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The Top 5 Places to See American Bison in the Wild

If you're looking to see American bison in their natural habitat, there are plenty of places across the United States where you can do so. From national parks to wildlife refuges, these are the top 5 places to see American bison in the wild:



1. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming


Yellowstone National Park is one of the best places to see American bison in the wild. With over 4,000 bison in the park, you're almost guaranteed to spot a few during your visit. The Lamar Valley is one of the best places to see bison, as well as other wildlife like elk and wolves.


Yellowstone National Park is home to the largest bison population in the United States, with over 4,000 individuals. Here are the best places to see bison in Yellowstone:


Lamar Valley: This remote valley in the northeastern part of the park is one of the best places to see bison. The valley is home to a large herd of bison that can often be seen grazing in the meadows.


Hayden Valley: This large valley in the central part of the park is another great place to see bison. The valley is home to a large herd that can often be seen near the Yellowstone River.


Fountain Paint Pot Trail: This easy, 1-mile trail near the Lower Geyser Basin is a great place to see bison up close. The trail passes through a meadow where bison often graze.


2. Custer State Park, South Dakota


Custer State Park is home to one of the largest bison herds in the country, with over 1,300 bison roaming freely throughout the park. Visitors can take a scenic drive through the park's Wildlife Loop Road to see bison up close.


Wildlife Loop Road: This is the best place to see bison in Custer State Park. The 18-mile Wildlife Loop Road winds through the park's grasslands and provides visitors with the opportunity to view bison and other wildlife up close.


Prairie Trail: This 3.3-mile trail winds through the heart of the park's prairie grasslands, providing visitors with a great opportunity to see bison grazing in their natural habitat.


French Creek Natural Area: This area is located in the northern part of the park and provides visitors with a unique opportunity to see bison grazing in a riparian environment.


Sage Creek Rim Road: This road is located in the park's northwestern corner and provides visitors with an excellent opportunity to see bison herds grazing in the open grasslands.


Badger Clark Historic Site: This historic site is located in the park's southeast corner and is home to a small bison herd that can often be seen grazing nearby


3. Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota


Wind Cave National Park is another great place to see American bison in their natural habitat. The park is home to a herd of over 400 bison, and visitors can take a guided tour to see them up close.


Wind Cave National Park is home to a small bison herd that can often be seen near the park's entrance. Here are the best places to see bison in Wind Cave:


Elk Mountain Road: This scenic drive near the park's entrance is a great place to see bison. The road passes through a large meadow where bison often graze.


Rankin Ridge Trail: This short, 1-mile trail near the park's entrance is a great place to see bison up close. The trail passes through a meadow where bison often graze.


4. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota


Theodore Roosevelt National Park is home to a herd of over 1,000 bison, as well as other wildlife like pronghorns and wild horses. Visitors can take a scenic drive through the park's South Unit to see bison grazing in the grasslands.


South Unit: This is the most popular unit of the park and offers visitors the best chance to see bison. Visitors can drive the 36-mile loop road or hike on one of the park's many trails. The best times to see bison are early in the morning or late in the afternoon.


Cottonwood Campground: This campground is located in the South Unit and is a good place to see bison. Visitors can also take a short walk to the nearby Cottonwood Creek to look for bison and other wildlife.


Painted Canyon Visitor Center: This visitor center is located on the park's east side and offers visitors a chance to see bison from the overlooks. Visitors can also hike on one of the nearby trails to see more wildlife.


North Unit: This unit of the park is less crowded than the South Unit but still offers opportunities to see bison. Visitors can drive the 14-mile scenic drive or hike on one of the park's trails. The best times to see bison are early in the morning or late in the afternoon.


Wind Canyon Trail: This trail is located in the South Unit and offers visitors a chance to see bison and other wildlife. The trail is a 0.4-mile loop and offers great views of the Little Missouri River.


5. National Bison Range, Montana


The National Bison Range is a wildlife refuge that was established in 1908 to protect the American bison. Today, visitors can drive through the refuge to see bison grazing in the grasslands, as well as other wildlife like elk and bighorn sheep.


Red Sleep Mountain Drive: This is a 19-mile scenic drive that takes visitors through the range and offers opportunities to see bison and other wildlife. The best time to see bison is early in the morning or late in the afternoon when they are most active.


West Loop Trail: This trail is a 3.5-mile loop that takes visitors through grasslands and wetlands where bison are often seen grazing. The trail is open from mid-April to mid-October and is an easy walk for most visitors.


Prairie Drive: This 14-mile drive takes visitors through the heart of the range and offers opportunities to see bison and other wildlife. Visitors should keep an eye out for bison crossing the road, especially during the spring calving season.


Mission Creek Road: This road follows Mission Creek and offers opportunities to see bison and other wildlife in a scenic setting. Visitors should watch for bison on the road and should be prepared for rough and narrow sections of the road.


Conclusion:


By visiting these national parks and following these tips, you can increase your chances of seeing bison in their natural habitat. Just remember to keep a safe distance and respect these magnificent animals. Wild bison can be unpredictable, potentially dangerous and even deadly. Visitors should always avoid approaching bison on foot and never attempt to feed them. It's recommended to stay at least 50 yards away from bison at all times.


Whether you're a wildlife enthusiast or just looking for a unique outdoor experience, these top 5 places to see American bison in the wild are sure to satisfy. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to witness one of the most iconic animals of the American West in their natural habitat.


Cheers,

The Cross Timbers Bison Ranch Team

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3 Comments



Carol Donato
Carol Donato
Sep 16, 2023

Traveling through the Badlands and at a scenic stop had the honor to converse with a nice Navajo couple. The gentlemen and I shared the thought that once the Bison in the millions roamed there and what a wonderful magnificent creation they are. Always stop to smell the roses and reflect. Look ahead.....

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Jennifer Bowling
Jennifer Bowling
Aug 26, 2023

Red dogs!! 😍😍😍😍😍

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