March 1st marked the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park, America’s first National Park and one of the top visited parks in the country!
Yellowstone National Park spans over 2 million acres and is home to historic & cultural sites, over 1,100 miles of trails with boardwalks, hidden waterfalls and unique scenery, an abundance of free-roaming wildlife, and over 10,000 hydrothermal sites.
More than half the geothermal features in the world are found in Yellowstone – world-famous geysers, mud pots, natural hot springs, steaming fumaroles, and stunning travertine terraces – and one of the world’s largest volcanos, the Yellowstone Supervolcano lies beneath the surface of Yellowstone fueling many of the hydrothermal features and natural wonders throughout the park.
The History of Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Parks boasts not only natural beauty and iconic landmarks, but a deep history dating back thousands of years. On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act into law, preserving over 2 million acres of wilderness and building a foundation to protect and preserve our natural and cultural treasures for the future.
The human history of the Yellowstone region is also well preserved with historical records documenting thousands of Native American tribes in the area as far back as 11,000 years. Today, the National Park Service recognizes 27 tribes with ties to the Yellowstone Region, and there are now over 63 US National Parks preserving more than 80 million acres of US history.
Top Attractions to Visit at Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park had its busiest year on record in 2021, with a record-breaking 4.9 million visitors to the park – over 1 million visitors entering Yellowstone in July alone!
If you’re looking to escape the crowds, the spring season in Yellowstone offers visitors a unique experience. Wildlife abounds as Yellowstone’s residents emerge from hibernation, tiny offspring stumble through the alpine meadows and grass prairies, waterfalls and rivers flow at their finest with spring melt and there’s a breath of new life at every scenic turn. This is all before you’ve even spotted a hydrothermal feature or famous Yellowstone attraction!
Big Sky is only a 1-hour scenic drive to the West Entrance of Yellowstone and a guided Yellowstone tour is by far the best way to experience Yellowstone’s top attractions and learn the history of the area. If you’re planning a self-guided tour of Yellowstone, here are the top attractions to add to your day trip itinerary as not all Yellowstone attractions are open in early spring.
Firehole River Swimming Area, Fountain Paint Pots – Lower Geyser Basin, Grand Prismatic Spring – Midway Geyser Basin, Old Faithful & Old Faithful Inn – Upper Geyser Basin, Artists Paint Pots – Norris Geyser Basin, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Hayden Valley for wildlife viewing, Yellowstone Lake & Lake Hotel.
The Upper Loop covers the northern section of the park. Upper Loop attractions include the fumaroles at Roaring Mountain, Mammoth Hot Springs travertine terraces, spectacular wildlife viewing in Lamar Valley, and Yellowstone’s 20-mile long Grand Canyon.
Yellowstone is home to the largest concentration of mammals in the lower 48 states, with 67 species of mammals including black bears & big grizzlies – wolves, lynx & coyotes – mule deer & white tail deer – moose, elk, pronghorn antelope & the biggest population of bison on US public land. Yellowstone is the only known destination in the US where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times and is well-known for its bison jams! Keep your distance, males can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and can run at up to 35mph!
Whether you’re seeking a luxury Yellowstone experience with a private tour guide, hiking adventures in the wilderness, a bucket-list wildlife safari of Yellowstone, or a comfortable coach tour for your whole group – you’ll find the ultimate tour of Yellowstone National Park departing right here in Big Sky!
National Parks Free Entrance Days 2022
All National Parks that charge entrance offer FREE admission on select dates throughout the year. The summer opening date for the West Entrance to Yellowstone is April 15th, 2022, and April 16th marks the first day of the presidentially proclaimed National Park Week!
If spring is too soon, you can enjoy the park later in the year as admission to Yellowstone is also free on August 4th (Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act), September 24th (National Public Lands Day), and later in the fall season on November 11th, 2022 (Veterans Day).
Big Sky – Your Basecamp to Yellowstone National Park
Big Sky is an idyllic base camp for all your Yellowstone National Park adventures! Our selection of luxury condos, cabins & homes range from cozy hot tub retreats for just the two of you, to modern mountain lodges with platinum perks and luxury amenities for the whole crew.
Celebrating the birthday of America’s first National Park is easy with Big Sky Vacation Rentals! Find your dream home in the Montana mountains, download our Big Sky Vacation Guide to start planning your vacation, read our local tips to a memorable Big Sky vacation, and experience the best of Yellowstone National Park from your beautiful home away from home in Big Sky, MT.