Yellowstone, wildlife in June?

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DAA

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It has been 30 years since I last visited Yellowstone. Considering the changes that have taken place in that time, I think it's as if I've never been, for all practical purposes.

Taking the family there to visit next summer though, tentatively planning late June. As of now, thinking six nights, three in Madison CG, then three in Canyon CG (we'll be in a travel trailer).

We'll try and cram a little bit of everything in while there. Of particular interest to me though, will be wildlife viewing/photography. Where are going to be the wildlife viewing hot spots to be of a morning or evening, in late June?

Different question - we want to do a half day horseback ride. Anyone care to comment on which area would be best? It looks like there are operations out of West Yellowstone, Mammoth and Tower, and probably others as well. I've no idea which area would be best for a half day ride.

Thanks!

- DAA
 

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For the camping if you want to shower daily, Madison does not offer shower facilities just an FYI. Wildlife hot spots are going to be the Hayden Valley, Lamar Valley, Dunraven Pass/Mount Washburn area morning or evening. While those are hot spots the wildlife up there can really pop in any part of the park. The earlier the better if you want to avoid the people. Most people get a late start up there. In the evening there are a lot more people than early in the morning, but the later it gets they drop off quickly leaving just you and the animals. Usually after 7 pm the crowds die so they can get back for dinner. @wes242 might have some more suggestions as he is the god of Yellowstone photography. The horseback rides I would go with the one out of Tower/Roosevelt. In my opinion there is a lot more to see in that area.
 
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Bob

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Used to stay at Madison all the time, pretty central. We used to get up early, breakfast, drive and look. Cooked main meal at lunchtime usually in a picnic area. Dinner time had something light, looked some more as people thin out about 6p. As said: Horseback at Tower. Lamar, Hayden, Dunraven also between Norris and Mamoth on top, 6 mile to Madison, Madison to Gibbon Falls, around Tower. Morning best wildlife. Pay showers at Canyon, Old faithful Lodge, Grant.
 
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@DAA I will also add that in June, especially early June there can be winter kill carcasses that bears and wolves are feeding on. Mostly in the Lamar Valley, but the Hayden Valley can have them too. My suggestion is if you aren't seeing animals for whatever reason take a hike on a backcountry trail that might improve your chances. The Hayden Valley has some great trails that you can see wildlife on. Alum Creek/Mary Mountain Trail, the Howard Eaton Trail heading north to Canyon from Fishing Bridge and also some a little north like the Wapiti Lake Trail that branches to the Wrangler Lake Trail or the north end of the Howard Eaton that heads south toward Sour Creek. There are some trails that are closed at that time of year due to bear management. Here you can find those Bear Management Areas so you can gauge which trails might be closed to hiking that time of year.
 

DAA

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Dang... So I just called to make campground reservations for late June 2014, got the first three nights at Madison but wasn't able to get a site at Canyon. Was told all the sites that will fit my 24' travel trailer are already booked! Had to choose between Fishing Bridge, Bridge Bay or Grant. Fishing Bridge looks too much like a parking lot. I really like the looks and description of facilities of Grant the best, but it's just getting farther and farther from where I anticipate wanting to spend a lot of our time. So I went ahead and booked Bridge Bay for the second half of the visit. No showers, but not too far to the ones at FB either, I guess. Might be nice right on the lake?

Anyway... Trip's a go now, be there 6/19-6/25.

- DAA
 
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The only thing that I dislike about Bridge Bay is that it's pretty open so if you're a tree lover you might be a little disappointed. Of course most the time I've stayed in the park it's been in a tent and they can get hot in direct sunlight. Madison in spots can also be like that. Canyon is my favorite of the reservable campgrounds so that sucks you couldn't get a spot there. Grant is pretty nice as well and as you said it is a little out of the way. The thing I like about Grant and Canyon though is how close the restaurants are. If you decide not to cook one night you can walk over, get some food and have a drink or two. Then walk back to camp and enjoy a fire without cleaning up the mess. Another cool thing about going in June is the early morning fog and of course the baby animals. Have an excellent trip!!
 

HomerJ

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The only thing that I dislike about Bridge Bay is that it's pretty open so if you're a tree lover you might be a little disappointed. Of course most the time I've stayed in the park it's been in a tent and they can get hot in direct sunlight. Madison in spots can also be like that. Canyon is my favorite of the reservable campgrounds so that sucks you couldn't get a spot there. Grant is pretty nice as well and as you said it is a little out of the way. The thing I like about Grant and Canyon though is how close the restaurants are. If you decide not to cook one night you can walk over, get some food and have a drink or two. Then walk back to camp and enjoy a fire without cleaning up the mess. Another cool thing about going in June is the early morning fog and of course the baby animals. Have an excellent trip!!
Keep calling on Canyon. Someone will cancel and you might snag it!
 
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Yeah, what @HomerJ said ^^^^^^^. I have snagged a site a couple times being persistent.
 

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DAA

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Certainly can't hurt to call back and try once in awhile. Nine months is a long ways off!

- DAA
 

Artemus

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Dave, I would second the fact that the Lamar Valley is one of the premier wildlife viewing areas because of the long views and because of the higher likelihood of seeing wolves. @lostlandscapes just got back from a first trip there and can attest to this. There are many beautiful places to horse ride through but I would guess the Tower basecamp would be one of the better. If you could get in the Yellowstone drainage on the north side of the park I would think that would be especially fun.
 
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Yvonne

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I will follow this thread very closely because I will be in Yellowstone next August for 10 days.
After I had to cancel my trip this year it will be my second try.
But I guess there is not much wildlife in August.
 
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Aldaron

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There's always wildlife in Yellowstone! :)

I'm on my way there as we speak. I'm looking for bugling elk...I'm afraid we're a week or two too early.
 
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I will follow this thread very closely because I will be in Yellowstone next August for 10 days.
After I had to cancel my trip this year it will be my second try.
But I guess there is not much wildlife in August.
Yvonne, sometimes in August the heat will drive the animals into the trees. I went in July and August this year and the animals were out in force. The bison rut during August so if you get a chance to watch and listen to them it's kinda cool. Of course you'll have hundreds of people there also.
There's always wildlife in Yellowstone! :)

I'm on my way there as we speak. I'm looking for bugling elk...I'm afraid we're a week or two too early.
I have a feeling you'll be hearing some bugles. I went there on my honeymoon this exact same week 7 years ago and they were bugling like crazy. There's a picture I took of an elk bugling at Mammoth in my trip report from that trip here. http://backcountrypost.com/forum/threads/yellowstone-2006.436/
 

DAA

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Very nice grizz pic!

Somewhat surprised you aren't hearing the elk bugle though. I spent the weekend helping a friend hunt elk in Nevada and the bulls where we were at were in a screaming mood. We bugled in a couple bulls that I thought were pretty decent, but he passed on them.

- DAA
 

Aldaron

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We stayed down in valleys while we were there, so I suspect we just weren't high enough. I think we saw a grand total of three cow elk.
 
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We stayed down in valleys while we were there, so I suspect we just weren't high enough. I think we saw a grand total of three cow elk.
I also saw very few elk this year. Maybe the wolves are starting to take a toll on the population up there. Of course it could be the heat also, but I have always seen tons of elk. I saw one bull this year and it was only a spike.
 

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