Yellowstone National Park is one of America’s most iconic parks and features treasures like Old Faithful, bison herds, and Lower Falls. It covers nearly 3,500 square miles in northwest Wyoming although small portions of the park can also be found in Montana and Idaho. It is described as covering 2.2 million acres of land.

Yellowstone is also where the Student Conservation Association (SCA) pioneered the Greater Yellowstone Recovery Corps, a massive fire volunteer recovery effort in response to the 1988 wildfires that scorched more than a third of Yellowstone.

Over the next three years, thousands of highly skilled SCA response teams restored hundreds of thousands of feet of hiking trails, rebuilt more than 100 bridges and structures, and implemented massive amounts of erosion control projects, among other recovery efforts. The massive effort helped put Yellowstone well down the road to recovery and earned a National Points of Light Award while setting new standards for volunteer and multi-corps response to fires. Learn more at

Things to do

  • Yellowstone offers over 50 designated areas for picnicking. Many of the areas have tables and restrooms and a select few offer fire pits. Many can be accessed from a car but in the summer peak expect to be stuck in traffic. We recommend hitting the backcountry.
  • Pelican Valley to Lamar River Valley are great options for multi-day, backcountry, campsite to campsite hiking. It is an easily accessible hike yet away from the crowd offering wildlife, backcountry scenery and open views. You’ll be hiking many signature SCA projects as our students have spent years building, maintaining and re-routing these trails.
  • Take a hike up Specimen Ridge above the Lamar Valley where you will encounter remnants of petrified forest and other fossils. You’ll also get amazing views looking down on Bison herds and elk, and if you are lucky, wolves. In the summer, be on the lookout for SCA student work crews.
  • Yellowstone is home to over 300 geysers and 10,000 thermal features, that’s half of our planet’s hydrothermal features. While Old Faithful is most famous, it is also most crowded. Hike or bike two miles to Lonestar Geyser along the Firehole River and watch this geyser erupt 30 feet or more into the air with no board walk or fences. Consider a moonlight walk through the Norris Geyser field and check out Steamboat Geyser, the largest in the world. Also soak in the Boiling River south of the 45th parallel of latitude line in the Mammoth Area.

  • Consider a winter visit to the park. Ski, snowshoe or take a snow coach tour in the park, where witnessing winter is like traveling back in time (most of the parks roads and structures are buried under snow). Wolves and bison are particularly active, and Yellowstone Falls and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone are breathtaking surrounded by snow and ice…and you’ll almost have Yellowstone all to yourself!
  • Park Highlights:

    Yellowstone averages 3 million visitors a year, only 150,000 of those are during the winter and less than 2% venture more than a mile from the roads. Yellowstone is open year-round but the only road accessible in the winter is Mammoth to Tower, and Tower to Cooke City through Lamar Valley.

    • Day hiking
    • Backcountry Camping & Hiking
    • Bicycling
    • Boating
    • Fishing
    • Horseback Riding
    • Picnicking
    • Skiing & Snowshoeing
    • Geothermal activity
    • Wildlife viewing – Bison, Elk, wolves and more

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