Where Should You Plan to Go – Yellowstone or Yosemite?

Both Yellowstone and Yosemite have a lot to offer and belong on everyone’s bucket list. They are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Yellowstone is mostly located within the state of Wyoming and occupies about 3,472 square miles. Yosemite is located in east-central California in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and covers 1,200 square miles. 

Making a choice between them is almost impossible – it’s like trying to decide whether to eat an apple or an orange. Your choice will probably depend on many factors – wildlife, scenic beauty, convenience, budget, family-friendliness etc. Here is some information that will help you to make your plans. 


Yellowstone has more opportunities to see wildlife than Yosemite. It teems with moose, grizzly bears, elk, bison, wolves and bighorn sheep. Its bison herd is the largest and oldest herd in the U.S. Smaller animals you can see include birds, lizards and snakes. There are about 400 species of wildlife in Yosemite, including grizzlies, bighorn sheep, and red-legged frogs. 

Scenic beauty

In Yosemite, you can see amazing beauty all around without having to drive to see it. Climb granite formations, hike the beautiful rugged semi-Alpine terrain, enjoy the many waterfalls and marvel at the giant sequoia groves. When it comes to scenic beauty, Yosemite probably has a slight edge. 

Yellowstone probably has just as many waterfalls, but you need to drive or hike to see them. What Yellowstone has that you won’t find at Yosemite are the thermal features – hot springs and geysers. It is, in fact, home to about 60% of the world’s geysers that periodically erupt. 

Road access and crowds

Yellowstone has more road access as much of the easy access to Yosemite is in the crowded valley. Both the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas are close enough for weekend travel which can make it very busy on weekends. Driving can be a challenge due to the crowds, and if you suffer an injury as a result of a collision with a truck, New Jersey truck accident attorneys from USAttorneys.com are available to help you. 

Yellowstone doesn’t have any close large metro areas so it tends to be less crowded. In Yosemite, the majority of sights are on the valley floor and this is where people gather. It is also more compact than Yellowstone. 


Yellowstone is great for families with spotting wildlife as one of the favorite activities. The thermal features are also a hit with kids as the geysers are like watching aquatic fireworks. Short loop trails provide an opportunity for everyone to get out of the vehicle and enjoy the natural beauty. 

The real beauty of Yosemite lies in the natural scenery, which is perfect for contemplation – something kids don’t often appreciate as much. However, Yosemite may be a more budget-friendly choice. Factors like lodging, food, parking, distance to drive other logistics may influence your decision. Remember that truck accident attorneys from USAttorneys will assist you if you have an accident involving a truck while traveling. 


Both parks have miles of backcountry trails. Yosemite probably has a slight edge when it comes to rugged backcountry hiking and backpacking opportunities. Both parks also offer a variety of guided and self-guided tours to choose from. 

Yellowstone has many opportunities for wilderness adventures, especially if you include Grand Teton and surrounding areas. Hiking, horseback riding and rafting are just some of them. 

Yosemite has 800 miles of hiking trails, including gentle trails along the floor of the valley and difficult ascents up rock faces. It is also open to many activities through the winter, whereas Yellowstone’s peak season is summer.