It’s a rare day to drive straight through Hayden Valley without getting caught in a bison jam. Bison frequently cross the road. Sometimes, they even saunter right down the yellow line. When they do, cars come to a halt.
For touring Hayden Valley, grab the binoculars. Most likely, you’ll spot bison, deer, and trumpeter swans. Sometimes elk, bears, coyotes, and wolves wander through the meadows, too.
In between the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Lake Yellowstone, Hayden Valley flanks the meandering Yellowstone River. At a slow flow, it travels northward preparing to crash through the canyon. The high broad valley creates the perfect pastoral landscape for wildlife. In summer, bison cross the river back and forth to graze. But in winter, they hunker against the winds.
For the best wildlife viewing, drive through Hayden Valley in early morning or late evening. At those times, fewer cars clog the road. Usually, wildlife is more active, too.