- A knowledgeable and professional naturalist guide
- Transportation to and from your local hotel, through out the park
- A healthy breakfast and lunch, fresh made from a local café, along with snacks and drinks for everyone
- Use of high quality binoculars and spotting scopes provided by us
- Gratuity is NOT included in the price of the tour. Tips are a common practice with guides in North America, and are an important part of their income.
- Clothing: Please be prepared for any time of weather, even in the summer! We recommend a warm pair of sock, closed toes sneakers or hiking boots, pants, and several layered tops which can be added or removed at the day progresses. Its also wise to bring a warm hat, gloves or mittens.
- Other items like sunglasses, sunscreen and any prescription medicines you may regularly need
- Your Camera! With freshly charged batteries and an empty media card, you never know what you’ll want to capture or when it’ll be around the next bend!
- A day pack – for extra layers and all items to be easily stored in the vehicle, and brought along on an adventure if your group decides to take a short hike.
- Water Bottle! We will provide a water jug for you to refill your bottle throughout the day. If you have a reusable coffee travel mug we’d love to refill it with your favorite hot drink!
- Our tours generally last for 8-10 hours (unless otherwise noted). We often find that groups after an early start are satisfied and exhausted after about 6 hours, however if we’re all still feeling energetic and excited for more Yellowstone we can go up to 8 hours or beyond! We try to avoid putting hard ending times on our tours because they are dynamic and all different. Being open and flexible is important when dealing with wildlife, traffic, geyser eruption times, etc.
- We do not guarantee any wildlife sightings on our tours. The beauty of Yellowstone is that our wildlife is truly wild, however, we will guarantee that your guide will use their knowledge, skills, and network of other guides, watchers and photographer to do everything we can to find you the animals you’d like to see. We are in the park nearly everyday searching for and watching wildlife, and the consistency of our efforts frequently pays off in finding the animals you’ve traveled to see.
Custom Portrait Adventure Photography Package
Yellowstone Wild is proud to partner with Jess at Chocolate Moose Images to offer a unique custom portrait photography package as a special add-on option for your tour. If you are visiting Yellowstone to celebrate an important milestone in your life (anniversary, birthday, honeymoon or graduation) or are simply on a much-needed family trip, our Portrait Adventure Photography Package is designed to capture your special moment. Jess specializes in classic portraits as well as highly candid photographs in and around Yellowstone National Park. She has a special gift for capturing genuine moments that vividly portray personality and emotion – and in a setting like Yellowstone, personality and emotion shine bright!
Jess will visit with you before your tour to develop a rapport, share ideas with one another and discuss how her photo shoot works. She will then join us on your tour out in the wilds of Yellowstone. She works discretely to capture meaningful moments of you exploring Yellowstone, while also keeping her trained eye open for the perfect Yellowstone-themed backdrop for your portraits. To see a sample of images from a winter tour, please visit the gallery here. If you have more specific questions about how to customize this for your adventure, please reach out to Jess.
Cost: $689 including a candid session on tour and a slightly more formal session (time to be arranged).
Final products: In total, she’ll spend between 3-5 hours with your family providing around 70 images in an online gallery. Printing services are available and highly encouraged.
Yellowstone National Park is a very large place divided by mountain ranges, deep valleys and a massive lake. The weather within the 2.2 million acres can vary widely, so checking the weather in the park can be a difficult task. We recommend checking several different NOAA weather stations around the park, and working an average of those if you’re planning to travel around the entirety of the park.
Park Rules and the Yellowstone Wild Code of Ethics
As a licensed Commercial Use Permit holder with Yellowstone National Park, we must follow all park rules and regulations. Additionally, as life-long proponents of wildlife and wild places, we will also follow our own ethical wildlife viewing practices. We will take this opportunity to teach you about how we can have the very best viewing and photography opportunities possible without having negative impacts on wildlife by respecting the animals’ space and movements as they go about their lives.
