Day 1 You'll See:
- Albright Visitor Center and Museum
- Swim at Boiling River Hot Springs
- Mammoth Springs
- Evening Wildlife Encounters Tour
Day 2 You'll See:
- Stagecoach Adventures
- Obsidian Cliff
- National Park Mountain
- Fort Yellowstone
Day 3 You'll See:
- West Thumb Geyser Basin
- Old Faithful
- Lewis Falls
Day 4 You'll See:
- Jackson Lake Overlook
- Jackson Lake Scenic Cruise
- Evening Wildlife Encounters Tour
Yellowstone National Park is a true American natural wonder, our first designated national park that holds over 2,219,789 acres of mountains, rivers, forests, lakes, geysers, hot springs, and so much more. A trip to Yellowstone enlightens guests on geology, geography, biology, history, and culture, making it a super field trip spot for any group.
Not only will there be opportunities to learn everywhere you look, but you will also be getting exercise and fresh air, taking excellent photos, and making memories you won't soon forget at one of the most iconic travel spots in America.
Albright Visitor Center and Museum
Welcome to Yellowstone National Park and our first stop, the Albright Visitor Center and Museum. An excellent introduction to the park and all it has to offer, the Albright Visitor Center features various displays tracing Yellowstone's wildlife and geothermal features. The museum sits within a 1909 structure built by the U.S. Army as a bachelor officer's quarters for cavalry troops protecting the park before the national park service was set into place (a part of the Fort Yellowstone Historic District). Learn all about the park's natural and cultural treasures, get trip planning information, see exhibits on park history, visit the bookstore, and maybe even sign up for a ranger-led program while here. The Backcountry Camping office is also housed here, selling the boating, camping, and fishing permits within.
Swim at Boiling River Hot Springs
Swimming probably isn't the first activity you think of when visiting Yellowstone, but believe it or not, Boiling River Hot Springs is quite an excellent place to take a dip! This swimming hot spot is located just south of the 45th Parallel Bridge, near the North Entrance of the park. The swimming hole sits along a spot where a large hot spring enters the cool Gardner River, allowing the hot and cold waters to mix into a comfortable bathing temperature. This 'natural hot tub' can be accessed by a 1/2 mile walking trail, just park your vehicle in the lot along the road and enjoy a short, scenic hike.
Mammoth Hot Springs
End your day at Yellowstone National Park with a visit to Mammoth Hot Springs, the large complex of hot springs that sits on a hill of travertine (calcium deposits). These springs were created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate, creating the 'terrace-like' cascade of pools you see today. Many people describe the scene as a cave turned inside out. There are approximately 50 hot springs throughout the Mammoth Hot Springs area, which are viewable via the Lower Terrace Boardwalk or any of the many Upper Terraces.
Evening Wildlife Encounters Tour
Get ready for one seriously fun night as you and your group head out on an Evening Wildlife Encounter Tour. Depart from the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel on a Historic Yellow Bus and explore the high meadows of Yellowstone's Northern Range, seeing all its nighttime inhabitants along the way. Depending on how much you see along the way, your trip may extend all the way to Lamar Valley before you return.
Did you know that stagecoaches were the first mechanized travel method within Yellowstone National Park? This early method of transportation was heavily utilized during its peak time between 1881 to 1917 within the park, but don't worry, you can still hitch a ride on one through Yellowstone even today! Stagecoach Adventures offers partial-day tours that unleash the true pioneer spirit, allowing guests to feel the rumble of the replica Tally-Ho Coach. Take a 1/2 hour, 2-mile track ride through the Tower and Roosevelt areas, near the Northeast park entrance. Enjoy the ride, learn park history, and even spot wildlife all along the way. Looking for a bit more? Consider adding on an Old West Dinner Cookout to your experience!
A nice place to stop while in the area near Mammoth Hot Springs is the awe-inspiring Obsidian Cliff. Boasting a vertical thickness of about 98 feet, this natural wonder is observable only, no hiking allowed. The cliff has served as an important source of lithic materials over the years, considered the United State's most widely dispersed source of obsidian. Obsidian, aka 'black gold', aka 'volcano glass', is typical of volcanic areas and reflects light off of its glossy surface. Visit the kiosk near the cliff to read up on the historical significance of this cliff and of obsidian in the states in general.
