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Banner with "Ask a Ranger" and a series of five National Park Service rangers.

Yellowstone National Park is a big place—2.2 million acres (899,116 ha), which is larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined! Rangers work hard to preserve the park resources for your—and future kids'—enjoyment.

Check out some of the popular questions that visitors ask Yellowstone rangers. Maybe you will learn some cool facts about Yellowstone.

Purple badge with a silhouette mountain over a rocky peak of a mountain with over mountains in the background.

Yellowstone is located on top of one of the world's largest active volcanoes.

Yellowstone: The Place

Three. 96% of the park is in Wyoming, while 3% of the park is in Montana and 1% of the park is in Idaho.
The lowest temperature recorded in Yellowstone is –66°F (–54°C).
Eagle Peak is Yellowstone's highest mountain at 11,358 feet (3,462 m).
No, though it is commonly considered the longest undammed river in the continental Unites States.
No, though at 7,731 ft (2,357) above sea-level it is the largest high-elevation lake in the country.
Illustration of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River is 20 miles (32 km) long, and more than 1,000 feet (304 m) deep.

290 waterfalls can be found within the park.
The Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River is more than 308 feet (93 m) tall.
It depends on the time of year. During the spring melt of snow, there can be 63,500 gallons (240,000 l) per second flowing over the brink of Lower Falls. The flow can drop down to 5,000 gallons (18,900 l) per second in the fall.
The natural color of the water. A notch in the lip of the brink makes water deeper and keeps it from mixing with air and becoming frothy, so the color is visible as it goes over the edge.
Osprey nest on stone spires in the canyon.
Blue badge with white silhouette of an eruption geyser over an image of a steaming pool of water.

As earth's plates drift, the North American Plate slowly moves over the Yellowstone hotspot.

Yellowstone: The Heat Beneath Your Feet

Over 10,000 hydrothermal features have been documented within the park.
Nearly 500 geysers are actively erupting within the park.
Steamboat Geyser, which is found within the Norris Geyser Basin part of the park, is considered the world's tallest active geyser. It has been recorded to erupt over 300 feet (91 m) into the air.
Scientists started watching the Yellowstone volcano 50 years ago. Geologic activity at Yellowstone has remained relatively constant. Another caldera-forming eruption is possible, but it is quite unlikely in the next 1,000 or even 10,000 years.

Silhouette of an erupting geyser on blue with text "How much water comes out of an Old Faithful eruption?"

An Old Faithful Geyser eruption can release 8,400 gallons (31,797 l) of water.

Yellowstone experiences 1,000 to 3,000 earthquakes each year!
Liberty Cap is a 37-foot (11-m) cone created by a hot spring that was active in one location for a long time.
Yellowstone is home to one of the largest calderas in the world. It stretches some 45 miles by 30 miles (72 km by 48 km).
The highest temperature recorded in a Yellowstone hydrothermal feature was 459°F (237°C).
Geysers have constrictions in their plumbing systems.

The yellow circular image with a bison silhouette is superimposed over an image of a family of red foxes.

Stay at least 300 feet (91 m) from bears and wolves, and 75 feet (23 m) from all other animals.

Yellowstone: Life in the Park

Yellowstone is home to 67 species of mammals.
In North America, both terms refer to the American bison. "Buffalo" is used informally, while "bison" is preferred for more formal or scientific purposes.
Most bulls drop their antlers in March and April. New growth begins soon after.
Yellowstone is home to 6 species of reptiles and 5 species of amphibians.
Yellowstone is home to 16 species of fish.
Silhouette of a grizzly bear on yellow background with the text "How fast can a grizzly bear run?"

A grizzly bear can run up to 45 miles per hour (72 kph)!

Only about 23 bison remained in Yellowstone in the early 1900s.
Yellowstone is home to 285 species of birds.
Bison give birth in late April or May. Each pregnant female will give birth to one calf.
They do, though most of their prey tends to be elk. Grizzly bears have also been known to hunt bison.
Orange badge with a silhouette arrowhead over a black-and-white photograph of the Old Faithful Inn.

People have been in Yellowstone for more than 11,000 years.

Yellowstone: Past and Present

President Ulysses S. Grant established Yellowstone National Park on March 1, 1872.
Yellowstone National Park is named after the Yellowstone River, the main river running through the park. According to French-Canadian trappers in the 1800s, they asked the name of the river from the Minnetaree tribe, who live in what is now eastern Montana. They responded "Mi tse a-da-zi," which translates as "Yellow Stone River." The trappers translated this into French and in 1797, explorer-geographer David Thompson first used the English translation.
Rail service close to the park reached Livingston, Montana in 1882. However, it took until 1902 to reach Gardiner, Montana and 1908 for passenger service to reach West Yellowstone, Montana.
Silhouette of a ranger standing near an erupting geyser on a green background with the word "How many rangers work in Yellowstone?"

Approximately 780 people work for the National Park Service during the peak summer season. Approximately 190 are permanent, year-round exployees.

On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Organic Act, which established the National Park Service.
In 1903, when President Theodore Roosevelt dedicated it by laying the cornerstone.

Last updated: August 23, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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