Yellowstone National Park is one of the most magnificent natural wonders in the entire world, and if you plan on visiting Yellowstone Park in the near future, this article is for you! It’s designed to help you plan your trip by providing Yellowstone visitors with a concise overview of some of the park’s most unique and engaging features.
In this article, we’ll discuss the following activities and points of interest:
- Hiking to Artist Point
- The Old Faithful Visitor Education Center
- Driving the Scenic Grand Loop Road
- Checking out the historic Roosevelt Arch
- Taking a Tour of the Fort Yellowstone Historic District
- Having a soak in the Yellowstone Boiling River
It goes without saying that you’ll experience a bounty of wildlife, flora, and geological wonders at Yellowstone Park. But by providing you with the background, locations, and most interesting details of these Yellowstone landmarks, we hope to simplify and enrich your family’s experience of a truly magnificent natural American wonder. Here is our list of Fun Things To Do In Yellowstone Park.
Hike to Artist Point in Yellowstone National Park
Hiking to Artist Point is one of the many fun things to do in Yellowstone Park. Located on the south edge of The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Artist Point is a cliff that gives an exquisite overlook of the Yellowstone River and the 300 foot Lower Falls So named because it was mistakenly thought to be the spot where Thomas Moran sketched his famous painting of the waterfall, Artist Point is a wonderful hiking destination for the whole family.
Artist Point has a particularly important place in the history of Yellowstone Park. Even though it turned out that Moran actually painted his masterpiece from another vantage, the sketches he made of Lower Falls were so compellingly beautiful that they helped convince Congress to establish Yellowstone National Park.
The hike itself is short, approximately a quarter-mile round trip. Therefore, it’s great for children as well as adults. The real treat is the view. Artist Point is one of the most popular photo spots in all of Yellowstone Park, so be sure to bring your camera along on the hike, as well as paint, crayons, or colored pencils for yourself and the kids.
Head up to the Historic Roosevelt Arch
The Roosevelt Arch is another Yellowstone marvel that’s well worth a visit. Named after President Teddy Roosevelt, who laid its cornerstone in 1903, the Roosevelt Arch stands at the north entrance to Yellowstone Park in the town of Gardiner, Montana. Purely decorative in function, the Arch was originally intended to beautify Yellowstone’s northern entrance, which at the time was the most commonly used route into the park. The Arch is over fifty feet high and is constructed from tons of basalt that were mined in the area.
Interestingly enough, the original designer is a mystery. What we do know, however, is that the Arch was intended to commemorate the establishment of the area as a national park. In this and many other senses, the Roosevelt Arch is a triumphant structure and an essential part of Yellowstone’s cultural history. It’s a testament to the will the American people had to preserve the gorgeous Yellowstone area and an intriguing part of American history as well.
Visit the Old Faithful Visitors Education Center
Located a mere 200 yards from the magnificent geyser itself, The Old Faithful Visitors Education Center is a “hotbed” of knowledge and fun for adults and children of all ages. The Visitors Education Center houses the Yellowstone Bookstore, as well as a state-of-the-art theater and an exhibit hall. There are also experienced park rangers on site to answer any questions you might have and direct you to other Yellowstone facilities.
Here, you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about the Old Faithful Geyser and the geologic history of Yellowstone Park. But the Visitors Education Center isn’t just an incredible storehouse of knowledge– it’s also a great deal of fun and excitement. Patrons can experience a number of hands-on interactive exhibits and there is also ample space for group activities. Equal parts educational and entertaining, The Old Faithful Visitors Education Center is an indispensable part of any Yellowstone trip.
Drive the Scenic Grand Loop Road
The Grand Loop Road is the most important street system in all of Yellowstone Park. Originally planned by United States Army Corps of Engineers in the early part of the 20th century, The Grand Loop Road is over 140 miles long and provides access to Yellowstone’s most wondrous attractions. It’s also a scenic marvel in its own right, as visitors can view a gorgeous array of geysers, rivers, and lakes simply by driving it.
Beginning at the junction of North Entrance Road and Fort Yellowstone, the Grand Loop Road winds south through the Golden Gate Valley before eventually crossing the Gardner River and traversing Obsidian Canyon. From there, it continues south through an incredible variety of canyons, basins, and valleys until it finally veers east at Old Faithful. Drivers also have the opportunity to cross the continental divide at Craig Pass before the road eventually loops back north.
Along the way, the route offers visitors a glimpse of a wonderful cross-section of Yellowstone’s wildlife, including frequent glimpses of bison, elk, moose, coyotes, bears, and sheep. As you can see, when it comes to the Grand Loop Road, getting there might be more than half the fun!
Tour the Fort Yellowstone Historic District
For a fun time packed with historical knowledge, take a tour of the Fort Yellowstone Historic District. Located just inside the north entrance to the park, Fort Yellowstone is a former U.S. Army fort that was established in 1891 and became a National Historic Landmark in 2003.
The Fort has a fascinating history. Construction began when the U.S. Interior Department realized that it lacked the resources to manage the lands of Yellowstone National Park properly and decided to handle their supervision over to the military. While occupying Fort Yellowstone, the U.S. Army put land protection policies into place that Yellowstone and the entire National Park concept would have a future in the United States.
Today, some 35 buildings of the Fort’s original 60 structures still stand and visitors are treated to a wonderful historical experience while exploring it. For visitor convenience, the Fort Yellowstone Historic District also offers a restaurant, a gift shop, a gas station, and clean, modern restrooms. In addition to its historic importance and educational value, Fort Yellowstone is also a great place to relax, recharge, and have a great deal of fun.
Soak in the Boiling River at Yellowstone
Last but not least, you can book a natural “spa day” for your wilderness vacation by taking an extended dip in Yellowstone’s Boiling River! Located just a bit south of the 45th Parallel Bridge in the Mammoth area of the park, The Boiling River is a convergence of the Gardner River and one of Yellowstone’s hot springs where the water temperature is perfect for soaking your tired body after a strenuous day hiking riding, and climbing through the park.
Getting to the Boiling River is easy and well worth the trip. You can obtain a map and detailed directions here, but if you come into the park on the Highway 89 North Entrance Road, you’ll see a sign that marks the 45th parallel about three miles south of the Roosevelt Arch. Drive a bit further south past the 45th parallel sign and you can park in the lot on the east side of the road. Then, simply walk upstream about a half-mile until you see the huge steam clouds!
Once there, you’ll be able to relax in Yellowstone’s natural hot tub and let the tension melt away as you contemplate the good life and slowly take in a part of Yellowstone’s endless grandeur.
As you can see, there’s never a shortage of fun-filled things to do in Yellowstone National Park. Nature and your sense of wonder will do most of the work for you, but we hope this guide has shown you how to make the most of your trip. If you haven’t done so already, start planning your trip to Yellowstone National Park today. There’s no better time than the present to see this awe-inspiring national monument.
And while you’re visiting the park, we hope that you’ll let us accommodate you and your family at Brandin’ Iron Inn. Located conveniently in West Yellowstone, we can offer you the perfect base of operations for your forays into the park. Contact us today for reservations and thank you so much for including us in your plans. We look forward to seeing you.Contact us today!