Yellowstone’s 3,468 square miles include some truly beautiful and awe-inspiring spots. Most visitors tend to stick to well-known trails and famous attractions, like Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs. If you are looking for a more authentic taste of Yellowstone, away from the crowds and tourist attractions, check out some of the park’s hidden gems.
QUEEN’S LAUNDRY BATH HOUSE
A little slice of park history lies in the Sentinel Meadows within the Lower Geyser Basin. Early visitors to the park found that a thermal feature in the area was slightly cooler than other nearby hot springs, allowing for bathing and laundry. Construction of a bath house was begun but never completed. The half-finished building is possibly the oldest structure in the park.
Along the south rim of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, you can find a quiet viewpoint known as Point Sublime. As the name implies, the view is quite impressive. Peering down over the wooden railing, you can see the steep canyon walls – colored orange, yellow, and red, descending toward the Yellowstone River. This is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the view during your wildlife tour in Yellowstone.
TWO OCEAN PLATEAU
In the southeast corner of Yellowstone lies Two Ocean Plateau, a vast and picturesque marsh named for the fact that its water drains into both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. There are 15 back country campsites in the surrounding area, so you can stay overnight or simply enjoy a peaceful afternoon before hiking back to the main road.
LONE STAR GEYSER
While Old Faithful is infinitely more famous, Lone Star Geyser is ideal for those who want to see a geyser without being engulfed in a crowd. It’s found via a 2.7-mile hike along the Firehole River. Since Lone Star Geyser erupts only once every 2 ½ to 3 hours, plan on waiting. Bring a picnic and enjoy the peace that comes with having a little part of the park all to yourself.
FINDING YOUR OWN HIDDEN GEMS
- Enhance your time by staying in the park. There are several campgrounds and even a couple of hotels if you would rather not sleep outdoors.
- Be sure to check out all areas. The park includes a variety of diverse ecosystems, each of which can show you a different side of Yellowstone.
- Ask locals for directions to their favorite spots.
- Finally, dare to go off on your own. Since most visitors stick close to main roads – if you are willing to hike a little, you are sure to find something few tourists will ever see.
Exploring Yellowstone can be a deeply personal journey when you step away from the crowds and find yourself discovering something special. Explore the real Yellowstone by checking out some of these hidden gems or find a few of your own.