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Lamar Valley during day

Seattle, WA
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91 posts
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Lamar Valley during day

Is it worth it to make the detour off the upper main loop to see the Lamar Valley if we can’t be there during sunrise or sunset in early August? Realistically, I can’t see getting my family of five out the door to make the one hour drive via Gardiner by 5:30 am.

We’ll be close to the Lamar valley, on the upper loop, just once during our trip. If we can’t be there early morning or evening, will late morning be okay? We’ll be so close—it feels wrong to just drive by. But if there won’t be much to see or we’ll be disappointed, then maybe it’s better to spend those precious minutes elsewhere in the park.

Thank you for any thoughts!

Dayton, Ohio and...
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1. Re: Lamar Valley during day

Lamar was one of my favorite spots at YSNP, and I was never there before 8 am. There can be wildlife at anytime, in fact it is easier later on the day as you can rely on parked cars to look for wildlife, very early there will hardly be anyone and you have to spot the animals.

With one pass, you may or may not see anything though....if I were you, I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Seattle, WA
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2. Re: Lamar Valley during day

Pcarfan, thank you so much for sharing your experience with me! It's so hard for me to picture things and personal insight helps me make sense of my hundreds of maps and notes.

New England
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for Ogunquit
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3. Re: Lamar Valley during day

We love Lamar as well.

Yes, watch for cars, as you just never know. We were in Lamar Valley when a Grizzly bear was devouring a bison carcass under the watchful eye of 2 wolves. We arrived about 7AM to this site and the bear stayed on it until noon! So you just never know what you will find as you turn on a bend.

Have a good set of binoculars with you as well, scan the meadows and watch for activity at the forest edges and at the river edges. It is fascinating to just watch the animals interact.

Enjoy!

Seattle, WA
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4. Re: Lamar Valley during day

Thank you, Em-T-sails, that sounds like an amazing sight that continued well into the late morning. Sounds like Lamar is a good roll the dice experience no matter what time of day...ya never know!

Nashville
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5. Re: Lamar Valley during day

As you drive through Lamar and Hayden Valleys, have your kids scan the horizon for ravens in the air. If you see a lot of ravens flying around an area, there is a good possibility that there is a carcass near by. We were in Lamar Valley on 2 different occasions. Once was in the late afternoon and the other time was in the early afternoon. We saw grizzlies and wolves 1 time and wolves the other time. (In addition to large herds of bison, elk and pronghorns. Even without wildlife, it is a beautiful area for a scenic drive.

Edited: 23 July 2010, 03:18
Seattle, WA
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6. Re: Lamar Valley during day

Thank you so much, tandtands, I am writing that advice down now. The kids will love having a job. They have never seen a raven let alone a wolf or grizzly! This trip will be like going to Mars for them. I can't wait!

Fruita, Colorado
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for Fruita, Grand Junction
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7. Re: Lamar Valley during day

I also spent some wonderful time one afternoon watching badgers in the Lamar valley and the buffalo wallowing in the dirt right near the road. Good things happen all the time there.

Seattle, WA
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8. Re: Lamar Valley during day

Thank you, SusieLou! You guys are really getting me excited!

Englewood, Fl.
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9. Re: Lamar Valley during day

Harborchick,

Please do not skip a chance to visit Lamar Valley just because you might not be able to get there at dawn. Anything can happen at any time!

You have lots of good advice above, and as a "wolfer" who spends a lot of time in Lamar Valley, I will add my two cents.

The reason that you see some suggesting that people be in the valleys at dawn and dusk is based on a fact of nature. Whenever possible, the larger predators, like wolves and grizzlies, do most of their hunting and feeding under the cover of darkness. As daylight approaches and temperatures increase, their activities taper off. Then they tend to increase movement and resume their hunting as the days cool down and darkness approaches. The reason that we are out there early and late is to "up our odds" of spotting our quarry. That is something that takes patience, and dedication, not to mention getting up VERY early and spending many long hours watching the sagebrush grow! For that reason it's not really recommended for the average vacationer visitng YNP. Especially someone with limited time and young kids who might bore easily.

Having said all of that however, even wolves and bears have to eat. They can and will travel around during daylight, especially when they have not been successful hunting at night, so again.... anything can happen at any time.

Some of the most dramatic predator / prey activities have been witnessed by people who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. That "right time" can be high noon as well as at first or last light of day.

One other consideration. Should one or more predators be on a carcass, they will not stop feeding until they are satisfied, or more likely until the carcass has been reduced to a pile of bones. As Em-T-Sails' and others recent experiences have proven.

To your question of whether it's "worth a visit to Lamar?" My answer would be absolutely! ..... At any time of the day!

H

Seattle, WA
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10. Re: Lamar Valley during day

Hawkeye, you’ve given me so much info I can’t thank you enough! You sound like a dedicated wildlife watcher.

I am now pouring through some old postings on the Lamar Valley (I love TripAdvisor's search feature!), one where you describe starting and ending points of the valley like Soda Butte (east), Buffalo Ranch (middle), and a rocky canyon near Lamar river (west). Are there designated viewing areas or pull outs along these landmarks?

We’re a family of 5 with three kids under age 12. We’ll each have binoculars. I am trying to picture whether we’ll be standing, sitting, grab a camp chair for the little ones?