Top three reasons to go hiking in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley
One of the premier wildlife watching spots in Yellowstone
The best destination in Yellowstone to observe wild bison
Find out more about Yellowstone’s history, rich flora and fauna, and ecology
Often referred to as America’s Serengeti due to its rich and easy-to-spot fauna, Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley is simply a must for any nature enthusiast. With around 3,000 bison and countless other animals such as wolves, elks, pronghorns, grizzlies, and many more, you’ll get a front row seat to a true wildlife spectacle. Pay close attention to the ways in which these creatures interact with each other as your expert guide tells you more about the area’s history, ecology, and conservation efforts. Apart from the incredible density of wildlife, Lamar Valley also offers a myriad of hiking opportunities. Here you’ll find sweet-smelling wildflowers scattered across huge meadows and rolling hills, as well as towering mountains surrounding the area. With a seasoned guide by your side, you’ll witness some of the most amazing sights Yellowstone has to offer and learn a ton at the same time, meaning that you’re in for a fun and educational experience.
Late April through early November
Gardiner, MT, is about an hour away from the Lamar Valley
Beginner to advanced
Choose how you spend your day
Private Half-Day of Hiking in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley
Head to Northern Yellowstone and spend up to 5 hours hiking and exploring the Lamar Valley and its open meadows and hills filled with wildflowers. Take in the panoramic views of this expanse and observe a plethora of animals in their natural habitat. Get your camera ready and revel in the stunning views of the Lamar River that feeds this massive valley as your guide shows you the best gems the area has to offer.
Private Full-Day of Hiking in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley
Spend up to 8 hours hiking in the Lamar Valley and let your guide show you the best gems in the area. Make sure you soak up the valley’s open landscapes as you listen to your guide share some interesting facts about Lamar Valley and its history! And don’t forget your camera as you’ll want to take amazing photos of both the scenery and the incredible animals including bison, wolves, pronghorn, elks, and grizzly bears.
Private Wildlife Watching Tour from Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley
Spend 7 to 8 hours on this wildlife watching tour in Lamar Valley and admire the countless bison and other animals roaming the area. These include wolves, grizzly bears, bald eagles, elks, pronghorns, and many others. Use modern scopes to get a close up view of the fabulous fauna and enjoy the interactions between them in their natural habitat. With so much wildlife to see, it comes as no surprise that the Lamar Valley is often called America’s Serengeti.
Meet your guides
In Our Nature
In Our Nature
Only having a 1/2 a day to spend with you (Cara) we were able to see wolves, bear, bison, osprey, antelope, and the beautiful Lamar Valley….Thank you Cara for the memorable experience in Yellowstone! AND we, including the teenage boys (Michael and Nicholas) were very impressed with your knowledge (and snacks). Hopefully we can come back and go on a great hike with you!
We had an amazing day of wildlife spotting with Nancy in Lamar Valley. She did a great job of explaining the relationships and interactions of all of the various animals of Yellowstone. We felt that her knowledge and insight was extremely valuable and we walked away with a much greater understanding of the wildlife in the region. I would highly recommend this tour!
Cara was a wonderful guide in every way. Within an hour of our time with her we saw the wolves of Yellowstone! Cara was super smart, informative about the wildlife, friendly, had coffee and hot cocoa for us, and had a very comfortable car for us to roam around Lamar Valley all day. She introduced us to some of the local wildlife enthusiasts, and we had a great time spotting the wolves, a grizzly, bison, coyotes, and 2 bald eagles! Our time with Cara was the highlight of our trip!
From 5:45am until about 2:15pm, Jim and I were spellbound by up close and personal (via scopes) sightings of Lamar Valley wolves, badgers, bison, pronghorn, viewings we never could have experienced on our own. Cara’s wildlife expertise and uncanny ability to spot these sighting in the first place put her, in our estimation, in a ‘wildlife Wonder Woman’ category! Her mental and physical energy and people skills (and patience) added even more vitality to the the wildlife drama.
Get complete checklist for hiking and camping equipment.
Things to know
Covid measures in Lamar Valley, Yellowstone, Wyoming
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Lamar Valley, Yellowstone, WY, please refer to the Yellowstone National Park Website and Wyoming Department of Health.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get on this adventure:
- An experienced, local naturalist hiking guide or biologist with extensive knowledge of the area
- A half-day or full-day of hiking, or a full-day of wildlife watching
- Snacks (half-day hikes), lunch (full-day hikes), brunch and hot drinks (wildlife watching)
- Bear spray for hikes
- Water refills
- High quality scopes and binoculars
What’s not included:
- Park entrance fees ($20 per person, $35 per family)
How fit do I need to be?
The best thing about hiking and wildlife watching in the Lamar Valley is that people of all ages and abilities can participate. On easier hikes, you’ll cross gentle and mostly flat terrain with minimal elevation gain. Intermediate hikes will see a little more change in elevation (up to 700 feet) and the trails include sections of rocky terrain and other obstacles. Moderately strenuous hikes have uneven rocky terrain and other obstacles with up to 1,000 ft of elevation gain. On advanced hikes, you’ll encounter steeper, rocky terrain, possibly off-trail, with steep inclines and possibly over 1,000 ft in elevation gain. The minimum starting elevation is about 6,000 ft above sea level and you’ll go up from there. Keep in mind that you’ll carry a daypack and that you’ll need to drink lots of water in this environment.
For wildlife watching, you won’t need to stray too far from the vehicle as wildlife watching is most effective from the road (with short walks to vantage points, up to about a half-mile each). Daily departures are at dawn (5 to 6 am in the summer, 7 am in the winter) and the duration of the tour is typically 7 to 8 hours.
What do I need to bring?
Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:
- Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 25-40L bag)
- Hiking poles — optional
- Water bottle or hydration bladder with at least 2L of water
- Waterproof insulated shoes (with slip-resistant soles)
- Warm layers
- Spare clothes for layering
- Waterproof rain jacket
- Lightweight hiking pants
- Warm hat
- Insulated gloves
- Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Camera — optional (but recommended)
Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- For this private wildlife watching tour, the max. client to guide ratio is 6:1.
- For the private hiking tours, the max. client to guide ratio is 10:1.
- Cost per person decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to hike or watch wildlife with friends and family!
Hiking and wildlife watching in the Lamar Valley can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- Minors younger than 18 are welcome, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.
- Cancellations up to 30 days before your trip date will receive a full refund minus a $50 processing fee.
- Cancellations between 29 and 5 days before your trip date will receive a 50% refund.
- For cancellations within 5 days of booking refunds will not be provided.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone, most people fly into Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Montana just under 3 hours away from the Lamar Valley. From there, you can rent a car to get to the Lamar Valley.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, you will meet your guide at the trailhead in Lamar Valley for the hiking tours or at Lamar Buffalo Ranch for the wildlife watching tour.
When it comes to the wildlife watching tour, you’ll depart at dawn (5-6 am in the summer; 7 am in the winter) and the tour duration is typically 7 to 8 hours. Half-day hikes last up to 5 hours, while full-day hikes last up to 8 hours. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.