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How to Spend 3 Days in Yellowstone National Park
How to Spend 3 Days in Yellowstone National Park

How to Spot Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park


How to Spot Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park
Hi, I'm Lauren!

Lauren is a Mexico City–based writer, editor, and translator from Yorkshire with bylines at CNN, BBC Travel, and Al Jazeera. She’s currently working on her first full-length literary translation in between harassing her cat, drinking smuggled Yorkshire Tea, and blogging about Latin American literature at leyendolatam.com.

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Yellowstone National Park attracts photographers, nature enthusiasts, and outdoor adventurers from around the world with its spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife, including the largest concentration of mammals in the lower 48.

Here, you can expect to see some 300 species of birds, 16 species of fish, six species of reptiles, five species of amphibians, and 67 species of mammals. Then there are the large mammals, a highlight for many—common sightings include black and grizzly bears, wolves, bighorn sheep, bison, moose, elk, and mountain goats.

Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your wildlife-spotting adventure in Yellowstone, from top tours to top tips.

1. Combine waterfalls and wildlife on a naturalist-led tour

Visit many of the top spots in Yellowstone National Park on this full-day, small-group tour which visits Old Faithful and more in the company of a naturalist guide. While you’re there, expect to see bison, elk, bears, wolves, and more.


Yellowstone Old Faithful, Waterfalls and Wildlife Day Tour
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Yellowstone Old Faithful, Waterfalls and Wildlife Day Tour

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Enjoy a full-day exploring Yellowstone National Park on a small-group guided tour from the comfort of an enclosed, air-conditioned vehicle. Stops include Old Faithful, the Lower Falls of Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and several opportunities to observe the diverse wildlife of these national parks. Riding along with a naturalist guide, you’ll spend the morning searching for bears, wolves, elk, moose, and bison, and continue the tour at famous Yellowstone landmarks. Your professional guide will explain the park's history, ecology and geology throughout the day. Since this small group tour has an 11-person maximum, you’re ensured a personalized Yellowstone experience.
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  • 12 hours
  • iconEnglish
From
$299.00
From
$299.00

2. Do a lap of Yellowstone’s Lower Loop

One of the best wildlife-watching destinations in Yellowstone, the Lower Loop is a top spot to look out for grizzly bears, elk, moose, and even eagles. On this tour from Jackson Hole, you’ll also benefit from entry fees, meals, and round-trip transportation for ease.


Yellowstone National Park - Full-Day Lower Loop Tour from Jackson Hole
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Yellowstone National Park - Full-Day Lower Loop Tour from Jackson Hole

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Hit all the landmarks and highlights of Yellowstone National Park during this full-day tour from Jackson Hole. Spot local wildlife such as grizzly bears, bison, elk, moose, eagles and wolves using the provided binoculars. Visit attractions such as the Grand Canyon Waterfalls, Grand Prismatic Spring, and Old Faithful. Park entry fees, breakfast, lunch, and round trip transportation from Jackson Hole hotels are included.
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  • 12 hours
  • iconEnglish
  • Free Cancellation
From
$325.00
From
$325.00

3. Enjoy an all-round Yellowstone National Park experience

Tour the top attractions within Yellowstone National Park in just one day from Jackson Hole. Marvel over the geysers, canyons, waterfalls, and—of course—wildlife, including bison and wolves. Plus, stop by Old Faithful and Lake Hotel.


Yellowstone National Park Tour from Jackson Hole

Yellowstone National Park Tour from Jackson Hole

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On this unforgettable full day tour from Jackson Hole to Yellowstone, you’ll experience the beauty that led to this becoming America’s first national park. Get epic views of geysers, canyons, waterfalls, rivers, and wildlife, and see Yellowstone highlights like Old Faithful and the historic Lake Hotel. On this Yellowstone tour from Jackson Hole, learn the area’s volcanic geology and unique level of ecology, and keep your eyes peeled for Yellowstone wildlife — including bison and wolves.
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  • 11 hours
  • iconEnglish
  • Free Cancellation
From
$379.50
From
$379.50

4. Combine the Upper and Lower Loops over two days

Make the most of your visit to Yellowstone by bringing together two of the top places to see wildlife in the park—the Upper and Lower Loops—on a 2-day tour. With more time to explore, expect to see more wildlife than you would on a day trip, plus enjoy an overnight stay in the park.


