Whether thinking in general terms of the Yellowstone region or particularly of Yellowstone National Park, you can bet you’ll find some of the most impressive scenery on the planet in this spot of Montana.
The scenic Yellowstone Country spans at least 500 miles and crosses borders, encompassing the kind of scenery that brings in visitors from far and wide.
Within the designated national park area there are over 300 miles of paved, winding roads. This is good news for anyone choosing to do a spot of scenic driving along these highways they will definitely be privy to some of the best views in Yellowstone.
That said, a large proportion of the visitors heading out to the Yellowstone regions are usually hoping to catch some of the wilder-looking local inhabitants.
And they’ll find they’ve hit the right spot when they encounter the 2-plus-million-acres of natural features that include plenty of wildlife and the odd geological wonder or two amidst the mountains and valleys.
One thing about the best views in Yellowstone is that they are generally easy to access. They are typically grand and rugged yet picturesque.
Different tastes will appreciate the various aspects of Yellowstone and there are many but anyone with a hint of a taste for the outdoors will find plenty of views to suit them in and around the region.
Six of the Best Views in Yellowstone
- Madison River Scenic Drive
- Lamar Valley
- Artist Point
- Minerva Terrace
- Upper Geyser Basin
- Tower Falls Overlook
If you are approaching the region of Yellowstone by road and you don’t mind your views coming by way of four wheels here’s just the thing for you.
The 14-mile stretch of road along the Madison River in Yellowstone is a unique and scenic drive with plentiful pull-ins and picnic areas from which to enjoy some of the best views in Yellowstone.
The scenic route follows the Madison River and it runs through diverse and amazing scenery covering everything from grassy meadows to high mountains with populations of various types of wildlife.
This is a good stretch to bring a picnic to while you take your pick of the various stop-offs along the way.
With this in mind, you may find it best to forget being in a rush altogether as many other travelers are likely to be checking out the Bison and other wildlife especially when they decide to cross the road, or even just stand in the middle.
There is an off-shoot road that is more of a riverside drive, but this is also worth a look. It helps keep you close to the river where the odds of glimpsing some of the less-seen denizens of the natural locale are better.
2. Lamar Valley
Up and across to the National Park’s north-eastern shoulder is the ever-so-scenic and wild Lamar Valley.
Set along the Lamar River, this stretch of Yellowstone has earned the tag ‘America’s Serengeti’ due to the large wildlife populations that are very easy to spot most of the time. This includes the Lamar Canyon wolf packs, a draw for wolf enthusiasts from all over.
Aside from wolf enthusiasts, there are hordes of others who swear that this is the best place in Yellowstone to get views of wildlife. Especially if you are prepared to be there at either dawn or dusk. Maybe both it depends on how badly you want those Instagram shots.
Some of the other wildlife species roaming the Lamar region include large herds of bison, grizzly bears, deer, coyotes, and smaller animals like badgers with flying predators like osprey and bald eagles.
There are many pull-outs along the stretch of the road from which to take in some of the best wildlife scenario views in Yellowstone.
A Scenic Lookout Point of the Lamar Valley can be found between the northeast entrance of the park near Cooke City and Tower Junction.
There are no real specific viewing points though as the wildlife tends to move around, neither photographic nor outdoor enthusiasts will be disappointed.
3. Artist Point
From the heights of the 700-foot rock walls of the cliff over the Yellowstone River you’ll see some amazing views. For starters, there’s a steamy canyon and a huge waterfall at the center of your vision.
This is Artist Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, along Lower Falls, its grand-looking waterfall.
Anyone who does ‘must-see’ views and attractions undoubtedly needs to see this one. It does tend to serve as the backdrop for many a perfect vacation snapshot.
It’s also only a short walk along a paved trail from the South Rim Drive, and climbing the stone stairs takes you to the upper level.
From the upper vantage point, you’ll get views of the North Rim and its bleached-looking wall along with some impressively-panoramic, open terrain that takes your breath away.
Welcome to the other-worldly terrain of the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces, a natural limestone scenario that may come with icy cascades depending on the time of year.
The Minerva Terrace is the primary feature of the hot springs area and it goes through various cycles of activity, but it always provides some unique views.
In line with this and to help ensure the best views, the park installed a moveable boardwalk just in case. Wandering the Lower Terraces boardwalk is definitely the way to get the best views, and you can also gain access this way. The alternative is a drive up to the Upper Terraces Overlook.
You could always opt to snowshoe this boardwalk in the winter if you fancy and if the weather permits. This is a time when the views are something else altogether.
5. The Upper Geyser Basin
If it’s astounding views featuring natural geological wonders that interest you then check out the Upper Geyser Basin and Old Faithful Observation Point Loop in Yellowstone National Park.
Anyone who is unfamiliar with geysers or this region, in general, will soon find these views feature on many first-timers ‘must-see” lists. In fact, the Upper Geyser Basin probably features at some point on the list of most outdoor enthusiasts.
It’s no secret that the Yellowstone National Park Upper Geyser Basin is largely considered a crown jewel among bucket list views. The geysers and pools are visually spectacular to see, from a trail and overlook that isn’t steep coming down.
Visitors love the many beautiful views of the geysers along the entire stretch of this loop. Definitely stop and enjoy each one to make the most of this route, and you’ll find the area takes on different hues and vibes at different times, with the real magic occurring early morning and sunset.
Imagine glimpsing early-morning streaks of the sun’s rays piercing through steam. This is possible from around 20 designated viewing spaces accessible from the paved parking lot off of Geyser Avenue.
If you fancy a wander while taking in these astounding scenarios, the Observation Point Loop stretches for about 1.8 miles before it turns to more natural terrain with steps, rocks, and some reasonably steep sections.
There are benches dotted along the way for resting and taking it all in. The most accessible portion of the trail is the Upper Geyser Basin trail.
It’s worth checking out one of Yellowstone’s views that apparently inspired the creation of the first national park.
The impressive 130-foot waterfall scenario is classic Yellowstone and was famously painted by artist Thomas Moran during the 1871 Hayden Survey which ultimately led to the creation of the park.
The falls cascade down through eroded volcanic rock that joins the Yellowstone River. The good news is that here you’ll find the dramatic beauty that can also be seen from the Tower Falls Overlook in the northeastern part of the park.
The bad news depending on how you look at it is that the viewpoint is a further 10-mile hike from the parking lot.
The also-scenic Calcite Springs just north of Tower Falls is the end of the downstream bottom end of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
If you want the best views with the fewest people you’ll have the best chance before 9 or 10 a.m. and then again after around 5 p.m.