Wildlife in Yellowstone: What Can You See?

Yellowstone National Park is known worldwide for the wildlife and natural wonders it contains. Photographers wait for hours to get the perfect photograph of anything they can find. If you find yourself in the northwestern United States, why not hop onto a Salt Lake Express bus to West Yellowstone and learn why?

Here is a short list of some of the wildlife you can see!

The Gray Wolf

The gray wolf, also known as the Timber Wolf, is on the endangered species list. Though they once roamed through about two thirds of the United States, they only have populations in seven states now. Gray wolves typically weigh between 60 and 145 pounds, with size varying by gender. Females are usually smaller. They are generally about 5-7 feet long from nose to tail (the tail is usually about 2 feet long) and move in packs of up to 15 members! To learn more about gray wolves, you can visit the National Wildlife Federation’s Website.

The Grizzly Bear

The Grizzly Bear is a type of brown bear. They actually come in a wide variety of colors ranging from almost white to a dark brown. One of their more distinguishing features is the hump on their shoulders, which is where muscle connects to their backbone. Females can reach up to 800lbs while males can reach up to 1700lbs. Apparently the term “Grizzly Bear” originated because during the colder months they can be seen with the tips of their fur coated in ice. This can give them a “grizzled” or gray look. Learn more here!

The Mountain Lion

The Mountain Lion has many names. Some of the common ones are Puma, Panther and Cougar. They are located all throughout the Americas, and where they live has a profound influence on their size! Near the equator, they are much smaller, and the further north you go the larger they get. Smaller cats weigh between 64 and 115 pounds and larger cats can reach 141-220 pounds depending on gender. They are solitary creatures with wide ranges, living wherever food and shelter can be found. If you are interested, you can learn more here.

Red Fox

Red Foxes typically have red fur, with white fur across their bellies and chest. They can have gray patches, however, which sometimes causes them to be mistaken for their cousin the gray fox. The best way to tell the difference is to check the tail: gray foxes have a black tipped tails and red foxes have white tipped tails. Red foxes prefer to eat rabbits and mice, but are efficient scavengers when necessary. Their hearing is so good they can hear mice and other rodents digging underground! Click here to learn more!

Coyote

Coyotes are close cousins to wolves and are some of the most common wild canines in North America. They are rated as being of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Coyotes weigh between 15 and 44 pounds, and mostly feed on bison, deer, moose, elk and other large herbivores, though they will hunt and eat smaller game when they can. They have been known to stalk and attack humans from time to time, though this has only resulted in 2 known deaths and 130 injuries in the last 30 years, mostly in California where humans are encroaching on their habitat.

River Otter

River otters are highly social, playful animals. They live in families, usually a female and her offspring, or a group of males. Otters like to eat fish, which they hunt by hiding and ambushing them. They also eat insects, birds and some frogs and lizards. Otters have have few water predators, but on land they are hunted by everything from bobcats to grizzly bears. They are not considered endangered or at risk. If you want to know more about otters, here is a good place to start.

American Buffalo

American Buffalo are commonly called Bison. They can stand up to 6 feet tall and weigh upwards of 900 pounds. They live about 20 years when not raised in captivity, that’s why we love seeing them free in Yellowstone. Bison are identifiable by the hump on their back and their shaggy brown fur, They often grow beards and and the fur on their front is longer than the fur towards their rump. The eat constantly, and often do so even while on the move. Find more information about Bison here.

Yellowstone Elk

There are between 10,000 and 20,000 Elk in Yellowstone at any given time. They are the most populous hooved animal in the park. Each elk weighs between 500 and 700 pounds. Males grow antlers which have on average 6 tines or points. They use them to establish dominance over other males during mating, or “rutting”, season. The word elk originated with European settlers. The closest thing they had seen to an elk was a Moose, and so they used their name for moose. European still use the term Elk to refer to Moose, and this causes some confusion among European visitors.

Moose

Moose are the largest members of the deer family. They stand 6 feet tall and weigh up to 1,000 pounds. Because Moose are so tall, they have a hard time bending over to eat grass. Instead, they eat twigs and leaves. The word “moose” was the Algonquin word meaning “eaters of twigs”. Interestingly, each of their hairs is hollow, which allows the them to act as insulation in the winter. Unlike females, males grow horns in the spring for use during mating season in the fall. The antlers can grow to up to 6 feet and are used to fight other bulls for territory or mates. To find out more about moose in Yellowstone, go here!

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep are compact animals, with thickly bunched musculature. They are well adapted to living in steep places such as slopes and mountainsides. Typically, bighorn sheep are white and males can be distinguished by their large curved horns, which weigh up to 30 pounds. They can weigh between 160 and 350 pounds, and stand around 40 inches (3′ 4″) high. They have been on the endangered species list, but made a recovery. There are still efforts to continue protecting them. Read here for more.

Mule Deer

Mule deer get their name from their large ears, which reminded settlers of a mule. Their other defining feature is the “mask” on their face. Mule deer range between 3 and 3.5 feet tall and 4 to 7 feet long. They usually weigh between 130 and 280 pounds. They are actually very picky eaters: they will eat only the most nutritious foods. This means they have more robust requirements for foraging and fewer places to live.

