yellowstone wildlife in september

McKee80

Member
.
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
230
Hey all,

I'm going to have a couple nights to backpack in Yellowstone in mid September. My lottery time slot is coming up in a couple days. I'd really like to be in a cool wildlife area or hear the elk bugling. I know Lamar Valley is a good place and has loads of backcountry sites. Are there any other sites I should be looking at? I saw somewhere that during the elk rut, the Gardner Canyon can be busy with elk and there are two backcountry sites back in there. I know wildlife is mostly hit or miss, but if anyone has experience at particular places in the park that time of year, I'd love to hear about it. This will be my first time backpacking in Yellowstone.

Thanks,
Sean
 

TheMountainRabbit

"Because it's there."
.
Joined
Feb 15, 2020
Messages
204
September is easily my favorite time to backpack in Yellowstone and there is generally very little competition for backcountry sites that time of year (in 2019 we circled Heart Lake and saw 0 sign of other people). As far as wildlife goes, Lamar Valley is obviously great for the bison and pronghorns, but not many elk unless you start going up the drainages - we did run into four competing bulls w/ harems in a drainage above the Lamar River which was spectacular, but hard to predict; we didn't see any other elk that entire trip. On our loop out to the Thorofare Cabin - that included Snake River, Yellowstone River, Yellowstone Lake, and Heart Lake - the only significant elk activity we saw occurred along the Yellowstone River. It was a lot and pretty awesome, but prohibitive to access due to the distance required. (We heard a few lone males bugling along the Snake River, too.)

All that said, my guess is the Gardiner Canyon (or anywhere near Mammoth) would probably be pretty good for elk - purely based on their density in that area. (It's hard to go wrong anywhere in the park really.) Definitely be prepared for cold nights and be aware that some years can see a pretty good snow in September.
 

McKee80

Member
.
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
230
September is easily my favorite time to backpack in Yellowstone and there is generally very little competition for backcountry sites that time of year (in 2019 we circled Heart Lake and saw 0 sign of other people). As far as wildlife goes, Lamar Valley is obviously great for the bison and pronghorns, but not many elk unless you start going up the drainages - we did run into four competing bulls w/ harems in a drainage above the Lamar River which was spectacular, but hard to predict; we didn't see any other elk that entire trip. On our loop out to the Thorofare Cabin - that included Snake River, Yellowstone River, Yellowstone Lake, and Heart Lake - the only significant elk activity we saw occurred along the Yellowstone River. It was a lot and pretty awesome, but prohibitive to access due to the distance required. (We heard a few lone males bugling along the Snake River, too.)

All that said, my guess is the Gardiner Canyon (or anywhere near Mammoth) would probably be pretty good for elk - purely based on their density in that area. (It's hard to go wrong anywhere in the park really.) Definitely be prepared for cold nights and be aware that some years can see a pretty good snow in September.
Thanks! I was in Glacier in Sept a couple years ago and we got snowed on, so we're ready for it!
 

Yvonne

I lava it!!!
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
3,865
I've been many times to Yellowstone in September. I saw many elk around Gardiner and Gardiner Canyon including Lava Creek Canyon and Rescue Creek, also Specimen Ridge in Lamar Valley.
Also lots of elk on that stretch between Madison Junction and West Yellowstone. Weather can be a hit and miss, I had almost ninety degrees one day and snow and whiteouts the next day before warming up again the day after.

While camping, I heard elk bugling every night at Madison and down at Grant campground. Encountered many elk on day hikes at Specimen Ridge, Black Canyon of the Yellowstone, Hellroaring, on trails around Gardiner.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2014
Messages
314
As an added bonus, you might see th elusive kilt clad Scatman in Yellowstone’s fabled backcountry during th early fall…now that’s wildlife at it’s finest! P. S. He generally is wearin th fall colored kilts durin leaf change!
 
Last edited:

scatman

Member
.
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
2,628
As an added bonus, you might see th elusive kilt clad Scatman in Yellowstone’s fabled backcountry during th early fall…now that’s wildlife at it’s finest! P. S. He generally is wearin th fall colored kilts durin leaf change!

I think that is the kind of wildlife one tends to want to avoid at all costs. :D
 

McKee80

Member
.
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
230
As an added bonus, you might see th elusive kilt clad Scatman in Yellowstone’s fabled backcountry during th early fall…now that’s wildlife at it’s finest! P. S. He generally is wearin th fall colored kilts durin leaf change!

From all the great trip reports, he may be in the park as much as the other wildlife. But hey, if he's out there serendading us with his bugle, I'll go take some pictures!
 

