Yellowstone National Park - Best Tours & Trips 2019

161 Yellowstone National Park tours from 27 tour companies. 323 reviews. 4.7/5 avg rating.
Yellowstone, which spans parts of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, is one of America's greatest national parks: a haven for wildlife, a repository of active geothermal wonders, and a favorite of campers and sightseers, a wealth of forests, mountains, rivers, and more. A Yellowstone tour is much more than its most famous icon, the Old Faithful geyser.
All Yellowstone National Park tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages.
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Travel Style Travel Style Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.

Trip Type Trip Type Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Itinerary Focus

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

Price From*

$ 302 $ 9,235

Price Per Day

Trip Length

Countries

Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

Travel Theme

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Rivers & Seas

Cities & Attractions

Activities

Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.

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All American Outdoors

Topdeck
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
19 days
$ 245 / day
$ 4,649
From : $ 6,276
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Entry to Grand Teton National Park
  • Entry to Yosemite National Park
  • Driving tour of San Francisco
  • Entry to Yellowstone National Park
  • Space Needle, Seattle
  • Navajo Jeep tour, Monument Valley
  • Entry to Grand Canyon National Park
  • Entry to Arches National Park
  • Chuckwagon Dinner Show, Jackson Hole
  • Party bus, Las Vegas
Visits:
Arches National Park, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Monument Valley, San Francisco, Yellowstone National Park, United States
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Northern Adventure(Twin Room,Start Chicago, End L ...

Contiki
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
14 days
$ 174 / day
$ 2,635
From : $ 3,409
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
Highlights
  • Drive through the American Midwest's beautiful farmlands
  • Enjoy an evening in Madison, home to the University of Wisconsin
  • Explore Custer State Park
  • Visit Mt. Rushmore
  • Discover a Native American legend at the Crazy Horse Memorial
  • Visit a panoramic viewpoint for photos
  • Capture some incredible photos with a visit to a panoramic viewpoint
Visits:
Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Yellowstone National Park, Zion National Park, United States
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National Parks of the Northwest US

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
15 days
$ 205 / day
$ 3,079
From : $ 4,157
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Get inspired by wilderness in the rockies
  • Watch geysers erupt in yellowstone
  • Indulge in craft beer in laid-back oregon
  • Get a taste for the northwest's majestic national parks
  • Visit quirky towns and funky cities
Visits:
Boise, Glacier National Park, Portland, Yellowstone National Park, United States
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Rockies, Yellowstone & Mt Rushmore

Intrepid Travel
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
11 days
$ 135 / day
$ 1,485
From : $ 2,079
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
Highlights
  • Spanning three National Parks, two National Monuments, and a collection of State and County Parks, this is a must for nature lovers
  • Spend an evening on the banks of the Mississippi, in true Huckleberry Finn style, and rent a canoe to paddle along the famous river
  • See an icon that blends nature and history at Mt Rushmore
  • Spend two nights in Yellowstone and keep your eyes open for bison, bears, even rare grey wolves
  • Take a scenic drive through the spectacular snow-capped mountains, valleys, lakes and rivers of Grand Teton National Park, one of America's natural treasures
  • End the trip in the bustling, lakefront city of Chicago. It's one of America's most attractive cities
  • Witness some of America's roadside kitsch at places such as Wall Drug, Corn Palace and the Spam Museum
Visits:
Chicago, Yellowstone National Park, United States
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Yellowstone Backpacking – Bechler River

4 days
$ 250 / day
$ 999
From : $ 1,349
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Explore remote corners of the world's first national park
  • See beautiful rivers, streams, hot springs, geysers, and wildflowers
  • Enjoy four days of backpacking surrounded by natural wonder
Visits:
Montana, Yellowstone National Park, United States
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7 Day Bryce, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Rocky Mou ...

Project Expedition
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
7 days
$ 143 / day
$ 1,440
Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
Highlights
  • Bryce Canyon national park
  • Salt Lake City
  • Grand Tetons national park
  • Yellowstone national park
  • Explore Snow Canyon state park
Visits:
Yellowstone National Park, United States
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Winter in Yellowstone

Collette
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
7 days
$ 521 / day
$ 3,649
From : $ 4,119
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • G
  • See elk in their natural habitat during a sleigh ride in the National Elk Refuge.
  • Journey to the picturesque Caribou Targhee National Forest in Idaho.
  • See the tranquil Lamar Valley tucked away in the scenic northwest corner of Yellowstone.
  • Join an expert on a private walking tour to learn the history of Yellowstone.
  • Witness the colossal geyser Old Faithful in action and surrounded by snow and ice.
  • Travel by snow coach to observe Yellowstone's iconic scenery.
Visits:
Yellowstone National Park, United States
View Trip

