Yellowstone National Park is a natural wonder that draws millions of visitors annually. The park spans over 2.2 million acres and is home to many wildlife, geological formations, and natural wonders. While the park is truly spectacular, the Upper Loop of Yellowstone, also known as the North Loop, has some breathtaking sights and experiences.
The Upper Loop of Yellowstone is well-known for its abundant fauna and geothermal activity, particularly at Old Faithful Geyser and Grand Prismatic Spring. The northern loop of Yellowstone comprises four distinct areas: Mammoth, Tower-Roosevelt, Canyon, and Norris.
The North Loop of Yellowstone is a circular road stretching approximately 70 miles. If you’re planning a trip to Yellowstone and want to explore the Upper Loop, here is a guide to help you plan your adventure.
The Mammoth Area is located in the northwest section of the park and is the starting point for many visitors exploring the North Loop. Here, you will find the park headquarters and historic buildings dating back to the early days of Yellowstone.
One of the most popular attractions in this area is the Mammoth Hot Springs, a series of terraced hot springs formed by the precipitation of calcium carbonate. The mineral deposits create a colorful and otherworldly landscape that is truly breathtaking.
Visitors can take a boardwalk tour of the hot springs, which offers stunning views and a chance to learn about the geological processes that created this unique feature.
In addition to the hot springs, the Mammoth Area is also home to a large elk herd. Visitors often see these majestic animals grazing in the fields around the park headquarters. The area also has several hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to more challenging hikes that offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
The Tower-Roosevelt Area is located in the northeastern section of the park and is known for its towering rock formations and diverse wildlife. One of the most popular attractions in this area is the Tower Falls, a 132-foot waterfall that cascades over a series of rocks and boulders.
Visitors can take a short hike to the overlook, which offers stunning views of the falls and the surrounding canyon.
Another popular attraction in the Tower-Roosevelt Area is the Lamar Valley. This vast grassy plain is home to many wildlife, including bison, wolves, and grizzly bears. Visitors can take a guided tour of the valley or drive through and stop at one of the many pullouts to view the wildlife.
Watch this amazing video to see the Yellowstone wildlife:
The Canyon Area is located in the park’s central section and is known for its stunning canyon views and geologic features. One of the most popular attractions in this area is the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, a massive canyon over 20 miles long and up to 4,000 feet wide.
Visitors can hike down into the canyon to get a closer look at the colorful rock formations and the mighty Yellowstone River that flows through it.
Another popular attraction in the Canyon Area is the Upper and Lower Falls, a series of waterfalls that drop over 300 feet into the canyon below. Visitors can take a short hike to the overlooks to view the falls or take a longer hike down to the base for a closer look.
The Norris Area is located in the northwest section of the park and is known for its geothermal features, including geysers, hot springs, and mud pots. One of the most popular attractions in this area is the Norris Geyser Basin, the oldest and hottest geyser basin in Yellowstone. Visitors can take a boardwalk tour of the bay, which offers stunning views of the geysers, hot springs, and other geothermal features.
Another popular attraction in the Norris Area is the Artist Paint Pots, a series of colorful hot springs formed by the interaction of bacteria and mineral deposits. Visitors can walk along the boardwalk to view the hot springs, which are constantly changing and evolving.
In addition to the geothermal features, the Norris Area is home to several hiking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Visitors can also stop by the Norris Museum and Visitor Center to learn about the geology and history of the area.
Tips For Visiting The North Loop
Visiting the North Loop of Yellowstone can be an unforgettable experience, but planning your trip accordingly is essential. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit:
- Plan Your Visit
The North Loop can get very busy during peak season, so planning your visit is essential. Consider visiting in the shoulder season (late spring or early fall) to avoid crowds.
- Dress Appropriately
The weather in Yellowstone can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to dress in layers and bring appropriate gear. Be prepared for rain, wind, and sudden temperature changes.
- Stay On Designated Trails
Yellowstone is home to a fragile ecosystem, so it’s essential to stay on designated trails and follow park rules to help protect the environment.
- Be Aware Of Wildlife
Yellowstone has much wildlife, including bears, wolves, and bison. Keeping a safe distance is essential as never approaching or feeding the animals.
- Consider Taking A Guided Tour
If you’re new to Yellowstone or want to learn more about the park, consider taking a guided tour. Several companies offer guided tours of the North Loop, which can provide valuable insights and information about the park.
The North Loop of Yellowstone is a must-see for anyone visiting the park. From the colorful hot springs of the Norris Area to the towering rock formations of the Tower-Roosevelt Area, there is something for everyone in this stunning section of Yellowstone.
Planning your visit and following park rules and guidelines can ensure a safe and unforgettable experience in one of the world’s most incredible natural wonders.