Pringles

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
300
I’ve always heard elk bugling in September when I’ve been at Ice Lake. In fact, in the middle of the night, they “go off” and it scares the daylights out of me. When I think about it, that’s the only place I have heard them when I’ve been backpacking in September.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Jon Carbaugh Yellowstone, Wildlife and Slough Creek May 23 to 26th Hiking & Camping 20
DAA Yellowstone, wildlife in June? Trip Planning 23
kwc Lightning Strike near Yellowstone General Discussion 8
scatman Shoshone Lake Lollipop Loop - Yellowstone National Park - July 24, 2022 Backpacking 63
Absarokanaut Flooding in Yellowstone National Park and Adjacent Areas of Montana Today June 13, 2022 General Discussion 82
Rockskipper Yellowstone visitation down 34% over Memorial Day - maybe price of gas? Any predictions for the summer? General Discussion 17
OldBill Snow Conditions - Greater Yellowstone Trip Planning 1
Outdoor_Fool Yellowstone - Through the Heart of the Park Backpacking 12
marquis20 Day 1: Grand Teton Wilderness and Black Canyon of the Yellowstone - June 2021 Backpacking 0
Outdoor_Fool Week-long Ramble Through Southern Yellowstone Backpacking 22
TractorDoc Yellowstone's Hayden Valley in a Day -- September 17 2021 Hiking & Camping 27
Rockskipper Yellowstone Backcountry Permits Available Online In 2022 General Discussion 72
Janice Yellowstone - Winter Yurt Trip? Winter Sports 22
Rockskipper Yellowstone Approached 5 Million Visitors In 2021, A Record General Discussion 1
TheMountainRabbit Invite North Yellowstone, January 23rd-25th Meet Up (Members Only) 0
wsp_scott Family trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone Hiking & Camping 15
scatman Grizzly Lake - Yellowstone National Park - September - 2022 Meet Up (Members Only) 130
P Overnight at Ice Lake, Yellowstone Backpacking 4
P Yellowstone Snake River weekend Backpacking 6
TractorDoc Yellowstone's Shoshone Lake, Ouzel Creek, and Three Rivers Junction -- September 13-16 2021 Backpacking 62
scatman Gneiss Creek Part 2 - Yellowstone National Park - September 18, 2021 Hiking & Camping 0
napatony13 FIRST-TIMER'S YELLOWSTONE TRIP Hiking & Camping 13
scatman Hayden Valley Loop - Yellowstone National Park - September 17, 2021 Hiking & Camping 27
scatman North Pitchstone Trail, Headwaters of Ouzel Creek, Bechler River and Mr. Bubbles(?) - Yellowstone National Park - September 13, 2021 Backpacking 36
TractorDoc Off Trail to Yellowstone's Aster Lake and Upper Witch Creek -- September 13, 2021 Hiking & Camping 13
scatman Gneiss Creek - Yellowstone National Park - September 8, 2021 Backpacking 20
napatony13 YELLOWSTONE-Should I Go? Trip Planning 18
swmalone Yellowstone August 2021 Hiking & Camping 11
scatman Snake River Lollipop Loop - Yellowstone National Park - August 8, 2021 Backpacking 45
chebba87 Invite Looking for partner - Yellowstone late August Meet Up (Members Only) 1
Christo Water availability:Thorofare Yellowstone Trip Planning 4
travel2walk Lamar River, Pelican Valley, & Speciman Ridge loop - Yellowstone, Jun 29 to Jul 3, 2021 Backpacking 15
Bob Yellowstone traffic General Discussion 21
futurafree Yellowstone partners in July Meet Up (Members Only) 0
LarryBoy A Greater Yellowstone Loop - 2020 Trip Reports 21
TheMountainRabbit Invite Greater Yellowstone Area, July 9th-11th Meet Up (Members Only) 0
Bob Yellowstone - Electric Peak visit Backpacking 2
Bob Yellowstone today ...... 4/21/2020 General Discussion 0
forest dweller Grizzly Bear Kills Backcountry Guide Near Yellowstone, Investigators shot and killed the bear after it charged. General Discussion 13
Yvonne Sky Rim Trail, Yellowstone, August 6, 2020 Hiking & Camping 15
BackpackingtheSierras Republic Pass Trail North Absaroka into Yellowstone Cache Creek and Lamar River Trip Planning 1
TheMountainRabbit Southeast Yellowstone Loop (Yellowstone NP) - mid-September 2019 Backpacking 5
forest dweller Invite update / edit - have off second and third week in August - wanting to backpack in Glacier, Olympic or Yellowstone, hinges on finding companions. Meet Up (Members Only) 37
beaver-one Yellowstone advice: Lamar River - Pelican Valley - Mirror Plateau loop this summer Trip Planning 6
IlVagabondo Yellowstone Camping Question General Discussion 13
TheMountainRabbit Lamar River, Mirror Plateau, and Pelican Valley (Yellowstone NP) - mid-September 2020 Backpacking 28
wsp_scott Yellowstone family trip planning General Discussion 27
TractorDoc Yellowstone's Heart Lake -- September 14-17 2020 Backpacking 32
scatman Cache Creek, Yellowstone National Park - September 10, 2020 Backpacking 8
swmalone Yellowstone Camping Trip - August 18-20, 2020 Hiking & Camping 21

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top