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Yellowstone: America's First National Park

Posted by Via Staff on February 28, 2018
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  • the entrance sign to Yellowstone National Park, picture
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    Photo: Zack Frank/Shutterstock
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    According to the National Park Service's figures, 96 percent of Yellowstone's 3,472 square miles cover Wyoming land, with 3 percent and 1 percent crossing into Montana and Idaho, respectively.
  • Grand Prismatic Springs in Yellowstone National Park, picture
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    Photo: Wisanu Boonrawd/Shutterstock
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    Grand Prismatic Spring is the park's largest hot spring, known for its vibrant colors.
  • American bison herd in the Madison River Valley in Yellowstone, picture
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    Photo: Gjeterhund Photography/Shutterstock
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    Bison, who number somewhere between 2,200 and 5,000 depending on the year, have lived in the area since prehistoric times.
  • Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, picture
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    Photo: Tristan Brynildsen/Shutterstock
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    The Yellowstone River plunges through the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, which is 800 to 1,200 feet deep.
  • A boardwalk crosses over a barren snow-colored basin in Yellowstone National Park, picture
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    Photo: silky/Shutterstock
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    A boardwalk winds its way across the Porcelain Basin, named for the unique color of the mineral, siliceous sinter, that collects here.
  • Coyote at Yellowstone National Park, picture
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    Photo: My Generations Art/Shutterstock
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    Abundant within the park, coyotes are often seen while on the prowl for small mammals.
  • Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park, picture
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    Photo: Chiara Salvadori/Shutterstock
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    The Lamar Valley in northern Yellowstone is a great place for general wildlife viewing, but it's especially known for its wolf population.
  • Old Faithful geyser mid eruption at sunset, picture
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    Photo: Susanne Pommer/Shutterstock
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    Although its one of hundreds of geysers in the park, Old Faithful is certainly the best known. That's because it's one of the few whose eruption is reliable, hence the name.
  • Sapphire Pool at Biscuit Basin in Yellowstone, picture
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    Photo: kojihirano/Shutterstock
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    Find the Sapphire Pool just three miles north of Old Faithful at Biscuit Basin.
  • Near Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone, picture
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    Photo: Victor Maschek/Shutterstock
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    Yellowstone's location atop an active volcano accounts for its fascinating thermal activity. However, the travertine terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs are unique because they're located outside the caldera.
  • Tower Fall in Yellowstone, picture
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    Photo: Oleksandr Koretskyi/Shutterstock
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    Popular with day hikers, the park's 132-feet-tall Tower Fall has long been a source of artistic inspiration.

Although Yellowstone was established as the first national park on March 1, 1872, the expanse of mostly Wyoming wilderness has hosted humans for far longer. Archaeological sites reveal that humans have been in the area for more than 11,000 years.

Today, more than 4 million people seek out Yellowstone's alluring beauty each year, making it one of the most visited parks in the national park system. Covering more than 2 million acres, Yellowstone entices thanks to its prehistoric sites, gushing geysers (you may have heard of Old Faithful), and abundant wildlife. 

Click through the gallery for a glimpse of Yellowstone’s wild landscape.