Atop everyone’s list in Yellowstone is to see animals in the wild. Lamar Valley has the highest concentration of wildlife, making it one of the best places to spot wildlife in Yellowstone. I recommend booking the Historic Yellow Bus Lamar Valley Excursion Tour in advance; it’s one of the most popular tours and get booked up pretty quickly. Usually mornings and evenings are the best time to watch wildlife.
We booked the early morning tour that starts at 6.15am from the Mammoth Hot Springs. As we were driving towards the Lamar Valley, we saw a bison or two on the way, getting overly excited, not realizing that the place we were going to would be filled with thousands and thousands of bison.
Just after we entered the Lamar Valley, one of the people in the bus jolted “Stop, stop, I saw something move”, and our driver and tour guide immediately stopped the bus. Everyone was all eyes at the hills to our left, but couldn’t spot anything. Just when we were ready to start the bus, the “black thing” emerged from the hills. It walked closer to our bus. There it was – a black bear! We all went “wow”, taking out our cameras and cellphones pointing at the bear. The bear walked parallel to the road, not fearful of the number of cars that had stopped just to see it. In some time, the bear walked off into the woods, after putting on a show.
Within a few more minutes, there was a bison, right in the middle of the road. I’ve heard stories about a single bison blocking the road, and causing the traffic to back up for hours and hours. We hoped that this particular one in the middle of the road was a more considerate one, and would move over to let the traffic pass. And it did, while giving us a naughty look, as we drove past it.
Then the views opened up to wide valleys sprinkled with hundreds of bison happily relaxing and grazing. We stopped on the way, set up the spyglass and patiently waited for the fox and her babies to come out of their recently built den. We waited & waited & waited, with no sign of the fox or her babies. But in the meantime, a band of pronghorns and a solo bison nearby entertained us.
Finally, we saw something move near the wolf den. It was a pup, jumping on the den. Then another pup popped out of the den. Awwww, so cute!
We packed up and everything and continued driving through the Lamar Valley. The Pebble Creek is a good spot to see bighorn mountain sheep. There were three of them, up above on the mountains. My binoculars weren’t powerful enough to spot them, but thankfully our tour guide’s spy glass was!
On the way back, we saw an osprey nest, on which there were two chicks and the mom carefully guarding its chicks.
Will YOU visit the Lamar Valley, when you go to Yellowstone?