National Park Mountain
Rising 7,550 feet above the Yellowstone Plateau you will find the aptly named National Park Mountain, one of the many scenic roadside must-sees during your visit. This mountain rises above the confluence of Firehole River and Madison River, just west of Madison Junction. You can hike along the mountain, stop for a quick stretch and take a few pictures, or simply enjoy the scenery of the mountain as you travel to your next big stop!
Fort Yellowstone Historic District is probably one of the most historically and culturally interesting spots in the park to visit, this series of historic army structures first established in 1891. Fort Yellowstone was a United States Army fort stationed at Mammoth Hot Springs. The spot endured 32 years of military presence, from 1886 to 1918, after the need for serious park protection was recognized. The soldiers were stationed here to protect the land from poachers and developers, with around 324 soldiers plus their families staying during the peak military presence in 1910. Soldiers first stayed in temporary frame buildings, then more permanent large sandstone buildings were erected in 1909. Today 35 structures remain within the district, the buildings used as various headquarters, employee housing, and museums (Albright Visitor Center and Museum). You can go into a few during your visit, but not many due to the fact that they are still used as current offices/housing.
West Thumb Geyser Basin
One of the first publically documented features of Yellowstone was the West Thumb Geyser, a small vibrant geyser featuring scenic Yellowstone Lake views. Historically, this spot was only visited via stagecoach from Old Faithful. Though development was halted in the 1980s, there were actually once campsites, cabins, a cafe, and a gas station in the basin, though today all you will find is the scenic features found naturally. See the Abyss Pool, a hot spring known for its impressive depth, the Fishing Cone, a hot spring in which you could catch a fish then cook it on its hook right there, and the Thumbprint Pots, or mini mud volcanoes throughout. Take the Yellowstone Lake Overlook Trail, a 2-mile roundtrip hike, for the most scenic lake views, or perhaps consider sea kayaking to get to know the waters a bit more!
Located within Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful is one of the world’s most visited and most predictable geographic features! This cone geyser was discovered on an 1870 expedition and has been studied in great detail since then. Old Faithful erupts every 35-120 minutes, with between 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of boiling water spraying 145 feet into the air on average. Over 140,000 eruptions have been documented so far! You can also see the close-by Yellowstone Caldera from this area, an active supervolcano that is considered the largest on the continent. A visit to the nearby buildings and Old Faithful Inn will show your group a historic district with rustic architecture and a large role in development and tourism in this area. This is another stop you won’t want to be without your camera!
Dropping 30 feet on the Lewis River you will find Lewis Falls, the cascade waterfall located halfway between the South Entrance and Grant Village in Yellowstone National Park. Easily seen from the road, Lewis Falls is a very popular and scenic spot used for camping, picnicking, and hiking. Your group can take a short hike to get close up to the falls, or simply view them from the Lewis River Bridge. The Lewis River is also popular for fishing, with ample brown trout and brook trout for the catching. The river and waterfall were named after Meriwether Lewis, from the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition, though technically their explorations were about 50 miles north of this spot.
Jackson Lake Overlook
Today you will be heading south to another American National Park wonder, Jackson Lake at the Grand Teton National Park. Jackson Lake is the largest and most popular lake within this park, a high-altitude lake that stretches 15 miles! The lake is very popular for scenic hikes, fishing, boating, sailing, and swimming. You can even find things to do on the lake in the winter months, like ice fishing or cross-country skiing. The lake was formed naturally at the base of the northern Tetons, however, it did see a sizable increase after a dam was built in the early 1900s. The Jackson Lake Overlook Trail itself is about 1.2 miles in totality and offers truly breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
Jackson Lake Scenic Cruise
To really get to know Jackson Lake take a scenic cruise, the perfect opportunity to learn about the history, geology, flora, and fauna of the area, all while enjoying the beautiful waterside scenery. The cruise lasts about 2 hours for the basic Jackson Lake Scenic Cruise option, though there are also meal cruise options as well, the Jackson Lake Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner cruises taking you out to Elk Island to enjoy a delicious meal. These cruises are offered seasonally from Late May to Late September.