Indian Pass and the Divide

5 days
$ 266 / day
$ 1,330
From : $ 1,769
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level : High intensity hiking, trekking, mountain climbing, cycling. May experience dramatic changes in altitude. Extreme activities included. Extreme
Lodging Level : Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges. Camping
Highlights
  • High peaks and alpine lakes on the Divide
  • Demanding, adventurous trekking
  • Wonderful rejuvenating solitude
  • Off-trail hiking into a stunning mountain cirques
  • Camps near pristine mountain lakes and streams
  • The most vivid night skies you've ever seen
Visits:
Yellowstone National Park, United States
View Trip

Yellowstone Snowshoe Traverse

5 days
$ 519 / day
$ 2,595
From : $ 3,503
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Yellowstone's most famous geysers and thermals
  • Explore and enjoy the truly majestic winter
  • Amazing natural & cultural history
  • Potential to see moose, bison, elk & more
  • Amazing natural & cultural history
Visits:
Yellowstone National Park, United States
View Trip

Gallatin Skyline

7 days
$ 242 / day
$ 1,695
From : $ 2,254
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges. Camping
Highlights
  • Yellowstone's most prominent mountain range
  • Yellowstone's highest lakes & most pristine rivers
  • Paradise Valley and breathtaking views
Visits:
Yellowstone National Park, United States
View Trip

Yellowstone Base Camp Tour

5 days
$ 298 / day
$ 1,490
From : $ 1,982
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges. Camping
Highlights
  • Yellowstone in its most magical season
  • Yellowstone's most famous geysers and thermals
  • Solitude, peace and quiet
  • Snow-blanketed meadows and frozen river valleys
  • Cozy accommodations & wonderful meals
  • Potential to see moose, bison, elk & more
  • Amazing natural & cultural history
Visits:
Montana, Yellowstone National Park, United States
View Trip

Observation Peak Trek

3 days
$ 315 / day
$ 945
From : $ 1,257
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges. Camping
Highlights
  • Moderate hiking with short distances
  • Beautiful camping on the shores of Cascade Lake
  • Wonderful hike to the top of Observation Peak
  • Historic fire lookout and big views
Visits:
Montana, Yellowstone National Park, United States
View Trip

Bechler Llama Traverse

6 days
$ 366 / day
$ 2,195
From : $ 2,919
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges. Camping
Highlights
  • Explore the amazing Shoshone Geyser Basin and Shoshone Lake
  • Stunning Bechler River Canyon
  • Enjoy great opportunities to see wildlife
  • Enjoy our top-notch service and wonderful llamas
Visits:
United States
View Trip

Bechler River Traverse

5 days
$ 270 / day
$ 1,350
From : $ 1,796
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges. Camping
Highlights
  • Yellowstone's Bechler River Valley
  • Hike to the largest backcountry geyser in Yellowstone
  • Enjoying the peaceful scenery of Bechler Canyon
Visits:
Yellowstone National Park, United States
View Trip

Heart lake llama Trek

6 days
$ 366 / day
$ 2,195
From : $ 2,919
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges. Camping
Highlights
  • Enjoy a thru-hike with new scenery every day
  • Hike by a boiling river and soak in hot springs
  • Climb Mount Sheridan for amazing views
  • Soak up fantastic solitude in remote wilderness
  • Watch out for wildlife like mountain goats, moose and wolves
  • Hike in comfort with just a light day pack
  • Enjoy our top-notch service and wonderful llamas!
Visits:
Yellowstone National Park, United States
View Trip
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Top Yellowstone National Park Experiences and Attractions

Top Yellowstone National Park Experiences

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Yellowstone National Park Trip Reviews

323 Yellowstone National Park Tour Reviews - Summary 96% Recommend

4.7 out of 5
Excellent 246
Great 64
Average 10
Disappointing 2
Terrible 1
Value
4.7
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.7
Lodging
4.7
Transportation
4.7
Meals
4.7

Tour Reviews Write a Review

It was the best trip I've taken in recent memory.

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

I don't think I can add much to what has already been said. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Yellowstone with Experience Park Tours. It was the best trip I've taken in recent memory. I love the beauty of nature and being with good people, and this trip combined both. It was excellent in every way. I especially appreciated how kind and helpful everyone was with my husband Larry who has some physical challenges/limitations. The staff were the very best in terms of their knowledge and expertise but also just good, kind people who were very hospitable and gracious. Thank you all so much for a memorable experience.

