Depending on what your goals are for your Cody/Yellowstone vacation, the current deep snowpack measurements in the park might help or hinder reaching those goals. Yellowstone has received a good amount of snow this year. On deep snow winters, the snow very well might stay around until the 4th of July in a few spots.
On a trip earlier this week, Bob Richard and I combined a tour guide training trip with some research we needed to conduct in Gardiner, MT for our upcoming books. A drive out to the Lamar Valley showed very few animal tracks of any kind. Deep snow does not invite wildlife. However, the miles of sparkling blankets of untouched snow were breathtaking. We guessed it would be awhile until the wildlife migrated back in this year. But that also means the wildlife viewing opportunities should be incredible because they will follow the slower melting snow back into the park, unless we get a stretch of incredibly warm weather that speeds things up.
Many of the animals migrate out of the park for the winter and head to the high altitude deserts surrounding the park. That includes the Cody area where the absolute best wildlife viewing is starting now and will continue through until May and even into June.
If you want to see animals, May and June are the absolute best months to plan your visit because not only are the bison and elk calves being born, but the predators that prey on them are also easier to see. Bears are a common site. Wolves, coyotes, foxes and badgers stick closer to their dens. Sandhill Cranes will be on their nests and the wildflowers will emerge as well. You might need to pack warmer clothes, but if your goal is to see wildlife, book now for tours in May and June. By July and August, much of the wildlife moves to the higher altitudes and more remote regions of the park.
Why book your tour for early May?
The East Gate opens on May 5 this year. Don’t tell, but we have a little secret over here on the east side of the park. The deer that summer in Jackson Hole and the elk that you see in the park in the summer, winter over here along the North Fork. To plan the perfect western vacation, you can enjoy the warmth we get in Cody and visit places like the North Fork and other areas rich with Native American Traces and wildlife, and then schedule time to head into the park on the first days the east entrance is open. This is when the wildlife viewing opportunities are rich.
Give us a call today and let us know what you’d like to see on your custom-crafted tour and we’ll happily help make your Yellowstone dreams a reality this year!