WEST YELLOWSTONE, Mont. (April 26, 2012) – Yellowstone National Park has been ranked as the best adventure vacation in the United States by U.S. News and World Report.
The magazine also ranked Yellowstone as the best cheap summer vacation in the country, second best affordable U.S. destination, second best family summer vacation and third best relaxing U.S. getaway.
“Filled with geothermic wonders like Old Faithful and the Mammoth Hot Springs, America’s oldest national park offers miles of undisturbed wilderness that beckon to adventure-thirsty visitors,” the magazine said, noting Yellowstone’s stunning geologic features, unique wildlife, fascinating tours, invigorating winter sports, and endless miles of hiking, biking and walking trails.
“Here, visitors can truly enjoy a vacation that’s as laid-back or as active as desired – with spectacular sights everywhere they look,” said Derek Zwickey, regional general manager for Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, which operates the 12 Yellowstone General Stores in the park and three hotels near the west entrance in West Yellowstone, Mont.
But with so many spectacular things to do and sights to see in the 2.2-million-acre wonder that is Yellowstone, what is truly not to be missed during a vacation there?
“Our employees, many of whom have lived and worked here for years and know dozens of incredible places to see, are asked this all of the time,” Zwickey said. “So we offer insights on a few hidden gems, but we also make sure to tell guests about the sights they would absolutely regret not seeing.”
He offered Delaware North’s list of the top 10 sights to see at Yellowstone National Park:
Old Faithful – Likely the world’s most famous geyser, Old Faithful erupts about every 91 minutes and spews 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of boiling water up to 185 feet in the air.
Grand Prismatic Spring – Located in Midway Geyser Basin, Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the United States and is known for its rich shades of blue, green, yellow, orange, red and brown.
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone – Located downstream from Yellowstone Falls, The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is 800 to 1,200 feet deep and 1,500 to 4,000 feet wide. The 20-mile-long canyon offers a wide range of hiking options for those at every level. A hike not to miss is Uncle Tom’s Trail, which takes you from the top of canyon to the base of the 308-foot-high Lower Falls.
Mammoth Hot Springs – This large complex of hot springs flowing over travertine stone terraces offers a stunning spot for photographers to practice their art.
Hayden Valley – As one of the best places in the park to see a wide range of wildlife, including grizzly bears, bison, elk and coyotes, Hayden Valley is a particularly popular spot in spring, early summer and during the fall rut.
Lamar Valley – A prime location to view wildlife, Lamar Valley is home to herds of elk, bison, and several packs of wolves.
Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center – Just outside the park in West Yellowstone, the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is a fun stop for families to learn about Yellowstone wildlife. The center, noted as a top Yellowstone destination by U.S. News and World Report, offers viewing areas to see live grizzly bears and wolves.
Mount Washburn – At 10,223 feet, Mount Washburn offers rigorous hiking, stunning park views and an active fire lookout tower with a small visitor center and observation deck.
Grand Loop Road – Built in 1915, the 140-mile Grand Loop Road connects Yellowstone’s main attractions and offers visitors an easy way to tour the park – stopping for photos, hikes and picnics along the way.
Yellowstone Lake – Covering 136 square miles, Yellowstone Lake is the largest body of water in the park and North America’s largest freshwater lake above 7,000 feet in elevation. Fishing is available from June through early fall – and is a stunning place to walk, hike and picnic.
In addition to the many things to see and do in Yellowstone National Park, the cities and towns surrounding this national treasure provide guests with modern conveniences and comforting spaces to call home for a week or a weekend.
In West Yellowstone, visitors can stay just minutes from the park’s west gate at one of the Park Gate Lodges at Yellowstone, three distinctive hotels owned and operated by Delaware North. Each of the hotels – the Yellowstone Park Hotel, West Yellowstone Holiday Inn and Gray Wolf Inn and Suites – provides guests with a concierge who can help plan a day, book activities and make restaurant recommendations. More information is available at http://www.visityellowstonepark.com/.
Guests staying at least two nights at any of the three hotels receive two complimentary tickets to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, located directly across the street from the Gray Wolf Inn and Suites. More information is available at http://grizzlydiscoveryctr.com/.
Delaware North also provides guests of any of the three Park Gate Lodges at Yellowstone with a token for a 10 percent discount on purchases at any of the park’s 12 Yellowstone General Stores, which the company operates for the National Park Service. The stores feature a broad selection of merchandise, including unique Yellowstone apparel and souvenirs, groceries and snacks, and camping supplies – plus several offer casual eateries.
The Park Gate Lodges also offer a variety of year-round and seasonal packages for families and other travelers, including the Picnic in the Park Package; Yellowstone IMAX Family Package;
Bed, Breakfast & Bears Package; and Yellowstone Sightseeing Package. For a full list of packages and details, visit: http://www.visityellowstonepark.com/Packages.aspx.