You’ll never get it all in a camera lens, but you can try. Just don’t get too caught up in Instagramming your trip: Compose some memorable shots, then put down the camera and take in the scenery with nothing between you and the view.
- Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone: Here, plunging polychrome rock walls frame two of the most powerful waterfalls for hundreds of miles: 308-foot Lower Falls and 109-foot Upper Falls. Excellent views await along both the North and South Rims of the canyon, but Artist Point, at the end of South Rim Drive, offers a picture-perfect distant look at Lower Falls. For a closer look, brave the metal staircase of Uncle Tom’s Trail, which dives deep into the canyon itself. On the North Rim, Inspiration Point delivers an equally impressive view.
- Lamar Valley: If it’s wildlife you seek, then make tracks to this expansive valley on the park’s northeast side. Your chances of spotting at least some of Yellowstone’s charismatic megafauna—including grizzly bears, wolves, elk, bison—are very high, especially if you visit at dawn and dusk. Multiple pullouts along the park road provide vantage points to set up your spotting scope or binoculars.
- Mount Washburn: For one of the finest top-down views over Yellowstone, hike to the top of this 10,243-foot summit. From the windswept peak, you’ll see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone slicing into the earth, the rolling Lamar and Hayden Valleys, and all the way to the Tetons.
- Yellowstone Lake: Sunrise over Yellowstone Lake is stunningly beautiful (especially if there’s fog on the lake), whether you watch it from the sunroom at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel, the front porch at Lake Lodge or, even better, from a campsite along the southern wilderness shore. For an equally spectacular sunset view, drive 10 miles east of the hotels to Lake Butte Overlook.