Our first national park, Yellowstone is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem - the largest remaining nearly-intact ecosystem in the Earth's northern temperate zone. Comprised of mountain ranges, canyons, rivers, and lakes, the park spans an area of about 3500 square miles. The Yellowstone Caldera, the largest super volcano on the continent, is considered an active volcano, and has erupted with tremendous force several times in the last two million years. Lava flows and rocks from volcanic eruptions cover most of the land area of Yellowstone. Fueled by this ongoing volcanism, half of the world's geothermal features are in Yellowstone.
Yellowstone National Park is the largest and most famous megafauna location in the contiguous United States. Hundreds of species of mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles have been documented in the park, including several that are either endangered or threatened. Grizzly bears, wolves, and free-ranging herds of bison and elk live in the park. The Yellowstone National Park bison herd is the oldest and largest public bison herd in the United States. The park also has several Blue Ribbon trout streams for fly fishing in Yellowstone. Most rivers are catch and release and the scenery surrounding the rivers is breathtaking.
The park's vast forests and grasslands include unique species of plants. A necessary part of Yellowstone's landscape, forest fires occur in the park every year. In 1988, nearly one third of the park burned and regenerated the landscape. The Visitor Education Center at Grant Village has an exhibit on forest fires and the most common tree in Yellowstone, the Lodgepole Pine. July and August are traditionally the busiest months for visitors but those months also provide vast landscapes full of colorful wildflowers in bloom.
From before Yellowstone was a national park, to the time the Army was put in place to protect it, to the introduction of automobile travel, Yellowstone has continued to attract visitors. Yellowstone National Park is much bigger than most folks realize. You can spend one day or several decades exploring and still find more to go see. The majority of visitors to Yellowstone spend just a few days of their overall vacation in the park. With just two days, you can take in the highlights by spending one day on the Upper Loop Road and one day on the Lower Loop Road. If you have just one day, we recommend not trying to take in the whole park. You will better enjoy the visit if you spend your day on just the Lower Loop Road. World famous Old Faithful Geyser is on that loop along with the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and the Fountain Paint Pots. Regardless, we always recommend taking a tour of the park. You will see more in less time instead of less in more time.