What to Expect
I will meet you in Gardiner, at your accommodation or other agreed upon location. I will ride along with you in your vehicle (unless otherwise arranged), sharing information about the park, answering your questions, adapting our itinerary to changing conditions and opportunities to your preferences.
I have a very high success rate for finding particular wildlife, such as wolves and bears. However, these are wild animals and sightings are not certain nor guaranteed. Please read the 'Staying Safe in Yellowstone' section below for the park service's rules about maintaining safe distances from wildlife.
Weather conditions can vary dramatically throughout the day. In the spring, summer and autumn we can have sub-freezing temperatures in the morning followed by intensely sunny afternoons and 90 F (33 C). Bring warm layers for mornings and expect to shed those warm clothes by late morning. Thunderstorms commonly bring rain in the late summer afternoon. Snow can fall at any time of year, including July.
In addition to guiding expertise, I will bring delicious food (breakfast and late morning snacks for wildlife watching or lunch for hikes); beverages, high quality spotting scopes; binoculars and a few field guides. You will be asked to sign a National Park standard Acknowledgement of Risk form on the day of your trip.
What to Bring
Please remember to bring: your own water bottle (to reduce waste); warm layers for cool morning temperatures, including a rain/wind proof jacket and closed footwear with slip-resistant soles; hat and sunscreen; your camera, and whatever other viewing or recording devices you like to use in addition to those provided (high quality spotting scopes (Swarovski) and binoculars). For liability reasons, firearms are not allowed on our tours.
If you cancel more than 30 days before your trip date, you will receive a full refund minus a $50 processing fee. If it is 5 to 29 days before your trip date, then you will receive a 50% refund. Refunds are usually not provided within 5 days of your booking, but please contact me if exceptional circumstances are keeping you from your tour. I will worry if you just don't show up! I may be able to make alternative arrangements. A full refund will apply, less the $50 processing fee, if I am able to re-book your date.
Stay Safe in Yellowstone!
Traffic in Yellowstone includes unique hazards. Drive cautiously and always at or below the speed limit. You will see more and also reduce your risk of collisions with wildlife or other cars. Please be aware that traffic jams commonly occur on park roads where visitors stop (and sometimes abandon) their vehicles (pets, small children, etc.) in the middle of the road to look at wildlife on or near the road. You may encounter this behavior anywhere in the park, even around blind corners. Drive with caution and without fatigue. If you see wildlife or incredible views, the National Park Service requests that you park with all tires on the outside of the road's white line or use the nearest pullout. Do not stand on the road. Not all motorists are vigilant and many are distracted by beautiful views or trying to see what you are looking at.
Don't approach wildlife! Yellowstone National Park has the following policy regarding wildlife:
“You must stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves; and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals—including birds.” Minimize your risks of encountering a bear by “making loud noises, shouting, or singing. Hike in groups and use caution where vision is obstructed. Carry bear spray and know how to use it. Do not hike after dark. Avoid carcasses; bears often defend this food source."
Even though the bison do it, don't leave the boardwalks or otherwise walk off trail in geothermal areas. Throughout Yellowstone's history, more than 100 people have been injured and 20 have died by falling into geothermal features. Be mindful of where your children are stepping. Keep your dog safe too: never outside of the parking area and never off leash. Dogs have also lost their lives in Yellowstone's geothermal features.