From face-to-face encounters with one-ton bison to the reliable awe of Old Faithful, the 2,219,791 acres of America’s first national park have yet to disappoint its four million annual visitors.
The insider scoop: If you're looking for the wild in wildlife, you gotta put the camp fire out early and hit the park by 6:00 am—6:30 at the latest. And for those four-legged fauna, it’s all about the valleys—Lamar and Hayden to be specific. After the alien splendor of Grand Prismatic Spring, pop over to Roosevelt Lodge for the best chili west of the Mississippi. Then cruise the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, making sure to snap a selfie at Lookout Point for good measure. Because you can’t miss Old Faithful, but can do without the typical tourist fare, grab a drink at the Old Faithful Inn, head out to the second floor viewing deck, and relax as you watch America’s most legendary geyser show off. Working your way south, exit Yellowstone into the Grand Tetons and be bowled over by the beauty of yet another national park—but just remember, pardner, you gotta book your return trip before you leave the park’s proximity.