A couple of tourists were forced to hit the ground running in Yellowstone National Park after a galloping herd of wild bison started coming toward them — and the whole thing was caught on video.
The tourists were walking across a bridge when suddenly a large plume of dust started rising and the large animals appeared in the road, USA Today reported. That's when they started running before finally seeking cover on the side of the bridge.
"They were nervous for sure, and jumped next to the bridge," a witness who was in her car at the time told the paper, adding, "The bison wanted nothing to do with them, they just wanted to cross the bridge… I wasn't scared. My daughter was at first since the bison were running right toward our car. They ran right next to us up the hill. It was exciting and a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
There are thousands of wild bison in Yellowstone, the largest bison population on public land, according to the National Park Service. In fact, the park says Yellowstone is the only place in the United States where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times.
Male bison can weigh up to 2,000 pounds, while female bison can weigh up to 1,000 pounds. Bison primarily eat grasses and sedges, but can be aggressive and can run up to 30 mph.
The NPS warns visitors to never feed or approach wildlife as they can be "wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be." Generally, people should remain at least 25 yards away from bison, according to the NPS.
When it comes to people being injured, bison are responsible for more incidents in Yellowstone than any other animal.
Yellowstone has seen visitor numbers explode this year. Last month, the park saw its busiest September on record and has counted more than 4.4 million visitors so far this year, a 32% increase from the same time period last year and a 17% increase from the same time period in 2019.
The park, which spans parts of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, remains one of the most popular national parks in the U.S. Beyond its resident wildlife, the park boasts favorite attractions like the Mammoth Hot Springs and the Old Faithful geyser.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.