• An aerial view of Old Faithful erupting taken from Observation Point with the Old Faithful Inn to the side.

    Yellowstone

    National Park ID,MT,WY

Wildlife Viewing

Bull elk ramming a car

Yellowstone's abundant and diverse wildlife are as famous as its geysers. Habitat preferences and seasonal cycles of movement determine, in a general sense, where a particular animal may be at a particular time. Early morning and evening hours are when animals tend to be feeding and thus are more easily seen. But remember that the numbers and variety of animals you see are largely a matter of luck and coincidence. Check at visitor centers for detailed information.

Wild animals, especially females with young, are unpredictable and dangerous. Keep a safe distance from all wildlife. Each year a number of park visitors are injured by wildlife when approaching too closely. Approaching on foot within 100 yards (91 m) of bears or wolves or within 25 yards (23 m) of other wildlife is prohibited. Please use roadside pullouts when viewing wildlife. Use binoculars or telephoto lenses for safe viewing and to avoid disturbing them. By being sensitive to its needs, you will see more of an animal's natural behavior and activity. If you cause an animal to move, you are too close! It is illegal to willfully remain near or approach wildlife, including birds, within ANY distance that disturbs or displaces the animal.

If you have a fast connection visit our Wildlife Safety Video page to get an idea of the power of large wild animals. Yellowstone also has a wide variety of plant life. In the spring and early summer, wild flowers appear in abundance. They are well worth viewing, and it is usually safer to approach them.

Several commercial businesses are permitted to offer services and activities which could enrich a Yellowstone visit. You will find a listing of these businesses on our 'Services' page.

Also be sure to visit our page that provides advice about bear safety.

Did You Know?

Fire in Yellowstone Pineland in 1988

The 1988 fires affected 793,880 acres or 36 percent of the park. Five fires burned into the park that year from adjacent public lands. The largest, the North Fork Fire, started from a discarded cigarette. It burned more than 410,000 acres.