With their great, shaggy heads and distinctive humped backs, bison are a symbol of the American West—and, as of 2016, they’re officially America’s national mammal. Just over a century ago, they were near extinction, but the behemoth beasts have made a comeback—especially in Yellowstone.
The park, which sits mostly in Wyoming, is the only place in the United States where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times. Today, more than 4,500 of them roam Yellowstone’s grasslands; the Hayden and Lamar valleys are among the best places to spot them. For extra cuteness, go in late April and May when bison calves are born.
Responsible travel tip: Bison may look slow and harmless, but they’re actually quite agile and can run up to 35 miles per hour. So it’s best to keep your distance.