Where Is Yellowstone National Park Located?
Yellowstone National Park is located in the western United States, with most of the park’s acreage in the far northwestern corner of Wyoming. Small areas of the park extend into Montana and Idaho, as well.
Yellowstone National Park is located mostly in the northwestern corner of Wyoming, with small parts in Montana to the north and northwest, and in Idaho to the west. The park is surrounded by other national treasures. It is situated just north of Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest and the Teton Wilderness Area. To the southeast is the Shoshone National Forest and due east is the North Absaroka Wilderness area. To the north is the Gallatin National Forest and Custer National Forest. In Idaho, to the west, is the Targhee National Forest and to the southwest, the Caribou National Forest.
The only park entrance that is open all year to vehicle traffic is at the north side on Highway 89 through Gardiner, Montana. People also can enter at the west through West Yellowstone, Montana, which is the busiest entrance. Other entrances are to the northeast at Silver Gate, Montana, or at the south from Moran or east through Cody. The entrances other than Gardiner are open from mid-April to early November. Yellowstone National Park passes are also good for Grand Teton National Park and last for seven days.
Yellowstone was the first of the United States’ national parks, established in 1872. It comprises 2,219,789 acres, or 3,472 square miles, and 96 percent of its land is in Wyoming. The park offers majestic mountain scenery and over 300 active geysers, among which is the most popular in the world–Old Faithful. There also are over 290 waterfalls, of which the Lower Falls is the most famous and most photographed. Thousands of steam vents and hot springs both large and small can be found, including Mammoth Hot Springs, a popular destination in the park. Abundant wildlife including bison, elk, and moose provide fascinating viewing and picture-taking opportunities. About 3 million people visit the park each year.
A multitude of camping options are available in and around the park, and many motels can be found in Gardiner and West Yellowstone. Visitors also can easily make day trips from a bit further out–Jackson and Cody in Wyoming are good bets, as is Livingston in Montana, which is about 60 miles north of Gardiner.
Yellowstone National Park is located on a geologically highly-active region, the reason for the active geysers and hot springs. In fact, about 2,000 small earthquakes occur in the park every year. These earthquakes affect the regularity of the geysers, including the beloved Old Faithful. In reality, this geyser has never been quite as faithful as its reputation alleges. The most regular geyser in the park probably is Bead Geyser, with an interval of 23 to 33 minutes. However, Bead’s height only reaches 25 feet at the most, while Old Faithful’s highest eruptions range from 90 to 184 feet. Old Faithful can be counted on to erupt somewhere between every half hour to every two hours, and the average interval changes even with small earthquakes. Scientists have shown a way to predict approximately when the next eruption will occur by measuring the duration of the one immediately preceding it.