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The Traveler’s Guide to Lamar Valley

Discover the wilderness heart of the Northern Rocky Mountains in the Lamar Valley. Known as the “”Serengeti of North America,”” this expansive valley in Yellowstone National Park is the prime spot for wildlife viewing, hiking, and camping.


The Lamar Valley is steeped in history, from its early days as a hotbed of Native American activity to its inclusion within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park in 1872. The valley is named after Lucius Lamar, a former Secretary of the Interior under President Grover Cleveland.

How to Get There

Lamar Valley is located in the northeastern part of Yellowstone National Park. It’s accessible by car via the Northeast Entrance of the park near the town of Cooke City. The nearest airports are in Bozeman, Montana and Jackson, Wyoming.

List of Attractions

  • Wildlife Viewing: The Lamar Valley is renowned for its wildlife, including wolves, grizzly bears, and large herds of bison and elk.
  • Hiking Trails: The valley features several hiking trails that range from easy to challenging.
  • Camping: The valley has a few campgrounds, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the area.
  • Fishing: The Lamar River and its tributaries are perfect for fly fishing.

Ticket Information

Access to Lamar Valley is included with entry to Yellowstone National Park. As of 2020, a 7-day pass for a private vehicle costs $35. The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is also accepted. Campground and ranger-led program fees are extra.

List of Tips for Visiting

  • For the best chance of wildlife viewing, visit early in the morning or late in the evening.
  • Bring binoculars to observe wildlife from a safe distance.
  • Check the weather forecast and dress in layers – temperatures can change quickly.
  • Respect the wildlife and keep a safe distance. Do not feed any animals.
  • Book campground spots far in advance, especially during the summer months.

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