Best time to travel to Yellowstone National Park

Wolves in Yellowstone National Park

Wildlife watching in Yellowstone is really exciting though sometimes a little scary!

Best time: November–April


Yellowstone is one of the best wildlife destinations on the planet. Here you can find a huge variety of free roaming animals. And this is one of the best places to see wolves as well. Today there are around 10 packs in the park that have about 100 wolves and over 520 individuals living in the territory of Greater Yellowstone.

The northern part of the park is the best place to see wolves. They are mainly seen during early morning and late evening. A wolf's howl is one sound that you can hear quite often. Although the blood gets cold from fear, it is quite exciting too. Grey and black wolves are hardly seen in the darkness and the thought that they can be really close may be a bit unnerving.

Winter is the best season for wolf watching mainly because they are easier spotted on the white snow. The season lasts from November till early April. The breeding season starts in early February. Early April is when pups are born. You can choose from various services that provide wolf watching tours throughout the park. Lamar and Hayden Valleys are prime wolf watching spots. You can identify a wolf from a coyote from its size. A wolf can be 2 to 3 times larger than a coyote. A wolf has longer legs and a longer gallop. Their face is also rounder, and the ears and nose are not as sharp.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park for wolf watching?

Wolf watching is best during the winter season from November to early April in Yellowstone National Park as wolves are simpler to spot in the snow. The mating season begins in early February, and pups are born in early April. Various wolf watching tours are available throughout the park. Show more

Where in Yellowstone National Park is the best spot for wolf watching?

Lamar and Hayden valleys located in the northern part of Yellowstone National Park are prime spots for wolf watching as it is where the wolves often hunt and socialize. The best time to go on a tour is either early morning or late evenings to witness wolves when they are most active outside their dens. Show more

How many wolf packs are currently in Yellowstone National Park?

Yellowstone National Park has about 10 wolf packs, with a total of approximately 100 wolves and over 520 individuals living around Greater Yellowstone's territory. To monitor the wolf population in the park annually, park rangers and biologists conduct a winter Yellowstone Wolf Project census. Wolves depend on Yellowstone National Park for their survival, making it a critical location for their existence. Show more

What is the difference between a wolf and a coyote's appearance?

Compared to the coyote, wolves have a rounder face and are two to three times bigger in size. Wolves have longer legs, broader paws, and a longer gallop. They also have less pointed ears and noses compared to coyotes. Furthermore, the wolf's fur coat color varies from shades of gray, black, white, brown, to red, while coyotes have bushy tails and have grayish-brown or yellowish-brown colored fur. Show more

Can you experience wolf watching outside of guided tours in Yellowstone National Park?

It is not advisable to experience wolf watching outside of guided tours in Yellowstone National Park for safety and conservation purposes. Park wildlife is unpredictable, and direct approaches can result in risky encounters resulting in possible injuries. Disturbing their habitat and any interactions outside established viewing and parking areas can also cause displacement of park animals. Therefore, visitors must keep a safe distance while using binoculars or spotting scopes. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin