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Most people’s first thoughts of Yellowstone often relate to avast and beautiful wilderness area, home to rare and magnificentanimals and stunning landscapes. Those images of America’s firstnational park are unquestionably accurate, but the appeal ofYellowstone tours goes far beyond the natural world.

In addition to being one of America’s largest sanctuaries forwild species, Yellowstone and the adjoining Grand Teton NationalPark share with visitors unique lessons in architecture, landscapeand history.

Architecture

It’s not just the natural framework of these parks that attractsvisitors. Yellowstone features some of the oldest and most majesticresorts in the country, which were constructed with the intentionof marrying human comforts with this natural paradise. A primeexample is the Old Faithful Inn. Constructed in 1904, the rusticlodge features a unique log outer facade and an expansive lobbywith a massive stone fireplace – a grand tribute to cabin life.Grand Teton National Park features preserved buildings that takevisitors back to the pioneer days. The breathtaking Chapel of theTransfiguration gives visitors a unique view of the mountainsthrough the large window behind the altar. The humble preservedhomesteads of Mormon Row provide a stark contrast to the giantrocky crags in the backdrop.

Landscape

Not surprisingly, the Teton Range and the natural oddities ofYellowstone have long been a destination for nature photographers,including Ansel Adams. Few mountain ranges offer the strikingcontrast of the Tetons rising up from golden meadows and the scenicJackson and Jenny lakes. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone Riveroffers jaw-dropping vistas for miles and views of some of the mostpowerful waterfalls in the country. Bubbling mudpots, explosivegeysers and crystal-clear geyser pools inspire intrigue andawe.

History

The Yellowstone area serves as an important historic location inAmerica’s westward expansion. The National Oregon/California TrailCenter in Montpelier, Idaho, a couple hours south of Grand TetonNational Park, features an interactive wagon trail experience.Yellowstone resorts also offers campfire cookouts designed to givevisitors a feel for cowboy life, as well as stagecoach tours.Lessons in natural history abound in Yellowstone, with interpretivecenters explaining how the park emerged out of a giant volcaniceruption to become a hotbed for plants and wildlife. Rangers leadseminars on a wide variety of topics that explore the efforts ofman and nature to create this impressive outdoor classroom.

Nature

Those embarking on Yellowstone tours stand a great chance of viewing some of thelargest animals to roam the continent, including abundant bison,thriving populations of both black and grizzly bears and the raregray wolf. Moose are common visitors to the areas surrounding theTetons and herds of elk are common sights in many areas in bothparks.

The Yellowstone area is so vast that one could not covereverything during a lifetime of exploring, much less a couple ofweeks. To get special inside sightseeing, personalized value,quality and value exploring the park and surrounding areas,consider checking out what’s offered through Tauck’s Yellowstone tours. Taking part in an organized tour will helpget you to the must-see parts of the park, while freeing up timeyou may otherwise spend worrying about meals andaccommodations.