#Spring can be a very short season in Yellowstone. The average elevation of Yellowstone National Park is 8,000 feet, meaning that snow sticks around for a long time; even when a majority of the country is seeing April showers and May flowers, the majority of Yellowstone’s trails may still be covered with snow.
But when “spring” does come around, it is a beautiful time of year!
Spring is the best time of year to see #wildlife in Yellowstone.
Bison calves, commonly called “red dogs” because of their orange-red fur when they are first born, are birthed in the spring. In fact, 80% of #bison calves are born in April and May; this is an evolutionary adaption called “birth synchrony”, and occurs amongst various herds in different locations, typically over the course of just a few weeks.
Seeing a bison calf hop around and frolic with the rest of the herd will make even the most seasoned tourist’s heart melt.
The best places to see bison in spring are Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley.
Elk calves are also born in the spring, typically late May to June. Most likely, visitors won’t even realize that there are #elk calves nearby, as they lay motionless in tall grass and sagebrush as their mothers feed. Elk calves are spotted to help them camouflage from predators.
The best places to see elk in the spring are Mammoth, Madison Junction, and Cascade Meadows near Canyon Village.
(It should be noted that elk cows are especially protective of their young in the spring, making them much more aggressive in the spring than other times of year. Please be aware of your surroundings when elk cows are present—you never know if there is a calf hiding in the grass around you.)
Migratory birds begin to arrive back in the park from mid-May to July. In order to establish and defend their territory, songbirds sing the loveliest notes throughout the spring, and many other birds join in on early spring mornings.
We recommend hiking to a pond or lake on spring mornings to enjoy the full extent of singing, chirping, and calling birds.
Spring is also the best time of year to see #wildflowers in Yellowstone.
There is nothing like walking through a meadow speckled with purple, blue, pink, yellow and white wildflowers. The Park Service has a great wildflower guide you can check out if you are interested in when specific wildflowers are in bloom.
Our favorite trails to take in the awe of spring wildflowers are:
· Mary Mountain
#Backpacking is fantastic in the spring in Yellowstone. It is a great way to see wildlife, wildflowers, raging rivers, and find solitude in the backcountry.
We recommend Black Canyon of the Yellowstone as an early-season backpacking trip! This trail leads you along the Yellowstone River, giving you perspective of how big the canyon and river truly are. It is very common to see wildlife (or wildlife remains), along the trail. Bison, elk, fox, coyote, and occasionally bear and wolf are most likely to be seen!
The last, and quite possibly most important perk to visiting Yellowstone in the spring is the lack of mosquitos. They usually appear early- to mid-June, and you will definitely appreciate being in the park without them.
We think #spring is one of the best seasons to visit the park, and know that you will too; hope to see you here soon!
Nomadic By Nature offers many different Yellowstone hiking tours, be sure to take a look at our day hikes and backpacking trips to find one that's right for you!
Featured Trip: Pebble Creek to Slough Creek
This guided backpacking trip offers hikers a piece of backcountry heaven. Slough Creek is a world-famous fishing destination with it’s clear and slow-moving creek nestled between two mountain ranges, far away from the busy parts of Yellowstone.
Eventually the trail leads you over the rugged and seldom traveled Bliss Pass, where you're likely to encounter few other hikers. After the steep descent, the trail drops you into another pristine meadow, before hiking out along Pebble Creek the next day. Following the trip, you have the opportunity to drive through the famous Lamar Valley and a chance to spot more wildlife.