In 1872 Yellowstone National Park was created as the first National Park in America. The park is in the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. There are many varieties of mammals, birds, fish and reptile that make the park their home, some species of which are either endangered or threatened. The animals include wolves, grizzly bears, elk and bison. Yellowstone contains some of the planet's most exceptional geysers (especially Old Faithful), hot springs and a Grand Canyon.
The human past of the Yellowstone location goes back over 11,000 years. The park was home, hunting lands, and transit routes, to several groups of Native Americans. This continued until about 200 years ago when European settlers made there way into the land. When the area was made into a national park, it was a new way for people to watch over and protect the natural land for the pleasure of future ages.
The park covers 3,472 square miles (8,987 km²), and is composed of lakes, canyons, rivers and mountains. Yellowstone Lake, a large high-altitude lake is over the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the North American continent. This volcanism is why half of the world's geothermal features are in Yellowstone. Lava flows and rocks from volcanic eruptions are over most of the land of Yellowstone. The park is the most outstanding part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest system that remains, as an almost-intact ecosystem in the Earth's northern temperate zone.
Old Faithful, a cone geyser, is in the Wyoming part of Yellowstone National Park. Eruptions can go as high as 106â€“184 feet (30â€“55 meters) causing 3,700 to 8,400 U.S. gallons (14â€“32 kL) of boiling water to shoot up and last from 1.5 to 5 minutes. Records have been kept of over 137,000 eruptions. The eruptions are about 90 minutes apart, but can go as long as 125 minutes between eruptions.
Yellowstone has many recreational things to do, including hiking, camping, boating, fishing and sightseeing. Paved roads provide close access to the major geothermal areas as well as some of the lakes and waterfalls. In winter, tourists often come into the park by guided tours that use snow tranportation vehicles like snowmobiles. There are over 2,800,000 visitors each year to enjoy the park.
Yellowstone's weather is one of cold winters and mild summers that is influenced by the different altitudes. Most of the park is above 7,500 feet and the weather is very unpredictable. Visitors have to be prepared for weather that changes, snow and thunderstorms and emergencies.