While on tour with Yellowstone Wild LLC, we will observe the following park rules (subject to law
- Keep at least 25 yards from all wildlife
- Keep at least 100 yards from wolves and bears
- Avoid remaining near or approaching wildlife, including birds, at any distance that disturbs or displaces
It is our ethical responsibility as visitors to the park to make sure that our actions do not inflict undue stress or hardship upon the animals that we are observing. Wild animals in a natural setting do not have easy lives, and the last thing we want to do is make their lives any more difficult. Your guide is an expert at reading animal behavior, and the moment that our presence is bothering an animal, we MUST back off until we are no longer disturbing its natural behavior. Failure to promptly respond to your guide’s instructions to back away from wildlife may result in the termination of your tour, subject to the discretion of your guide.
This is where our optics prove invaluable. We use only the finest quality Swarovski and Vortex spotting scopes so that we can thoroughly enjoy our wildlife sightings at a distance that allows the animals to carry on about their business, as if we were not there. In fact, much of the time they probably don’t know we are there, yet our high powered and crystal clear optics give us an up-close and personal view. Furthermore, we must be mindful of any animal feeding on or resting near a carcass. Approaching such an area may drive the animal(s) away and deprive them of valuable food. It is important to remember that a carcass is regularly scavenged upon by any number of other animals, including grizzly bears, who will violently defend such a food source. Approaching such an area is strictly prohibited and can seriously put people and wildlife in danger. Finally, it is important to be mindful of the other park visitors and biologists who may also be observing the same animals. We promote quiet, respectful behavior to maximize everyone’s wild Yellowstone experience.
In order to reserve your tour, a deposit is due at the time of booking. Preferred payment method is via credit card through our secure booking system. The balance due will be charged to the card on file 30 days prior to your tour departure date.
Should you need to cancel your tour with us more than 30 days prior to your tour departure date, your deposit is fully refundable. Should you need to cancel your tour within 30 days of your tour departure date, your payment is non-refundable. We strongly recommend that you purchase third-party travel insurance that will protect you in case of unforeseen cancellations or changes to your travel plans (for suggested travel insurance companies, see Forbes Advisor).
Should your tour need to be canceled due to factors beyond our control, including (but not limited to) extreme weather conditions, wildfire, natural disaster, park closure, airline cancellations, or an “Act of God” we are unable to offer a cash refund.
As a small business, we regret that we are rarely able to make exceptions to our cancellation policy.
Yellowstone Wild is based in Gardiner, MT at the North Entrance to the park. All of our wildlife focused tours depart from either Gardiner, Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Junction, or the Lamar Buffalo Ranch, with pickups available for an additional fee from: Sage Lodge or Canyon Village.
Our Dayhiking, Geysers, Hot Springs, and Mudpots, Oh My!, and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Waterfalls, and Geysers tours also pick up at Canyon Village, Old Faithful Village, or Madison Junction.
Yellowstone is a HUGE park with 5 different entrances/exits, 371 miles of developed roads, a maximum speed of 45mph (unless posted less than this), and heavy traffic during the summer months.
In general it’s a good idea to plan on AT LEAST 30 minutes of drive time for each stretch of road within the park.
A few examples of estimated travel times (in minutes – NOT in miles):
Bozeman to Gardiner, MT. – 1 and a half hours
Livingstone to Gardiner, MT.- 45 minutes to 1 hour
Emigrant to Gardiner, MT. – 30-45 minutes
West Yellowstone to Canyon – 1 hour
West Yellowstone to Mammoth – 1 hour and fifteen minutes
Big Sky to Canyon Village or Mammoth Hot Springs – 2+ hours
Old Faithful to Canyon Village or Mammoth Hot Springs – 1 hour and fifteen minutes
Grant Village to Canyon Village – 1 hour
Unfortunately we are unable to depart later than the start times listed on our website.
Yellowstone Wild prides itself on having a very high success rate in finding the top wildlife in Yellowstone nearly every day. We are able to do this by working within the travel/feeding habits of the wildlife. Most of our large animals, and especially predators such as bears and wolves, are most active right at dawn. As the light increases, along with the temperature, our wildlife tends to bed down and/or move into more shaded areas. Therefore it is critical that we begin our day based on the natural habits and movements of our wild animals.
If the early start time is a bit too daunting, we highly recommend you check out our Family Adventure Tour, Dayhiking option, or the Grand Canyon or Geyser tours, as they have later start times and are not solely focused on wildlife observations.