FAQ

About Yellowstone National Park

How did Yellowstone get its name?

Yellowstone National Park is named after the Yellowstone River, the major river running through the park.

 

Is Yellowstone the largest national park?

No. More than half of Alaska’s national park units are larger, including Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve, which is the largest unit (13 million acres) in the National Park System.

 

How big is Yellowstone National Park?

Yellowstone National Park is 3,472 square miles which includes over 1,000 miles of trails, 52 picnic areas, and 900 historic buildings and over 200 waterfalls.

 

Is Yellowstone the most visited national park?

Yellowstone is in the top five national parks for number of recreational visitors. Great Smoky Mountains National Park often has the most. Visit https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/ to view up-to-date statistics for all national parks.

 

How many rangers work in Yellowstone?

Approximately 773 people work for the National Park Service during the peak summer season. Approximately 330 are permanent, year-round employees. Park rangers work in education, resource management, law enforcement, emergency medical services, and backcountry operations. Other employees specialize in research, maintenance, management, administration, trail maintenance, fire management, and fee collection.

 

How do you become a park ranger?

Many National Park Service employees begin their careers as volunteers or as seasonal employees. Hiring is very competitive and is conducted through the Office of Personnel Management.

 

Can we swim in rivers and lakes?

Swimming is not recommended because most lakes and streams are dangerously cold. Firehole Canyon, near Madison Junction, has a swimming area popular in summer. Soaking in thermal features is illegal. The area known as the Boiling River, north of Mammoth Hot Springs, allows soaking in the Gardner River near thermal outflow, but not in the feature itself. Soaking is allowed during daylight hours only and at your own risk in designated spots.

 

What is the highest peak in the park?

Eagle Peak in the southeastern part of Yellowstone is the highest at 11,358 feet.

 

When does Old Faithful erupt?

Basic prediction of Old Faithful is dependent upon the duration of the previous eruption. During visitor center hours, geyser statistics and predictions are maintained by the naturalist staff. Intervals can range from 60-110 minutes. There’s an app for that! https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/news/social.htm#CP_JUMP_2619523

 

How hot is the water in Old Faithful?

During an eruption, the water temperature at the vent has been measured at 204°F (95.6C). The steam temperature has been measured above 350°

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