Yellowstone has the distinction of being the very first national park in the United States. The majority of the park is located in the state of Wyoming, with parts of the park also stretching into Montana and Idaho. Yellowstone National Park is famous for the wildlife that call the park home and the amazing geothermal activity that takes place here. Furthermore, it is considered a supervolcano that could erupt at any moment.
I previously worked at Yellowstone for a great company called Delaware North. The best part of employment here is the chance to explore the park for an entire summer. I was also fortunate enough to make close friends with exchange students from Colombia and Hong Kong. I highly suggest any college kids looking for something to do with their summer to consider summer employment in the park. Many retirees also come work at Yellowstone so they can spend a whole summer relaxing in a beautiful setting. A lesson learned for when I eventually retire as well.
The wildlife is one of the best things about Yellowstone National Park. Large mammals are definitely the favorite. Grizzly bears, black bears, moose, bison, wolves, elk, and bighorn sheep can all be spotted inside the park’s borders. At Canyon Village, we would see bison right outside of our dorm windows! I’ve even seen elk walk right through the parking lot at the store. Across the street from our living quarters were a mother moose and her calf that frequented a watering hole. However, my favorite animals in the park are the bears. I had never seen a bear before working here. The wolves are usually seen from a distance and require telescopes or binoculars. They hang out in the northern part of the park as do the bighorn sheep.
The geothermal activity is unique to Yellowstone National Park. Thermal features include geysers, hot springs, mud pots, travertine terraces, and fumaroles. The two most famous of these features are probably Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic Spring. Mud Volcano, near Canyon village, is an interesting spot even though the odor of rotten eggs fills the area. Steamboat Geyser is actually the world’s tallest geyser. The travertine terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs are almost alien like features from some other world. Fumaroles are vents of steam coming up from underground that can be found in many places within the national park.
Most people wouldn’t think of Yellowstone as an aquatic park, but it could actually be considered such. Water fuels the geothermal activity that takes place here. As a result of water and magma interacting underneath the surface, Yellowstone is abound with thermal features. There is also a fair share of waterfalls including Upper Yellowstone Falls and Lower Yellowstone Falls. Several rivers flow through the park and make for excellent photo opportunities. A few lakes are even present with Yellowstone Lake being the largest. I even took my friends from Hong Kong out on the lake in a rowboat during one of our outings. You can rent these rowboats at Bridge Bay Marina.
Yellowstone National Park is an outdoor paradise. It has almost everything you could ask for in an outdoor park. Wildlife, rivers, lakes, forests, geysers, and hot springs are all included with your visit. Everyone should plan to see the park at least once in their lifetime. Working and exploring here provided me with a treasure of fond memories. As did Big Bend National Park which you can read about too. It has been said that national parks are the greatest idea America ever had. For me, working a summer in Yellowstone was the greatest job I ever had.