Located about as far from any roadway as it’s possible to get in the lower 48, the Thorofare region of Yellowstone is the most remote and spectacular feature of America’s first national park. It’s here that the Yellowstone River feeds into Yellowstone Lake through a reedy delta of interwoven canals, forming an American version of Africa’s Okavango Delta.
All the key players are on hand: bison, grizzlies, wolves, elk, moose, bald eagles, ospreys, sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans, and cutthroat trout. Amazingly, Yellowstone’s animal surplus wasn’t even the deciding factor in designating this chunk of the northern Rockies as parkland in 1872. Geothermal displays were the cause célèbre. But as the frontier vanished, and with it the megafauna, Yellowstone’s intact ecosystem has come to the fore.