Pronghorn Antelope

Pronghorn Antelope are easily identifiable by their horns, as shown in the picture above. They are remarkably agile, and can reach speeds of nearly 60 miles per hour. Pronghorns also have excellent vision, which allows them to spot predators from further away on their long migrations. They will eat grasses shrubs and most other greenery, and they seldom drink water since they get all the water they need from the plants they eat. If you’d like to know more, go here.

White Tailed Deer

White Tailed Deer are the smallest member of the deer family. They live throughout most of the Rocky Mountains, Arizona and most of Mexico. White Tailed Deer stand almost 3 feet tall and can weigh up to 300 pounds. Males grow antlers as seen in the photograph above and when frightened they raise their tail to signal other deer that danger is near by. More information on White Tailed Deer can be found here.

Beaver

The American Beaver is the largest rodent in America. The distinguishing feature of the beaver is it’s long flat tail, which it uses to navigate more easily in the water. It also uses its tail to raise the alarm when there is danger by slapping the water. The Beaver builds dams by chewing down trees or chewing through branches to build their homes. Their teeth are always growing, so chewing on trees prevents their teeth from getting too long. Find out more here!

Chipmunks

Chipmunks are rodents that can often be seen playing, fighting for food and generally scampering around the Yellowstone area. They are small and striped, and they hoard food in preparation for winter. This makes them an important part of the ecosystem because it moves seeds around for plants and trees. They are also an important source of food for predators, such as foxes and coyotes. Information on Chipmunks can be found here.

Yellow Bellied Marmots

Yellow bellied marmots are also called Rock Chucks and are a member of the ground squirrel family. They are found across the mountainous areas of Canada and the Western United States. Marmots are typically brown in color and weigh about 11 pounds. They are very common and not considered to be under threat. They like to poke their heads out of their burrows and look at anything they are curious about that might be passing by. If you’d like to learn more this is a good place to start.

Red Squirrels

While Red Squirrels may be very common they are also very cute! The are another animal that hoards nuts and berries leading up to the winter months and are therefore important for the life cycles of trees and other plants. They also serve as prey for most ground predators and even some larger birds. They can be fearless around humans when they live in cities and towns, and their habitat crosses readily into areas with large human populations. For more information about squirrels, here is a good place to start.

Bats

Yellowstone is home to 13 varieties of bats, and all eat insects and are active at night. Unfortunately, due to a fungal infection, many of the bats populations are falling. Several species of bats have become extinct, and the other cannot recover quickly because they raise only 1 pup per female per year. If you see a bat, don’t be scared! Instead, thank them for controlling the insect population and leave it in peace so the population can rise. To learn more about bats, you can go here or here.

While this may seem like an extensive list, there are many more animals to see in Yellowstone Park! Go to Yellowstone National Park’s Website to learn more.

St. George Express Bryce Canyon National Park

The A-Z of Traveling with the Salt Lake Express

The A-Z of Traveling Up & Down the I-15 Corridor

Travel like a pro with our A-Z guide for trekking west with the Salt Lake Express. As we share our A-Z of traveling list, think of your own and what you might do differently and feel free to let us know!

A: All-Inclusive

Gone are the days without extra legroom and drop-offs right at your door. The Salt Lake Express has countless perks – check out some of the best right here! It’s the perfect way to kick off our A-Z of traveling with us!

B: Beaver Dam, AZ

Beaver Dam, one of our stops in Arizona, may not seem like party central at first. However, if casinos are your thing, Beaver Dam is just 17 minutes away from the Nevada border! It’s also only a 37 minute drive away from St. George, Utah. Check out inexpensive things to do in St. George here.

C: Cedar City, UT

Next on the list, we’re headed to southwest Utah! Cedar City has plenty to offer – not only is it close to Zion National Park (only 34 miles away!), but it also boasts other fabulous outdoor opportunities, such as Cedar Breaks National Monument and Dixie National Forest.

D: Darby Canyon, WY

Darby Canyon sits on the border of Idaho and Wyoming, and is only approximately 1 – 1.5 hours away from our stops in Rexburg, ID and Jackson, WY, respectively. Whether you’re headed out to hike the trailhead or explore the wind caves, stopping at Darby Canyon if you’re staying in either state is a must.

E: Emigration Canyon, UT

If you ever wonder where exactly Brigham Young famously declared, “This is the place,” then Emigration Canyon is the spot for you. If you’re stopping in Salt Lake City, Emigration Canyon houses the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, perfect for hiking or biking, as well as a couple of local places to eat, such as Ruth’s Diner.

F: Falls, as in Great Falls, MT

Great Falls, our northernmost stop here at the Salt Lake Express, has much to offer with multiple heritage museums, hundreds of local restaurants, and over 57 parks. It’s the perfect blend of big city excitement and small town charm.

