Park Itineraries

5 Unexpected Things to Discover on a Yellowstone Vacation

When you think of Yellowstone National Park, one of the first things you may think of is the glorious Old Faithful. And why wouldn’t you? Watching the ever-reliable geyser is one of Yellowstone’s longstanding traditions. But aside from this great spectacle, what are some things you might be looking for that you don’t know you’re looking for? Here are five unexpected things you’ll find during your trip to Yellowstone.

1. Discover a backcountry geyser basin near the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

Hiking the Wapiti Lake Trail in Yellowstone. Photo by Gloria Wadzinski
Hiking the Wapiti Lake Trail in Yellowstone. Photo by Gloria Wadzinski

Head for the Wapiti Lake Trailhead just south of Upper Falls. When you walk along the trail, you’ll see two waterfalls, a couple of lakes, steaming fumaroles and mud pots. Since it’s off the beaten path, not many people venture out there, so you won’t be fighting the crowds. Be sure to stay on the trail to stay safe from fragile ground surrounding thermal features and carry bear spray because this trail goes through grizzly country.

2. Discover the Upper Geyser Basin alongside a national park service ranger.

Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone's Upper Geyser Basin. Courtesy Austin Adventures
Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin.Austin Advenutures

Going on ranger-led walk a gives you an insider’s look into a place as special as Old Faithful and meets one of the requirements to get your junior ranger badge.

3. Discover the multitude of activities around the surrounding area to the park.

Rafting the Yellowstone River. Courtesy Austin Adventures
Rafting the Yellowstone River.Austin Adventures

Zip line in Gallatin County. Whitewater raft down the Yellowstone River. Horseback ride along the numerous trails. There’s an adventure for everyone!

4. Discover the Boiling River.

The Boiling River in the northwestern part of the park is where a large hot springs enters the Gardner River. The mixing of the hot and cool waters makes the temperature of the water here perfect for a nice soak at the end of a long hike.

5. Discover Wildlife Rarely Found Outside the Park

Black bear cubs walk on fallen tree limbs in Yellowstone. Courtesy Austin Adventures.
Black bear cubs walk on fallen tree limbs in Yellowstone.Austin Adventures

Wildlife-watching is one of the most popular activities in the park. But by bringing a long a pair of binoculars, you might get the chance to actually see the bears and wolves that tend to hang back in the hills and can be difficult to see.