Yellowstone National Park presents an amazing opportunity to spot a diverse range of North American wildlife. Yellowstone is home to over two hundred different species of animals; fish, birds, mammals, reptiles and even 6 amphibian species.
But how do you actually spot wildlife in Yellowstone?
EASY – Just follow these five simple tips and you’ll be spotting animals till your heart is content.
- Time your visit
Spring / Early Summer is generally best when the snow has melted enough for all the roads to be open. Check park conditions here: http://www.nps.gov/yell/conditions.htm
In Spring / Early summer there are plenty of animals around, bears are coming out of hibernation and there are plenty baby animals around to spot.Winter on the other hand presents more of a challenge with road closures but certain animals such as ‘big horned sheep’ are actually considered easier to spot because they tend to retreat into higher country when the snow melts. Not to mention how the winter snow provides a completely different environment to see wildlife in.
- Utilise Dawn & Dusk
Most predators are more active during dawn & dusk when there is still light but it is not so hot.
- Talk to Park Rangers
Park rangers are an invaluable resource to visitors and should be questioned thoroughly. Ask them about the latest animal sightings and where and when they recommend you go.
- Talk to Enthusiasts
Yellowstone National Park is full of wildlife enthusiasts, their easy to spot because they carry around huge telescopes and camera lenses. Enthusiasts don’t enjoy being ‘bugged’ but they normally don’t mind chatting with those who show enthusiasm and I normally found them more than forthcoming with helpful information and even let me look through telescopes they had setup tracking bears in the distance. Show enthusiasm to enthusiasts and you shall be rewarded.
- Watch for Crowds
Many people dislike Yellowstone National Park because of the crowds of people that can be found here. Over 3.6 million people visited Yellowstone in 2010! But crowds can be your friend, crowds normally mean animals and crowds are easier to spot than the animals themselves. There were grizzly bear cubs, cinnamon coloured black bears and numerous other animals that I didn’t spot first and never would have seen if it were not for a gathering crowd of nature watchers. Spot crowds and you shall spot animals.
Above all else you need to get to Yellowstone National Park, once your there the rest will follow. Give yourself ample time, it’s a big park with over 2.2 million acres so give yourself 3 days plus. I was there for 5 days in early June 2011 – Here is a post on the animals I personally spotted. Wildlife Spotting in Yellowstone National Park
Park entrance is FREE this coming Veterans Day (November 11-13)
More information: http://www.nps.gov/yell/