Pacific Northwest National Parks
Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a meeting point of sorts. Surrounded and shared by four different national forests, located atop the Rocky Mountains with its southwest corner intersected by the Continental Divide, America's oldest national park marks the union of three northern states. Wyoming claims more than 90 percent of the park's 3,472 square miles. Montana lies at its northern edges, while Idaho makes up its southwest corner. In all, the park comprises more acreage than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.

For many people, Yellowstone is best symbolized by "Old Faithful," an age-old geyser that was named for its synchronized eruptions of thousands of gallons of boiling hot water. But despite the name-brand recognition that the geyser has acquired over the years, it is neither the largest nor the most consistently punctual hot spring in the park.

Nor is it the only type of geological feature in Yellowstone. Located in a 34-mile by 45-mile-wide volcano caldera, Yellowstone is a world unto its own, filled with rainbow colored thermal pools, mudspots, geysers and steam vents. More than 10,000 geological features dominate the supervolcano, a hotspot where the eart's roiling gasses are constantly being expelled under the pressure of molten lava just below the earth's surface.

Yellowstone's recreational activities extend beyond the boundaries of its geological attractions. Its trails are shared by hikers, mountain bikers and cross-country skiers from all over the world. Close to ski resorts on all sides, the park's accessibility has made it one of North America's top wilderness destinations. Boating and catch-and-release fishing for cutthroat trout, mountain whitefish and Montana grayling are available at Yellowstone Lake, and wildlife and bird watching are key attractions throughout the park.

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