On March 1, 2022, Yellowstone National Park turned 150—and we must say, it’s looking good for its age. Sitting on top of an active volcano, Yellowstone stretches 3,472 square miles, making it one of the largest national parks in the country. With features like the Old Faithful Geyser, geothermal hot springs, and wilderness packed full with bighorn sheep, bison, moose, black bears, and more, it’s no wonder tourists travel from all over to visit.
But what a lot of people don’t know is that Yellowstone is widely held as the first national park in the world, signed into existence by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. To celebrate the park’s 150th milestone, Yellowstone is putting on a number of free events that are worth checking out.
Nez Perce Appaloosa Horse Club Ride and Parade
From July 28-30, the Nez Perce Appaloosa Horse Club, a group made up of members of the Nez Perce Indigenous tribe who breed and care for Appaloosa horses, will ride a section of the Nez Perce Trail, putting on a horse parade in traditional regalia. The group will also offer horse trail rides and present fireside chats on their tribe’s history and culture.
Yellowstone Historic Vehicles Display
Yellowstone has one of the largest historic vehicle collections in the National Park Service, including horse-drawn vehicles, buses, touring cars, and a fire engine. Throughout August, the park will display select vehicles to the public next to Old Faithful.
University of Wyoming’s 150th Anniversary of Yellowstone Symposium
From May 19-20, the University of Wyoming is hosting a conference at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West where prominent figures from the National Park Service will discuss the goals, successes, and shortcomings of the park over the past 150 years, plus what the future of the park holds.
Yellowstone Tribal Heritage Center
From May to September, visitors to the park can check out the Tribal Heritage Center next to Old Faithful where Indigenous artists, scholars, and presenters will be offering both formal and informal education sessions on their work and the park.
Junior Ranger Program
For the entire summer, Yellowstone is offering its Junior Ranger Program free of charge. The program is self-guided and open to children four and older. Participants pick up a booklet at one of the visitor centers and have to complete a series of tasks, including attending a ranger-led program and hiking on a park trail or boardwalk. Once the booklet is complete, children will receive an official Yellowstone Junior Ranger patch, modeled after the National Park Service patch.
You can find the full list of Yellowstone anniversary events happening in 2022 here.