11 of the Best Places to Photograph Wildlife in the U.S.

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Photographing wildlife can be challenging and unpredictable. The first step is to know where there animals are likely to be, and on this page we will feature 11 locations in the United States that are excellent for finding and viewing wildlife.

Before you set off on a wildlife photography expedition it is important to research the animals that you may encounter and to understand how to best protect yourself, as well as the wildlife. On park and refuge websites you can find information about the animals as well as tips and guidelines for any encounters you may have with the animals. Wherever you are, be sure to keep a safe distance from wildlife and avoid putting yourself in danger or disrupting the animals.

For tips on wildlife photography, please see Bring Out the Wild in Wildlife Photography.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho

Yellowstone National Park is a favorite location for many landscape and wildlife photographers. This iconic park lies mostly in Wyoming, with smaller parts stretching into Montana and Idaho. The wildlife of Yellowstone includes grizzly bears, black bears, bison, elk, moose, wolves, coyotes, bighorn sheep, and more. Although you can find wildlife throughout the park, Hayden Valley and Lamar Valley tend to be good spots to look for wildlife. For more on the wildlife of Yellowstone, refer to this page.

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico is a great place to photograph birds. The refuge consists of Rio Grande floodplain, farms, and wetlands. The variety of birds is usually best in the spring and fall. Winter (late November to late February) is the best time to find huge numbers of cranes and geese. Sunrise and sunset tend to be the best times to photograph the cranes and geese. There is a 12-mile loop road that provides a great way to see wildlife with relative ease. You can pull off to the side of the road to photograph wherever you find the wildlife. The loop road opens one hour before sunrise and closes one hour after sunset.

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