Biggest mistake people make at Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is the United States oldest national park and one of the most well known. The park is often times overrun with tourists and it may always seem like there’s no way for you to compete. Every one is cramming into small spaces and trying to take the same iconic photo. Among all the chaos, many of the tourists are making the same mistakes.
Here are a few of the biggest mistakes tourists make and how to avoid them.
1. Not visiting Grand Teton National Park
Did you know that the two national parks are nearly joined? Grand Teton National Park is no more than a 45-minute drive from the center of Yellowstone National Park. And let me tell you, it’s definitely worth it!
2. Not planning ahead for your stay
Many people think you can wing Yellowstone. Just go with the flow. Well, you can, if you understand the basics of the park. For instance, look at the map and know the layout of the park. Don’t try to go from Lamar Valley to Old Faithful in one day. You’ll realize that they are clear across the park from each other and you’ll be spending more time in the car than exploring Yellowstone’s unique, volcanic landscape.
For our trip, we divided the park into four sections. We tackled one section a day. It’s also nice to know about the current park conditions such as road construction and fire warnings.
3. Treating the park as if it’s an amusement park
No, the wildlife cannot be touched or petted. This isn’t a petting zoo.
No, you can’t disobey signs that say “stay on the path” or inform you about how to stay safe.
National parks are meant to be a looking glass for tourists into the wilderness. To see the natural wonders and understand why it’s important to conserve Mother Nature. If tourists continue to act like national parks means free for all, the parks will drastically be affected.
For more ways on how to stay safe and continue preserving our national parks, visit nps.gov.
4. Underestimating the number of people
To piggyback off my previous point, not anticipating the high demand in the park can ruin the relaxing vibe of your vacation. Whether it’s competing for campsite (which is completely insane!), the line for photos in front of Old Faithful, or simply the fact that you’ll probably never be alone on a hiking trail, are all things visitors often gloss over. I for one want an authentic experience at national parks. When there are as many people as there would be in a bustling city, the park’s scenery doesn’t awe me. I’m more focused on keeping people out of my bubble and trying not to photobomb other park-goers photos.
These tips just skim the surface. What are some tips you’d give fellow travelers?