Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is a national treasure visited by more tourists than any other park in the federal system. Its incredible views, diverse wildlife and thermal springs bring millions of visitors every year. Although park rangers monitor the trails and famous locations, the park encompasses almost 3500 square miles of wilderness. If you’re unprepared for the trip, you could suffer an injury or get lost in the vast landscape. You can prepare for your outdoor adventure by examining these tips.
1. Credit Cards
Vacationing in Yellowstone is inexpensive compared to other popular tourist spots, but you’ll have plenty of opportunities to spend money. If you want to rent a boat or supplies for a hike, it’s easier and safer to carry a secured credit card than a wad of cash. If you visit the park during the busy season, you can store your card in a hidden money belt to keep your valuables hidden from other tourists.
Hiking boots are one of your most valuable pieces of gear, and you shouldn’t be frugal when shopping for boots. Discount boots can lead to more blisters, and they’re less likely to hold up in all weather conditions. Unless the online company has a return policy, visit a brick-and-mortar store so you can try on the boots and walk around. High-end boots have more cushioning, superior arch support and durable exterior material to withstand extreme heat and cold. Some brands have water-resistant coatings over the leather, but if you buy a product with untreated leather, you can use a waterproofing wax that keeps your feet dry in a storm or blizzard.
3. Cellphone or GPS
Staying in a group to go hiking can minimize your chances of getting lost, but you should also carry a phone or GPS device in case an emergency arises. Depending on the topography of your location, you may be unable to get a cellphone signal, but a GPS navigator works in all areas. GPS units also provide more accurate trail directions than cellphone navigation, but a phone and a trail map will suffice if you want to avoid an expensive GPS purchase.
Whether you’re visiting in the warmer months or colder months, you should always use sunblock. At higher elevations, you’re closer to the sun’s rays. It doesn’t take long to get sunburned at Yellowstone, but you can avoid it by applying a lotion with at least 30 SPF.
5. Head Gear
A comfortable hat keeps the sun out of your eyes and provides light protection from overhanging limbs and brush. When hiking at dusk or early in the morning, it’s helpful to have a headlamp. Unlike a flashlight, a headlamp frees your hands and allows you to use a hiking stick or trekking poles.
6. Rain Gear
Hiking through the rain is miserable without waterproof coverings. For warmer months at the park, you can store a lightweight poncho in your pack, and in the winter, use a waterproof down or Gore-Tex jacket. Water-resistant pants are also required if you’re going on a lengthy hike in the pouring rain.
7. Bear Repellant and Bug Spray
Yellowstone has several hundred species of wildlife, but some of the park’s animals are not afraid to approach humans. Humans have visited Yellowstone for so many years that bears and other large predators have become accustomed to their presence. Carry a bottle of bear spray with you on hikes, and coat your legs and arms with insect repellant to avoid ticks, mosquitoes and horse flies.
8. Day Pack
A full-size pack is essential when hiking for several days or weeks, but if you have a hotel near the park, you can carry a smaller day pack that will not load you down on a short hike. Some of the items you need to pack include water bottles, a first aid kit, food, matches and binoculars.
By following the previous tips, you can enjoy your time at Yellowstone and look forward to your next National Park adventure.
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