Yellowstone National Park is a must-see if you’re traveling out west. But be sure to plan ahead because you may get caught in a traffic jam caused by bison blocking the road.
If you’re a flatlander like me, the sights and sounds of Yellowstone in person will blow your mind far more than any YouTube video ever could. Along with tall geysers, falls and springs, you might get a chance to see some wildlife, too. This video of an adorable bison has gone viral on social media:
The National Park Service says that Yellowstone’s bison population fluctuates between 2,300 and 5,500 animals. Yellowstone’s bison are pretty special because while bison are far from an endangered species, wild bison are rare. They’re also pretty unique in that they’ve been at Yellowstone forever:
Yellowstone is the only place in the United States where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times. A number of Native American tribes especially revere Yellowstone’s bison as pure descendants of the vast herds that once roamed the grasslands of the United States. The largest bison population in the country on public land resides in Yellowstone.
The bison in Yellowstone are allowed to roam free and they often end up blocking traffic on the park’s roads. I went to the park in 2020 and got stuck in two traffic jams adding up to about two hours of time due to bison on both sides of the road.
These animals can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and the National Park Service doesn’t recommend trying to move them or blowing your horn at them.
Your car is also not allowed to leave the road unless there’s a pull-off. So, you’re sort of just stuck waiting for them to do their thing. Most people whip out their phones and snag a picture. I highly recommend giving Yellowstone National Park a visit, just plan to be there for a while.