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“Great wildlife sightings”
Review of Lamar Valley

Lamar Valley
Book In Advance
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$500.00*
and up
Private Yellowstone Wildlife Tour
Certificate of Excellence
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
177 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“Great wildlife sightings”
Reviewed November 20, 2012

Wolves, Bison, Pronghorn were all seen in just one evening. Make sure you have access to good binoculars or better yet a scope as the wildlife is a long way off.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Seattleflyer50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Level Contributor
100 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Best part of Yellowstone Park”
Reviewed November 16, 2012

We spent about 5 days in Yellowstone this past summer and the Lamar Valley was my favorite part of the park. Much of Yellowstone is flat with mountains and hills in the distance but this area has a much more interesting landscape. There is a great deal of wildlife here-bison, bear, elk, antelope, etc. We took several drives at dusk which is a great time for seeing the wildlife and sunsets. Give yourself plenty of time as the park is so huge and driving through just this area alone takes a couple hours. If you go to Yellowstone, make time to see this part of the park.

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank Tracy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Fairfield, Connecticut
Level Contributor
23 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Wide open range”
Reviewed November 15, 2012

Oppurtunity to see many herds of bison. We had already seen so many where we were staying so it was if they were cows on the side of the road. Still amazing though

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank Mwek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Saw something extraordinary at Lamar Valley”
Reviewed November 14, 2012

It was late Jan, 2012.Our photographer group of seven saw them around eight in the morning.

We were in Lamar Valley, at the north of the Yellowstone National Park. There are frequent wildlife sightings, including the gray wolf, bighorn sheep, bison, coyote, and elk. A three mile long two-lane road going from east to west penetrated the Valley, which was covered with knee-high snow and surrounded by mountains. At 8,000 feet altitude, it's easy for cold air to accumulate here. Last year, it was 50 degrees Celsius below zero.

It was considered warm that day: only 10 degrees below zero.

About a hundred feet away from the road, they lay motionless, resembling two dark, volcanic rocks.

It was a bison cow and her calf. Being the only two black spots in a boundless white plain, they were especially eye-catching, but they also looked exceptionally lonely.

We carried our 40-pound tripod and camera on our shoulders, walked off the road, and slowly approached them in the snow. We could see the little bison calf lying on the ground, breathing very slowly. Snow fell on his face. He was so powerless that he had no strength to shake away the snow, which formed patches of white on his forehead. If not for the occasional breath which created a white mist, we would have thought he was dead. The mother bison sometimes licked him and sometimes caressed his head with her snout.

It all looked so peaceful until we took a closer look.

Just fifty feet away from them was a pair of light brown coyotes. They seemed to be asleep, but occasionally, they would stretch and yawn or look around without a care in the world. However, they would shoot greedy looks at the small bison from time to time, as if they couldn't wait for their next meal. Every time they glanced, though, the mother would stand in front of the calf and glare back at them.

Several ravens and magpies circled the bison at low altitude. From time to time they called, as if they were trying to signal the gray wolves to come.

We set up our long telephoto lens about 100 feet away from the bison. From the viewfinder, we could see clearly that the mother bison was using her horns to gently lift up the head of the calf from the ground. Each time, her horn was able to lift the calf's head by just a little, but then she would lose her grip. The baby's head kept falling back onto the ground.

The mother did not give up. Sensing that she would lose her grip again, she tried a new strategy by attempting to get the calf to lean on her body..

After dozens of tries, the mother bison exhausted all angles and poses, yet she still failed to help the calf stand up again.

I watched the calf's head keep falling onto the ground again and again. Every time he fell, it was like a big rock being dropped into the water, as snow splashed all around him. I felt sorry for him.

The road in Lamar Valley during winter was not busy at all. Every few minutes, a single car would drive by. We had been in the snow for a while when we saw a Jeep slow down and stop. The driver, who looked to be in his 60's, rolled down his window. He asked, "Is that the mom and kid?" We nodded. He said, "They have been here for three days and nights. They were originally with a herd of bison in the number of hundreds. But a few days ago, this calf was attacked by gray wolves. He was injured and shed a lot of blood. The mother did not follow the herd, and stayed here with her kid. "

Three days and nights in the same place, with no food, and no protection from the herd, they must have been exhausted.

An hour later, the mother still kept on trying to lift the calf up, and each time the calf fell down again.

It was obvious that the calf had no strength in his neck. He lay in the snow in an awkward, bent position without the ability to straighten it.

Suddenly, the mother gathered all her strength for a last try. She drilled her horn deep into the snow below the calf's jaw. Then she slowly lifted his head up, ever so carefully. We saw that she was able to raise the calf's head much higher than previous attempts. We held our breaths and prayed for them.

Just when the calf was close to standing, his jaw slipped from the grip of his mom's horns. His little head rotated backwards, and like a slow motion movie, his long brown hair floated in the wind, his tongue involuntarily stretched out due to fatigue, the snow on his face melted into water droplets that slid away, and he fell heavily onto the ground, making a huge splash of snow.

For the rest of the story and see how it ended, with more photos, please go to a dedicated page I wrote for this trip:

http://tinmanphotoblog.com/?p=231

Thank you!

Visited January 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank tinmanizer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
101 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“This is where the Buffalo are!”
Reviewed November 6, 2012

Not the nomadic male that stops traffic dead in its tracks. This is where the remaining herds of bison hang out, especially as winter draws near. We encountered several herds numbering in the hundreds on our way out the Northeast Entrance. Traffic was very light and the buffalo were in their natural setting, whether huddled along a mountainside or spread out in the broad Lamar Valley. It was a bonus to our trip that we were not expecting!

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank Bob H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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