Land of Living Art

On March 1, 1872, Yellowstone became the first national park for all to enjoy the unique hydrothermal wonders. Amazingly, these same wonders are home to heat-loving organisms known as thermophiles. Read More

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10 minutes, 54 seconds

Learn about these amazing organisms that live in some of the hottest environment on earth—including in Yellowstone's hydrothermal features.

A bull elk with large antlers bugles in front of yellow leaves


Elk are the most abundant large mammal found in Yellowstone.

A watercolor painting on a clipboard resting on a person's lap being painted.

Yellowstone Plein Air Invitational

Visit Yellowstone Forever's website to learn more about this annual event of making art outside. It takes place September 24-29.


Visit Yellowstone

An amazing experience awaits you here. Yellowstone is a seasonal park, so plan your visit by learning about the current conditions, operating seasons and hours, road conditions, lodging and eating options, and available activities.

People walk along a boardwalk that goes through the a bare landscape covered in parts by water.

Things To Do

Explore all the different things there are to do in the park.

View from the top of a building shows visitors standing in a wide arc around a steaming geyser.


Watch Old Faithful erupt or see the Upper Geyser Basin, Mount Washburn, Yellowstone Lake, and some of the park entrances.

Four people sitting in campsite in front of a fire laughing and smiling.

Camp in a Campground

Plan a night in one of twelve park campgrounds.

Visitors watching a geyser erupt water and steam into the area from the safety of the boardwalk.

Explore Thermal Basins

Follow boardwalks and maintained trails to witness hot springs, mudpots, fumaroles, and geysers up close.

Yellowstone's app running on a tablet

Digital Guide to Yellowstone

Geyser predictions, interactive maps, self-guided tours, current conditions, and more. Download the official, free app today!


Understand Yellowstone

Yellowstone is as wondrous as it is complex. The park is at the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, where nature and culture abound. Here are just a few highlights, including the beneficial role that fire plays in the ecosystem, for you to learn about the park.

Volcanic rocks along the shore, with water crashing against them.


At the heart of Yellowstone is a large volcano.

View of the

Thermophiles in Time and Space

Yellowstone's hydrothermal features and thermophilic communities are studied by scientists searching for evidence of life on other planets.

Underwater view of the lake floor, showing sand and gravel.

Yellowstone Lake Geology

Discover a bit of what dynamic processes are going on below the lake's surface.

A dark blue hot spring with a white crested edge rimmed by orange water.

Life in Extreme Heat

Hydrothermal features are habitats for microscopic organisms called thermophiles: "thermo" for heat, "phile" for lover.

Orange-colered bacterial column growing in geyser runoff water.

Thermophilic Communities

Thermophilic communities are very diverse, depending on the microbes living there, the pH, and the water temperature.


Preserve Yellowstone

The National Park Service works to preserve Yellowstone for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of all people. We are not alone in this endeavor-park partners, volunteers, and visitors all help. Learn how to get involved.

A park ranger accompanies researchers during the winter field season.


All scientists in Yellowstone work under research permits and are closely supervised by National Park Service staff.

Photo of ranger deploying bear spray.

Bear Spray

Learn about this highly effective bear deterrent.

Photo of a park employee cleaning a boat with a power washer.

Clean, Drain, and Dry

Protect park waters by preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Last updated: August 30, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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