What is your COVID-19 protocol?
As an effort to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, we request that you follow your guide in your own vehicle on wildlife watching tours through April 10, 2021. We communicate between vehicles en route via walkie-talkies. After that date, riding in the guide's vehicle is optional and masks will be required at all times inside the vehicle. In the field, masks are required when you are within 6 feet of your guide or other park visitors.
Do I have to meet you in Gardiner?
We are based in Gardiner, Montana, but can meet you at a convenient location in the park as well. Trip prices will reflect any travel fees for our guides.
Can you guarantee I'll see wolves?
We have a very high success rate for finding wildlife, such as wolves and bears. However, these are wild animals and sightings are not guaranteed. July and August are some of the most challenging months to see larger mammals because high temperatures cause reduced wildlife activity. We will often need to search more on those days.
Do I have to hike into the backcountry to see wildlife?
On day hikes, we typically do not see mega fauna. Instead, we see a variety of “mini fauna”, such as badgers, foxes, coyotes, marmots, and pika. If seeing bears and/or wolves is important to you, please book a wildlife watching trip, which is road-based. Surprisingly, we see much more mega fauna from the road, and staying close to the vehicle allows easy access to our high-quality spotting scopes.
How long are the trips?
On full-day trips, we aim to spend 6-8 hours in the field, depending on what’s happening out there. But if we get caught in a bear jam at the last minute, we are totally stopping for that!
What's the weather like in Yellowstone?
Please remember to bring clothing layers! It is not uncommon to have 60 degree (F) temperature changes in one day. In the winter, that could mean a change from -20 to +40 degrees (F). In summer, we could start the morning below freezing, and end the day in short sleeves. Be prepared!
Thunderstorms commonly bring rain in the summer afternoons. Snow can fall at any time of year, including July and August - seriously. There isn't much gear available in Gardiner or inside the park, so check the forecasts and come prepared.
If you are departing from Gardiner, expect temperatures to drop approximately 15 degrees F (about 10 degrees C) as we head to higher elevations. From October to April, expect it to range from cold to very very very nasty cold. We sometimes find ourselves watching wildlife in -30 F! Please bring appropriate layers, waterproof insulated shoes, a warm hat, and insulated gloves.
Which months are considered "summer", and which are "winter"?
Seasons vary from year to year, but we can often trail hike from May to October. We can generally go snowshoeing and cross-country skiing from late December through early March, depending on snow pack. The months in between are considered the "shoulder" season, when anything could happen.
What is provided?
In addition to guiding expertise, we provide:
- ✓ Brunch/Lunch
- ✓ Hot beverages
- ✓ High quality spotting scopes
- ✓ Binoculars
- ✓ Field guides
- ✓ Our extensive field expertise
You will be asked to sign a National Park standard Acknowledgement of Risk form on the day of your trip.
What do I need to bring with me?
We ask that you bring your own water bottles, and make sure they are filled before your tour. We adhere to Leave No Trace ethics, and reducing our impact on the environment is important to us. There is often no potable water available in the field, so we will have extra water on hand for refills.
Hydration is key to enjoying Yellowstone! It is high and dry all year long. Expect to drink at least 3 liters of water per day to avoid headaches, bloody noses, fatigue, nausea, and sleepless nights that can be caused by our high, dry climate. Don't worry. We will make plenty of bathroom breaks!
Please also bring:
- ✓ Warm layers for cool morning temperatures
- ✓ Rain/wind-proof jacket
- ✓ Closed-toe footwear with slip-resistant soles
- ✓ Sun protection: Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
- ✓ Insect repellent in the summer months
- ✓ Your camera and other personal optics
For liability reasons, firearms are not allowed on our tours.
Are your trips suitable for children?
Yes! Children of all ages are welcome. We love sharing the wonders of Yellowstone with young people. What better way to spark their appreciation of our public lands?
However, please keep in mind that you are responsible for your child at all times, while we’re responsible for looking for bears and wolves.
Can you accommodate groups of more than 6?
The maximum group size is 10. Not only is it important to reduce group size due to COVID-19, we also want to provide the best experience for you and your group. Smaller groups are better.
If you have a larger group, we can discuss pricing for extra guides.
It’s just me. Can I join a public tour?
We do not conduct public tours at this time.
What is the cancellation policy?
Cancellations up to 30 days before your trip date will receive a full refund minus a $50 processing fee.
Cancellations between 29 and 5 days before your trip date will receive a 50% refund.
Refunds are not provided within 5 days of your booking.
We understand that exceptional circumstances occur from time to time. Please contact us if you have a special case.
We are often in the park, outside of cellphone reception, so please allow some time for us to respond to your inquiries. Texts and emails are the best way to communicate with us, as voicemails sometimes get lost.
We look forward to spending time with you in Yellowstone!