Autumn in Yellowstone National Park is an amazing time of the year to view the color change in the trees and witness wildlife getting ready for the winter season. With over 3,500-sq.-miles of wilderness to enjoy, beautiful camping spots and various hiking trails you could spend months here without enjoying the park to its full potential. With fall upon us we laid out some tips and must-see destinations to help you plan your next adventure.
Picture by @jennifuhrman94
Tips when visiting Yellowstone National Park
A well-planned trip can make a huge difference when visiting this large national park. With so much area to cover you don’t want to be wandering around wasting time when there is so much to do!
Research the specific areas you want to see before you go and map out the best routes to get there.
Sunrise is your best friend. Get some extra coffee brewing and head out early. Not only will it be less crowded but your chances at viewing wildlife are way higher in the early mornings and late evenings.
Image by @bossbickson
Stop by the ranger station at the start of your trip to get all the maps and weather info you need for the duration of your stay. These guys are brimming with information, take full advantage!
1) Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley
Bears, wolves, bison and pronghorn inhabit this area and make frequent appearances. Located in the northeastern corner of the park this is also a great area to view some fall colors. Slough Creek and Pebble Creek campgrounds are also in this area if you are looking to prolong your stay. Pack some binoculars and sunscreen and wait for the wildlife to wander by!
Pic: Brocken Inaglory
2) Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Just looking over this massive area you can imagine the lava flowing and explosions that created this canyon so long ago. The present canyon is no more than 10,000 to 14,000 years old and 1,500 to 4,000 feet wide. The Yellowstone river flows through this area making this a great area to explore. The trees scattered throughout the canyon are a spectacular site in the fall. Check out the North Rim trail, a 7.6 mile out and back section to get some good views.
3) Morning Glory Pool
A Yellowstone trip wouldn’t be complete without some bubbling hot springs! With changing geothermal features due to high tourist populations this is still a great sight in the park. Incredible colors caused by minerals and bacteria in the water attribute to the bright hues of the water. Keep your bags closed and trash far away from this site to keep the amazing features visible for the next generations!
4) Harlequin Lake Trail
Crunched for time? Check out the Harlequin Lake Trail (0.4 miles) for some nice fall views. The marshy surroundings are good habitat for birds, elk, beaver and other wildlife (including mosquitoes so come prepared!). Located in West Yellowstone this is a great quick stop right off the highway and 1.5 miles west of Madison Campground. Trees are still growing here after the 1988 wildfires in this region.
Madison Campground is one of the most popular camping destinations in the park due to its central location. Enjoy all of the amenities that come with car camping including fire pits, tent pads and dumping locations. In September and early October, you can often hear the bugling of bull elk so either bring some ear plugs or stay up in the night listening to the incredible sounds these large animals make.
5) Mystic Falls
The 70-foot Mystic Falls is a great family-friendly adventure, especially during the heat of the day. Allow about 2 – 3 hours for this hike and head out early to avoid crowds at the trail head. Mystic Falls is located along the Little Firehole River which begins high on the Madison Plateau near the western edge of the park. The trail head is located at Biscuit Basin, 2.4 miles north of Old Faithful.
Image by @bekah_wing
Whether you are going for a day hike, driving around the scenic route or backpacking through the national park, take along your Crazy Creek chair to rest wherever you may be. For car camping and picnic stops the Crazy Legs Leisure Chair is the perfect option. Fit with a shoulder carrying strap for easy transport and folds flat for the car ride this is the go-to picnic chair for all ages. Backpacking through the high country? Clip on your Hex 2.0 Original Chair for a much needed sit after a long day of hiking!