Yellowstone National Park is home to majestic scenery that spans three US states; Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.
At the park, which sits on top of an active supervolcano, visitors can learn about the various species of mammals, fish and birds that reside across the park that has 80% coverage of forest, 15% grassland and 5% water.
Yellowstone National Park is celebrated in Guinness World Records 2022 as part of an exclusive Virtual Visits feature which brings the wonder of Yellowstone National Park to readers, or budding park rangers, around the globe.
Let’s put on our park ranger hats to explore the unique features spread across Yellowstone National Park’s 3,472 square miles (8,992 km2).
Oldest national park
President Ulysses S Grant designated the area as a national park on 1 March 1872. With this title, Yellowstone became the world’s first national park.
The park, which has its 150th anniversary coming up in 2022, is an important landmark. It houses millions of precious (and sometimes rare) items ranging from documents, books, manuscripts and periodicals that refer to the park and its history.
Across the park are nearly 1,800 known archeological sites with ties to 27 current Native tribes, 300 ethnographic resources (animals, plants, sites), and the historic Nez Perce trail.
"Few places on Earth can offer such a rich variety of natural records, whether it’s geothermal icons like Steamboat Geyser or perennially popular record-setting wildlife such as moose and wolves. And what better time to celebrate Yellowstone in all its glory than in the run-up to its 150th anniversary?" - Adam Millward, Managing Editor, Guinness World Records
Largest concentration of geysers
The park contains nearly 10,000 hydrothermal features which are half of the world’s known examples! Their entire ecosystem covers geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles. With 500 geysers in tow and half of them active, visitors can view the eruptions of boiling water from the hot springs as the underground steam reaches up to 1,500 times its normal volume.
Tallest active geyser
Look towards the sky at the Steamboat Geyser!
The water jets of the Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone have reached heights of up to 91.4 m (300 ft) in the Norris Geyser Basin. More commonly, eruptions reach 3–5 m (10–15 ft). In previous decades, eruption intervals could range between 19 days and four years. The 1960s saw Steamboat erupting as quickly as every 4-10 days.
Largest hydrothermal explosion crater
See a natural occurrence formed 14,000 years ago.
A series of hydrothermal explosions 14,000 years ago created various crater complexes on the northern edge of Yellowstone Lake.
The record-setting Mary Bay explosion crater complex measures 2,000 x 1,000 m (6,336 x 3,168 ft). It developed as a result of a natural occurrence of underground water reaching extremely high temperatures and pressures due to interactions with molten rock and close contact with the Earth’s surface. As a result of these interactions, the resulting drop in pressure underground can cause an explosive push of water into steam.
However, it’s not just the natural wonders at Yellowstone that hold records. Animals native to the area also hold some records of their own!
The ancestor of all domestic dogs today, the grey or timber wolf (Canis lupus), can have a body length of up to 1.6 m (5 ft 3 in) and stand up to 81 cm (2 ft 32 in 7 in) tall. They can also weigh as much as 80 kg (177 lb).
Fastest land animal over long distances
Don’t get in the way of the North American pronghorn (Antilocapra americana).
As the fastest land animal over a long distance, these antelope-like ungulates have been clocked reaching speeds of 56 km/h (35 mph) for as far as 6.6 km (4.1 mi).
For the young naturalist in your life, or for any youngsters with ambitions of one day working in the great outdoors, Yellowstone National Park offers a Junior Park Ranger program that educates children on the importance of nature perseveration and fun facts about the park.
To visit or donate to aid the preservation of these natural wonders, visit Yellowstone National Park's official website.
Learn more about these and other incredible facts about Yellowstone National Park on pages 78-79 in the new Guinness World Records 2022, now available in stores and online.