Yellowstone Park Vacations – History & Attractions

Along with the attractions, Yellowstone Park vacations by Caravan Tours provide tourists with opportunities to also view wildlife where they belong, in the wild.

In fact, you will find more mammals in Yellowstone National Park than can be found in any other US state. It’s not unusual to spot black bears, grizzlies, elk, moose, wolves, mountain lions, mountain goats, and bison. Yellowstone is even home to pelicans and trumpeter swans!

Yellowstone Park History

Yellowstone National Park is the world’s very first national park; a place away from the clutter, noise, and pollution of the cities where you can discover nature. The Park is located near West Yellowstone town. It is also only 3 hours from Jackson and about 7 hours’ drive from Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Myth

Around 1807, traveler John Colter reached Yellowstone quite by accident and discovered the unfamiliar geothermic wonders of the region, which he subsequently disseminated to an unbelieving outside world.

A half a century later in 1856, a certain John Bridges reported “boiling springs and spouting water” in describing Yellowstone but failed to convince others of this tall tale.

Folsom Expedition

The Cook-Folsom-Peterson Expedition in 1869 eventually went on to fully investigate Yellowstone, surveying the vicinity from Yellowstone River to Yellowstone Lake. Their findings ended the supposed myth about Yellowstone and gave credence to the many natural wonders of this remarkable place.

It is quite perplexing to note that the Yellowstone was only really explored in the 1860s, even though it was home to the local Native American Indians since as early as 9,000 BC!

The World’s First National Park

Because of growing public interest, the area was designated as Yellowstone National Park on March 1, 1872 and became the world’s very first national park.

Within a few short decades, guided Yellowstone Park tours became common, allowing astonished visitors the opportunity to explore one of America’s most incredible natural wonders. The number of people taking Yellowstone Park vacations at that time was about 1000 annually. Today, Yellowstone Park receives roughly four million visitors a year.

Caravan Tours is one of America’s top tour companies for fully guided Yellowstone Park vacations.

Yellowstone Statistics

Yellowstone Park is large covering more than 5,524 square miles (8,990 sq. km), most of which is mountainous with five mountain ranges covering the perimeter of the park. It is also located on a high-altitude plateau at 8,000 feet above sea level.

  • The majority of Yellowstone Park is in Wyoming
  • Portions also occupy parts of Idaho and Montana
  • Over 80% of Yellowstone Park is covered with forest
  • 5% covered with lakes
  • 15% of the Yellowstone is grassland

Yellowstone Park Highlights

Most Yellowstone Park vacations include the opportunity to explore the Park’s most unusual features including:

  • Upper Geyser Basin – with the largest concentration of hot springs in the world, it is also home to Old Faithful geyser.
  • Midway Geyser Basin – some of the world’s largest hot springs can be found here.
  • Lower Geyser Basin – includes the liquid mud pools of Fountain Paint Pots, plus geysers, hot springs, and steam vent fumaroles.
  • Mammoth Hot Springs – features a terraced waterfall-looking limestone landscape.
  • Norris Geyser Basin – home of Yellowstone Park’s hottest geysers.
  • Mud Volcano – a series of mud pots located near the center of the Yellowstone Caldera.
  • Super Volcano – it’s true, Yellowstone caldera is one of the world’s largest and most active super-volcanoes.

Other Yellowstone Park Attractions

With major tourist attractions like Old Faithful geyser (one of over 300 in the park) Yellowstone Park vacations have become very popular. It can take up to 3 full days to explore most of the park’s most popular attractions.

Below is an overview of some of the other major attractions in Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone Caldera, Geysers & Hot Springs

The last major eruption of the super-volcano in Yellowstone occurred some 60,000 years ago which created what we now know as Yellowstone caldera…the great geyser basin.

Although there are plenty of natural attractions in Yellowstone Park, the geysers are perhaps the most popular and most visited on Yellowstone Park tours.

Yellowstone is home to what some deem to be the earth’s most prolific volcanic hot spots and has a colorful history of strong eruptions. The various volcanic activities in the park can be seen in various manifestations.

  • Geysers work under pressure and escape the earth as fountains of hot water and steam.
  • Lower pressured hot springs have just hot water flowing from them.
  • Fumaroles let of pure steam at extreme temperatures.
  • Mud pots spew out hot mud combined with steam.

