Yellowstone National Park-Camping in the Wild

Yellowstone National Park is primarily located in the state of Wyoming, although certain parts of the park extend into Idaho and Montana. It sits atop the Yellowstone Plateau, 8000 feet above sea level. It is America’s first national park and is home to a vast array of wildlife, including grizzly bears, bison, elk, deer, and even wolves. The vast 2,219,789 acre park is also host to over 300 species of birds. For the botany enthusiast, the park displays roughly 1,075 different plants, of which 200 are exotic species. Preserved inside the park, are some of the most unique and beautiful geysers and natural springs in the world, including the celebrated “Old Faithful” geyser. The Yellowstone River boasts a massive 300 foot waterfall which is another natural phenomenon to delight patrons of the of the park. A sub-alpine forest is Yellowstone Park’s dominant feature, although many ecosystems exists within it.

A Brief History

The Yellowstone region was home for Native Americans for over 11,000 years, and interestingly enough, the region was not explored by the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804. Detailed exploration of the area did not begin in earnest until the 1860s. In 1870, Cornelius Hedges recommended that some of the land be preserved for use as a natural park. In 1971, at the end of his second expedition of the area, F.V. Hayden helped to persuade congress to withdraw the area from a public land auction which was being planned, and the Act of Dedication was signed by Ulysses S. Grant. When this act was signed into law on March 1, 1872, Yellowstone National Park was created.

Camping Experience of a Lifetime

Moderate summers and cold winters offer a simple description of Yellowstone’s climate. A huge selection of campsites await vacationers who want to experience the wild beauty of living within Yellowstone National Park, and no matter which site vacationers choose, they will be guaranteed the memories of a lifetime. There are approximately ten designated campgrounds inside Yellowstone Park, and most are opened from early May to late October. One of the most beautiful times of year for the Yellowstone camping experience is early fall, with the summer crowds dispersed, and the year’s hottest temperatures a thing of the past. However, any time folks choose Yellowstone National Park as their camping destination, it will be an enjoyable experience.

Upon entering the park, it is a good idea to stop at one of the many visitor centers and collect some maps and brochures which will make planning activities easier. Some campsites allow for reservations in advance, while others operate on a first come first serve system. When choosing a camping site, it is important to look for a level area, as well as one that offers some shade. Some families enjoy bringing bicycles along on their camping trip, as this offers a fun and healthy way to explore the park. Binoculars are a must have, when one considers how much Yellowstone Park has to offer that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Campers can enjoy thousands of locations for hiking, fishing, or sightseeing, available from dawn to dusk.

Safety Considerations

Anyone who with any experience camping knows how important proper disposal of leftover food is. Enjoying the wild beauty of Yellowstone National Park can be a wonderful and exhilarating experience, yet no one wants to awake in the middle of the night to find a grizzly bear guest finishing forgotten leftovers. It is also important to bring along a first aid kit, as sometimes, despite the most carefully laid plans, minor accidents may occur. Most campers also opt to bring bug repellent to deter mosquitoes and other undesirable insects. Most safety and comfort issues such as these are really matters of common sense, and with proper planning, most difficulties such as the ones mentioned above can be avoided.

Yellowstone National Park is a collection of cultural, historical, and geological treasures, and offers far more than vacationers are able to explore in a few weeks time. This is why many people, once they have experienced the majestic beauty of Yellowstone National Park, choose to return each year, for new and memorable experiences.