What State Is Yellowstone National Park In?

The majority of Yellowstone National Park is found in Wyoming. A small portion of the park (approximately 3%) is located in Montana and a sliver of the park (1%) is located in Idaho. Yellowstone was the first national park and it was established in 1872 by President Ulysses S. Grant. It is located over a supervolcano that powers the park’s geothermal features, including geysers and hot springs. 

America’s first national park is celebrated for the several geysers and springs, abundant wildlife, and Lake Yellowstone (the largest high elevation lake in North America). The park is so large that its entirety cannot be experienced in one day, or even one week for most people. Paved roads (maintained by the National Park Service) lead to most of the main attractions but hiking trails allow visitors to explore the rest of the park. 

Which States Are Yellowstone National Park Located In?

Yellowstone National Park is located in 3 states:

  • Wyoming
  • Montana
  • Idaho

96% of Yellowstone National Park is located in northwestern Wyoming, including all of the major attractions within the park. The northern border of the park boundaries of Yellowstone National Park is located in Montana and the southwestern corner is located in Idaho. 

View of the Yellowstone National Park on the map

Trivia Time: Which state has the most national parks? (Hint: it’s none of the three where Yellowstone is located!)

How to Get to Yellowstone National Park

Major Airports

The closest major airports to Yellowstone are Salt Lake City International Airport (UT) and Denver International Airport (CO). The drive from Salt Lake City to Yellowstone is approximately 4.5 hours and the drive from Denver to Yellowstone is approximately 8.5 hours. 

Regional Airports

West Yellowstone Airport (MT) is the closest airport to Yellowstone National Park. It is located three miles from the west entrance to the park. Jackson Hole Airport (WY) is 50 miles (one hour drive) from the south entrance. Yellowstone Regional Airport (WY) is 55 miles (one hour drive) from the east entrance of the park. 

Park Entrances

Yellowstone National Park has five entrance gates. The east and west gates can be accessed by US-20. The north and south entrances are on US-89. The northeast gate can be entered from US-212. 

Top Things To Do in Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring

View of the colorful Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park

The Giant Prismatic Spring is one of the most photographed hydrothermal features of the Yellowstone region. The colors of the hot spring come from the different types of bacteria that inhabit the water. 

Old Faithful

View of the Old Faithful Geyser and the clear blue sky

This is the most famous geyser in the world thanks to its reliable timing. It erupts approximately every 90 minutes and puts on a fantastic show for tourists. Nearby, you can find other geothermal features in the Upper Geyser Basin.

Lamar Valley

View of animals in the Lamar Valley

Lamar Valley is a must-see drive for scenic landscapes and wildlife viewing. Visitors can see herds of bison, mule deer, black bears, and more. 

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River

Scenic view of the Grand Canyon of the Yellow River

The canyon is 24-miles long with multiple trails and overlooks along the rim. One of the best viewing stops is Artist Point, where you can see the canyon and the Lower Falls.

Trivia Time: What states does the Colorado river run through?

Mammoth Hot Springs

View of terraces and water in Mammoth Hot Springs

Located near the north entrance, Mammoth Hot Springs is a unique formation of terraces. The terraces are created by the mineral deposits from the springs.

Yellowstone Lake

View of people in the Yellowstone Lake

The best way to see the lake is by taking a boat tour. You can also see wildlife that is drawn to the lake for the abundant fish, like the Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Yellowstone lake is one of the largest high elevation lakes in the world and is located within the Yellowstone caldera. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Big Is Yellowstone National Park?

Yellowstone Park is 3472 square miles or approximately 2.2 million acres. The park is the same size as Puerto Rico and larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined. Due to its size, most travel agents recommend planning a multiple-day trip to see everything the park has to offer. 

Where Is Old Faithful Geyser?

‘Old Faithful’ is a geyser found in Yellowstone National Park. It is located along US-20 in the southwestern quadrant of the park. 

What Other National Parks Are Closest To Yellowstone?

Grand Teton National Park is just a few miles from the southern border of Yellowstone. Glacier National Park is 365 miles north of the park and can be accessed by a six-hour drive. 

How Did Yellowstone Get Its Name?

The name Yellowstone originally comes from the Minnetaree (Native American) tribe that inhabited the area before European explorers arrived. They called the river that runs through the park “Yellow Rock River” because of the color of the formations in the river’s canyon. French trappers translated this name to “Roche Jaune”, which was then translated to “Yellow Stone” in English. 

What Is The Best Month To Visit Yellowstone?

The best month to visit Yellowstone is May. Most of the park’s roads will be open by this time and the weather is pleasant. The heaviest crowds of summer have not yet arrived. 

Is Yellowstone Safe To Visit?

Yellowstone is considered safe to visit. Animal safety is important when visiting the park. If you encounter an animal, especially a grizzly bear, maintain a safe distance at all times and do not feed the animal. 

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