Yogi might own Jellystone Park but his picnic ends here in Yellowstone. While seeing a grizzly would rank as perhaps the top thing a person could see in the park, that is only because it is so easy to see bison. I believe most visitors would be very disappointed if they did not see one. I know I would and I have seen many.
Despite being strict vegetarians, Bison are the largest mammals in the park with bulls weighing up to 1800 pounds and standing 6 feet at the shoulder. While you can observe this majestic beast elsewhere, Yellowstone is the only place in the Lower 48 where a population has lived since prehistoric times. By the early 1900s, their native numbers dwindled to a mere 50 but introduction of 21 from private stock along with strict conservation has brought them back to a strong 3500.
Seeing them walk along the roads is a bit odd and when they graze it is less than spectacular but watching in stampede mode makes you realized how powerful these surprisingly graceful animals are. The little ones are particularly cute when running alongside their moms.
Yellowstone National Park is one that can wear you out so try and take a break in the middle of the day. If you like taking photos of wildlife, you'll be up in the dark and be returning to camp or your room after the sun goes down. Dusk and dawn are when most animals are their most active. Don't get me wrong, you will see things even during the day, especially bison but you have a better chance at spotting the rarer animals in the twilight.
As you travel along the parks Loop Road, every once in a while you will come across a bunch of cars pulled over and people all staring through binoculars or camera lenses at something. Sometimes it pays to stop and ask them what they see. We saw moose, elk, coyote, a bear ect.... just by stopping and asking. This was the most helpful with moose. Down in Grand Teton I waited over an hour for a Bull Moose to emerge. When we stopped all we could see were the tips of his antlers! Definately worth the wait (I am a huge fan of moose!)
We actually started a pulloff once when we spotted a pronghorn antelope. Such trendstters!
NOTE: when you pull over to the side of the road, be sure to pull your car completely to the inside of the white line that is painted on the road. The rangers request it, and it makes it much safer for you and the other pedestrians as well as drivers.
Once you enter the gates to the park, you will receive the Yellowstone Today newspaper. You will find some great tips and informative articles within the newspaper. Some of the information includes travel and safety tips, ranger programs, conservation, etc.
Keep the paper with you throughout your visit for reference.
We were very excited to find this radio station. We listened to it the entire time we were in Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Idaho and the surrounding area. I think we may have heard the same song played once, otherwise it was always something different. They have a great mix of newer stuff, though not top 40, more "alternative" you might say, as well as some great older songs. They call is AAA, Adult Album Alternative. (When did I start liking "Adult" music..???.) I also enjoyed the weird little plugs from callers such as " My fish really likes your radio station, we play it for him all the time, he's a happy fish."
When we we leaving, we said to each other that one of the things we would really miss, would be listening to this radio station. We don't have anything nearly as good at home where we get the New York City stations! That may be surprising, but it's true.
Ask where your waiter or waitress is from as you dine out. You may be surprised how far they have come to work in the park. Retired folks and young people, many on summer breaks from college come from all over the world to spend their summer working in the park. Many of these people enjoy it so much, that they come back for a number of years. Concessionaires run Yellowstone National Park Lodges and services. They operate the hotels, lodges, campgrounds, food operations, gifts shops, tour services, marina, and horse corrals. If you have your summers free, and would be interested in working in the park you can apply on line or ask for applications by telephone. For years now Xanterra has operated it. You can apply to them by calling 1-307-344-7456 or apply on line at www.TravelYellowstone.com. Sometimes when the concessionary’s contract expires, the concessionary is changed. If this happens you can also apply for a job in the park by going to www.nps.gov/yell and choose Employment.
The Continental Divide runs through Yellowstone park. This is the dividing line between waters that run to the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic.
North Rim Drive, Wyoming, United States
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