Last Minute RFI – Yellowstone National Park

Hey folks,

Sorry for the late reply but I have been busy with research and moving. I am heading to Yellowstone National Park (stopping through Jackson Hole on the way) on Saturday, and would like to get a few mammal pointers. There is tons of information out there for the megafauna, but doesn’t anyone have advice for the following:

Yellow-Pine and Uinta Chipmunk




Cats of any variety?

Other noteworthy herps/small mammals? There is less info out there on these guys, so I figured I should ask. Also…I presume Uinta Ground Squirrel will be everywhere, and I don’t need to make an extra effort to track this species down. Is that correct?


Thanks again for any help


  • John Fox

    The parking lot at Hellroaring Creek trailhead had Pika, Long-tailed Weasel, and a chipmunk that went un-IDed, early in the morning. People who live there see Ermine, IIRC, in their back yards, at night.

    Good luck in NZ, sort out some trips for mammal watchers!

  • vnsankar

    AFAIK, all 3 types of cats in Yellowstone (Canada Lynx, Bobcat, Mtn Lion) are extremely difficult and I don’t think Grand Teton offers chances either. Of course, Bobcat is easy in CA, Mtn Lion ok in Big Bend, and Canada Lynx in AK, Wood Buffalo, and even in the Canadian Rockies (March/April around Sunwapta Falls in Jasper NP is quite good/ road cruising is reliable). Sorry about this, but I’m don’t really know where to see chipmunks, voles, or gophers (I see Botta’s Pocket Gopher and Merriam’s Chipmunk often in CA but that’s it…). As for mustelids, American Badger is reasonably easy in Lamar Valley, and LTW can turn up in a bunch of places – it’s just tough and unpredictable (I still haven’t seen one). I saw American Marten along Cascade Cyn Trail in Grand Teton up above Jenny Lake. They’re apparently reported reasonably often up here so this might be one place to try. The Cooke City Wolf Crossing Cabins is located in a bit of forest where they see Great Gray Owl and Marten often – might be one place to try (Cook City)… Fisher is around, but extremely rare and elusive.
    Good luck!

  • vdinets

    I don’t have access to my notes on small mammals until Thursday, but I know there’s been a few cases of highly observable mt. lions at National Elk Range. We saw an unbelievably tame badger in Lamar Valley in Uinta GS colony.

  • Charles Foley

    I’ve seen badgers in the Lamar valley on three different occasions, so its obviously a good place to try. There was one denning at the Ecological centre in the valley last year, so you could try stopping there to ask if its still around.

  • focusedonnature

    I will be in YNP myself the week of June 3rd, any chance you will still be there?

    In any case, I second the comments above. For the latest information on sightings check out this forum:

    There have been puma sightings this spring in the Gros Ventre area North of Jackson but that is as specific as I know.

    There have also been recent Badger sightings in Little America (West of Lamar Valley but East of Roosevelt Junction) and in the Lamar Valley.

    Otters have been seen at Trout Lake recently as well.

    We have seen Pine Marten on Mt Washburn on two occasions but you have to be lucky.

    Hellroaring is great place for Pika and the occasional Weasel. So, is the Sheep Eaters area if you walk away from the picnic areas around and back to the left into the “amphitheater”.

    Marmots are everywhere.

    No word yet on any mammal den sites so there may not be any near the roads this year.

    Hope that helps. Good luck!


    • morganchurchill

      I am leaving tomorrow, so it looks like we won’t overlap

      Mt Washburn still had a lot of snow so didn’t really spend much time in the area. dipped on otter so far as well as Uinta Chipmunk, but still time…hopefully put together a trip report in the next few days

  • vdinets

    In addition to what’s already been said, Mt. Washburn Trail is good for pika and Uinta chipmunk, moist meadows along the road leading to the west entrance are good for long-tailed and montane voles, meadows along the river in Lamar Valley have meadow vole, moist forests near the northeastern entrance have Southern red-backed vole, and sagebrush-forest margins there have Western heather vole. But all vole spp. can be found in other parts of the park as well.

  • tomeslice

    Sorry that this is late, and I actually don’t have anything positive to add, just that I read somewhere that fishers were only confirmed there like 20 years ago after not having been seen in centuries.. and if you see one and photograph it, it will probably be published in some scientific journal. So your chances aren’t good. But anyway, I’m looking forward to the TR!!

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