In all, there are over 10,000 different geothermal anomalies within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park.

Old Faithful Geyser

Most Yellowstone vacation packages include a visit to the world’s most famous geyser, Old Faithful, just one of 300 geysers to be found in Yellowstone National Park. It is the most requested destination from travelers on Yellowstone Park vacations. It is also the world’s most renowned natural geyser.

Old Faithful geyser received its name in 1870 during the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition. The expedition was a more complete venture to the Yellowstone area where the comprehensive mapping of Yellowstone’s lakes, mountains, geysers, and wildlife was completed.

The name of Old Faithful was given to express the uniform eruption of this unique geyser.

Yellowstone Park vacations are very popular, and many tourists eventually return for subsequent visits since there is no shortage of exciting things to see and do in Yellowstone. While primarily located in Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park is also shared by Idaho and Montana.

Fully escorted Yellowstone family vacation packages have become increasingly popular. During peak days, sometime between July and August, up to 25,000 people will visit to wait for the famous Old Faithful geyser to erupt.

Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake is another favorite destination of many Yellowstone Park vacations and is one of America’s largest high-level lakes.

  • Yellowstone Lake is more than 7,730 feet above sea level.
  • The deepest portion of Yellowstone Lake is nearly 400 feet deep.
  • The lake’s shoreline has a perimeter of 109 miles.
  • There are approximately 100 natural streams flowing in and out of the lake.
  • The overall area of Yellowstone Lake is roughly 217 square miles.
  • The area also has a unique geothermal feature, a mud volcano.

The lake is home to the largest of the swan species, the Trumpeter Swans, which are almost 6 feet long and has a wingspan of nearly 10 feet. Yellowstone Lake also holds what some consider to be the tastiest trout in the world.

Grand Loop Drive

The Grand Loop Drive is the main thoroughfare in Yellowstone National Park. It is a loop like a figure 8 and runs over 140 miles throughout Yellowstone Park. Grand Loop Drive is included in virtually all Yellowstone vacation packages and offers plenty of wonderful sights to see.

Yellowstone Grand Loop tours may include Norris Geyser Basin, a desert-looking landscape laden with small craters, bubbling hot springs, and the hottest geysers such as the Echinus Geyser.

While the sights around Yellowstone Park are thrilling, visitors are warned to keep within the authorized pathways and roadways, mainly because of the dangers associated with getting too close to the acidic waters of the geysers and mud holes.

Mammoth Hot Springs is another stop on the Grand Loop Drive, as well as old Fort Yellowstone, which now serves as the park’s headquarters.

Certain portions of the Yellowstone River Basin show wonderfully laid out basalt columns that were formed by nature yet look more like some Hollywood set design.

Grand Loop Drive winds down through Dunraven Pass on Mount Washburn, where you can witness the 50-million-year-old volcano that enveloped forests. Then there’s Hayden Valley, where you can savor the sights of grassy lands, small lakes and streams, and abundant wildlife, like elks, bison, and even white pelicans.

Other noteworthy stops may include:

Yellowstone Waterfalls – Yellowstone Park has 290 waterfalls in all including the 308 foot tall Yellowstone Lower Falls and the 109 foot tall Yellowstone Upper Falls.

Natural Hot Springs – Yellowstone National Park has over 10,000 geothermal oddities including hot springs, fumaroles, and the park’s famous geysers.

Old Faithful Inn – Another favorite park destination on most Yellowstone vacation package tours, Old Faithful Inn is a timber log hotel built in 1903 and features an enormous 85-foot stone fireplace.

Petrified Forests – The world’s largest Petrified Forest can be found in Yellowstone National Park.

Book A Yellowstone Park Vacation with Caravan Tours

Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone National Park is considered America’s favorite and most famous park for a good reason.

Celebrating 70 years (since 1952), family-owned and operated Caravan Tours has been offering highly affordable all-inclusive tours throughout the USA, Canada, and Central America.

Caravan’s Mt Rushmore & Yellowstone Park Tours are fully escorted, affordably priced, 8-day package tours that also include visits to the Grand Teton National Park, Mount Rushmore, and Crazy Horse Monument.

Visit Caravan’s Yellowstone Park Vacations Review page to read what others have said about Caravan’s all-inclusive Yellowstone Park vacations.

Call 1- 800 – CARAVAN (227-2826) to book your tour now!