My Top Ten National Parks of North America
The list so far:
10. Grand Canyon
7. Bryce Canyon
3. Yellowstone National Park
Date established: March 1, 1872
Annual visitation (2014): 3,513,484
Size: 2,219,790 acres
Location: Northwest Wyoming
Number of visits: Three
Total days in the park: Ten days
Where I stayed: There are nine lodges and twelve campgrounds inside Yellowstone. I have camped in four of the campgrounds. I stayed in Canyon, Lake, Madison, and Mammoth Campgrounds. Canyon is my favorite of them. I really want to return and stay in the Old Faithful Inn.
Can’t miss sight: There are so many! Old Faithful is an obvious one. There are many other amazing geysers and hot springs. Despite the many thermal features, I’d put the Lower Falls at the top of my list.
My favorite view: Lookout Point, which provides an amazing view of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and the Lower Falls.
Wildlife seen: Grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, elk, deer, and thousands of bison. Read about when I saw this grizzly.
Favorite hike: There are some really great hikes in Yellowstone. I’ve hiked over a dozen different trails in Yellowstone. I am a big fan of the DeLacy Creek Trail to Shoshone Lake, the hike up Avalanche Peak, the Yellowstone River Narrows, but my favorite Yellowstone hike is definitely Mount Washburn. Got time for one hike in Yellowstone? Pick Mount Washburn.
Bonus Point: I’m no fisherman, but I can tell you that Yellowstone is world-renowned for its fishing, especially the fly fishing. My favorite added bonus in the park though has to be the Boiling River. It’s essentially a natural hot tub near the northwest entrance to the park. A short hike leads you to a portion of the Gardiner River that is fed by water from hot springs that make the water comfortably warm even in winter.
If I Return
Instead of “If I Return” this should read “When I Return.” I can’t wait to bring my family to Yellowstone when my kids are a few years older. There are a lot of family friendly sights to see and many short manageable trails within the park. I’d probably want to tackle one or two more difficult hikes that I haven’t tried in the past, maybe hike up a mountain.
Why You Should Visit
The thermal features, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, wildlife, mountains, and more. There is just so much to see in Yellowstone. Every American citizen should make a pilgrimage to Yellowstone at least once in their life.
It is out of the way and overcrowded. The park is very big though, so you should always be able to find alternatives to the crowds.