®

Yellowstone National Park

From wiki.travel.com

Jump to: navigation, search

For Hotel Reservations Worldwide, Call 24/7 to TRAVEL.COM: From US/Canada - 800-329-6117 / From Europe - 00-800-1120-1140

wiki.travel.com


Yellowstone National Park [1] is a United States National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the world's first national park, set aside in 1872 to preserve the vast number of geysers, hot springs, and other thermal areas, as well as to protect the incredible wildlife and rugged beauty of the area. The park is principally contained within the northwest corner of Wyoming, but also extends into the states of Idaho and Montana.

Understand

Yellowstone is the first and oldest national park in the world and covers 3,472 square miles (8,987 km²), mostly in the northwest corner of Wyoming. The park is famous for its various geysers, hot springs, and other geothermal features and is home to grizzly bears, wolves, and free-ranging herds of bison and elk.

History

Long before any recorded human history in Yellowstone, a massive volcanic eruption spewed an immense volume of ash that covered all of the western U.S., much of the Midwest, northern Mexico and some areas of the eastern Pacific Coast. The eruption dwarfed that of Mt. St. Helens in 1980 and left a huge caldera. Yellowstone typically erupts every 600,000 to 900,000 years with the last event occurring 640,000 years ago. Its eruptions are among the largest known to have ever occurred on Earth, producing drastic climate change in the aftermath. Although it is commonly assumed that the park was named for the yellow rocks seen in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, the park's name comes from the Yellowstone River that flows through it, which is in turn named after sandstone bluffs found farther down its course in eastern Montana.

On March 1,1872, Yellowstone became the first National Park reserve declared anywhere in the world, by President Ulysses S. Grant. In 1978 it was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO [2].

Landscape

Geological characteristics form the foundation of an ecosystem. In Yellowstone, the interplay between volcanic, hydrothermal, and glacial processes and the distribution of flora and fauna are intricate and unique. The topography of the land from southern Idaho northeast to Yellowstone results from millions of years of hotspot influence. Some scientists believe the Yellowstone Plateau itself is a result of uplift due to hotspot volcanism.

Flora and fauna

The park is the core of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the largest intact temperate zone ecosystems remaining on the planet. Black bears, grizzly bears, deer, elk, bison, bighorn sheep and wolves can all be found within the park borders.

Geothermal Features

Primary geothermal features include geysers, mud pots, hot springs and fumaroles, which exist because of the active volcano that Yellowstone sits on top of. Geothermal features are formed by superheated water heated by the volcano. The pressure is so intense that it gets released into the air as hundreds of gallons of steaming water, or, when the pressure is not as intense, hot springs or mud pots are formed. Various colors of the pool are due to different types of bacteria growing in different temperatures. A good way to learn about the geothermal features is through the Young Scientist Program. Please check with a Ranger at the Old Faithful Visitor Center.

Climate

The weather in Yellowstone National Park can change very rapidly from sunny and warm to cold and rainy, so it's important to bring along extra layers of clothing which can be used as needed.

Get in

By air

Yellowstone is located far from any major airports. The principal airport serving Yellowstone is the Jackson Hole Airport (IATA: JAC) [3] located within Grand Teton National Park. Non-stop flights to Jackson Hole are available from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City. Most service is seasonal.

As service to Jackson Hole Airport is infrequent and expensive, a better method of entering Yellowstone is by flying into Salt Lake City,[4] (a major hub for Delta Air Lines, the world's largest commercial airline) and driving to Yellowstone via I-15 and US 20—a distance of roughly 320mi (515km) or about 5-6 hours.

Small airports with limited/seasonal commercial service can be found in:

Montana

Idaho

Wyoming

Alternative airports may have less airline service than Jackson Hole.

By car

The park has 5 entrances. The nearest cities to each entrance are given.

Fees/Permits

All vehicles and individuals entering the park must pay an entrance fee that is valid for seven days. The entrance fee provides entry to both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Fees are $25 for non-commercial vehicles, $12 for hikers and cyclists, and $20 for motorcycles and snowmobiles.

One year passes are available as an alternative to the seven day fee. The Park Annual Pass is $50 and provides entrance to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. The Interagency Annual Pass is $80 and provides entrance to most federal recreation sites across the country including Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

Get around

By car

Most visitors use private vehicles to get around inside Yellowstone National Park. There is no public transportation available within the park. Roads can become very crowded whenever people stop to view wildlife; use pullouts, and be respectful of other motorists to help avoid bear-jams.

By bus

Xanterra Resorts [10] provides bus tours within the park during the summer season. The Lower Loop Tour departs from locations in the southern part of the Park only. The Upper Loop Tour departs from Lake Hotel, Fishing Bridge RV Park, and Canyon Lodge to tour the northern section of the park only. The Grand Loop Tour departs from Gardiner and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel to tour the entire park in one day. During the winter season snowcoach tours are provided from various locations. Call (307) 344-7311 for information or reservations.

In addition, during the summer season, commercial businesses offer tours originating from many area towns and cities. During the winter season, some businesses provide snowcoach tours for most park roads or bus transportation on the Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City road.

By bicycle

Cycling in the park can be a very rewarding experience, but due to the great distances in the park some additional planning is necessary to ensure that lodging is available each night. The park reserves a number of campsites for cyclists, but during the busy summer season it is probably best to reserve sites in advance wherever possible.

