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Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park
Fast Facts




Yellowstone Nat'l Park
Wyoming 82190
Points of Interest Nearby

Bison Bull, Lamar Valley


Photo by Alfredo De Simone

The Lamar Valley and Northeast Entrance boast none of the hydrothermal features for which Yellowstone is famous. Yet it is a mistake to snub this swath of Yellowstone National Park. Here are three reasons why. 1. The 29-mile (47 km) Northeast Entrance Road is the most scenic of Yellowstone's five access drives. 2. The Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek are top fly fishing waters. 3. Lamar Valley - a broad, u-shaped glacial valley - is the best place to watch wildlife in Yellowstone National Park. View bison, elk, pronghorn and mule deer. Spot grizzly, coyote, gray wolf, fox and even black bear. And if you're visit is well-timed, watch river otters play in Soda Butte Creek. Save for Alaska, there is no better place to view wildlife in the United States.
Getting There
Yellowstone's Northeast Entrance is located just west of Cooke City, Montana. Lamar Valley is situated just east of Tower Junction. The two lane NE Entrance Road is open year-round.
Getting Around
Watching wildlife in Lamar Valley is a roadside and trail activity. Turnouts and scenic overlooks afford excellent views of the valley as well as great wildlife watching opportunities. Hiking trails offer a closer look at flora and fauna. But take care when selecting a trail; Lamar Valley trails vary in length and grade. The 1.2-mile (1.9 km) Trout Lake Trail is graded easy. The 4-mile Slough Creek Trail is graded moderate. The 4-mile (6.4 km) Yellowstone River Picnic Area Trail is graded strenuous. Specimen Ridge, Lamar River and Pebble Creek trails are backcountry track (permits are required for backcountry camping). NB: Check the ranger station for trail closings before you set out. Be bear aware. Maintain a safe distance from all wildlife, 100 yards (91m) from bears and wolves and 25 yards (23m) from all other animals. Be sure to pull your car of the roadway when parking at roadside turnouts and overlooks.
Things to Keep in Mind
Wildlife watching in Lamar Valley is a year-round event. Elk, bison, pronghorn and mule deer migrate through Lamar with their babes in late spring and mate in the valley in late summer. Predators - gray wolf, coyote, fox and bears - are hot on their heels. Dawn and dusk are the best times of day to spot wildlife in spring, summer and fall. The main attractions in winter are elk, bison and wolf. Bighorn sheep are frequently sighted on the rock ledges below Barronette Peak. Of note, wildlife is not always roadside. Binoculars and scopes are often required to get a good view of animals and birds.
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