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  • Writer's pictureShacks On The Road

Our Yellowstone - Tips On Where To Find The Animals And Get Away From The Crowds

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

Yellowstone has a special place in our hearts and is easily one of our favorite national parks anywhere in the world. Probably one our favorite places, period! Yellowstone is such a unique place and grabs a hold of your attention like few other places can. Yellowstone definitely deserves at least a week to fully get a grasp of all it has to offer and to really let the full experience of Yellowstone sink in. This post is not intended to be a summary of all there is to see and do in Yellowstone, but rather our opinion on where to focus your time if you really want to see more of the amazing wildlife that is on display in this national park.

We have been lucky enough to have visited Yellowstone five times already and every summer our kids often ask, "Are we going to go to Yellowstone again this summer?" Over time we have come to find one part of the park as our favorite and our go to place to look for animals, especially the much sought after bear sighting.

Lamar Valley black bears

Northern Yellowstone And The Lamar Valley

Northern Yellowstone and the Lamar Valley from Mammoth Hot Springs to the Northeast entrance is the place where we choose to spend the most time when we visit Yellowstone. Not only do you tend to get away from a lot of the crowds in this part of the park, but you also tend to run into more animals, especially bears. If you are after bears, you probably can't find a better area than this Northern section of the park. This area is so rich in wildlife, it is often referred to as the Serengeti of the United States.

Our favorite of all places along this route to spot bears is a detour up to Blacktail Plateau. We honestly don't recall a time along this short but scenic drive where we haven't seen a bear. Probably the largest grizzly that we have seen was spotted on this drive.

Coyote in Northern Yellowstone

Along with the bears, both black and grizzly, you will definitely see a lot of bison, elk, the possibility of pronghorn as well as the odd coyote wandering around. You also have a good chance to spot wolves in the Lamar Valley as well. On our last trip, we even saw a family of badgers up on the Blacktail Plateau.

Some Tips For Your Trip To Yellowstone:

  • Don't forget to bring a good pair of binoculars. It is always worthwhile to pull off the road and stop along the way to just sit and look for animals in the distance. Many times binoculars will help you spot animals you otherwise would end up driving past.

  • Look for people in the Lamar Valley that are stopped and have their spotting scopes out. Good chance they have spotted the wolves. Pull over, get out your binoculars and take a look.

  • Book early if you are looking to camp inside Yellowstone. You should definitely try to spend a few nights inside the park, but rest assured, there are also great state campgrounds just outside the various entrances. Click here for more information on campsite availability within the park.

  • Do stop and check out the historic Roosevelt Arch at the North entrance near Gardiner, Montana. An important piece of Yellowstone history you definitely should stop and see. It makes a great backdrop for a picture of your visit to the park as well.

Our kids at the Roosevelt Arch
  • Our favorite gateway city to visit is Cody. The wild west atmosphere and history of this city and surrounding area is quite interesting. Definitely give Cody a chance on your way in or out.

  • Our favorite places to camp outside of Yellowstone, but still close to the park, are found near the North entrance near Gardiner, Montana and East entrance on the way to Cody, Wyoming.

  • Please don't get outside of your vehicle and approach the animals. They are wild animals and you could get seriously injured or killed.

Looking for animals near Mt. Washburn

Some Great Books On Yellowstone:

  • It's always nice to read about the areas you love to visit and this book gives you an in depth look at the history of Yellowstone.

  • Written from the perspectives of a couple who moved to Gardiner, Montana to more fully immerse themselves in the Yellowstone wilderness. This book gives you their views on what it is like to live in this wilderness and the issues that face the park and the wildlife within it.

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