Read more
Operator Experience Park Tours

Excellent, with a few minor exceptions.

5.0
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0

We just returned from a Caravan tour of Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, and Grand Tetons. Although there were just a couple of things we did not like, overall it was a very enjoyable seven days. The tour director was superb, very helpful, always available, friendly, and a pleasant person. The driver was very good at his job, extremely experienced and knowledgable. The trip was well planned, most of the hotels were above average in quality, the bus was comfortable, the included meals were good.

Financially, it was a good buy overall. However, it did cost somewhat more than expected based on the advertisements. Although Caravan advertises that "most or all" meals are included, in this particular tour only nine of the twenty meals were included, and of these, only one of the seven dinners. In addition, there was heavy emphasis on gratuities, with too-frequent reminders. Suggested amounts were given, and even the minimum suggested amounts seemed rather high to me. We were given to feel obligated, rather than left to decide on our own based on the quality of the service. Caravan stated that the only gratuities not included in the price were those to the tour director and driver. However, gratuities to hotel maids and local guides, and shuttle drivers were also not included, and suggested amounts for these were given by the tour director. Overall we spent about $150 on gratuities, even though staying in the lower range of the suggested amounts.

But we are glad we went, and will consider Caravan again when planning another trip.

Read more
Operator Caravan Tours

National Parks Wonders

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

The itinerary was well paced. Some days a little light and some days a little long if you did all the optional experiences, but over all just right. The insight into sites while driving there, sometimes viewing the introductory film while on board were time saving and a great use of drive time. We had to change plans due to snow closures but the substitution was just as great if not better for me personally.

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Operator Trafalgar

National Parks Wonders

4.0
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0

The parks and stops along the way had something of interest for everyone. The scenery, wildlife, science, art, music, history- in addition to humorous anecdotes, were enjoyable.The only place I would not care to visit again was Deadwood.

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Operator Trafalgar

National Parks Wonders

3.0
  • Value 3.0
  • Guide 3.0
  • Activities 3.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 3.0
  • Meals 3.0

didn't buy much of anything

Read more
Operator Trafalgar

National Parks Wonders

2.0
  • Value 2.0
  • Guide 2.0
  • Activities 2.0
  • Lodging 2.0
  • Transportation 2.0
  • Meals 2.0

Wasn't impressed with Deadwood tour. Too much about Kevin Costner and not famous sites.

Read more
Operator Trafalgar

Yellowstone National Park Tours and Travel Guide

Yellowstone National Park Attractions & Landmarks Guide

Yellowstone National Park: a natural treasure, the holy grail for outdoorsmen -- many of us have grown up hearing stories about the park and its majestic herds of buffalo, rolling valleys, winding rivers, and breathtaking mountains. It’s no wonder that this park is at the very top of many travelers’ bucket lists.

Volcanoes, Geysers, and Hot Springs - Oh My!

One of the most fascinating and unique features of Yellowstone is the fact that it sits on top of a massive, dormant volcano. The volcano is what creates the many steaming hot springs, gurgling mud pots, and spitting geysers in the park. In fact, Yellowstone National Park has more geysers than anywhere else on the planet!

Of all Yellowstone’s geysers, Old Faithful remains the most famous. The notorious geyser sits in a historic district, and can be viewed on a boardwalk. About every hour, it erupts, jetting hot water over 100 feet into the air. A visit to Yellowstone provides an opportunity to see such rare hydrothermal features, like Old Faithful, up close.

The geysers are not the only feature created by Yellowstone’s volcano. Some of the most interesting and unique attractions in the park are the fascinating “mud volcanoes.” These mud pots (also called paintpots because of the minerals which tint the mud an array of colors) seem like something out of a science fiction film, and can often be heard and smelt -- they are also called “sulphur caldrons” -- before they are seen.

One of the most photographed spots in Yellowstone is at the Grand Prismatic Spring - and any grand tour of Yellowstone would be incomplete without it. The Grand Prismatic, is one of several pools in Yellowstone, and is the largest hot spring in the United States. The pool is filled with dazzling, neon blue water in the center, and rimmed with vibrant yellow and orange residue. The stunning, otherworldly colors are a result of the minerals and bacteria in the pool.

 

The Scenery

Aside from its impressive geothermal features, Yellowstone is also known for its magnificent natural scenery and pristine wilderness. Among the best sights include gushing waterfalls, like the Tower Waterfall, rock formations like the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and the peaceful Lake Yellowstone. Another important natural element of the park are its valleys, such as Hayden Valley, which are popular areas amongst tourists to have a picnic lunch and spot wildlife.  

