Our first visit to Yellowstone National Park was in 2000. We were lucky enough to see a bear near the petrified tree. It was a quite a distance from us and back in the days before we had decent cameras to capture our bear shots with. It wasn’t until our 2007 visit that we got our first chance at taking some photos of Yellowstone bears and be able to see that they were bears and not black dots!
While we were visiting Churchill in 2006 we shared a table with an Australian couple who told us about their visit to Yellowstone, they had gone on a tour with the Yellowstone Association (YA) to see Wolves. It sounded great, so when we returned to Yellowstone in 2007 we joined the YA for their Spring Wolf & Bear Discovery Programme (www.yellowstoneassociation.org)
The programme included four nights accommodation at the Mammoth Hot Springs and three days of guided touring. Each of the three days started between 6 and 6:30am we would then spend the full day out in a small bus, until between 4 and 5pm, exploring the northern sections of Yellowstone looking for bears & wolves.
The guides have a good relationship with the park rangers and local wolf experts, so if there was any bear or wolf activity going on we were always there first and given plenty of time to view the wildlife through the provided scopes. During the quieter afternoon periods of the programme we went on short hikes to look at bear dens and scenic sites. Breakfast and lunch was provided as part of the programme and consisted of a boxed meal, with sandwich, potato chips, cereal bar, egg and juice drink.
They showed us where, when and how to look for the wildlife and they taught us all about their behaviours. It gave us a fantastic insight into the lives of the animals and made it a lot easier for us to spot wildlife on our own!
We returned to Yellowstone National Park in 2008, 2011 and 2012. We have found the best place to see Black Bears is along the road to Tower Falls and to see Grizzly Bears the Lamar Valley.
Here are some pictures and videos from our visits:
Viewing from: From small bus & on foot
Group size: Up to 15
Time Viewing: All day
Clothing provided: None
Best time of year: Late spring
Other wildlife: Wolves, deer, bison, badger, moose, lots!