Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Hayden Valley is roughly 7 miles wide and 7 miles deep and is centrally located in Yellowstone National Park. It’s easy to map out your visit to both Mud Volcano and Hayden Valley on the same trip to optimize your time in the park. Yellowstone is so large and has so many different features that it can be overwhelming to navigate but you can see more in a relaxed, non rushed way by planning ahead-or of course with the help of your trusty travel planner-ME. You’ll find multiple pullouts while visiting the valley which will make stopping and seeing everything super easy. Make sure you have your scope and/or binoculars ready because Hayden Valley is a hot spot for wildlife. You may find bison, bears, elk and water foul.

See that tiny dot out there?! Well there’s a bison out there!
Good thing he brought the scope.

Don’t have a scope? They’re expensive but you can actually rent them in West Yellowstone-we’ll talk more about that in another post!

The valley is a vast grassy knoll with riverways and hills and the wildlife are everywhere. The best time to go is super early in the morning or at dusk and since we are NOT morning people we opted for the later and were not disappointed. Be prepared for a ton of driving and stopping and hopping out.

We even got to see babies! It’s important to be mindful of your surroundings and respect the animals at all times, especially if they are with babies. Did you know bison can jump 6 feet and outrun us? They can and this was as close as I was willing to get, but it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement.

Let’s just say those bison hopped that waterway and everyone was out of there! Oh and also beware of bison poo everywhere. Bison rut is during August, which is when we happened to visit so we were fortunate enough to catch bison on several occasions.

The best part of Hayden Valley is definitely the bison. If you don’t see them right away then don’t worry, just drive around a bit. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip for me. I especially loved driving and being stopped for bison crossing.

Make sure you add Hayden Valley to your list when visiting Yellowstone!

Need help planning your visit to Yellowstone National Park? You can find me on Facebook at Callie at Wanderkeep Travel or email me at

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About Author

I'm Callie, a wanderer and travel planner who enjoys all things Disney, taking the winding road, soaking in the sun, seeing the Fall leaves and planning! I believe in taking the trip, setting the goal and making memories. Come with me as we do all the things in all the places.

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