Wildlife Drives App

Driving into the Idaho wilderness

Published online: Apr 26, 2021 Articles, East Idaho Outdoors I.F. Magazine Staff
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What makes a trip to Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Park memorable? The answer is simple—the sights you see and the memories you create. 

Anyone who has visited Idaho’s local parks knows wildlife can be spontaneous, which can make it difficult to find any wildlife your family is anxious to see. However, now you can increase your chances of spotting your favorite animals and creating treasured memories with the help of the Wildlife Drives app. We spoke with creator Jim Wilent to get the scoop on the app and its creation.


IFM: How did you collect the information that appears on the app?

JW: We marked spots on Google maps, where the best opportunities to see wildlife are. By allowing the app to know your phone's location, you're showing the nearest viewing areas closest to you, as well as driving directions.


IFM: What is the best way to use the app?

JW: It can be used by location or by particular animal. If you're looking for a particular animal, you can pick that animal on the app and it’ll pull up various locations in Grand Teton as well as the Yellowstone area.


IFM: What inspired you to start the app?

JW: My wife, Cathy, and I worked at the Jackson Stagecoach a few years back. Working there, we met tourists and travelers from all over the world. The most common question we were asked was where to see wildlife. ‘Where can I see a moose?’ ‘My kids really want to see a buffalo.’ Being locals, we're able to make suggestions based on our personal experience. A lot of our relaxation time is spent driving around, looking for wildlife. The need for a guide with specific locations for wildlife viewing became obvious to us over time.


IFM: What are some of your favorite experiences that you've had encountering wildlife in the area? 

JW: One time we were driving up the Moose-Wilson Road near the bridge and just on the right, there was a bear trying to reach some berries way up high. He was doing almost a gymnastics routine on the branch. It was an incredible feat to witness. We had the privilege of being able to watch wildlife at its natural best.


IFM: Where can people download the app, and do they need the internet to use it?

JW: Make sure to download and purchase the app before your travels. There are certain areas of both Grand Teton and Yellowstone where there is no wireless, but if you download the app prior to going in, all the information is there for a location. The app is available in the Google Play store, as well as the Apple app store under Wildlife Drives. It currently costs $4.99 and is ad-free, which is kind of refreshing in this day and age.

We also find the app is beneficial for those with accessibility needs. All of our routes to view wildlife are available from your vehicle. 


For More Information

Wildlife Drives • 208-201-7883 • www.wildlifedrives.com


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