When we think of the Fourth of July, we think of barbecue and fireworks outside or, short of that, watching them on television.
And while Yellowstone National Park does not fit the bill of traditional Fourth of July celebrations, it is nonetheless an excellent place to be, celebrating the United States of America. Yellowstone was created as a monument, set aside in the spirit of American heritage. It was a gift to the future, but in the present, it is a testament to the bounty of America’s environmental riches.
Luckily, Yellowstone is ready to oblige anyone wanting to spend his or her Fourth in the Park. Yellowstone will be completely open. Road construction will cease between 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 3 and 7 a.m. Monday, July 7 to accommodate visitors.
Of course, just because it’s a national holiday doesn’t mean that the rules will be slackened in Park boundaries. Visitors are still expected to stick to boardwalks, maintain safe distances between wildlife and maintain the speed limit while driving. Drivers are asked to exercise extra caution around the Fourth of July in Yellowstone, since the Park is expecting a high number of visitors.
Fireworks are prohibited in Park boundaries, although many of the Park’s gateway communities will be holding ceremonies.
- Take a Guided Sunset Kayak Tour on Yellowstone Lake
Paddling the vast open water of Yellowstone Lake provides beautiful sunsets, abundant wildlife, and underwater geysers! Your guide will lead you around the shoreline to the West Thumb Geyser Basin where there are many geothermal features on land and under water we will explore from our kayaks, then return the way we came back to Grant Village without stopping, returning just before dark. Paddling away from the crowds in the west thumb of the lake, you learn how to safely and properly control your kayak so you are able to relax and take in all of the natural beauty of Yellowstone at sunset. We have both single and double kayaks available and no prior kayaking experience is required.
- Visit Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon
Besides the geyser plains, Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon is the Park’s most splendorous attraction. The feature itself is entwined, not only in Yellowstone history, but national history as well. Famed landscape artist Thomas Moran established his reputation on a series of paintings made of the Canyon during the Hayden Geological Survey of 1871. These paintings, along with photographs of William Henry Jackson (a fellow artist on the trip) helped inspire Congress and President Ulysses S. Grant to preserve the Park for all time. Moran’s paintings still hang in the Smithsonian; one even hangs in the Oval Office. So, when you visit Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon, you’re not only visiting a geologic marvel, you’re visiting a tangible artifact of America’s development.
- Hike in to the Lewis River Channel and Shoshone Lake
This trail gives you a feel for Yellowstone’s backcountry. Hike through forest to the colorful waters and open meadows of the Lewis River Channel . Look for Eagles and Osprey fishing for trout in the shallow waters. River Otters and Beaver call this home too. Go back the way you came for a shorter 7-mile round trip, or continue on an 11-mile loop trial that takes you to Shoshone Lake and returns on the forested Dogshead Trail.
- Eat A Bowl of Wilcoxson’s Ice Cream
A Montana staple since 1912, Wilcoxson’s is available all over the Park, although the best places to get it are at the Old Faithful Inn, and in the Grant Village and the Lake General Stores.