Yellowstone's Grand Prismatic.

Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone’s Midway Geyser Basin

Old Faithful may be more famous, but the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring is the most photographed thermal feature in Yellowstone. That's because of its crazy-bright colors and enormous size.

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Natural Wonders

The Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in Yellowstone National Park

Did You Know There is a Grand Canyon in Yellowstone?

Giant waterfalls pierce the Yellowstone River while pastel colors mark the locations of hot springs and steam vents in the canyon walls.

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Neighbor Parks

Gateway Towns

North Entrance teepees and Roosevelt Arch at sunset

Which Entrance to Yellowstone National Park Should I Take?

Planning a vacation to Yellowstone involves many details, one of which is deciding how you will enter the park.


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Yellowstone Essentials: 12 Basic Things You Need to Know

Read this before you plan your visit to the park.

This remote steamy landscape in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho became the world’s first national park and is one of America’s most famous thanks to the Old Faithful Geyser and the brightly colored Grand Prismatic Spring. Come to Yellowstone National Park to see grizzly and black bears, thousands of wild bison, packs of wolves, giant waterfalls and the largest concentration of active geysers on Earth. But before you head to the park, here are a few basic Yellowstone essentials you need to know.

Think big.

At more than 3,400 square miles, Yellowstone is huge. It can take hours to drive from one part of the park to another and speed limits are 45 mph or slower on all roads. Not to mention notorious bison jams often cause delays. Plan your trip strategically so you don’t spend all your time driving.

Old Faithful Geyser (Photo: Getty Images) Get your pass.

You can buy a $35, 7-day pass at a park entrance station, or use your America the Beautiful or other interagency annual pass to get into the national park. If you’re planning to visit Grand Teton as well, an America the Beautiful pass is the way to go to avoid paying double entrance fees. Here’s how to get your pass.

Watch your step.

Yellowstone’s thermal features are fatally hot. Always stay on trails and boardwalks, keep small children close to you and never enter a geyser, hot spring or other thermal feature for any reason. It’s also illegal to throw things inside them.

Grizzly bear sow and cubs near Roaring Mountain in Yellowstone (Photo: NPS/Eric Johnston) Be bear aware.

If you’re lucky, you might spot a grizzly or black bear in Yellowstone. While majestic, these creatures can be dangerous. Stay alert at all times, especially when hiking. Carry (and know how to use) bear spray, always hike in groups and make noise to ensure you don’t spook a bear. Store all food and scented items in bear-proof containers.