2-Day Yellowstone National Park Upper and Lower Loop Exploration
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2-Day Yellowstone National Park Upper and Lower Loop Exploration

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Discover the wildlife, geysers, and history of Yellowstone National Park on a 2-day tour that includes overnight accommodation at a hot springs resort, subject to availability. Two day gives you ample time to explore both the Upper and Lower Loop of Yellowstone, meaning you can explore at a more relaxed pace than traditional full-day tours. Watch the Old Faithful Geyser in action; go on short hikes, and look for animals like bison, bear, and wolves. Includes one night of accommodation, lunch, guide, transportation, and hotel pickup and drop-off from Jackson, Wyoming.
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  • 2 days
  • iconEnglish
From
$650.00
From
$650.00

5. Take a private tour of America’s oldest national park

In the company of guides who are experts in wildlife biology and natural sciences, enjoy a private excursion through Yellowstone National Park. Cover plenty of ground in a comfortable Chevy, get the chance to see more wildlife than you could on foot, and benefit from off-the-beaten-path hikes to escape the crowds.


VIP Private Yellowstone Tour: Iconic Sites, Wildlife, Hiking, & Lunch Included!

VIP Private Yellowstone Tour: Iconic Sites, Wildlife, Hiking, & Lunch Included!

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Avoid crowds and maximize your wildlife-viewing experience on this private Yellowstone tour led by a naturalist guide. Journey through Yellowstone National Park while making frequent stops for wildlife encounters as well as scenic and secluded hikes that lead to some of Yellowstone's best destinations and lesser-known geysers and hot springs that lie off the beaten path.
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • iconEnglish
  • Free Cancellation
From
$2,200.00
per group
From
$2,200.00
per group

6. Make wildlife photography a focus in Yellowstone

On this customizable, full-day wildlife and photography experience, enjoy the benefits of well-informed guides to stand the best chance of snapping some awesome wildlife shots—whether you’re a pro or an amateur. Snacks and lunch are provided as a bonus.


5 Star all inclusive Grand Loop Yellowstone Wildlife and Photo Tour

5 Star all inclusive Grand Loop Yellowstone Wildlife and Photo Tour

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Discover the world's oldest national park, Yellowstone, on this grand loop wildlife tour. The focus of the tour is wildlife and photography so your guide adjusts the locations according to the animal migrations. Visit several prominent landmarks including the iconic Old Faithful geyser, Hayden and Lamar valleys, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Roosevelt Arch. Whether you're an amateur or professional photographer, this tour has something for everyone.
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  • 10 to 12 hours
  • iconEnglish
  • Free Cancellation
From
$299.00
From
$299.00

7. Explore with a naturalist guide

Approach Yellowstone from the Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway before spending the day in the company of a naturalist guide. Keep your eyes peeled for black bears, grizzlies, bighorn sheep, and more. Plus, benefit from photography advice to help you get the best pictures.


Yellowstone Custom Wildlife and Nature Tour

Yellowstone Custom Wildlife and Nature Tour

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Get your first glimpse of Yellowstone’s amazing scenery as you approach the national park from Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway. Then spend a full day exploring some of Yellowstone’s 2.2 million acres of protected wilderness with a seasoned naturalist guide. See waterfalls, geysers, and hot springs and look out for grizzly and black bears, gray wolves, moose, and bighorn sheep along the way. Keep your camera ready and get pro tips from your nature photographer guide.
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  • 12 hours
  • iconEnglish
  • Free Cancellation
From
$287.21
From
$287.21

8. Combine Yellowstone and Grand Teton in one day

Departing from Jackson, see both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in just one day and make the most of both parks’ highlights. On this personalizable safari experience, expect to see plenty of wildlife, as well as top attractions such as Hayden Valley, home to grazing bison.


VIP Yellowstone and Grand Tetons Small Group Safari from Jackson WY

VIP Yellowstone and Grand Tetons Small Group Safari from Jackson WY

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If you just have one day to explore Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, make the most of it on a personalized safari from Jackson. A driver and guide takes you directly to can’t-miss highlights of both parks, sharing fascinating trivia and helping spot wildlife along the way. Plus, go home with plenty of photos of your group among the parks’ dramatic scenery, no selfie stick required.
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  • 8 to 10 hours
  • iconEnglish
  • Free Cancellation
From
$475.00
From
$475.00

9. Look out for bears and wolves on a private safari

Focused entirely on wildlife spotting, this tour takes you to the best places in the park to see creatures such as wolves, bison, mountain goats, river otters, and more. Centered around the Northern Loop, expect to stop by Hayden or Lamar Valley and beyond.


Private Yellowstone Wildlife Sightseeing Tour

Private Yellowstone Wildlife Sightseeing Tour

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If you're hoping to see wildlife in Yellowstone National Park, increase your chances of spotting magnificent animals like wolves, elk, pronghorn sheep, birds of prey, and even bears on this private wildlife tour. It can be daunting to navigate the massive park on your own, but your dedicated driver and guide knows all the best habitats to increase your chances of wildlife sightings on this full-day tour.
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  • 7 to 9 hours
  • iconEnglish
  • Free Cancellation
From
$1,250.00
per group
From
$1,250.00
per group

10. Center your visit on Lamar Valley

Take a hike to Lamar Valley, one of the best places in Yellowstone to see a variety of wildlife such as wolves and other lesser-spotted, elusive animals. A particular plus of this tour is that the hikes take you away from the road, and therefore mean you’re more likely to spot wildlife as you explore.


