As Yellowstone reopens for the summer season, one hiker demonstrates what not to do around the park's bison

Bison wallowing in Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
(Image credit: Getty)

Roads at Yellowstone National Park are beginning to reopen to regular traffic as the summer hiking season approaches. Most guests take care to treat the local wildlife with respect, but sadly there are always a few exceptions, as the video below demonstrates.

The video, which was shared via Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone last week, shows a man strolling up to a particularly large bison grazing near a restaurant. Rather than enjoying watching the animal from the safety of a nearby terrace, he stands just a couple of meters away, risking his own safety to record it on his phone.

In this case the animal chose to ignore him, but not all visitors who get too close are so lucky. Every year people are seriously injured by bison, and in 2023 two people were hospitalized within a week after being gored by the animals at US National Parks. Both survived, but suffered serious abdominal injuries.

Around 5,400 bison were counted at Yellowstone in 2021, and they can be seen year-round in the Hayden and Lamar valleys. In the winter, they can also be spotted seeking warmth in the park's hydrothermal areas. and along the Madison River. Blacktail Deer Plateau, Tower, and the Gardiner Basin.

Males (known as bulls) can weigh up to 2,000lb, and females (also called cows) can weigh as much as 1,000lb. They can move at speeds up to 30mph and are surprisingly agile for their size, so it's wise to give them plenty of space.

The National Park Service recommends staying at least 25 yards (23 meters) away at all times, and using a long camera lens or binoculars to appreciate the animals from a safe distance. For more advice, see our guide how to avoid being gored by a bison.

Visiting Yellowstone

If you're planning a visit to Yellowstone soon, West Entrance to Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Junction to Canyon Village, Canyon Village to Lake Village and the East Entrance are all open for the summer season. Additional park roads will open throughout this month, weather permitting.

Looking for ideas for what to do when you arrive? Our guide to the best hikes in Yellowstone National Park will get you started on the right foot.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.