The Yellowstone River and wetlands area is always a good place to view wildlife. This is especially true during the spring and fall seasons when the bird migrations take place. The riverside meadows and the reed grass marshes are perfect for doing some serious bird watching at Yellowstone National Park and the bison always make their presence known. There are plenty of scenic overlooks to be found along the touring loop road in this area and there are a few surprises in store too.
The vast wetlands area can be found where the Yellowstone River drains into Yellowstone Lake, which is also where Highway 14 intersects with Highway 20. Highway 20 follows the Yellowstone River north from this point, so this is the way to go when seeking wildlife to view. Several points of interest and a few good scenic overlooks can be found between Yellowstone Lake and the Mud Volcano Area along this section of road. Large herds of bison can be seen along the river, so it is best to take it slow when passing through.
When hiking, picnicking or while just taking in the majestic views, it is best to be aware of the surroundings for safety's sake. In Yellowstone, you will not have to look far to encounter wild animals, because the wild animals will find you. Bison like to goof off in the shade of the woods during the heat of the day, so it is easy to come face to face with one when hiking in a deep forest. In such a case, the only option is to slowly back away.
Bison are such large animals that they do not fear much of anything, so they truly can be dangerous when aroused. Many careless people have been gored or killed while attempting to take a selfie photo with a wild bison, so giving these gigantic animals some freedom to roam is best to do. The 50 yard minimum viewing distance rule for herd animals has fast become a thing of the past and 100 yards of space is now recommended by most authorities. For this reason, be sure to pack binoculars or a telephoto camera if you want to get a closer look at the wild bison or any of the other dangerous animals in this park!
Fly fishermen sure do like the action in the Yellowstone River and wetlands because a nice variety of trout species thrive in these waters. The brook trout fishing is phenomenal in these parts and it is easy to catch a fair size stringer before breakfast. Cut Throat Trout are found in these waters too. The local Lake Trout are an invasive species, so there is no limit on this catch. Seasonal fishing passes are available through the Wyoming State Fish & Game Agencies within this National Park, so there is no excuse to not put the waders on!
Yellowstone is very busy during the summer, but during the fall season this National Park is far less crowded. This is like a sigh of relief for those who prefer to not battle it out over parking spots all day long. The Wyoming winters are brutally cold, so just forget about doing a winter trip, unless you can handle the weather. The Yellowstone River is the lifeblood of this National Park and viewing the wetlands area will provide a better understanding of the complex ecosystems in this vast wilderness area. Just watch out for the buffalo when doing this tour, because they truly are the king of the road!
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