Wildlife

Another reasons people from all over the world are attracted to Yellowstone is because of its abundant wildlife. Because a hunting ban has protected all of the animals within Yellowstone since the park’s inception, animal sightings are common, and some are even unafraid of humans. As a result, there are many Yellowstone wildlife tours that focus specifically on the animals!

In particular, visitors come to see the wild herds of bison and elk, moose, and black and grizzly bears. If you are lucky, you may even see a beaver, an otter, or a wolf -- there are currently 13 wolf packs residing within the park’s boundaries!

 

Yellowstone by the Seasons

Located in the heart of North America, Yellowstone is subject to a drastic seasonal change. In the summer, temperatures average in the low 70’s, and in the winter temperatures below zero are common.

The summer is the most popular time to visit Yellowstone National Park, and although there are certain places that can get crowded, these crowds can be easily avoided -- summer is still a beautiful time to visit the park. During the summer months, all roads and campsites are open, and this allows visitors to see all of the seasonal attributes: the breathtaking wildflower bloom, the trout spawn, elk and mountain goat calving, and the bison rut.  

In the fall, enjoy one of North America’s greatest masterpieces: the autumn. Explore Yellowstone with a backdrop of vibrant yellow and reds as the forest changes color. At this time, black bears and grizzlies are particularly active as they strive to fill their stomachs before hibernation. The park’s population of elk is also in rut, the time of the year that they mate. As a result, visitors can expect to their them bugling and perhaps witness an intense clash between two males.

The winter is a magical time in the park. With many roads blanketed in thick layers of snow, snowmobile tours of the park are a popular and thrilling way of getting around. For those uninterested in the intensity of the snowmobiling, don’t worry -- you can still tour Yellowstone in a historic snowcoach.

 

No matter what season you arrive in, or what you end up doing - America’s first national park is sure to stun and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Top Yellowstone National Park Travel Companies

Things to Know Before You Go

What to Wear

The Summer
During a summer visit to Yellowstone, you should bring comfortable, outdoor clothing, that you can easily layer on and remove. Because Yellowstone National Park sits a mile above sea level on average, you should expect cold nights, no matter season you are visiting in. Be sure to bring a warm jacket or a fleece, and a rain jacket -- weather in the park can be unpredictable!

If you plan to swim in one of the park's countless rivers, hot springs, or go whitewater rafting, consider bringing water shoes. The rivers are rocky and can be uncomfortable to walk in barefoot. Otherwise, make sure to bring comfortable, closed-toe shoes for any hiking you may do.

The Winter
If you are traveling to the park in the winter, anticipate severe and colder weather. This means bringing a heavy waterproof jacket, and wearing wool or other insulating clothing underneath. If you are planning to do any snow sports, dress appropriately, and wear synthetic, fast-drying material as your first layer. This way, if you sweat, the clothing will dry quickly and you will stay warm.

Because of the reflective qualities of the snow, also bring a pair of sunglasses. Make sure to take a long a set of gloves and a hat, too.


What to Bring

As with visiting any national park, it is better to be prepared. Make sure to pack a good water bottle, binoculars, a small day backpack if you are hiking, and of course, bring your camera!  If you plan on leaving the main tourist areas in the park, or camping overnight, it is also recommended that you bring a first aid kit and carry bear spray.


Recreation

Yellowstone has a variety of recreational activities. Some of the most popular include:


More than Meets the Eye

While the most obvious attractions of Yellowstone are physical, the park also has a rich and fascinating history. One of the benefits of taking a group tour of Yellowstone is that your guide will be able to tell you, in detail, about it. If you are interested in learning about the Native American tribes who battled and conducted pow wows in and around the National Park, consider taking a culture-based trip. Go see the Crazy Horse Memorial, tour a Native American art exposition, and even meet local tribe members.

Guided tours often go outside the park to explore the history of the region. A historical tour will guarantee you the opporunity to learn about it. For example, visit old Wild West towns and learn about important figures like Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jane, or take a short drive to see the infamous Mount Rushmore.


How safe is Yellowstone?

Many visitors to Yellowstone are alarmed when they first read that bear spray is recommended within the park. Despite this recommendation, the probability of a bear attack is very low -- many more visitors have been injured trying to get close to the geysers than by all interactions with wildlife combined!

With that being said, Yellowstone is an uncontrolled environment. In order to remain safe, keep to your common sense, properly dispose of all of your garbage (especially if camping), and do not feed or harass the animals.  


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