GRANITE PEAK PUBLICATIONS: Accompanying travelers to the national park since 2002

A History Sampler

Yellowstone National Park is the world’s oldest national park. Excellent books have been written about the history of the area, most notably The Yellowstone Story, by Aubrey L. Haines.

Some tidbits of park history:

General Washburn

General Henry D. Washburn

1870  Civil War General Henry D. Washburn served as leader of an expedition of prominent westerners through the area. It had previously been visited only by Native Americans, a few fur trappers, and (in 1869) a trio of intrepid adventurers.

1872  Congress set aside and reserved park land “as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”

1886–87  During one of the bitterest winters in history, photographer Frank J. Haynes and a small party skied into the park on the first winter tour.

1904  Old Faithful Inn opened to the public.

1915  The first automobiles were allowed into the park.

1963  The first snowmobiles took visitors to a wintry Old Faithful.

forest fire 1988 in Yellowstone

One of the forest fires in Yellowstone in 1988

1988  Devastating forest fires raged through the park, affecting 36% of its territory.

1992  Annual park visitation topped 3 million.

1995  Gray wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone from Canada.

CREDITS: Both photos on this page are used courtesy of the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park.

IN THE GUIDEBOOK: See page 38 of Yellowstone Treasures for a picture of F. J. Haynes’s 1886–87 skiing party. You can find more historical dates and events in the chapter called “Chronology: Yellowstone Since 1800,” pages 319–29 of the sixth edition.

Revised September 7, 2023. All Rights Reserved.