By Susan Hanson
Originally appeared in the April/May 2016 issue of Virtuoso Traveler
The world’s first national park, Yellowstone
is known as the “Serengeti of the West” for its abundant wildlife, including bison, bears, wild horses, and elks. The reintroduction of wolves during the 1990s restored the park’s delicate natural balance, making it one of the largest intact temperate ecosystems on earth. Its 2.2 million acres contain some 300 geysers and 10,000 thermal features – more than New Zealand and Iceland combined – as well as one of the world’s biggest petrified forests and its own 4,000-foot-wide, 1,200-foot-deep Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
“I recommend the bull elk bugling, which takes place during the fall rutting season (late August to early October),” says Caroline Labbé, a Virtuoso advisor from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “Hearing the deep, bone-chilling bellow is a must for anyone who loves animals.”
Head beyond Old Faithful to the less visited Lower Geyser Basin and its Fountain Paint Pot Nature Trail, lined with gushing geysers, hot springs, steam vents, and mud pots.
Yellowstone is the only place in the U.S. where bison have roamed freely since prehistoric times. The World Wildlife Fund is working with Native American tribes to protect the park’s herd; to help, visit worldwildlife.org
Jackson Hole makes an ideal base for day trips to Yellowstone as well as Grand Teton National Park. Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole
can arrange a helicopter flightseeing tour with the resort’s in-house biologist; guests who stay in Summer 2016 receive a 12-month National Parks Pass for the family.
See More: 7 Must-Visit U.S. National Parks
Photo Credits: (Yellowstone National Park) Oleksli Khmyz/iStock, (Bison) Ian Dagnall/Alamy, (Old Faithful) YinYang/iStock
To plan a trip to Yellowstone, connect with an advisor below.