Yellowstone National Park Facts

Yellowstone National Park Facts

Established as the world’s first national park in 1872 and spanning over 2.2 million acres, there is an endless supply of Yellowstone-related information to understand and unravel. A great place to start is with just the facts. From a basic understanding of the park’s geologic features and wildlife, to its equally vast cultural and historical resources, this Yellowstone Facts page will give you an overview of all that encompasses Yellowstone National Park.

 

History

  • Yellowstone National Park was established on March 1, 1872.
  • Yellowstone is the world’s first national park.

Geography

No area figures have been scientifically verified. Efforts to confirm the park’s total area continue.

  • 3,472 square miles (8,991 km2)
  • 2,221,766 acres or 899,116 hectares
  • 63 air miles north to south (102 km)
  • 54 air miles east to west (87 km)
  • 96% in Wyoming, 3% in Montana, 1% in Idaho
  • Highest Point: 11,358 feet (3,462 m; Eagle Peak)
  • Lowest Point: 5,282 feet (1,610 m; Reese Creek)
  • Larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined
  • About 5% covered by water; 15% by grassland; and 80% by forests

Precipitation

  • Annual precipitation ranges from 10 inches (26 cm) at the north boundary to 80 inches (205 cm) in the southwest corner. Learn more about weather in Yellowstone.

Temperature

  • Record High: 99ºF (37ºC), 2002 (Mammoth Hot Springs)
  • Record Low: -66ºF (-54ºC), February 9, 1933 (West Entrance, Riverside Station)
  • Average daily at Mammoth Hot Springs: January: 9ºF (-13ºC); July: 80ºF (27ºC)
  • Learn more about weather in Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Lake

  • Elevation: 7,733 feet above sea level
  • 131.7 square miles of surface area (341.1 km2)
  • 141 miles of shoreline (227 km)
  • 20 miles north to south (32 km)
  • 14 miles east to west (22 km)
  • Average depth: 138 feet (42 m)
  • Maximum depth: 430 feet (131 m)
  • Learn more about Yellowstone Lake

Geology

  • The park sits on top of an active volcano.
  • One of the world’s largest calderas at 45 x 30 miles (72 x 48 km)
  • 1,000–3,000 earthquakes annually
  • More than 10,000 hydrothermal features
  • More than 500 active geysers (more than half the world’s geysers)
  • About 290 waterfalls
  • Tallest waterfall near a road: Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River at 308 feet (94 m)

Wildlife

Vegetation

Cultural Resources

  • 26 associated Native American tribes
  • More than 1,800 known archeological sites
  • More than 300 ethnographic resources (animals, plants, sites)
  • 25 sites, landmarks, and districts on the National Register of Historic Places; many more eligible for listing
  • One National Historic Trail (Nez Perce)
  • More than 900 historic buildings
  • More than 720,000 museum items, including 30 historic vehicles
  • Millions of archived documents
  • More than 20,000 books (many rare), manuscripts, periodicals

Facilities

  • Eleven visitor centers, museums, and contact stations
  • Nine hotels/lodges (2,000+ hotel rooms/cabins)
  • Seven NPS-operated campgrounds (450+ sites)
  • Five concession-operated campgrounds (1,700+ sites)
  • More than 1,500 buildings
  • 52 picnic areas and one marina

Roads & Trails

  • Five park entrances
  • 466 miles (750 km) of road (310 miles [499 km] paved)
  • More than 15 miles (24 km) of boardwalk, including 13 self-guiding trails
  • Approximately 1,000 miles (1,609 km) of backcountry hiking trails
  • 92 trailheads
  • 301 backcountry campsites