Yellowstone National Park, sprawled across the northwest corner of Wyoming, features the world’s highest concentration of geysers and other thermal features.
The park’s more than 2 million acres also contain abundant wildlife and some of the most famous hotels in the national park system.
“Yellowstone is the elder statesman of our unparalleled national park system,” said Rick Hoeninghausen, director of sales and marketing for Xanterra Parks & Resorts’ Yellowstone National Park Lodges. Xanterra is the principal concessioner at Yellowstone National Park.
The parks numerous geysers, hot springs, fumaroles and mudpots led Congress to make it the world’s first national park in 1872.
Old Faithful is the park’s most famous geyser. Eruptions of steaming water can go as high as 180 feet and last up to five minutes.
“The average height is 130 feet,” said Xanterra guide Karin Jones. “Every single time is different.”
While the time between Old Faithful’s eruptions varies from 51 to 120 minutes, the geyser erupts every 92 minutes on average.
Stop at Old Faithful Inn, which opened in 1904, to see the 76-foot-tall lobby, a huge stone fireplace and chimney, overhanging balconies and railings made from gnarled logs.
On an early morning drive through Hayden Valley, it’s possible to see scores of bison emerge through the mist. Elk, grizzly and black bears, wolves and Trumpeter swans also live in the park.
One of the park’s most breathtaking sights is Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. From Artist Point, the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River are framed by canyon walls, forest and sky.
Lake Yellowstone Hotel, the grand dame of the park, recently underwent a $28 million renovation.
This year, as the National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday, the Lake Yellowstone Hotel is celebrating its 125th.
National Park Service rangers lead talks, walks and evening campfire programs.
Xanterra offers interpretive sightseeing tours and activities, including photo safaris, wildlife tours, lake cruises and horseback trail rides. The company also can build custom itineraries for groups.
For more information, call 307-344-7381 or visit nps.gov/yell.