Fall brings spectacular scenery and the annual elk mating season where huge bull elk battle for their harems with eerie, echoing bugles across wide valleys. The West Yellowstone area is at its best for hiking, scenery, fishing and wildlife watching.
Fall temperatures create once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities at Old Faithful and other geysers. The cooler temperatures produce an abundance of steam along the traditional waterworks. This is a time to walk the boardwalks, sometimes with just a grazing bison for company. Old Faithful has a whole different look surrounded by reddish brown vegetation and golden grasses.
The ungulates (elk, moose, antelope and other grazers) are easy to spot along the riverbanks and on the sides of hills. Heads down and unflinchingly focused on gorging themselves, the bison wade back and forth across rivers looking for the best grasses of the season. With large bellies almost touching the ground, they waddle down roads at a slow pace heading to the next hummock. Their coats are becoming heavier and darker, thick fur readying against the coming winter.
Bears enter into a state of hyperphagia, eating as much as they can in anticipation of the coming winter. Their goal is to pack on as much fat as possible before entering hibernation.
Don’t miss the West Yellowstone Old Faithful Fall Cycle Tour held annually in September. The tour - from West Yellowstone to Old Faithful and back - is 60 miles long and fully supported with sag wagons and water/snack stations along the route. It's a terrific way to wind up a summer of riding.
If running is more your style, enter the Pine Needle Stampede in West Yellowstone. It is a wonderful way to take advantage of the Rendezvous Ski Trails before the winter season.
There are several scenic drives around the Yellowstone area as well, where one has the opportunity to view wildlife, capture gorgeous photographs and see the area at its most colorful.
Click here for an activity list for ideas: