Yellowstone National Park is the 15th most visited US national park in 2023. The park attracts millions of visitors every year with its uniquely beautiful landscapes, waterfalls, canyons, and lush forests.

In 2023 alone, Yellowstone had over 4.5 million visitors. Located in parts of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, the park covers 3,500 square miles of natural wilderness.

It offers access to several recreational activities, ranging from hiking and sightseeing to swimming. Today, we've curated a list of 10 things to do while visiting Yellowstone. Continue below to begin!

1. Mount Washburn Hike

The Mount Washburn trail offers a thrilling hiking route for adventure seekers. Standing at an altitude of 10,243 feet, the site is a great spot for trekking, sightseeing, and photography. 

The trail starts at the Dunraven Pass Trailhead and ends at the top of Mount Washburn. The route is covered with wildflowers during the summer and you may also occasionally encounter big horn sheep along the path.

At the top, you'll witness the true beauty of nature. The summit's peak is an ideal destination for photography, and you can even see the Grand Tetons located in the Grand Teton National Park on clear days.

Safety Precautions

  1. Grizzly bears are often spotted in the fall, frequenting the area for collecting whitebark pine nuts.
  2. Avoid hiking during the months of September and October.
  3. Avoid this route if you have a heart problem or respiratory issues.

Route Details

  • Time: 3-6 Hours
  • Starting Point: Dunraven Pass Trailhead
  • Ending Point: Mount Washburn Summit
  • Pet Allowed: No
  • Length: 6 Miles (9.6 Kms)
  • Ideal Seasons: Summer, Fall

2. Wolf Spotting

Yellowstone is a hub for wolves; there are around 120-130 wolves roaming the region at the moment. The national park is currently home to several wolf packs, including the Wapiti Lake Pack, 8 Mile Pack, Junction Butte Pack, and Rescue Creek Pack.

While the Lamar Valley is the best spot to witness the majestic wolves, the big dogs are also frequently spotted in areas like Elk Creek, Blacktail Plateau, and Hayden Valley.

Due to the abundance of animals like elk and bison, the wolf packs have flourished in this region.

Signs To Determine Wolves Presence

  1. A wolf howl suggests that a pack is near.
  2. Coyotes produce an alarm bark when wolves are in the area.
  3. Look for the presence of ravens as these birds scavenge animals hunted by wolves.


  • Time: 4-5 Hours
  • Ideal Season: Winter
  • Best Hours: Early Morning
  • Locations: Lamar Valley, Elk Creek, Blacktail Plateau, Hayden Valley

3. Tour Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is a 20-mile-long canyon located on the Yellowstone River. Formed over 140,000 years ago, the canyon was created following a massive volcanic eruption.

Additionally, the canyon is located around 40 miles away from the national park's north entrance, in the southeast direction. It begins at the Upper Falls (109 feet) and ends at the Lower Falls (308 feet).

The Grand Canyon is considered one of the must-visit sites by national park visitors. While the spot is usually crowded during weekends, it's best to visit early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds.

Things To Do

  1. Take a car ride along the North Rim Drive.
  2. Hike the 3.8-mile-long North Rim and South Rim Trails.
  3. Watch breathtaking views from the South and North rims.
  4. Watch wild animals like ravens, swallows, and ospreys.
  5. Photography and vlogging.

Route Details

  • Time: 1-2 Hours
  • Starting Point: Upper Falls
  • End Point: Lower Falls
  • Length: 20 Miles (32 Kms)
  • Depth: Above 1000 Feet
  • Pets Allowed: No

4. Watch Old Faithful Eruption

Old Faithful is a geothermal geyser located inside the Yellowstone National Park. It has become a great spot for sightseeing and photography. The frequent eruption of boiling water makes it a truly mesmerizing site for photography.

The Old Faithful geyser erupts every 45 to 90 minutes. It has erupted over a million times ever since the national park was established in 1972. During each eruption, the geyser shoots out around 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of water up to a height of 106-180 feet. Each eruption lasts for around 1 to 5 minutes.

You can take a hike around the 1.6-mile perimeter of the geyser or wait for it to erupt. Also, for a great view of the Upper Geyser Basin, take a hike across the Observation Point trail.

Safety Measures

  1. Maintain adequate distance from the geyser as the steam temperature can reach up to 350°F during an eruption.
  2. Avoid walking on the geyser basins. The fragile basins easily break, causing serious injuries to individuals.
  3. Avoid smoking near the geyser to prevent clogging and accidental fires.
  4. Don't leave children alone or unattended.


  • Time: 1-2 Hours
  • Elevation: 7,349 Feet
  • Location: Upper Geyser Basin
  • Visiting Hours: 10 A.M-6 P.M
  • Pets Allowed: No

5. Whitewater Rafting

Rafting is technically not permitted inside the national park; however, there are rafting tours starting from the north entrance of Yellow Stone. The park currently offers rafting packages for ages six and up.

The half-day package covers a length of 12 miles and takes nearly 2-3 hours to complete. 

Similarly, the park also offers a full-day package that covers 18 miles of the beautiful river. The rafting trip is focused on serving families with young children. But, the children should be over six years old. 

Tour Requirements

  1. Arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the trip.
  2. Allocate a minimum of 2.5 hours as the trip completion time can change according to the rate of water flow.
  3. Life jackets and helmets are provided by the tour management company.
  4. Wear appropriate rafting accessories like a waterproof jacket, woolen socks, water shoes, and fleece.


  • Hours: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
  • Time: 2-5 Hours (Roundtrip)
  • Price: $74-$149 Per Person
  • Length: 12-18 Miles

6. Horseback Riding

Yellowstone hosts one and two-hour-long horse rides for enthusiastic visitors. The tours are guided by licensed instructors authorized to operate inside the national park.

Currently, there are two packages with 1-hour and 2-hour ride options. The 1-hour ride passes through Garnet Hill and reaches to the other side of the Pleasant before taking a loop to head back.

Meanwhile, under the 2-hour ride, you will reach spots like Lost Canyon and Lost Creek.

The horseriding program is only eligible for children above the age of eight. Likewise, kids between the ages of 8 and 17 must wear a helmet before riding on a horse.

Tips To Remember

  1. Wear closed-toed shoes. Flip-flops and sandals are not allowed.
  2. Dress up in long pants, if possible.
  3. Arrive at least 10 minutes before the check-in time.
  4. Avoid carrying items like fanny packs, camera bags, bear spray, full-sized video cameras, and water bottles.
  5. Items like wallets, keys, earrings, and jewelry are allowed. However, the park recommends avoiding these items, if possible.

Ride Details

  • Time: 1-2 Hours
  • Age Requirement: Minimum 8 Years
  • Height: Minimum 48 Inches
  • Weight Limit: Under 240 Lbs
  • Price: $89 (1 Hour), $135 (2 Hours)

7. Tour Grand Prismatic Spring

The Grand Prismatic Spring is a hot spring located in the Midway Geyser Basin in Yellowstone. It is the third-largest hot spring in the world and the largest in the US.

The spring is best known for its rainbow-patterned edges, caused by the microbial mats found in the water. The outer edges of the spring boast colors like green, red, and yellow, whereas the center has a deep blue color.

While you can explore the Grand Prismatic Spring free of charge, it's better to take a guided tour, especially if you are visiting the national park for the first time.

Guided tours can cost anywhere between $20 to $350.

Things To Remember

  1. Avoid carrying personal belongings as there is a risk of items falling into the spring.
  2. Don't walk on the edge of the spring and always remain with your tour group.
  3. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  4. Apply adequate sun protection to protect your skin from heat.

Trip Details

  • Time: 1-2 Hours
  • Location: Midway Geyser Basin, Grand Loop Road
  • Diameter: 370 Feet
  • Depth: 160 Feet
  • Water Discharge Rate: 560 US Gallons Per Minute

8. Visit Yellowstone Lake

The Yellowstone Lake is one of the most visited sites in Yellowstone National Park. Located in Teton County, Wyoming, the lake is the largest North American freshwater lake with a minimum altitude of 7000 feet. 

The best time to visit the lake is during the warmer months, preferably from June to November. It normally freezes from December to early June.

Also, there are several recreational activities you can participate in while at the lake; however, swimming isn't one of them.

The water can drop to nearly 41 degrees Fahrenheit, reducing the survival time to only 20 to 30 minutes.

Things To Do

  1. Hike along the 0.8-mile-long Pelican Creek Nature Trail or the 2.5-mile-long Storm Point Trail loop.
  2. Explore the lake on a rental boat.
  3. Participate in fishing or angling.
  4. Reach the top of the Avalanche Peak or the Elephant Back Mountain for a panoramic view of the lake.
  5. Participate in photography or vlogging.


  • Time: 1-2 Hours
  • Location: Grand Loop Road
  • Length: 20 Miles
  • Width: 14 Miles
  • Depth: 139 Feet
  • Shoreline: 141 Miles

9. Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center

Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is a conservation area designed to protect vulnerable wild animals. Established in 1993, the facility is run by a non-profit recognized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The center primarily houses animals like wolves, raptors, and bears that can't survive in the wild without human assistance. Other animals featured in the facility include peregrine falcons, bald eagles, owls, and hawks. 

The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is open year-round. However, the operation hours can change according to the season.

Safety Measures

  1. Although the tour is considerably safe, always look out for hidden bear activities in regions with limited visibility.
  2. Stay a minimum of 300 feet away from the bears. 
  3. Avoid feeding the animals inside the sanctuary.
  4. Masks are not compulsory but make sure to maintain social distancing.
  5. Don't visit if you are feeling sick.


  • Time: Less Than 1 Hour
  • Hours: 9 AM-4 PM (Daily)
  • Location: West Yellowstone, Montana
  • Price: $16.50 (Adult), $15.50 (Senior), $11.50 (Kids Below Age 12)
  • Animals: Grizzly Bears, Gray Wolves, Cutthroat Trout, Arctic Grayling, River Otters, Western Tiger Salamanders, Western Terrestrial Garter Snakes, Spotted Frogs, Rubber Boa

10. Firehole Canyon Drive

The Firehole Canyon Drive covers a 2-mile stretch of a one-way path. The main attraction along this route is the Firehole Falls, a 40-foot-tall waterfall that passes through lava rock.  

The road also goes through several natural swimming holes along the shore of the Firehole River. However, the swimming spots are only open during summer as the season provides ideal water levels and temperatures for swimming.

Also, there are no lifeguards present in the swimming area. Therefore, it's better to avoid swimming if you are a beginner. Moreover, the drive only takes about 1 to 2 hours; so, make sure to plan other activities accordingly.

Things To Do

  1. Enjoy sightseeing along the Firehole River.
  2. Participate in photography or vlogging.
  3. Swim in the watering holes during summer.

Route Details

  • Time: 1-2 Hours
  • Open: 24 Hours
  • Location: Firehole Canyon Road
  • Length: 2 Miles

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