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Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley and Our Favorite Hike

Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley is known as America’s Serengeti for the ability to view bison, grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, and elk.

Jennifer and I love the northeast section of Yellowstone Park because it is home to the wide and expansive Lamar Valley, a popular wolf, and grizzly watching area.

Lamar Valley is often even called “America’s Serengeti” for its expanse and the ease of seeing large groups of animals going about their days.

We’ve seen wolves, black bears, and several grizzly bears, as well as elk, antelope, mule deer, coyotes, and lots of bison.

At one point, we had bison wandering through the campground all day at Pebble Creek and a curious black bear came very close. A lone bull moose also traipsed through the campground one morning.

The Yellowstone Road Less Travelled

Yellowstone's Lamar Valley and Our Favorite Hike 1
Lamar Valley northeast of Yellowstone

We want to take you to the northeastern stretch of Yellowstone because an unfortunate fact is that most of Yellowstone’s visitors rarely get off the Grand Loop Road that circles the park. Some don’t even get out of their cars.

With three million visitors a year, those roads can get pretty congested, especially with critter jams, the traffic tie-ups that frequently occur when animals are on the road or along its edges.

But Yellowstone encompasses 2.2 million acres, and by getting out of the loop you’ll be seeing a lot less traffic and a lot more nature.

Click here to watch a video that we did a while ago when we stayed in the Lamar Valley.

Our Favorite Hiking Trail in Yellowstone

There’s plenty of hiking trails at Yellowstone but our favorite hiking trail is in this region and it’s called Trout Lake. Here’s a video we did on our hike a few years back.

We love to hike to and from Trout Lake, in the northeast part of the park near the Lamar Valley.

The trailhead is located about a mile before the Pebble Creek Campground on the Northeast Entrance Road. Here are the official coordinates: 44.899219, -110.123021

It’s only 1.2 miles roundtrip but because you spend the first part climbing, it’s officially classified as moderate in difficulty.

Wildlife Viewing in Lamar Valley

Yellowstone's Lamar Valley and Our Favorite Hike 2
All the wildlife

There’s lots of wildlife attracted by the abundant cutthroat trout that gives the lake its name. So take bear spray… and a camera!

The best thing you can do in Lamar Valley is watch all the wildlife.

Find an area along the side of the road to pull over and wait! Animals are most active at dawn and dusk, try to find a spot before sunrise and wait an hour or two to see what roams past.

If you see a group of people pulled over, that means chances are good someone has spotted something.

And remember that the valley is huge, so for the best sighting opportunities, you’ll probably want to bring a pair of binoculars with you.

Beartooth Highway

Beartooth Highway
Beartooth Highway

If you have some extra time while you’re in this northeastern corner of Yellowstone, take the opportunity to enjoy one of the more spectacular drives you can take when touring in your RV out west, Beartooth Highway.

Beartooth Highway begins after the town Cooke City outside the Northeast Entrance.

You can even make a loop by continuing to Red Lodge, MT, and then hooking back down to Cody, WY (an optional day that we’ve included in the end of our official ebook guide). It’s about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Cooke City to Cody.

Living the RV Lifestyle?

Lamar Valley Campgrounds

lamar valley
Lamar Valley

Sometimes you won’t get there early enough or be lucky enough to snag one of these first-come, first-served campgrounds in Yellowstone.

We’ve been there too.

Luckily there are a few National Forest campgrounds located right outside of the northeastern entrance to the park.

Here are four campgrounds we recommend in the area.

Pebble Creek Campground

Season: June 15 – Sep 29

There are 27 sites here, all first-come, first-served. There are vault toilets, but no flush toilets, no generators are allowed, and no dump station. All sites are rustic so you’re boondocking.

Each campsite has a picnic table and fire pit with a grate, and there are shared food storage boxes.

Slough Creek Campground

There are 14 sites here, all first-come, first-served. Sites have a max length of 30 feet.

There are vault toilets, but no flush toilets, no generators are allowed, and no dump station. All sites are rustic so you’re
boondocking.

Each campsite has a picnic table and fire pit with a grate, and there are shared food storage boxes.

Soda Butte Campground

Season: July 1 – Sept 7

There are 27 sites here, all first-come, first-served. There are toilets and potable water. All sites are rustic so you’re boondocking.

Each campsite has a picnic table and fire pit with a grate, and there are shared food storage boxes.

Colter Campground

There are 18 sites here, all first-come, first-served. There are toilets and potable water. All sites are rustic so you’re
boondocking.

Each campsite has a picnic table and fire pit with a grate, and there are shared food storage boxes.

Our Yellowstone National Park Travel Guide

At the top of every RVers bucket list, it is a place so majestic, so wild, and so big that it calls us to return, to explore, to get to know the diversity of its land and animals over and over again.

Everywhere you look are waterfalls, fast-moving rivers, geysers, sheer rock faces, towering lodgepole pines, all framed by mountains under the bright blue cloudless sky.

It’s spectacular for those who love the wilderness and getting up close and personal with it. Enjoy Yellowstone for RV travel.

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One Response to “Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley and Our Favorite Hike”

October 21, 2021at8:14 am, Will said:

Better yes, try Yellowstone in the winter, it’s magical. Only the Mammoth Campground is open but it’s worth it. Buffalo and elk wander through the campground quite often. We take daily trips to the Lamar Valley to watch other wildlife. Rarely is there anybody else in the campground in February and March. The bathroom is open and they have a frost-free water supply. But make sure you have a four season camper because it can get cold there!!

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