Northwest Wyoming is an area of incomparable beauty and amazing diversity—a region of wild lands and wild animals. The region has the largest number and greatest variety of wildlife in the continental United States.
Yellowstone National Park, of course, is one of the world’s premiere wildlife refuges. But beyond that the Cody area is a haven for a vast array of wildlife, big and small. Pronghorn antelope love the sage-covered high plains, and the North and South Forks of the Shoshone River and the Sunlight Basin/Crandall Creek areas are prime habitat for mule deer, elk, moose, black and grizzly bear, coyotes, wolves, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, bison and a whole host of smaller critters and birds, including bald and golden eagles, red tail hawks, Canada geese and pelicans. The Clark’s Fork Canyon near Clark is home for the elusive and high ranging Rocky Mountain goat.
McCullough Peaks and nearby Bighorn Canyon Recreation Area and the Pryor Mountain Range are home to two distinct bands of wild horses.
A reminder: The operative word is wildlife. This region is not a zoo. These are wild animals, and this is their home. Humans are the visitors. Enjoy this incredible display from the safety of your vehicle. These magnificent creatures are a joy to behold and photograph.Take home indelible memories of your visit to this unmatched wildlife refuge. Leave the animals wild.
Bison are the largest mammals in Yellowstone National Park. They are strictly vegetarian, a grazer of grasslands and sedges in the meadows, the foothills, and even the high-elevation, forested plateaus of Yellowstone. Bison males, called bulls, can weigh upwards of 1,800 pounds. Females (cows) average about 1,000 pounds. Both stand approximately six feet tall at the shoulder, and can move with surprising speed to defend their young or when approached too closely by people.
Best Viewing Opportunities:
East Yellowstone Loop ~Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway through Yellowstone National Park
The Grizzly Bear
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is home to these beautiful bears, and there is the possibility of a bear sighting on any of the roadways surrounding Yellowstone National Park. Grizzly bears are active primarily during dawn and dusk time periods. Look for grizzly bears in open meadows just after sunrise and just before sunset.
East Yellowstone Loop ~ Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway & Yellowstone National Park Beartooth Loop - in the Sunlight and Crandall areas and in the Beartooth Mountains. South Fork Trip - upper South Fork valley through the TE hills, and above the Shoshone National Forest Service highway marker.
The Mountain Goat is active in morning and evening and sometimes during moonlit nights. Its hooves are well adapted for rocky peaks, with a sharp outer rim that grips and a rubbery sole that provides traction on steep or smooth surfaces. Traversing peaks and narrow ledges at a stately walk or trot, a Mountain Goat may seem to move across the face of an almost sheer cliff. Beartooth Loop - in the Sunlight and Crandall areas and in the Beartooth Mountains. Spotting a Mountain Goat is a special treat! Look for them along the Wyoming/Montana border, high in the Beartooth Mountains.
The Bald Eagle is endemic to North America, and the national symbol of the United States of America. Current population figures indicate there are 26 nesting pairs of Bald Eagles in Yellowstone National Park and other nesting pairs throughout Cody Country.
Watch for Bald Eagles along rivers and waterways throughout Cody Country
The moose is North America's second largest land animal and the largest species within the deer family. Males feature distinctive large antlers similar in shape to the open palm of a human hand. Their fur color is generally a dark brown. They are herbivorous and their diet includes aquatic plant life. A flap of fur covered skin (called a bell) sways beneath each moose’s throat. Moose are good swimmers and spend a lot of their time foraging in lakes, ponds and rivers. They are a solitary species. The moose native to Wyoming and Montana are the smallest within the moose subspecies.
Moose prefer marshy areas and riverbanks. In Yellowstone National Park: near the East and Northeast Entrances, near the Lake and south toward Teton National Forest.
Bighorn sheep take their name from the large, curved horns that the males (rams) of species feature on their heads. The females (ewes) also have horns, but they are shorter and are not as curved. They range in color from light brown to a darker, greyish brown and have white rumps. They are herbivorous and graze on grasses and shrubs. Bighorn sheep inhabit grassy mountains, alpine meadows, and rugged rocky cliffs. They live in large flocks, but do not typically follow a single leader ram.
Bighorn sheep prefer meadows and mountainous areas. In Yellowstone National Park: Mt. Washburn, Tower-Roosevelt. Mountainous areas along both the Northfork and Southfork roads in the Cody area.
Pronghorn are some of the fastest North American mammals. The species takes its name from the distinctive two-pronged horns that both males and females have; the horns are larger on the males. Their fur is a reddish-brown color with distinct white patches on the belly and rump. They are herbivorous and eat grasses, sagebrush and other prairie vegetation. Pronghorn inhabit grasslands , basins, fields and deserts. They live in herds. Herds of pronghorns migrate 150 miles each way between Wyoming’s Upper Green River Basin and Grand Teton National Park. The only other land animal to travel farther in North America is the caribou.
Pronghorn prefer brush and grasslands. In Yellowstone National Park: North Entrance. Look for them among the sagebrush and grasslands along Highway 120 or Highway US 14, 16, 20 (toward Greybull, WY).