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10 Must See Sights in Yellowstone National Park

With over 3,500 square miles to cover, it is hard to see it all in Yellowstone. I even found the process of planning our trip and sorting through all the options a bit stressful. I decided to share what we learned on our trip about what you must see in Yellowstone to make your planning a little easier.

Everyone has heard of Old Faithful, but did you know there is a Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone?  What about that in addition to Old Faithful there are 500 active geysers, 290 waterfalls and 10,000 thermal features? Feeling overwhelmed yet? Let me tell you the things that you can’t miss if you have limited time in Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone tips

10 Things you Must See in Yellowstone

So here are my suggestions on the what you must do in Yellowstone, but first, I’ve captured most of these in a video we put together from our trip:

1 – West Thumb Geyser Basin

This is one of my favorite areas in Yellowstone. It isn’t as crowded as some of the other geyser basins and it is combined with gorgeous views of Yellowstone Lake.

West Thumb Geyser basin

The Abyss Pool may only be 53 feet deep, but it does seem like it could go on forever. I also found the Fishing Cone pretty fascinating — as it is a place where early visitors used to fish in the lake and then cook the fish in the hot water of the hot spring.

2 – Artist Point

Must see in Yellowstone - Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

You can either drive and park or walk along the South Rim Trail along the Yellowstone River to get to Artist Point. From here, you can look up the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone to see beautiful views of Lower Falls.

3 – Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

The view from Artist Point is beautiful but for better views of the 20 mile long Canyon and the Upper Falls, try a hike along the South Rim Trail or the slightly more precarious North Rim Trail.

You can also do Uncle Tom’s Trail, but be prepared for stairs! (My friend Bryanna from Crazy Family Adventure has some advice about this trail.)

4 – Hayden Valley

Hayden Valley between Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge is the prime area for bison viewing and you may also spot eagles, bears, and even coyotes or wolves.

Bison in Hayden Valley

You will want to also check out my post about where to find wildlife in Yellowstone.

5 – Tower Fall

Must see in Yellowstone Tower Falls

In the Tower-Roosevelt area, the 132-foot Tower Fall is definitely worth a stop. It doesn’t take long as there is just a short walk out to an overlook of the falls, however it is one stop that is often overlooked.

6 – Mammoth Hot Springs

The travertine terraces in Mammoth Hot Springs are beautiful and unique and really worth a visit.

Mammoth Hot Springs Yellowstone

But you should also plan on having dinner in the town of Mammoth, when the elk come to graze in the town square.

7 – Roosevelt Arch

If you are staying up by Mammoth Hot Springs, it is really worth a drive up to the North Entrance to see the historic Roosevelt Arch.

This is the first major entrance to the park and you can just imagine the horse-drawn carriages that used to pass under the famously-inscribed words “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”

Must see in Yellowstone Roosevelt Arch

You will also often find pronghorn up by the North Entrance. If you plan to stop here for dinner, just keep in mind that options are pretty limited.

8 – Grand Prismatic Spring

One of the most photographed spots in the park, Grand Prismatic Spring in the Midway Geyser Basin is worth the hype…but it is also really crowded so be prepared (and be sure to check out my Yellowstone tips.)

Grand Prismatic Spring Yellowstone

The crowds can really detract from the experience, as there is a narrow boardwalk around the spring. Therefore it is best to go early or late in the day when the crowds are lighter. 

9 – Old Faithful

Another crowded spot but still a must do in Yellowstone. Old Faithful erupts every 51 to 120 minutes and shoots up about 106 to 180 feet, lasting 1.5 to 5 minutes.

Luckily, there is plenty of space along the rail to wait for the eruption. You can even walk around to the back of the geyser to see the view from the other side. Just keep in mind that the Park Ranger talks will be up front near the Visitor Center.

Must do in Yellowstone Old Faithful

Afterward you see Old Faithful erupt, check out the historic Old Faithful Inn. This is a great spot for lunch.

10 – Norris Geyser Basin

You will get your fill of geothermal features including small geysers (unless you get lucky with a major eruption at Steamboat Geyser), hot springs and mudpots.

Norris Geyser Basin Yellowstone

Just don’t plan on visiting more than one geyser basin in a day as it can get very repetitive.

Do you have any sights you must see in Yellowstone?

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10 Must see sights in Yellowstone National Park. If you have only a few days in Yellowstone, make sure you fit in stops at these must see sights! #yellowstone #nationalparks

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1 Comment on “10 Must See Sights in Yellowstone National Park

  1. haven’t been to Yellowstone but your photos make me want to plan a trip ASAP!

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