See

Yellowstone is world-famous for its natural heritage and beauty - and for the fact that it holds half the world's geothermal features, with more than 10,000 examples. Travelers to Yellowstone can view more than 300 geysers (such as "Old Faithful"), pools of boiling mud, and an amazing assemblage of wildlife, such as grizzly bears, wolves, bison and elk, all while standing on the surface of the Earth's largest known "super-volcano".

Mammoth

Norris

Madison

Geyser basins, including Old Faithful

Grant Village

Lake Area

Canyon

Tower-Roosevelt

Do

Many visitors believe they can visit all 2.2 million acres of Yellowstone in 1-2 days - all the while staying within sight of their car or tour bus. To truly appreciate this vast park, get off the park roads and paved tourist paths.

Buy

Every major village within the park offers food, camping supplies, and souvenirs for sale, although these stores all close during the winter months.

Gasoline and automotive services are available in the following locations:

Eat

Most of the villages sell food supplies and may offer snack bars. The following restaurants and cafeterias are also available:

Drink

Cocktails can be purchased in the lodge restaurants, and lighter beverages can be obtained at the snack bars.

Sleep

Lodging

Lodging in the park fills quickly and should be booked in advance. Cancellations are common, so if a particular lodging option is unavailable it is a good idea to re-check frequently to see if it becomes available. Reservations for all lodges and cabins in the park can be made through Xanterra Parks & Resorts [11] or by calling (307) 344-7311. All park accommodations are non-smoking and, reflecting the natural surroundings of Yellowstone, televisions, radios, air conditioning, and Internet hook-ups are not available.

Camping

Xanterra Parks & Resorts [12] operates campgrounds at Bridge Bay, Canyon, Fishing Bridge, Grant Village, and Madison. Same-day reservations can be made by calling: 307-344-7901. Future reservations can be made by calling: 307-344-7311 or by writing: Yellowstone National Park Lodges, PO Box 165, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190.

Reservations should be made well in advance and/or campsites should be secured as early in the day as possible. Campgrounds may fill by early morning, especially during peak season (early July - late August). Recreational vehicles over 30 ft should make reservations since there is a limited number of RV sites available in Yellowstone. Large RV sites are located at Flag Ranch, Fishing Bridge RV Park and West Yellowstone.

Indian Creek, Lewis Lake, Mammoth, Norris, Pebble Creek, Slough Creek, and Tower Fall are operated by the National Park Service and do not accept reservations; all sites are first-come, first-served.

Backcountry

Permits are required for all backcountry camping, and quotas are placed on the number of people that may use an area at a given time. The maximum stay per backcountry campsite varies from 1 to 3 nights per trip. Campfires are permitted only in established fire pits, and wood fires are not allowed in some backcountry campsites. A food storage pole is provided at most designated campsites so that food and attractants may be secured from bears. Neither hunting nor firearms are allowed in Yellowstone's backcountry.

Permits may be obtained only in person and no more than 48 hours in advance of your trip, although backcountry sites may be reserved through the mail well in advance for a non-refundable $20 reservation fee. To reserve a site, download the reservation form from the Backcountry Trip Planner [13], call (307) 344-2160, or by writing: Backcountry Office, PO Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190.

During the summer season (Jun-Aug), permits are available 7 days a week between 8AM and 4:30PM at the following locations:

In addition, permits may sometimes be obtained from rangers on duty at the East Entrance and Bridge Bay Ranger Station. However, these rangers have other duties and may not be available to provide assistance at all times.

During the spring, fall, and winter seasons, ranger stations and visitor centers do not have set hours. To obtain a Backcountry Use Permit during these seasons, check the office hours posted at the nearest ranger station or visitor center.

Stay safe

Though many of the animals in the park are used to seeing humans, the wildlife is nonetheless wild and should not be fed or disturbed. Stay at least 100 m away from bears and 25 m from all other wild animals! Bison, elk, moose, bears, and nearly all large animals can attack! For any doubters, the National Park Service has put a series of animal attack videos [14] online -- these animals are large, wild, and potentially dangerous, so give them their space.

In addition, be aware that odors attract bears and other wildlife, so avoid carrying or cooking odorous foods and keep a clean camp; do not cook or store food in your tent. All food, garbage, or other odorous items used for preparing or cooking food must be secured from bears. Treat all odorous products such as soap, deodorant, or other toiletries in the same manner as food. Do not leave packs containing food unattended, even for a few minutes. Animals which obtain human food often become aggressive and dependent on human foods, and many can suffer ill health or death from eating a non-native diet.

When camping, either filter, boil, or otherwise purify drinking water. Waters may be polluted by animal and/or human wastes, and intestinal infections from drinking untreated water are increasingly common.

Always stay on boardwalks in thermal areas. Scalding water lies under thin, breakable crusts; pools are near or above boiling temperatures. Every year visitors traveling off trail are seriously burned, and people have died from the scalding water. No swimming or bathing is allowed in thermal pools.

The weather can change rapidly and with little warning. A sunny, warm day can quickly become a cold, rainy or even snowy experience. Hypothermia can be a concern. Be prepared for a variety of weather conditions by bringing along appropriate clothing. Lightning can and does injure and kill people in the park, so watch the sky and take shelter in a building if you hear thunder.

Get out

WikiPedia: Yellowstone National Park


Related Information


Related Information


Related Information




---
A list of contributors is available at the original article on Wikitravel. Additional modifications may have been made by users at TRAVEL.COM [15].

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.

Personal tools


Main Page | Random Page | Special Pages
Africa | Asia | Caribbean | Central America | Europe
Middle East | North America | Oceania | South America | Other Destinations