A series of striking travertine terraces make this northern hub a can’t-miss stop.
Yellowstone’s oldest and hottest thermal area consists of two walkable zones: Porcelain Basin and Back Basin. You’ll find the world’s tallest geyser, 400-foot Steamboat Geyser, here, as well as a museum and bookstore.
3. Artist Paint Pots
A 1-mile trail winds to brightly colored mudpots, small geysers, and fumaroles (steam vents). A short distance south on the Grand Loop is Gibbon Falls.
4. Madison area
The closest developed area to the West Entrance lies where the Gibbon and Firehole Rivers join to form the Madison. An information station and the Madison Campground are also here. Drive the short side road to Firehole Falls.
5. Lower Geyser Basin
This large thermal area features Fountain Paint Pot and the one-way, 3-mile Firehole Lake Drive.
6. Midway Geyser Basin
7. Upper Geyser Basin
If you visit only one thermal zone, make it this one. At least 150 geysers pack into one square mile here, including the world’s most famous, Old Faithful.
8. Old Faithful area
9. Shoshone Lake
The Lower 48’s largest backcountry lake offers superb paddling and camping along its shores. You can reach the backcountry Shoshone Geyser Basin from a trail on the lake’s northwest end.
10. Bechler area
Called “Cascade Corner” for its abundance of waterfalls, this remote zone offers fantastic wildlife habitat and backcountry hot spring Mr. Bubbles.
11. Grant Village
The park’s southern hub houses Grant Village Campground, Visitor Center, and Lodge, plus a café and gas station.
12. West Thumb
This area around Yellowstone Lake’s “thumb” has its own small geyser basin and an information station.
13. Bridge Bay
Launch or rent a boat or catch a guided fishing tour at this marina.
14. Lake Village
This shoreline hub offers lodging and several cafés. Pick up the Elephant Back Trail from this area.
15. Fishing Bridge
The complex includes Fishing Bridge RV Park, a museum, a visitor center, café, and a gas station.
16. Yellowstone Lake
North America’s largest high-elevation lake, Yellowstone Lake offers boating, paddling, and quiet camping. The South and Southeast Arms in particular offer solitude and wildlife habitat.
17. Thorofare Valley
Yellowstone’s southeastern corner is famed for its prime wildlife habitat and the wild Yellowstone River. Lucky hikers may hear or see grizzlies, moose, bald eagles, elk, and wolves here.
18. Hayden Valley
This central valley (an old lakebed) is one of the best spots in the country to see bison, plus grizzles, coyotes, wolves, moose, and osprey.
19. Pelican Valley
A hotbed for grizzly activity, this zone is closed from spring to early July, then open only for dayhiking. Hike in groups and follow bear safety practices if you explore this area.
20. Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
21. Canyon Village
This complex houses Canyon Lodge, Campground, gas, and a few cafés.
22. Dunraven Pass
The 8,859-foot pass is the trailhead for a 3.1-mile hike up Mt. Washburn. A 19-mile leg over Dunraven Pass closes completely in winter and typically reopens by the end of May.
23. Tower-Roosevelt area
The ideal launch point for exploring Lamar Valley, this area features Roosevelt Lodge, cafés, and a campground. Stop by the Tower Falls area off of the Grand Loop.
24. Blacktail Plateau Drive
Scan for deer, elk, and other wildlife on this one-way scenic drive.
25. Lamar Valley
Ground zero for grizzly and wolf watching, this northeastern valley is also home to bison, and badgers.