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Best Yellowstone Park Activities for First-Time Visitors

a group of people on a rock next to water

If it’s your first visit to Yellowstone National Park, you may to be tempted to try and see everything this wilderness area has to offer in just a few days’ time, but in reality that simply isn’t possible. Yellowstone stretches on for nearly 3,500 square miles, and you couldn’t see everything it has to offer if you spent a lifetime inside the park, let alone a single weekend.

To this end, we’ve put together a Yellowstone activity list that’s perfect for first-time visitors. It will get you to the front of the action in the important areas, while still allowing you time to actually take in your surroundings.

Book a Guided Tour

Take a half-day and book a guided Scenic Safaris tour of this remarkable area. Experience the National Elk Refuge up close or spend some time fishing in the gorgeous Snake River. You’ll benefit from the experience of a knowledgeable guide on your journey, and you’ll learn fascinating facts about the park that you might have otherwise missed.

Visit the Thermal Features

There’s no way you could ever see all of Yellowstone’s thermal features in one weekend, but you should dedicate at least a few hours to take in Old Faithful or the Riverside Geyser. Most of Yellowstone’s thermal features are concentrated in the southern region of the park. We recommend spending a night nearby and then changing out your accommodations nightly so you have a better chance of visiting more areas.

Do a Park-Sponsored Yellowstone Activity

Park-sponsored activities in Yellowstone include such adventures as morning wildlife drives, wolf-sighting led by a biologist, and boat tours to name only a few. Spend a half day taking in some of these offerings before you leave.

Most importantly, don’t spend your whole visit rushing from one attraction to another. Take time to wander around and notice the wildflowers and hike on an out-of-the-way trail. Yellowstone Park will still be here tomorrow and the next day and next year. When you finally get the opportunity to go, live in the moment.