If you asked my oldest son why he wanted to go to Yellowstone, his answer would be “to see a bear.” He is not alone either. The vast majority of the three million plus people who go to Yellowstone National Park each year hope to see a bear or some sort of other wildlife roaming the mountains, valleys and basins within the park’s 2,221,766 acres. On our recent trip we were fortunate enough to see not one, but two bears, two coyotes, many elk, a rather friendly raven, wild tailed deer and more bison than we could count.
In each area of Yellowstone National Park, you can expect to see different types of wildlife. The reason for this is because the terrain and environments of each area are vastly different from each other. Near Madison campground where we camped, as well as on to the Old Faithful area, bison and elk are often seen. Their hoof prints are visible in the mud of the geyser basins, as the often go there for warmth in colder months.
More forested areas like Mammoth and the North or Northeast entrances of the park are bears most often frequent, as well as at places like Fishing bridge, where a hard sided vehicle is mandatory to camp there. Moose can rarely be spotted at the Northeast entrance, and occasionally down in the West Thumb area of the park. The one bear we saw crossing the road, and he was too quick for a photo. Unfortunately, the second bear we saw only wanted to show us his backside.
Wildlife like coyotes can be spotted throughout the park. We saw one at Mammoth Hot Springs, and the other prancing through the Upper Geyser Basin near Old Faithful. Our friendly raven friend was found in the Canyon area, along with a nesting Osprey.
For more information on what animals are commonly found in each area of the park, you can check out a Yellowstone National Park Mammal Checklist.
Have you been to Yellowstone? What wildlife did you spot?