Lamar Valley

Yellowstone Park

Yellowstone Park

Lamar Valley

Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park

Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park

Lamar Valley


The Lamar Valley is known for its wildlife viewing.

Buffalo, elk, grizzly bears, wolves, black bears, antelope, otters, osprey, bald eagles and coyotes are just a few of the species you might find along the highway as you drive through the heart of this legendary valley of Yellowstone National Park

Located between Tower Junction and the Northeast Entrance at Cooke City Montana, the wildlife viewing actually starts the instant you turn onto the highway at Tower Junction / Roosevelt. Within a mile, you'll cross the Yellowstone River, and that's when "the games begin!"  And one of the great things about the

Lamar Road is that it's open all year long.  The school bus travels this road all winter long taking Cooke City kids to the school at Gardiner Montana, which allows visitors to really enjoy winter in Yellowstone National Park all winter long!  The total length of the road between Tower Junction / Roosevelt and the Northeast Entrance is 29 miles, and is the only road in the park that's open all year.  (See Lamar Valley Map at the bottom of the page.)

The Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park is not on the Grand Loop, but if you like viewing wildlife, it's definitely a side trip worth your while.  And please keep in mind that during different times of the year, viewing will vary.  But the beauty of the Lamar Valley is that you NEVER know what you'll come across, and it is like being on an African Safari.  That's why it's known as "America's Serengeti."

Grizzly Bears

In the spring, Grizzly bears come out of their dens looking for food         throughout the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park.

During certain times of the year, especially spring, grizzly bears are roaming the Lamar Valley in search of food after they've come out of their dens.  Often times a grizzly will come across an elk killed by wolves, and will take ownership of it.   This makes for an exciting wildlife viewing experience!

Gray Wolves

The Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park is a great place to see gray wolves.
Probably the best place to see wolves in Yellowstone National Park is the Lamar Valley.  Sometimes they will be right off the road, and other times they are far off in the distance.  Because this is such a wide valley, we strongly urge you to BRING BINOCULARS or a SPOTTING SCOPE so you can enjoy the wildlife no matter how far away they are.

The Three "Sections" of the Lamar Road...

There are three "sections" of the 29 mile road between Roosevelt and Cooke City.  The first section is the expanse between the Yellowstone River Bridge and the Lamar River Bridge. Wildlife viewing is fantastic throughout this entire section.  In fact, we feel at times it's as action packed as the actual Lamar Valley.  We have seen a ton of grizzlies and wolves in this fun section of the Lamar Road.  The Yellowstone Picnic Area and Slough Creek Campground are located here.
The second section is the actual Lamar Valley. This extremely wide valley was carved out by glaciers during the last ice age about 10,000 years ago, and this is where some great wildlife viewing can take place, depending on the time of year.  There are several large pullouts for you to take in the view.  You'll also see the historic Lamar Buffalo Ranch, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. 
The third "section" of the road begins when Soda Butte Creek enters the Lamar River. There is still excellent wildlife viewing as the road leaves the Lamar Valley and follows Soda Butte Creek all the way northward to Cooke City, Montana.  Along the road you'll see the amazing Soda Creek Butte, Pebble Creek Campground and Ice Box Canyon.  This is a gorgeous drive because of the towering mountains that will begin to surround you as you get closer to the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone National Park.

Winter In Yellowstone

The road between Mammoth Hot Springs and Cooke City Montana, which runs through the Lamar Valley, is the only road open to wheeled vehicles in the entire park during the Yellowstone Park Winter Season.  The Yellowstone Park winter season provides an excellent time to view wildlife throughout the Lamar Valley.
For information on Winter in Yellowstone, click here.

Bighorn Sheep

We watched these rams crash their horns together for several hours right next to the Lamar Valley Road in Yellowstone National Park!

One of the best place to see Bighorns in Yellowstone National Park (in the summer) is near the Yellowstone Picnic Area located along the first section of the Lamar Road.


he Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park is full of buffalo, and during the spring of the year they have their calves known as "Red Dogs".  These calves are really cute and fun to watch as they scamper and play.

River Otters


The Lamar River in Yellowstone National Park holds a fair number of River Otters, and it's truly a special treat to see them.  They are found all along the Lamar River as it runs through the Lamar Valley, and Soda Butte Creek also has it's share of this incredible fascinating animals all the way up past Pebble Creek.


This is what's known as a "Wolf Jam" in Yellowstone Park's Lamar Valley.


Sometimes you'll get to see wolves right next to the road in Yellowstone Park's Lamar Valley- If you're lucky!


The Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park is extremely wide- so again, make sure you bring your binoculars or spotting scope in case the animals are far off in the distance.


There are tons of buffalo in the Lamar Valley.


This is the famous Soda Butte, which is just north of the actual Lamar Valley.  It's a large, dormant hot spring cone that's right off the road!

You'll see plenty of pronghorn antelope throughout the first two sections of the Lamar Road.  During the spring of the year, they give birth to their fawns and hide them in the tall sagebrush.

This is a rare photo of a grizzly chasing off a wolf from a buffalo calf carcass in the Lamar Valley.  That's one thing about the Lamar Valley, you never know what you're going to see!


The Lamar Road is open all year long, which allows visitors to experience the magic of winter in Yellowstone National Park.


Wolf pack hunting elk in the Lamar Valley at dusk

Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park Map
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