Lamar Valley

Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. - Photo by mark byzewski

Lamar Valley is located in the northeast section of the park, just east of Tower Junction. Lamar Valley is home to herds of elk, bison, and several packs of wolves, making it Yellowstone National Park's prime location to view wildlife. The best time to see wildlife is in the early morning or late evening. Lamar Valley has the largest concentration of grizzlies in the park, and with a little patience and a lot of luck, you may see one. Be sure to bring along a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope. Lamar Valley is the top destination inside Yellowstone Park for viewing wolves. There are also abundant fishing opportunities in the Lamar Valley. The Lamar Valley is a broad mountain valley carved out by glaciers during the last ice age. Evidence can be seen in the form of a wide, U-shaped valley that is strewn with boulders that were carried and deposited by moving ice from the Beartooth Range. The marshy ponds are also remnants of the glacial period. As the land becomes drier, these ponds will fill in with silt and rocks and eventually become meadows and a source of food for migrating elk and bison. The Lamar Buffalo Ranch was built in the early part of the century in an effort to increase the herd size of the few remaining bison in Yellowstone, preventing the feared extinction of the species. The ranch was established in 1907 when 28 bison were moved from Fort Yellowstone to the Lamar Valley. Buffalo ranching operations continued at Lamar until the 1950s. The valley was irrigated for hay pastures, and corrals and fencing were scattered throughout the area. Remnants of irrigation ditches, fencing, and water troughs can still be found. Four remaining buildings from the original ranch compound are contained within the Lamar Buffalo Ranch Historic District (two residences, the bunkhouse, and the barn) and are on the National Register of Historic Places. In the early 1980s, old tourist cabins from Fishing Bridge were brought to Lamar to be used for Yellowstone Association Institute classes.