Yellowstone is best known as the US’ oldest national Park – and, yes, for hosting a supervolcano! This truly huge Park is an immense tourist attraction for the state of Wyoming – but there’s more to Yellowstone than meets the eye. Whether you’re planning a trip or simply want to top up on your National Parks knowledge, here are some fun facts about Yellowstone to help you on your way.
1. Yellowstone was first opened back in the late 19th century.
Yellowstone was established as a National Park on March 1, 1872. It is the first national Park in the world! In fact, it predates the National Park Service itself – so, respect your elders and take your garbage home with you when you visit.
2. It stretches into three different US states.
3. It’s millions of acres in size.
Yellowstone is truly massive, covering around 2.2 million acres! It’s easily one of the biggest National Parks in the US. However, it’s got some way to beat the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, in Alaska – which is around 13.2 million acres large!
4. Yellowstone is famous for its geothermal activity.
Visiting Yellowstone means you’ll get to see some geysers, mudpots, hot springs, and fumaroles. That means there’s always hot water springing out of the ground here – and, in fact, there are thought to be more than 10,000 hydrothermal spots across the Park.
You might have heard of one of them – the Old Faithful Geyser. Old Faithful lives up to its name by generally erupting once every 90 minutes.
5. Yes, there is a supervolcano underneath Yellowstone Park.
While it’s one of those facts that sounds like an urban legend, we can confirm there is indeed a supervolcano resting beneath Yellowstone. Don’t worry too much, however, as experts believe – at the time of writing – that the volcano is pretty dormant with only a few moments of disruption occurring beneath the surface.
It’s just as well – experts believe if the volcano were to erupt, it’d change the global climate and result in falling ash across the planet. It’d be a global catastrophe!
6. Yellowstone plays host to some incredible wildlife.
Some of the wonderful animals you may come across in the Park include bison, elk, grizzly bears, wolves, and various species of birds. It’s one of the few places in the contiguous US where grizzly bears still roam freely! Hayden Valley is a particularly great spot for watching wildlife.
7. Yellowstone Lake is a popular feature.
Yellowstone Lake is one of the many wonderful sights people visit across the area. It is the largest high-elevation lake in North America. The lake covers an area of over 130 square miles or 336 square km.
8. Millions of people visit Yellowstone every year.
In 2021, it’s estimated around 4.86 million people visited Yellowstone – and considering that’s coming down off COVID-19 lockdowns, it’s an impressive tally!
9. Yellowstone’s boiling river is somewhat unique.
Yellowstone also has what is known as a boiling river! This phenomenon occurs where a hot spring meets the Gardner River, thus creating a spot where you can soak in lovely warm waters.
10. The Park suffered a wildfire in 1988.
In 1988, Yellowstone suffered from a massive wildfire, which burned down nearly 800,000 acres of the Park. Despite concerns, the ecosystem has thankfully been recovering since.
11. You can stay at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel if you want to vacation over several days.
In 1891, the Lake Yellowstone Hotel was built. It is one of the oldest national park hotels in the country, well-known for its beautiful architecture.
FAQs about Yellowstone
Why is Yellowstone so famous?
Yellowstone is famous for being the first National Park in the US and for having the largest concentrated collection of geysers and hot springs worldwide.
Is visiting Yellowstone free?
No, currently, it is not free to visit Yellowstone National Park. Anyone wanting to explore the Park will need to pay admission fees.
How expensive is Yellowstone?
Currently, it costs $35 for a private, non-commercial vehicle to enter the Park for seven days. However, you can buy a yearly pass for $70. Please note, these prices are subject to change and were correct at the time of publication.
Do you know any interesting facts about Yellowstone? Share them in the comments below!