G: Grand Teton National Park, WY

The A-Z of Traveling with the Salt Lake Express - GTNP

Hop off at our stop in Jackson, Wyoming, and head over to Grand Teton National Park! Teeming with alpine views, crystal lakes, and adventurous animals, it’s definitely a sight to see.

H: Helena, MT

Next stop on our list is Helena, Montana! Did you know there’s a gorgeous European-style cathedral right in the city? You’ve also GOT to check out the Gates of the Mountains wildlife area. It showcases some of the most beautiful views Montana has to offer.

I: Island Park, ID

You haven’t really been to Idaho until you’ve been to Island Park. If you love the outdoors, Island Park is the Salt Lake Express stop for you, with access to so many mountains, lakes, springs, and more.

J: Jerome, AZ

Say hello to the nation’s largest ghost town, just half a day’s trip from our stop in Page, AZ. Once known as “America’s Wickedest City,” Jerome once boomed as a mining camp in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Once the mines closed in the 1950’s, Jerome’s population became virtually nonexistent – however, it’s now a thriving tourist hub with plenty to see.

K: Kodachrome Basin State Park, UT

Kodachrome Basin State Park, named after one of the first color films developed in the 1930s. And rightfully so – the park is bursting with color! Seeing those red rock formations contrast against a brilliant blue sky will leave you speechless.

L: Las Vegas, NV

The A-Z of Traveling with the Salt Lake Express - Las Vegas

Las Vegas is one of our most popular stops here at the Salt Lake Express. It’s most popular tourist spots seem to span the entire city, with plenty of nightlife, gambling, and faux world attractions covering the entire surrounding areas.

We have also added a direct stop at the Las Vegas LDS Temple to accommodate patrons while the LDS temple in St. George is closed until 2022.

M: Montana

The A-Z of Traveling with the Salt Lake Express - Montana

We love Montana! From stops in Dillon, Butte, Helena, Great Falls, and more, we have I-15 covered. The state is home to seven state forests and 53 state parks – talk about adventure!

N: National Parks

What’s better than a shuttle service that takes you straight to the great outdoors? Here at Salt Lake Express, we stop at three national parks, of which are Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Zion National Park.

O: Ogden, UT

If we had to pick one word to describe Ogden, it would be eclectic. Ogden’s got rock climbing, a dinosaur park, indoor water sports, axe-throwing, a trampoline park, and so much more. Check out all the entertainment that Ogden has to offer right here.

P: Lake Powell, UT

Did you know that Lake Powell is not technically a lake? It’s a reservoir located in southern Utah! While it’s a little further out from our stops than some of the other locations on this list, we definitely recommend visiting at least once – there’s tons to do, like boating, hiking, fishing, and camping.

Q: Quail Creek State Park, UT

Quail Creek State Park, located in southern Utah, is a short 20-minute drive from St. George and boasts some of the state’s warmest waters. Learn more about it here.

R: Rainbow Rocks, Nevada

The A-Z of Traveling with the Salt Lake Express - Rainbow Rocks

Okay, we had to get a little creative with this one. We’re actually talking about the Seven Magic Mountains, a desert art installation that features rock towers painted in a myriad of beautiful colors! It’s only 10 miles south of Las Vegas, and is scheduled to be available on view through the end of 2021.

S: St. George Express

Did you know we also operate another shuttle service? The St. George Express has fares as low as $19, and travels to Nevada and southern Utah! Currently, we have stops in Beaver, Cedar City, St. George, and Hurricane for Utah. We also have stops in Mesquite and Las Vegas for Nevada.

T: Twin Falls, ID

Twin Falls hosts Shoshone Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in the United States! It’s taller than Niagara Falls, which is probably why it’s called the “Niagara of the west.” While you’re at it, check out these awesome attractions and trails in the area!

U: Utah State University

At the heart of our stop in Logan is Utah State University, the “fifth best public university in the nation,” according to their website. Know someone who’s applying for college? Stop in Logan and take a tour of USU!

V: Virgin River, Utah

Much of the Virgin River runs through Zion National Park, so if you’re headed that way, make sure to hike through the Narrows and feel the water splash your feet!

W: Wasatch Mountains

The Wasatch Mountain Range is one of Utah’s defining characteristics. Cities in the Wasatch area are sprawling with beautiful canyons, exclusive ski resorts, world-class golf, and more. Start planning your trip right here, right now.

X: Cross something off your bucket list!

See what we did there? With the Salt Lake Express, you have easy access to hundreds of beautiful destinations across the west. Plan a trip. Make it happen. We’ll take you there!

Y: Yellowstone National Park

Did you know that Yellowstone is the world’s first national park? Amazing! National Geographic has much to praise about it. Yellowstone’s most popular (and most accessible!) months are between April and September. Plan your trip today!

Z: Zion National Park

The A-Z of Traveling with the Salt Lake Express - ZNP

There’s a reason that “Z” on our list of A-Z of traveling is Zion. Get ready for the most spectacular views of your life at Utah’s first national park. Check out our blog post about six things you HAVE to do when visiting Zion.

There you have it, the A-Z of traveling with Salt Lake Express! We hope that many of you will treat this like a bucket list of sorts as you continue to travel with us in the future!