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Yellowstone trip with an emphasis on wildlife?
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Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Yellowstone trip with an emphasis on wildlife? on 12/27/2013 22:20:33 MST Print View

Anyone interested in a 2014 group yellowstone trip ? Perhaps one with an emphasis on wildlife?

One thing I miss in the Sierra Nevada's is the fact that we don't have bison, wolves, grizzlies, moose, etc.

Would love to spend more time with them in Yellowstone.

We went last year and our trip didn't see much wildlife so this time I'd like to explicitly plan the trip to see more animals.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Critter Watching on 12/27/2013 22:57:56 MST Print View

I plan on being in Wyoming again but don't have specifics, as it gets closer post plans and I'll let you know if I'll be up there.

My brother has done more wildlife watching then me. Basically he would go to the Lamar Valley and the Haden Valley and set up a spotting scope along the road. We saw a lot of wolves that way and a few grizzlies. Its not as romantic as hiking out and seeing critters but it seems to be the best way to see a lot.

I'll probably do what I did last year which is camp in YNP for a while just to see critters and then do a separate hiking trip.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Critter Watching on 12/27/2013 23:06:52 MST Print View

I would agree with Luke's brother. You can see a lot from the roadside in Lamar Valley, and a little less in Hayden Valley. By that, I mean the larger animals that might be seen in daylight. The night animals are awfully hard to find without some special equipment. The advantage of staying closer to your vehicle would only be understood when a grizzly approaches. Besides the grizzlies, bison, and elk, you can easily spot mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and foxes. After that, it starts thinning out. I have yet to spot a porcupine, beaver, weasel, or skunk in the park. It just depends on what you are looking for.


Jon Fong
(jonfong) - F

Re: Yellowstone trip with an emphasis on wildlife? on 12/28/2013 00:08:04 MST Print View

If you want to see a lot of wildlife at Yellowstone, go in the winter: particularly Feb/March. The wildlife tend to huddle around the geo-thermal features and you can cross country ski to a lot of those areas. Stay at the Snow Lodge and take a Snowcoach out and ski back. I've rented snowmobiles and taken the loop, seeing tons of Bison. Best regards - Jon

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Wildlife in Yellowstone on 12/28/2013 07:39:18 MST Print View

Spring (April-May) in the Lamar Valley is terrific for wildlife that's on the move from the valleys to the high country. Keep us posted on plans. I live driving distance from Yellowstone and so have considerable flexibility. Would love to join you.


Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Pelican Creek Valley on 12/28/2013 08:24:12 MST Print View

The Lamar is definitely the best place for wildlife in the park, but we saw nearly as many bison in the Pelican Valley, in the east-central part of the park. Pelican Valley had many fewer people, too. You could do a nice trip from the Fishing Bridge Area up the Pelican Valley and down the Lamar.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Pelican Creek Valley on 12/28/2013 09:14:28 MST Print View

Yes, the Pelican area, then over the pass to the Lamar. One issue with this route is that you have to hike 11-12 miles fairly efficiently to get over Mist Creek Pass to the first campsites (3T3 and 3T2), since you are only allowed to be in the Pelican valley between 9 AM-7 PM (it's griz-infested). Then there's the logistical nightmare of coming out at Soda Butte Creek and having to somehow get back to Fishing Bridge. It would be best to have two vehicles (like you would need to do if you hiked the Bechler River).

Slough Creek is reputed to have lots of wildlife, but when I spent 3 nights there last July I only saw one bison, two deer, and a pair of pine martens. Several years ago I hiked Pebble Creek, and at the head of the valley one night I was treated to a prolonged wolf pack howl-fest, but I couldn't see them in the dark. A pack of coyotes down the valley joined in as well, so I was surrounded by noise. They all like a good howl, and they'll sing at every opportunity.

The one critter I hate to share a campsite with is a bison. They do what they want, they're actually strong, fast and agile, and they're a heck of a lot bigger than I am. The same goes for moose, which I hate maybe just a little bit more because they act so goofy. I haven't seen a moose yet in the YNP backcountry, although they exist.

Generally, wherever you hike/camp in Yellowstone's backcountry, you'll see some sort of wildlife. It's loaded with critters of all shapes and sizes.

Edited by Zia-Grill-Guy on 12/28/2013 09:46:21 MST.

Steofan The Apostate
(simaulius) - F

Locale: Bohemian Alps
Yellowstone trip on 12/28/2013 09:35:30 MST Print View

Depending on the time, I'm in! I'm booked up in the last half of June, though.
Check with the Park Rangers on best seasonal wildlife viewing. The will also let you know which roads, passes and trails are open... depends on snow, stressed wildlife, massively starving bears, etc.
Specimen Ridge Trail is always great, with bears, wolves, bighorn sheep (late spring) all passing through; pikas, marmots, bluebirds, petrified tree stumps too. Keep me posted.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Pelican Creek Valley on 12/28/2013 09:48:51 MST Print View

I forgot to mention that the Pelican valley is closed until July 15, due to bear management issues.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Slough Creek on 12/28/2013 12:42:07 MST Print View

"Slough Creek is reputed to have lots of wildlife"

I was there in June, and all I saw was one black bear sow with cub.


Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Slough Creek on 12/28/2013 15:46:32 MST Print View

Slough used to have at least one resident bison herd, but hasn't for several years. Park Service party line is that several wolf packs have "persuaded" the bison to summer elsewhere. One of your best opportunities to see a griz though. I saw at least one a day when there last August and I've seen them less than half a mile from the main road. Slough Creek is a tributary of the Lamar River and in April and May has many migrating elk, deer, and antelope.

Kevin, the Creek, particularly second meadow, is generally considered one of the great cutthroat trout streams in the world, though it doesn't usually warm up until early July.