go to content go to search box go to global site navigation
Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks
/
8e10686bea7685a55b4145d732a9a48a906c5cd1f3e6b9ebb4ca4c5b74e3946f

Introducing Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks

There’s nowhere in the world quite like Greater Yellowstone. From its raging geysers to howling wolf packs, the land stands alone as one last pocket of a wild, primeval America.

Snapshot

In many ways Yellowstone and Grand Teton couldn’t be more different. Yellowstone is the big granddaddy, huge, sprawling and subtle, full of weird thermal basins, big, furry critters and wild, remote corners in which to lose yourself. Grand Teton to the south is smaller, showier and more obviously spectacular, studded with alpine lakes and vertical peaks that offer prime climbing and trekking action, just a stone’s throw from civilization at Jackson Hole.

Whatever your interest, don’t overlook the areas around the parks. From the ranchlands of the Paradise Valley to Jackson Hole, the scenery is just as grand and you’ll find a fraction of the crowds.

Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park is the crown jewel of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the destination of nearly every visitor to the region. The real showstoppers are the geysers and hot springs – nature’s crowd pleasers – but at every turn this land of fire and brimstone breathes, belches and bubbles like a giant kettle on the boil. The park’s highways traverse these geysers, through meadows and forests, past roadside herds of bison and campsites aromatic with pine needles and family campfires. In between lies the country’s largest collection of elk, the continent’s oldest, largest wild bison herds and a pristine wilderness roamed by wolves, grizzlies, moose and antelope.

Grand Teton & Beyond

South of Yellowstone is Grand Teton National Park, probably the most famous natural skyline in the United States and the nation’s most iconic mountain range. These vertical peaks, reflected in a string of gorgeous glacial lakes, come the closest to most people’s picture-postcard image of alpine splendor and will send a shiver of excitement down the spine of even the least vertically inclined.

Opportunities to venture into the backcountry abound in both parks, whether it’s on foot, horseback, boat, ski or snowshoe. Buckle up and climb the Tetons, canoe around sublime Shoshone Lake, mountain bike to the summit views of Mt Washburn or hike for days through the remote backcountry – the choice is yours.

The parks’ wonders don’t stop at their boundaries. The two parks and their surrounding protected areas form a larger, interconnected area six times the size of Yellowstone: the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Here you’ll find blue-ribbon trout streams, fabulous hiking trails and a scattering of charming Wild West towns with their gaze set firmly on the great outdoors.

The Essential Outdoor Vacation

More than three million people a year are drawn here, so if you are traveling in July and August be prepared to share the parks’ charms, as well as their campgrounds and parking spots. Yet even in high summer it’s not difficult to shake the crowds. Park the car and head off down a trail, if only for a mile or two, and the parks will embrace you in their rejuvenating beauty.

Whatever your interests, some memories are shared – the taste of s’mores over a campfire, the nose-wrinkling smell of sulfurous steam and the electrifying thrill you get when hearing your first wolf howl. A journey to Yellowstone is a great vacation, but also a modern pilgrimage to two of America’s most admirable and enduring national landmarks.