HOW BIG IS YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK? ALL ITS SECRETS
Yellowstone National Park is widely recognized as one of the most renowned parks in the country, however, its widespread popularity doesn’t imply that it lacks hidden treasures and astonishing enigmas both within its perimeters and beyond them.
The region boasts fascinating historic ghost towns, a plethora of thermal springs, enigmatic musical rocks, and some of the best fly-fishing spots in the United States.
Yellowstone and the neighboring areas offer much more than just the well-known Old Faithful attraction. Embark on a road trip spanning Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho to unravel the wonders of this region!
History of Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is a 2.2 million acres national park in the western United States, with parts in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It was created by the U.S. Congress, and President Ulysses S. Grant signed it on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone was the world’s first national park and is known for its unique geothermal features, such as the Old Faithful geyser.
Yellowstone is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk. The park also contains many hot springs and geysers, the most famous being the Old Faithful geyser.
The history of Yellowstone National Park began long before the area was explored by Europeans. Native Americans have lived in and around Yellowstone for at least 11,000 years. The first inhabitants of the park were the Clovis, who arrived in the area about 13,000 years ago.
The first European to see Yellowstone was the French trapper Pierre-Louis Deshayes, who spotted the geysers on a trip to the area in 1743. However, it wasn’t until the early 1800s that Europeans began to show any real interest in Yellowstone.
In 1806, members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition were the first Americans known to see Yellowstone. The expedition’s reports sparked interest in the area and led to several subsequent expeditions.
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In 1869, an exploration party led by Army Captain W.F. Raynolds was the first to document the geothermal features of Yellowstone. The group’s report, which included descriptions and sketches of the geysers and hot springs, was widely circulated and helped increase public interest in the area.
In 1871, a group of investors known as the Northern Pacific Railroad Company hired photographer William Henry Jackson to document the Yellowstone region. Jackson’s photographs, which were published in newspapers and magazines across the country, further increased public interest in the area.
That same year, a group of surveyors working for the U.S. government explored Yellowstone and concluded that it was an ideal location for a national park. Their report was sent to Congress, which passed a bill creating the Yellowstone National Park we know today!
How big is Yellowstone National Park?
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is 3,500-sq.-miles, exactly 3,472 square miles big. It covers an area of around 2,219,791 acres (8,983.18 km2).
It is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined.
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ALL ITS SECRETS
1. Bannack state park
To kick off your Yellowstone escapades, a visit to Bannack State Park in Montana is a great way to start. This park offers an opportunity to explore one of the most well-maintained ghost towns in the United States.
Bannack State Park boasts over 50 structures that remain upright, uninhabited, and deserted along a street that was once the bustling hub of the Old West.
2. Ringing rocks of Montana
For a fascinating adventure, make your way 18 miles east of Butte to explore Montana’s Ringing Rocks, named for the distinctive sound they make when struck.
These unique geological formations emit an enigmatic chime when gently hit with a hammer. Although the reason for this phenomenon remains unknown, it’s interesting to note that a rock will cease to produce sound once removed from the pile.
Don’t forget to bring your hammer to fully experience this wonder!
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3. Our Lady of The Rockies
Perched atop the Continental Divide, overlooking Butte, Montana, is the astonishing 90-foot statue of Our Lady of The Rockies.
As the second tallest statue in the United States (surpassed only by The Statue of Liberty), this massive sculpture of the Virgin Mary also has a concealed entrance that allows visitors to take a glimpse inside. Upon entering, you may feel deeply touched by the numerous letters and keepsakes left by visitors in memory of their loved ones, which adorn the walls.
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4. Mammoth Hot Springs
A trip to Yellowstone National Park wouldn’t be comprehensive without a stop at the surreal Mammoth Hot Springs. These thermal springs, situated at the park’s entrance, are incredibly hot (hence, swimming is prohibited) but can be admired from the winding boardwalks that weave around them.
Although the temperature can get quite high, the visitor’s center offers a useful tip to cool off – treat yourself to some ice cream!
5. Lamar Valley
Yellowstone National Park isn’t just home to fish; it’s also abundant with wildlife that is worth exploring. Lamar Valley, located a brief distance from Mammoth, is an ideal spot to connect with nature without leaving the comfort of your vehicle.
This picturesque route is frequently visited by foxes, bears, and vast herds of bison and elk. However, be prepared to exercise patience since bison have a reputation for causing amusing traffic backups.
To make the most of your adventure, it’s advisable to visit early in the morning, as this is when the traffic is low, and you stand a better chance of observing the animals.
6. Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is regarded as the park’s top attraction and must be witnessed in person to be fully appreciated. The drive to this destination presents breathtaking vistas of jagged cliffs and cascading waterfalls. If you’re lucky, you may even witness the rainbow that is so often depicted in photos of the canyon.
As you behold the colossal rock walls of the canyon, it becomes evident where the name Yellowstone was derived from. It’s a magnificent spectacle that shouldn’t be missed!
As a bonus, the Yellowstone River and Yellowstone Lake above the falls provide fantastic fly fishing opportunities, particularly during the mid-July salmon fly hatch.
7. The Smith Mansion
While driving along the Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway, you may catch sight of a peculiar piece of art, but it’s worth getting a closer look. The Smith Mansion is a 75-foot-tall structure that resembles something out of a whimsical Dr. Seuss book and was built by a man who just couldn’t seem to stop building his own house.
Unfortunately, since the owner died in 1992, the Smith Mansion has been left untouched and is deemed too risky to enter. Nonetheless, every year, numerous curious travelers drive along the byway and pause to take photos of the structure. It’s a fantastic opportunity for a memorable snapshot.
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8. Old Trail Town
Old Trail Town, the town originally established by Buffalo Bill Cody, is a ghost town that has remained unchanged over time. Take a journey through living history by exploring many authentic Old West structures, such as the initial cabins occupied by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. You’ll encounter unusual Native American relics and even venture inside the exact saloon that Cassidy’s “Hole-in-the-Wall Gang” used as a hideout.
9. Jenny Lake
Jenny Lake, situated in Grand Teton National Park, is a popular spot offering a variety of activities suitable for all adventure levels. From exciting extreme sports to leisurely wildlife observation hikes, visitors can enjoy it all.
Moreover, fishing enthusiasts can have a great time at Jenny Lake as it offers a chance to catch cutthroat and lake trout. You can either fish from the boat dock located at the lake’s southern end after obtaining a permit from Teton Park or take the trails around the lake, which provide access to the water.
10. Grumpy’s Goat Shack
The Old Stone House Italian Restaurant in Victor, Idaho has a hidden gem in the form of Grumpy’s Goat Shack, which is located inside a small garage. Open only during the summer months, this unique bar provides comfort food and drinks while offering a picturesque view of goats grazing in a nearby pasture.
The cozy atmosphere is enhanced by the outdoor patio, which seats eight and provides a tranquil setting to enjoy a local brew after a long day of fishing.
And you, what else do you know about this place?