes, carry bear spray (you can rent it from stores in Canyon Village), and pack plenty of water and snacks.
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