Lamar Valley Safari Hiking Tour with Lunch

Lamar Valley Safari Hiking Tour with Lunch

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The lush riverside plains of the Lamar Valley are a wildlife-watching hotspot within the Yellowstone National Park. With this guided hike, explore the natural landscapes as you venture off-road and seek out little-known spots, increasing your chances of spotting wildlife. Look out for buffalo, wolves, eagles, and other animals along the way, and watch from a safe distance in their natural habitat.
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  • 6 hours
  • iconEnglish
  • Free Cancellation
From
$165.00
From
$165.00

11. Enjoy a private wildlife safari with lunch included

Make the most of your guide’s ecological education as you take a private tour of the park. Focused on Yellowstone’s northern range, this tour is all about spotting bison herds, wolf packs, and more in just one day. You can also expect to enjoy beginner-friendly hikes and enjoy lunch.


VIP Private Yellowstone Wildlife Safari with Guided Hikes and Lunch Included

VIP Private Yellowstone Wildlife Safari with Guided Hikes and Lunch Included

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Go beyond the crowds and follow a wildlife biologist/ecologist into the true wilds of Yellowstone. Visiting the Lamar Valley—the “Serengeti of Yellowstone”—and beyond, you’ll spy on bison, wolves, bears, coyotes, and more, all between witnessing geysers erupt and waterfalls cascade. Stop for a picnic lunch and take an easy hike or two for a bit more scenic exploration before ending your private, documentary-worthy adventure.
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  • 6 to 9 hours
  • iconEnglish
  • Free Cancellation
From
$1,750.00
per group
From
$1,750.00
per group

12. Spot wildlife in Grand Teton and Yellowstone

Departing from Jackson Hole, this private tour allows you to spot everything from moose, bears, and antelope to osprey, herons, and eagles. Ideal for those short on time, you’ll also get to see some of the top sights in both parks, including the Tetons.


Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks - Ultimate Wildlife Safari
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Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks - Ultimate Wildlife Safari

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If you want the BEST Opportunity for seeing the most attractive, sought after wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in ONE Day, this is the Tour! Our great crew of guides LOVE to seek, find, photograph and talk about wildlife.....so let's go! This is a PRIVATE Tour for just you! Starting from Jackson Hole, we will head into Grand Teton National Park searching for bears, moose, elk, pronghorn antelope, eagles, osprey, herons and more! We will have some incredible views of the Tetons along the way but our focus will be on finding wildlife. We will continue north into Yellowstone National Park and head to locations where our guides know you'll have the best chances of seeing wildlife including: bison, grizzly and black bears, wolves, elk and more. Departure is at 6:00am and return at approx. 7:00pm. Depending on the size of your group, the Tour will be driven in one of our SUVS or roomy, AC vans with individual captain chairs and large windows for fantastic viewing!
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  • 12 to 13 hours
  • iconEnglish
  • Free Cancellation
From
$1,700.00
Price varies by group size
From
$1,700.00
Price varies by group size

Make the most of your wildlife-watching trip to Yellowstone National Park. Photo: Eustacio Humphrey / Viator

Top tips for wildlife-watching in Yellowstone

Avoid making any rookie mistakes.

  • Go early or late: Animals tend to be feeding and easier to spot in the early morning and evening hours.

  • Bring binoculars: Get a clear view without disturbing the wildlife. A long lens camera also works!

  • Stop by a visitor center: Ask about recent sightings and get tips on where to look.

  • Stay alert: Wild animals might show up anywhere in the park, even away from the typical hot spots.

  • Keep quiet and still: Loud noises and sudden movements can spook wildlife.

  • Consider the season: Explore geothermal basins in winter, for example, when their warmth attracts animals.

Explore more Yellowstone wildlife-watching experiences

Hi, I'm Lauren!

Lauren is a Mexico City–based writer, editor, and translator from Yorkshire with bylines at CNN, BBC Travel, and Al Jazeera. She’s currently working on her first full-length literary translation in between harassing her cat, drinking smuggled Yorkshire Tea, and blogging about Latin American literature at leyendolatam.com.

Keep exploring
See all Yellowstone National Park tours
30 tours & tickets
See all things to do in Yellowstone National Park
How to Spend 3 Days in Yellowstone National Park
How to Spend 3 Days in Yellowstone National Park