Lamar Valley#8 in Best Things To Do in Yellowstone
Located between Yellowstone's Northeast Entrance and Mammoth Hot Springs in the Tower-Roosevelt Area, Lamar Valley is a wildlife haven. In fact, this valley is often referred to as "America's Serengeti" because it has an abundance of animals. Bison are most commonly spotted here, but you may also catch a glimpse of grizzly bears, pronghorns, bald eagles and wolves. The remnants of a former hot spring are also situated in the eastern part of the valley.
Previous visitors said passing through Lamar Valley is a must. You'll have ample opportunities to see bison. Some may even cross Beartooth Highway (Lamar Valley's main thoroughfare, which also goes by Northeast Entrance Road) at times, so stay alert when driving. If you're looking for a scenic spot to stop for a bite to eat, some travelers suggest packing a picnic lunch to enjoy during your drive. Just remember to never feed or get too close to the valley's animals. The National Park Service recommends staying at least 100 yards away from wolves and bears and 25 or more yards away from other creatures like bison and elk.
Lamar Valley can only be reached by car from May 25 to Oct. 10, when Beartooth Highway is open. You're welcome to visit at any time during this period. There are no attraction admissions, but all park visitors must purchase a seven-day pass before entering the park. Other than a few restrooms and campgrounds, no facilities are available, so consider buying snacks and drinks at the Cooke City Visitor's Center (outside the park's Northeast Entrance) or the Albright Visitor Center (by Mammoth Hot Springs) before visiting. To learn more, check out NPS' Tower-Roosevelt Area page.
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#1 Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Formed over thousands of years of erosion caused by wind, water and other natural forces, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is the primary attraction in the Canyon Village area and one of the park's most popular hiking spots. The canyon stretches approximately 20 miles long and nearly a mile wide. Just as remarkable as the canyon's terra-cotta hued cliff walls is its river, which is the longest undammed river in the country, meandering for more than 600 miles through Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota.
"Amazing," "beautiful" and "fascinating" are just a few adjectives recent visitors used to describe this natural wonder. Most praised its hiking trails (like Artist and Lookout points), but a few said to check the National Park Service's Canyon Area Construction Projects page before you arrive since several paths are either partly or completely closed for renovations. Another tip: Get to the canyon early or late in the day to avoid rubbing elbows with hordes of tourists.