Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park     Photo: Corel

Stats

>EST. 1872
>ACREAGE 2,219,791
>VISITORS 2,870,295 (2006)

The world's first national park is more than just Yogi Bear and Old Faithful, though the latter is nicely emblematic. The park sits atop more geothermal features—geysers, hot springs, steam vents, and mud pots—than anywhere else on the planet. Work Old Faithful to your advantage: While RVs stick to the 142-mile Grand Loop Road and jostle for parking spots at the premier attraction, beat a quick retreat to the park's 950 miles of trails.

EXPERT ADVICE: A three-day trip to the Shoshone Geyser Basin, on the park's south side, is the best way to find your own little patch of hot earth. "It's one of the most remote geyser basins in all of Yellowstone," says Steve Koning, owner of Jackson, Wyoming–based Snake River Kayak and Canoe. "An awesome display of various types of geothermal features, in a very primitive setting." Snake River's trip begins with a paddle across Lewis Lake and a paddle/portage up the two miles of the Lewis River Channel to Shoshone Lake.

CRASH PAD: From the lake, take Highway 89 to the 82 cabins and sports pub of Flagg Ranch Resort. From $159 per cabin, tent sites from $20; flaggranch.com

DETAILS: nps.gov/yell, 307-344-7381; Snake River Kayak and Canoe, snakeriverkayak.com

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