Located primarily in Wyoming, but spilling into the states of Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park. Learn more about the park’s abundant wildlife, unique hydrothermal features, and geological gems in this Everyday Postcard from the globe-trotting Czech couple, Adriana and Matěj.
With seven continents, nearly 200 countries, and more than 7.5 billion people in the world, there is a lot to experience. The world is so vast and amazing that even the most avid traveler with a large bank account couldn’t truly do it justice in one lifetime!
Through the Everyday Postcard series, one of the world’s everyday wanderers shares postcard-worthy photos and real-life travel experiences to bring a piece of the big wide world to you.
In addition to working at a restaurant within the park, Czech couple Adriana and Matěj spent a summer exploring Yellowstone, America’s first national park.
We are sending a lot of greetings from Yellowstone National Park. It’s a true wonderland here. Honestly, we haven’t seen more beautiful land before! All these geysers and colorful hot springs are just breathtaking! Our favorite hot pool is Morning Glory. The funny thing is that rangers call the local traffic jam “the bison jam” because it is usually caused by the bison herd roaming on the road.
We are looking forward to our next adventures!
Adriana and Matěj
Meet Adriana & Matěj
Adriana and Matěj are Czech travelers, bloggers, and photographers behind the blog Czech the World. They met eight years ago and have traveled together ever since. They lived one year in New Zealand and worked two summers in the USA (in Yellowstone, and Alaska). Adriana also volunteered in the Malaysian rain forest and Matěj studied in South Korea.
In addition to their blog, be sure to follow Czech the World’s adventures via social media:
For those of us who haven't visited yet, tell us a bit about Yellowstone
Yellowstone is the oldest National Park in the USA and definitely belongs to the most fascinating ones. It’s a true natural wonderland. It contains over 60% of all the world’s geysers and about 10,000 other geothermal features because the whole park sits on top of a giant supervolcano! With an area of 3,472 square miles (8980 km²) of wilderness, it is home to a variety of wildlife including bison, bears, coyotes, wolves, and elk. You will be amazed to see all these colorful hot springs, erupting geysers, bubbling mud pots, fumaroles, and steam coming out of the earth.
Related Article: Visit Yellowstone National Park without Making Headlines
How did you decide to visit Yellowstone?
We decided to join the work and travel program for foreign students, which allows us to work for a summer in the USA. When we were choosing from the list of employers, we had only one requirement, it has to be a national park. Both Glacier and Yellowstone were on the list, but Glacier National Park was already staffed, so we picked Yellowstone. It was the best decision we could have made!
How did you travel around Yellowstone National Park?
Just by hiking and hitchhiking. Actually, it was the first time we tried hitchhiking, and we were really surprised how easy it was! We made a sign saying “N.P. EMPLOYEES” and another one with the destination, and the average waiting time was around 10 minutes!
We were hitchhiking to get to the trailheads. All these backcountry trails were absolutely amazing. We also did quite a lot of overnight camping, which was adventurous because you have to be quite careful in a “bear country” like Yellowstone, and hang all your stuff (especially food) on the trees, which should be 100 meters away from the place, where you sleep.
Related Article: Be Bear Aware with These Tips to Avoid (and Survive) a Bear Encounter
When's the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park?
The best time to visit Yellowstone National Park is definitely the summer when the weather is warm. Spring can be also nice. There are also some lodges that remain open in winter, but that is a totally different experience.
Yellowstone is more than 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) above the sea level, therefore the winter starts pretty early there. Actually, we would love to come back in winter but it’s best to see Yellowstone during the summer first.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to pack your National Park Passport so you can get it stamped when you visit Yellowstone National Park!
What sights cannot be missed when visiting Yellowstone?
The most iconic hot spring of Yellowstone National Park is the Grand Prismatic, which is the third-largest hot spring in the world and definitely the most beautiful one! The spring’s vivid colors are caused by microorganisms.
A very popular attraction is also the Old Faithful Geyser. This geyser is exceptional because its eruptions can be easily predicted. Old Faithful goes off every 90 minutes (plus or minus 10 minutes). It’s a spectacular show – the boiling water can reach up to 56 m (180 feet).
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is definitely among TOP three places to see in Yellowstone, it’s an impressive canyon with massive waterfalls! If you should pick only one of many amazing viewpoints, choose the Artist Point. The contrast of the wild blue river with the orange canyon is magical.
There are many more awesome places to see, like Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces, Norris Geyser Basin, Lamar Valley, the Lake area and much more! Check out the complete list of the best things to see in Yellowstone National Park.
Pro Tip: Whitewater rafting is a popular activity at Yellowstone National Park in the summer. Near Gardiner, Montana, on the northern edge of the park, check out these full-day and half-day whitewater rafting experiences.
Related Article: 9 Phenomenal Places to See Animals in Yellowstone
What was your favorite moment at Yellowstone National Park?
The most memorable moment was when we were watching a grizzly bear eating a bison carcass on the other side of the river. The best thing was that several bears were coming to feed themselves at that spot for a whole week! So we took several trips to see it. It was 100% better than TV.
We made a hitchhiking sign “TO SEE A BEAR EATING BISON,” and you can guess that we didn’t have to wait for a ride very long.
Fun Fact: Montana is home to the most native mammal species in the United States. Here are some other fun facts about Montana.
One of the best parts of travel is experiencing the local flavors. What was your favorite meal in Yellowstone?
We only tried it once, but it was a bison burger. It was also the most popular dish from the menu of the restaurant where we were working.
Did you learn any local expressions at Yellowstone?
Two important phrases immediately come to mind:
- Bison jam – a traffic jam caused by bison walking down the middle of the road
- Bear jam – a traffic jam caused by people who stopped their car on the road trying to see a bear that already ran off
We hear a lot about “smooth sailing” travel moments, but were there any rough patches during your visit to Yellowstone?
Well, yes, and right at the beginning! We arrived at the Bozeman airport, but our luggage didn’t. We thought it will be a few days, but we waited for our suitcases for nearly two weeks!
Three days after we arrived, someone from the United Airlines called us and let us know that they located our luggage and would send it.
On the fourth day, we found two pieces of luggage in our room, but one suitcase wasn’t ours.
The following day, I got a text message from Lufthansa saying they found my luggage in Frankfurt in Germany. However, we didn’t fly with Lufthansa nor did we travel through Frankfurt!
Meanwhile, I got an e-mail from the owner of the mystery suitcase. I told her that it had been with us for three days, but no one came to pick it up. So, I had to carry it for 1.5 kilometers (just under a mile) to where it could be picked up. I finally received my luggage on the 11th day.
Did you meet any of the locals? What were they like?
We met Terry, an amazing guy, who was a server in the same restaurant as us. We became friends and did a lot of things together. We camped, hiked the best trails at Yellowstone, and went swimming in the Firehole River. We enjoyed a lot of fun together!
Did you bring home any memorable souvenirs from your trip?
Yes, we bought amazing cowboy hats, which we wore the whole summer. It seems that those hats are kind of a big thing in Wyoming as a lot of people wear them there!
We also left with thousands of pictures from our West Coast road trip.
What's one thing travelers can't forget to pack when they visit Yellowstone?
Sunscreen! Although it doesn’t seem like a big deal, it is. Yellowstone’s average elevation is about 2,400 m (7,800 feet) above sea level, so the sun is very strong. It’s quite treacherous because the temperature is usually pleasant, so you don’t notice that the sun is burning you.
Also don’t forget your water bottle, and drink a lot!