Lamar Valley Bison Herd Yellowstone National Park

No other destination in Yellowstone gives you a greater opportunity to see wild bison than Lamar Valley. The Lamar River feeds a wide grassy valley, drawing the massive grazers to the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park. Route 212 (Northeast Entrance Road) runs down the valley past numerous viewpoints where you are almost guaranteed a sighting of the Lamar Valley Bison Herd. Get in the car and go!

Yellowstone Bison Lamar Valley
Bison on Northeast Entrance Road in Lamar Valley

Binoculars may be handy if the bison are grazing away from the road. The bison, which can weight up to a ton, also at times walk straight down the road, stopping traffic. Bison are the biggest land mammals in North America, but they can still run at speeds over 30 mph. Be sure to view the daunting creatures from a safe distance and never approach the calm lethal beasts (trying to pet a bison is a bad idea).

Yellowstone National Park maintains a population of around 3,000 bison, preserving one of last genetically pure herds of the mighty American Buffalo. The park website explains:

Yellowstone is the only place in the lower 48 states where a population of wild bison has persisted since prehistoric times.

In addition to bison, Lamar Valley is also renown for its gray wolf population. These crafty creatures are harder to spot than the big bison, but you’ll have a better chance of spotting one around sunrise and sunset.

Yellowstone Bison Lamar Valley
Bison in Lamar Valley

In addition to bison and wolves, you can see elk, pronghorns, and even grizzlies in Lamar Valley. Fishing in the Lamar River is another popular activity in Lamar Valley. A fishing permit is required if you plan to do more than look at the wildlife. Additionally, Yellowstone National Park has an entrance fee.

Yellowstone Bison Lamar Valley
Bison in Lamar Valley

To get to the Lamar Valley: Starting from the northeast entrance gate for Yellowstone National Park near Cooke City, Montana, drive west on Northeast Entrance Road. You will enter Lamar Valley after approximately 10 miles. The road ends at Tower Junction after 28.25 miles.

Address: Northeast Entrance Road (Route 212), Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
Coordinates: 44.894321, -110.235149 (44° 53′ 39.55″N 110° 14′ 06.53″W)

Use the map below to view the trail and get directions:

View Yellowstone National Park in a larger map

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These photos were taken in August of 2011. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Pebble Creek TrailPebble Creek Trail
This 12-mile long trail travels down a beautiful backcountry meadow between Montana and Wyoming, bringing through hikers to a second trailhead (shorter out and back hikes are also possible without a car shuttle).
Calcite Springs Overlook TrailCalcite Springs Overlook
This 0.25-mile loop overlooks a dramatic section of the Yellowstone River lined by bleached cliffs and steam venting hydrothermal springs.
Yellowstone Tower FallTower Fall
This 1-mile hike starts with a head-on view of a 132-foot waterfall. Unfortunately, the final leg of the trail to the base of Tower Fall is closed due to damage from rock and mud slides.
West Thumb Geyser BasinMore trails in Yellowstone
Explore other hikes to waterfalls and hydrothermal hot spots in Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone CampgroundsYellowstone National Park Campgrounds
Twelve developed campgrounds with over 2,000 total sites are spread throughout Yellowstone.
Tagged with · Bison · National Parks · Wildlife Viewing

3 Comments on Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park

  1. Andrea wrote:

    My relatives raised bison in Alberta, Canada for a few years. They had to get out of the business though because the beef lobbyists dominated the industry and wouldn’t allow the lower fat buffalo into the market. Fear of it taking over, I guess? We would bring the meat home and make chili out of it, so delicious, and definitely not as fatty.

    • Mohit wrote:

      This looks like the Wyoming I remember. I was there in 1975, at a KOA Ranch Camp near Clarks Fork/Cody area. I am looking to go back there with my camera also. We rode above the tree line on horses, either on the Tetons or Big Horns, can’t remember, and it was the best week I have EVER spent in my life. Since you are familiar with WY, if you ever come across any place in the area I described, please keep my e-mail address. I would so love for my husband to see these places in real life. You really know how to capture memories, Jeff!Julie Burdyshaw, Geneva, Ohio

  2. Dianne Orofino wrote:

    From Cody Wy to Mammoth Hotsprings North enterence. I would like the drive to include Lamar Valley. Which is the best route, and about how many hours shoud I allow from Cody. Thank you.

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