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  1. #1
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    Default Yellowstone tours?

    We are going to Yellowstone at the end of August this year. I've searched and found some great tips from people on this forum. We will be mostly touring on our own, but I am thinking about booking a guided tour or two because we generally feel like we get more out of guided tours on vacations. Do you think that is true for Yellowstone? Also, I really like the sounds of the Hidden Yellowstone tour with Yellowstone Adventure Tours but it is much pricier than most of the others I have found. Does anyone have experience with this company or specific tour? Is it worth it? Anyone do the wildlife tour through Xanterra (significantly cheaper) and have reviews of it? Are there any guided tours you would recommend?
    TIA
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  2. #2
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    I am not a tour person and would not do one for Yellowstone--you can see everything yourself. BUT--there are some educational places "attached" to Yellowstone. Maybe the Greater Yellowstone Institute or something like that. Google those. They do some amazing stuff--especially around wolf viewing. That would be worth looking into. Xanterra stuff is all on a bus, if I recall. Go to the Ranger talks--those are super interesting and really fun. Check those out in the park newsletter.
    Mom to:
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  3. #3
    AnnieW625's Avatar
    AnnieW625 is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    You won’t need a guided tour in Yellowstone in late August. The park visitor population will be pretty low compared to the rest of summer so you should have little to no issues with crowds. I would pick some parts of the park that you want to see and look for trip reports from different sites and see what there is to do.


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  4. #4
    marinkitty is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Like others above, I'm not much of tour person overall and have been enjoying just getting to know Yellowstone on our own over the past few years, but I have talked to lots of folks while watching wildlife (wolves, in particular, because once you find them people tend to congregate and guides are great about sharing intel and their spotting scopes) and the naturalist guided ones would likely be worthwhile as those guides are a treasure trove of information. There are a few people I would happily shell out to hear speak or learn from, I just haven't felt the need as so far I feel like I've been seeing and learning a lot on my own. Talking to any ranger you happen upon is also always a smart bet - last summer I stood and talked to a ranger in Norris Geyser Basin for almost an hour (she was watching a geyser and taking notes on it) and she had so much cool stuff to share and gave us some new ideas of places to explore that were more off the beaten path. All that said, I think Yellowstone is a very accessible park and there are great guidebooks to learn on your own about the geological features, topography, fauna and different ways to explore the park. I do think it's worth doing some adventure activities outside the park (rafting/float trip/climbing/fishing) and for those a guided experience is valuable. Most of what we've done in that vein has been closer to Big Sky or Ennis, but LMK if you want any recommendations for any of those things. ETA: The hiking in/near Yellowstone is super accessible and no guide needed.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the feedback! I think we'll skip the tours and just do our own thing. We have 4.5 days there so I think we'll have plenty of time to venture off the more popular routes. We are going to GTNP before Yellowstone and doing a rafting trip there. We'll also make use of the rangers and any activities they might provide while we're there.
    Mom to:
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    the Panda 12/11

  6. #6
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    We did a Yellowstone tour and it was fantastic. I think we booked a guide though the Yellowstone institute, it was just our family and the guide. She took us to a bunch of off the beaten path places that we wouldn’t have visited on our own since we aren’t outdoorsy, I highly recommend.

  7. #7
    gobadgers is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    I agree that it's a very accessible park, but it's so big and there's so much to see that it can be overwhelming. I know I've mentioned this in other threads too, but we used an app called Gypsy Guides in Yellowstone and it helped a lot. It's a paid app, but we found it useful enough that I would pay it again :-)

    For us, it was kind of a happy medium between being on a tour (we like going at our own pace), while still having a little extra information (I really enjoyed not looking through notes or flipping through guidebooks between each stop!)
    -Christine

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  8. #8
    marinkitty is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by gobadgers View Post
    I agree that it's a very accessible park, but it's so big and there's so much to see that it can be overwhelming. I know I've mentioned this in other threads too, but we used an app called Gypsy Guides in Yellowstone and it helped a lot. It's a paid app, but we found it useful enough that I would pay it again :-)

    For us, it was kind of a happy medium between being on a tour (we like going at our own pace), while still having a little extra information (I really enjoyed not looking through notes or flipping through guidebooks between each stop!)
    I also have used Gypsy Guide and like it for what it is. It's inexpensive and makes the driving around fun. I've used the Going to the Sun Road one in Glacier too. It isn't centered on the activities I tend to seek out at Yellowstone - hiking and wildlife - so I find it of limited use for my primary interests.

  9. #9
    KrisM is offline Clean Sweep forum moderator
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    We did not do a tour, but I wish we had done one for part of a day. It's tough on the driver sometimes to see areas where you can't pull over. And if you can find the right tour guide, they can be such a great perk with their knowledge. I don't have any recommendations, but I think a half day tour of an area of interest would be a good addition.
    Kris

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