Cody Yellowstone is wild and wonderful any time of the year, but especially in the spring when the first of the region’s abundant wildflowers begin filling the winter-white landscape with pops of color and the next generation of Yellowstone’s famous free-roaming critters make their debut. Our guides at Grub Steak Expeditions know the places where wildlife is likely to be seen as well as where the best photos of wildflowers and spectacular scenery can be taken.
Babies in the Wild
The spring season’s unofficial start is when the first bear cub is spotted, usually in March or April. The news of the first bear cub sighting usually spreads quickly in the small town of Cody. The National Park Service often spreads the news to visitors while reminding visitors and locals alike about the rules for observing bears and other animals in the wild.
Many other wildlife babies make their appearance in the early spring, including bison calves, moose calves, bighorn sheep lambs, elk calves, wolf pups, river otters, and eagles. Bison calves are particularly fun to watch. These reddish-colored, fuzzy-furred critters are quick studies, and they can keep up with their mothers as soon as two hours after birth. Their bright-colored fur and small size – along with their playful demeanor – makes them easy to spot in a herd.
We caution our guest wildlife watchers to stay at least 100 yards from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards from other animals such as bighorn sheep and bison. Other tips: keep binoculars and spotting scopes handy; use caution when departing the vehicle; be ready to quickly return to the vehicle if needed; never yell at or distract wildlife, and never feed an animal in the wild.
Yellowstone has been described as a wildflower garden. Visitors can see why beginning in April when the tiny and aptly named Spring Beauty wildflowers begin to push their white and pale pink blossoms through the snow. More colorful flowers with descriptive names like Yellow Bell and Wild Iris quickly follow. Soon, the valleys in and around Yellowstone National Park will sport the colors of the rainbow.
More Ways to Spend a Spring Day
When not touring with Grub Steak Expeditions, watching for wildlife, and photographing wildflowers, visitors can wander through Cody’s museums like the Draper Natural History Museum in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center. Summer-season visitors typically don’t begin arriving until mid-June, which means you can take time to explore at your leisure.