The Gardiner area and the Yellowstone Northern Range feature some of the best wildlife viewing in the lower 48 states. Options are abundant for those who want to observe wolves, elk, bison, bears, and more. Gardiner is known for being Nature’s Favorite Entrance to Yellowstone National Park because of the wildlife that reside and roam freely right through town. It’s not uncommon to get caught in a bison jam on your way to the market, or spot a herd of elk using the high school football field as a napping spot!
Yellowstone's Lamar Valley, often referred to as "the Serengeti of North America," is just a short drive from Gardiner. For the best chance of glimpsing wildlife, head out around dawn and dusk when wildlife is most active, and consider visiting in the spring, fall, and winter to avoid the crowds. Springtime offers ample opportunity for catching a glimpse of adorable spring babies: baby bison (referred to as red dogs for their reddish color), elk calves, bear cubs, and more.
Late summer and fall are wonderful times to catch the bison rut in the Lamar Valley or the elk rut in Gardiner and Mammoth Hot Springs. During winter, when the landscape is covered in a white blanket of snow, it’s easier to spot wildlife roaming the land.
Want to enjoy looking at the wildlife instead of driving? Are your eager to learn facts about the park and its inhabitants? Try a guided tour with one of our local experts!