Experiencing Yellowstone National Park: A Beginner’s Guide

Hypothetically speaking, if Yellowstone was a movie, it would likely be a massive, multi-million dollar science fiction film with Tom Hanks as the lead, Johnny Depp as…the other lead, and directed by either James Cameron or Steven Spielberg one could only expect, taking home best picture at the Academy Awards, in a landslide

However, movie magic wouldn’t stand a chance against Yellowstone Nation Park.

Yellowstone is a geological wonder, one the Seven Natural Wonders of North America.

Featuring a geological utopia of violently exploding geysers, memorizing hot spring pools, Yellowstone’ Old Faithful Geyser, lakes, rives, super volcanoes, vast canyons, never ending waterfalls, and a plethora of other bewilderingly elements, making this a paradise for hikers, explores, campers, adventurists and even moviegoers.

Backpacking through Yellowstone is an experience unlike any other but before gathering your gear, there are several you must first consider.

Is a permit necessary for camping?

Yes! Permits are required for visitors who plan to stay in Yellowstone’s backcountry. For your convenience, permits can either be downloaded online or in person two days before leaving to the campgrounds.

Park officials advise that guests first receive authorization in advance if you plan on staying multiple days or have a preference of campsite.

What backpacking equipment should I bring?

Depending on the season, your equipment is essential to enjoying your visit to Yellowstone National Park. If backpacking is a new endeavor for you, consult with someone from your local travel gear and goods store, who can assist you to find the right equipment relative to season and terrain.

How to proper store food at the campsite

Being by nature is a surreal experience, especially when encountering wildlife native to the park. Food, as you are well aware, attract animals. It’s imperative that you don’t leave food your tent and others. Use a food storage pole to suspend food and other essential gear away from animals near the campfire.

The pole is suspended horizontally and nestled in between two trees, positioned approximately 13 feet above the ground. A nylon cord, bear bag and carabineer can assist you with hanging your items.

Is the water harmful to drink?

Yes. Yellowstone may be one of the most beautiful things your eyes may have seen, but that doesn’t mean the water is clean and safe. Many backpackers make the mistake of trusting transparency in water coloration as clean, only to find out that bacteria, parasites, viruses and other living specimens entered their bloodstream causing them to become sick and essentially, ruining their trip.

Will my physical condition impact my experience?

Yes! Yellowstone is 5,000ft above sea level, so altitude is a factor.

Lower levels of oxygen can affect your breathing pattern for about two days. Additionally, the higher altitude can affect or deplete energy levels. Altitude sickness is common for backpackers whose physical condition may not be suited for Yellowstone backpacking.

To prepare your body, invest time in aerobic exercise to get your heart rate up such as running, swimming and biking; practice yoga and deep breathing exercises to additionally support your lungs. When you body is prepared, your mind will be better prepared to handle the conditions.

Are The Hot safe to use swim in?

This question is relative specific to the hot spring you encounter. Warning signs are often labeled near the pool to ensure that backpackers know of which hot pools are deemed unsafe. However, it’s best to consult with someone familiar with hot springs to ensure your safety.

What are the top three landscapes to explore in Yellowstone?

Although it’s near impossible to pick three, the most popular destinations include:

  1. Old Faithful – Yellowstone’s “most trusted geyser”, perplexing geologists and backpackers alike with its right-on-time schedule of violent eruptions. It’s truly a sight to behold and you won’t want to miss it
  2. Morning Glory Pool- Unlike any geological feature you may encounter, once blue, the Morning Glory Pool has changed to perplexing colors, unfortunately in thanks to inexperienced visitors where harmful materials were thrown into the pool.
  3. Yellowstone Falls and Yellowstone Grand Canyon – Twice as tall as Niagara Falls, The Yellowstone River’s is an awe-inspiring, winding watery path, which eventually ends and dumps its water into the Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon—1000 feet below the ground.

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Published on: November 24, 2015

Filled Under: Travel

Views: 5189

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