A slow hiker's guide to
Yellowstone National Park
Young buffalo calf sitting beside mother. This buffalo calf is no more then a week old. Photo taken during buffalo calving season Yellowstone National Park.
May is calving season for buffalo. Luckily interior connecting roads open earlier in Yellowstone National Park then they do in Glacier National Park. YouTube animation of buffalo calf shown above.
Sandhill cranes will soon be nesting in Yellowstone National Park. Sandhill cranes are one of the oldest species of birds in the world.
Yellowstone National Park is famous for it's elk herds. Bull elk are in their velvet stage in Yellowstone National Park during the spring. Elk rut occurs late September and early October in Yellowstone National Park. During elk rut park campsites are at a premium as the larger campsites close after Labor Day.
Young buffalo calf on the road in Yellowstone National Park. Wildlife on the roads in Yellowstone is a given. Long lines of stopped cars in the middle of the road is also a given in Yellowstone National Park. Until the park ranger arrives to move the cars off the road.
Coyote near Roosevelt area in Yellowstone National Park. Coyote are now facing fierce competition for territory from wolves in Yellowstone National Park.
Buffalo on the road in Yellowstone National Park. Stopped cars in the middle of the road are also a given in Yellowstone National Park. Within Yellowstone National Park viewing buffalo and elk is basically a certainty.
Young buffalo calf running at sundown. I now have a separate buffalo photo page, so at some point all of the buffalo photos except for one will be gone from this page.
Fall in Yellowstone
Solitary Buffalos tend to stick the the same general area year after year in Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone National Park is justifiably famous for its wildlife. This photo was taken in the fall of 2002 with my first true digital SLR camera. It was after photographing this elk that I ordered a quick release for my tripod.
This photo was taken between Mammoth and Tower Falls in Yellowstone National Park. The elk had an injured leg so the wolf pack played a waiting game. The elk after several hours wandered out of sight over the hill. So I went hiking on the Beaver Lake Trail out of Mammoth. The wolf if you look closely is collared. The rest of the wolf pack was resting nearby in the shade. The next day when I returned there was a coyote feasting on the elk carcass. Discovered that the elk and the wolf pack returned to this little lake around 4 am to finish their business.
YouTube coyote eating wolf killed elk carcass. I didn't get back to this area until late the next day. By then there wasn't much left of the elk carcass.
Yellowstone National Park has an abundance of wildlife, both furry and feathered.
Black bear cub after sundown in the Tower Falls area in Yellowstone National Park.
Undine Falls which is located just off the road between Mammoth and Tower Falls in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park is worth visiting just to see the waterfalls. The wildlife in Yellowstone National Park would be enough of a draw to bring me down south, but Yellowstone is not just wildlife. It is also waterfalls and colorful sulfurous pools and geysers and stunning and varied landscape. Yellowstone, if you let it, makes time travel possible. I camp usually for two weeks when I'm at Yellowstone National Park. If you want to find a campsite in Yellowstone then be prepared to look for a campsite before 10 am. There are a lot of visitors to Yellowstone but it doesn't take a lot of effort to get away from the crowds in the fall, most visitors stick to within a few hundred feet of the roads. Unlike in Glacier National Park, the wildlife in Yellowstone National Park is generally habituated to human contact. (this does NOT mean the wildlife is TAME) Yellowstone National Park closes campgrounds by the calendar not by how busy the campground is when they close it. Norris Campground in the fall is a perfect example, it is full up to the very day that the park closes it.
I prefer to start the fall camping season at Norris Campground in Yellowstone National Park, the bull elk shown above was photographed next to my tent. When you're camping in Yellowstone you have to think about where to pitch your tent. Pay attention to trails, don't mistake game trails for human trails like I've done at Norris. Two years earlier I had been camping at Norris Campground and returned to my campsite to take a short break. The camper next to my tent site was laughing, seems I missed a buffalo that had traveled in between our two tents. Luckily the buffalo didn't become tangled in tent ropes.
Sunrises in the sulfurous mists of Yellowstone National Park, particularly when a small herd of buffalo is thrown into the mix are special moments. For me Yellowstone National Park is the land before time.
Buffalo are a fact of life in Yellowstone National Park. Buffalo need a buffer zone that is not entered unless your trying out to be a matador. Visitors are gored nearly every year in Yellowstone National Park by buffalo.
Glacier National Park is much more friendly to hikers, visit my hiking site at
I got lucky this winter and had a clear day in Glacier National Park for the last total lunar eclipse of the decade.