Yellowstone vs Glacier National Park: Difference and Comparison

With some of the best scenic views anyone can hope to see, Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park are on the list of the favourite spots every nature-lover or anyone with half-decent eyesight hopes to visit.

Spread over a stunning landscape filled with visual goodness, and both parks possess their own edges over each other.

Key Takeaways

  1. Yellowstone National Park is known for its geysers, hot springs, and wildlife, while Glacier National Park is known for its alpine meadows, glaciers, and lakes.
  2. Yellowstone National Park is primarily in Wyoming, with parts in Montana and Idaho, while Glacier National Park is in Montana.
  3. Yellowstone National Park is larger and more popular, attracting over 4 million visitors annually, while Glacier National Park is smaller and attracts about 3 million visitors annually.

Yellowstone National Park vs Glacier National Park

Yellowstone National Park is known for its unique geothermal and wildlife features, including geysers, hot springs, and mud pots. Glacier National Park is known for its stunning majestic mountain scenery, glaciers, and pristine wilderness, as well as its crystal-clear lakes and rivers.

Yellowstone National Park vs Glacier National Park
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In the United States west zone, Yellowstone National Park falls in the Wyoming region, reaching up to Idaho and Montana.

Yellowstone is the very first national park established in the U.S. and can also brag about being the first national park in the world.

Known widely for its exquisite flora and fauna, Yellowstone National Park also hosts several geothermal features.

This well-liked American national park rests in northwestern Montana, spread on the Canada–United States border, to the side of the Canadian provinces named Alberta and British Columbia.

Home to over a dozen exotic features such as lakes, mountain ranges, plants, and animals of a humongous variety, the Glacier National Park is credited with the title, declaring it the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonYellowstone National ParkGlacier National Park
LocationYellowstone National Park is located in the northwestern region of Wyoming, extending up to Idaho and Montana that falls in the western area of the United States of America.The Glacier National Park is situated in northwestern Montana on the Canada–United States border, siding the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.
AreaYellowstone National Park stretches over 3468 sq. miles, i.e. 8983 sq. km.[2.2 million acres]Glacier National Parks spans a whopping million acres, i.e. 4000 sq. km.
Date of EstablishmentThis American park was established almost one hundred fifty years ago. The precise date being March 1, 1872.The Glacier National Park was officially founded on the 11th of May, 1910.
GovernanceContaining a visiting body of 3.8 million people, Yellowstone National Park is governed by the U.S. National Park Service.Also governed by the U.S. National Park Service, the Glacier National Park brags a 3.4 million visiting population.
Known forYellowstone National Park is most known for its geysers and hot springs. It is home to the Old Faithful Geyser.Preferred for its hiking trails, Glacier National Park offers trails ranging from the easy Trail of the Cedars to the moderate Avalance Lake to the strenuous Grinnell Glacier.

What is Yellowstone National Park?

The world’s very first national park, Yellowstone, is located in the west of the United States, Wyoming in the northwestern region and reaches into the states of Idaho and Montana.

Spread over a gigantic land area of more than 2.2 million acres, the administration of the park was transferred to the United Nation‘s National Park Services.

History catalogues that the Native Americans had inhabited the Yellowstone region for at least 11,000 years. The commissioning of the park was overseen by the U.S. Army from 1886 to 1916.

The park’s official establishment is dated back to 1st March 1872. This marks the park as 149 years old.

The Yellowstone National Park is home to over a thousand plant species and hundreds of animals.

It is also filled with about half the total number of geysers that exist on the planet, including the famous Old Faithful and one of the world’s largest remaining nearly-intact ecosystems.

To add yet another feather to its cap, Yellowstone National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Known for its megafauna, Yellowstone also contains wolves, elks, grizzly bears, herds of bison, and a hundred different species of mammals, reptiles, fish, birds, and amphibians.

The Yellowstone National Park offers fishing, sightseeing, camping, boating, hiking, and several other activities.

yellowstone national park

What is Glacier National Park?

The Glacier National Park is an American national park that falls in northwestern Montana, on the Canada–United States border, to the side of the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.

Spread over an impressive million acres, and this landmark is managed by the United Nation’s National Park Service, whose headquarters is located in West Glacier, Montana.

The park’s official establishment is dated back to 11th May 1910. This marks the park as 111 years old.

The Glacier National Park hosts over a hundred thirty lakes, parts of a couple of mountain ranges, namely the sub-ranges of the Rocky Mountains, a pristine ecosystem, and hundreds of wildlife and plant species.

The park initially played host to 150 glaciers that have fallen prey to the climate conditions since. If the current climate conditions perceive, it is predicted that all of the glaciers will cease to exist.

Apart from impressive mountain ranges, scenic views, and ecosystems ranging from prairie to tundra, the Glacier National Park contains an exotic breed of wildlife such as moose, mountain goats, grizzly bears, wolverines, Canadian lynxes, varieties of birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibian species.

The Glacier National Park offers visitors several hiking trails and visual treats overlooking stunning alpine scenery punctuated by jagged peaks, meadows, and glacial lakes.

glacier national park

Main Differences Between Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park

  1. Yellowstone National Park is located in Wyoming, which falls in the western region of the United States and extends well into the states of Montana and Idaho. Glacier National Park is situated in northwestern Montana, on the Canada–United States border, to the side of the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.
  2. Yellowstone National Park lies across 8,983.18 sq. km, and Glacier National Park is spread across 4,100.77 sq. km, nearly half the size of Yellowstone.
  3. Yellowstone was established on March 1, 1872, whereas Glacier National Park came into official existence on May 11, 1910. Both these parks fall under the governance of the U.S. National Park Service.
  4. Yellowstone National Park gathers a stunning 3.8 million visitors, while Glacier National Park sees a little over 3 million each year.
  5. Both these national parks can boast a varied species of flora and fauna, while Yellowstone contains several geysers, Glacier National Park contains mountain ranges and hiking trails.
Difference Between Yellowstone and Glacier National Park
References
  1. https://www.pnas.org/content/91/5/1609.short
  2. https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/pp296

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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