Is Yellowstone the Largest National Park?

At 2.2 million acres, Yellowstone National Park would seem to be a good candidate for “largest national park.” However, Yellowstone does not currently hold this title. Read on to discover which park tops the size scale and learn other fun facts about Yellowstone National Park and its sister parks.

Largest national park

The largest park in the National Park System is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Reserve in Alaska. In fact, more than half of the national parks in Alaska are larger than Yellowstone National Park. In the contiguous United States, Yellowstone did hold the title for largest national park until 1994. At that time, Death Valley National Monument became a national park. It was also expanded to its current 3 million-plus acres, which beats Yellowstone in size.

Most visited national park

Yellowstone National Park ranks among the top five national parks for the number of visitors it welcomes every year. Great Smoky Mountains National Park typically takes the title.

Highest peak in the park

The highest peak in Yellowstone National Park reaches 11,358 feet. Named Eagle Peak, this crest can be found in the southeastern region of the park.

Features of the park

Yellowstone National Park is home to Yellowstone volcano. The underlying body of magma from this volcano creates a unique hydrothermal system that features five types of hydrothermal landscapes. In total, the park boasts more than 10,000 hydrothermal features:

  • Hot springs: These are pools of water that are heated by the volcanic activity.
  • Geysers: When hot springs experience tightening in their plumbing, they occasionally erupt to release the built-up pressure, which creates a geyser.
  • Mudpots: This type of hot spring is one that is highly acidic and dissolves the rock surrounding it.
  • Travertine terraces: These terraces are created when hot springs rise through the limestone, dissolve calcium carbonite and deposit the calcite.
  • Fumaroles: Also referred to as steam vents, these openings release hot steam instead of water.

Animals of the park

Yellowstone National Park is famous for its bison population. This is the only location in the U.S. where these animals have lived continuously for thousands of years. It is the home of the largest bison population in the country on public land.

The park is also home to 66 other mammals. These include grizzly bears, black bears, gray wolves, elk, white-tailed deer and bighorn sheep. In the waters of Yellowstone National Park, you’ll find 11 native species of fish, including trout, whitefish, suckers and graylings. Throughout the park, you can encounter 300 species of birds, including the common loon, golden eagle and trumpeter swan.

Discover more

Learn even more about the park by exploring it in person! Contact Yellowstone Tour Guides for tours, sightseeing and hikes throughout Yellowstone National Park. Since 2001, our experienced guides have been dedicated to showing visitors the beauty of Yellowstone. We look forward to exploring the park with you and helping you discover all its incredible wonders that can’t be found anywhere else on the planet. Reach Yellowstone Tour Guides today at 406-995-2399.

How Did Yellowstone Get Its Name?

Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park was the world’s first national park. However, its history stretches back much farther than 1872. We must step into this history to discover how this park was named.

Taking in the large yellow cliffs, it might seem like a straightforward story. Yet, this name was the result of a combination of languages and groups of people who helped give the park its modern nomenclature. Here’s how it happened:

Other fun facts about Yellowstone National Park

What kind of wildlife can I see at Yellowstone National Park?

Yellowstone National Park offers a diverse landscape that supports an immense variety of wildlife. You can find nearly 300 species of birds in the park! Exploring the waters will reveal 16 different types of fish and five species of amphibians. As you trek around the park, you can also encounter six species of reptiles and another 67 species of mammals. This includes two bear species—watch out!

What kind of landscape will I see at Yellowstone National Park?

You’ll probably find that exploring Yellowstone National Park feels like traveling to another planet. In each section of the park, you’ll encounter incredible land formations that are immensely different than the previous ones. With so many unique features, the park is truly a natural wonder.

Throughout the park, you’ll discover geysers, steam vents, mudpots, hot springs, the Yellowstone River Grand Canyon, mountains, plateaus and more.

What kind of plants grow in Yellowstone National Park?

The flora of Yellowstone National Park is just as diverse as the landscape and other living creatures. A trip through the park will reveal hundreds of wildflowers. You’ll also see many species of shrubs, including Rocky Mountain maple and sagebrush. Nine different conifer trees also grow in the park, as well as a few deciduous species. Yellowstone also features three plant species that are found only in the park: Yellowstone sulfur wild buckwheat, Ross’s bentgrass and Yellowstone sand verbena.

Learn more about the park

For more information on Yellowstone National Park or to plan your next visit, contact Yellowstone Tour Guides. Since 2001, we have been dedicated to showing families the beauty of Yellowstone Nation Park. We offer small-group sightseeing tours, multi-day backpacking experiences and hiking tours. We look forward to exploring Yellowstone with you!

Help Us Celebrate Yellowstone’s Birthday Each Year!

