Whether hiking, exploring, or driving through Yellowstone, the diversity of the area requires care to ensure that the wildlife and the geothermal features remain pristine.
Yellowstone National Park, located in northwestern Wyoming, USA, offers visitors abundant wildlife and more geothermal features in one location than anywhere else in the world. Visiting Yellowstone requires an understanding of the safety rules and common sense that must be observed at all times.
Respecting Wildlife in Yellowstone
Abundant wildlife is visible throughout Yellowstone, and most of it can be viewed from the safety of a vehicle. Elk, moose, wolves, coyotes, bears, and of course, bison (buffalo) are the primary inhabitants of the 2.2 million-acre park.
Never approach any wildlife, whether on foot or in a vehicle. When buffalo or elk are crossing the road, maintain as much distance as possible. If an animal is encountered while on foot, do not make eye contact with it and do not cross or block its path. Do not feed the wildlife. This is strictly prohibited!
Signs are posted at all wildlife viewing areas and along with trailheads that provide additional guidance and instructions for visitors.
Yellowstone’s Geothermal Features
Geothermal features include mud pots, steam vents, geysers, and fumaroles. In the Upper Geyser Basin, the water temperature is 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Water boils at 199 degrees Fahrenheit at this altitude (7,366 ft.), and the average temperature of the water shooting from Old Faithful is 203 degrees Fahrenheit.
Never touch the water! Geothermal features should never be compromised by throwing things into them or disturbing them in any way. Do not step off marked trails and boardwalks as the boiling water and hot mud can cause physical harm and/or death. Keep an eye on young children and pets. Do not allow them to wander unattended.
Day Hiking in Yellowstone
With the hundreds of miles of hiking trails in Yellowstone, visitors can find a hike to meet any fitness level. Follow these important safety tips when planning that next hike.
Check the weather before you leave. Ask a ranger for current wildlife activity on the trail. Dress appropriately. Wear hiking shoes and layered clothing. Bring plenty of water-based on the length of the hike. Tell someone where you are hiking or sign in at trailhead.
Backcountry Hiking and Camping
Yellowstone provides one of the most pristine wilderness areas in the world. When taking advantage of this, always remember to follow these common-sense guidelines.
Do not hike or camp alone. File any required overnight permits. Utilize proper food storage receptacles. Carry out everything you carry in.
Yellowstone National Park offers visitors many unique features in terms of wildlife and geothermal activity. Given this uniqueness, remember to follow all safety rules regarding wildlife, driving, hiking, and camping in order to fully appreciate the wonders of this national park.