The National Park System has been called “America’s best idea,” and we just so happen to agree with this sentiment. We believe that there is no more valuable resource in all of the United States than the National Park System. The parks provide recreation, peace, escape and solitude to tens of millions of visitors each and every year, and they are consistently rated as one of the most popular recreational destinations in the world.

We are always happy to have an excuse to celebrate these spectacular places, so March 1 is one of our favorite dates on the calendar—it lets us slice into the cake and celebrate Yellowstone’s birthday! This year, Yellowstone’s 148th birthday was a typically huge celebration, and we were thrilled to celebrate our favorite park.

Birthday time is the best time
President Ulysses S. Grant can really be regarded as the “father” of beautiful Yellowstone. The heroic Civil War general had settled in to his presidency by the time he signed legislation creating the world’s first national park right here at Yellowstone. It was a truly momentous occasion in the history of conservation and preservation, and we are so pleased and proud that Yellowstone’s 148th birthday allowed us to keep up that tradition of celebrating these moments.

Our team of experienced tour professionals at Yellowstone Tour Guides is keenly aware of our stewardship and preservation role when it comes to our relationship with the park, so having some cake and ice cream every year on March 1 is really just a bonus to a job that we already consider to be the greatest in the entire country.

History of Yellowstone
The idea of Yellowstone was first understood by trappers, who came back east in the early 1800s with tales of a place that people really couldn’t believe—steam and geysers from the ground and the descriptions of the terrain were almost too much for a lot of people to comprehend. Later photographic expeditions confirmed what we now know to be true during Yellowstone’s 148th birthday celebrations: there really is no place on earth like this particular national park. Our team at Yellowstone Tour Guides could not be prouder to say that Yellowstone is our office, and we are pleased to come to work every single day and help millions of visitors share in its beauty and splendor.

A place like Yellowstone does not happen by accident. The features and the geography take hundreds of millions of years to form, but it takes special efforts and special people to make this into a “place” that people recognize, love and cherish. Yellowstone was and is a momentous achievement in the history of conservation, and its continued success is instrumental in communicating to the American people just how precious their lands are, especially their public ones.

At Yellowstone Tour Guides, we’re thrilled that you’re potentially planning a visit, and we hope you’ll give us a call so we can help you decide what sights and destinations to prioritize during your trip to Yellowstone!

Be Prepared for Springtime Scheduling Changes at Yellowstone

If you’re anything at all like us, you can’t wait to see Yellowstone in all its springtime beauty. Many people say it’s the best time to visit the park—crowds are smaller and temperatures are lower. Also, you can really see some spectacular animal activity that requires a degree of caution—the large mammal population begins to stir and wake up in the spring, as bears, elk, wolves, bison and other animals shake themselves awake and get ready for another warm season.

Our team of Yellowstone tour guides is also getting back into the swing of things, ready to lead tours around America’s greatest park. Yellowstone Tour Guides is the top choice in the area for a reason, so give us a call any time to learn more about our tours!

Unfortunately, until we get to that wonderful warmer weather, there’s still a few weeks of winter left for us to deal with, and there are some housekeeping issues that we want to get ahead on, including information about plowing. Take a look below for some more information that you should familiarize yourself with before planning your trip.

Road plowing ahead in Yellowstone
The roads in Yellowstone are usually covered in snow by early March every year, so a ritual of life in the park is that we need to prepare for the big spring plow that covers many of the park’s roads. This year, the date to keep in mind is the Ides of March—March 15—which is the date in 2020 when most of the park will shut down for spring plowing.

Basically, snow accumulates on the roads that so many visitors and Yellowstone tour guides use to access the park, so accessibility will be limited during this time as plows crisscross the park, clearing pavement from Norris to Madison to Mammoth Hot Springs and everywhere in-between. One thing to keep in mind is that even though the roads might be closed, all resources at Mammoth Hot Springs, including the post office and general store, remain open for business as usual during the plowing period.

Our wildlife tour—the show goes on during plowing!
One of our most popular tours will fortunately remain unaffected during this period of plowing and road inaccessibility. As mentioned above, this time of year is a great chance to really see some wonderful animal activity, particularly as our larger mammals start to get into gear and ready to attack a new warm season. We are pleased to announce that even during the spring plow our Yellowstone tour guides will still be leading our wildlife tour to Mammoth Hot Springs and the Lamar Valley. This is due to the fact that this section is open year-round, so access is always readily available.

Late winter and early spring can be a magical time to visit Yellowstone as the snow starts to melt and the first flowers start to poke their heads up through the snow. It’s also a great time to take a wildlife tour—it might be your best chance to experience an uncrowded park where some of its most magnificent creatures could be in plain sight for you and your family to enjoy. Contact Yellowstone Tour Guides to learn more or schedule a tour!