Here are a few most frequently asked questions and our answers to help you be prepared. However,we will be more than happy to discuss your specific questions and concerns on the phone in more detail.. We are also happy to share information about favorite local establishments, such as lodges, restaurants, and outfitting businesses with the links listed below.
1. How do we arrange for a safari?
Please examine our website, then contact us either with the form provided or call and email us. We will be happy to discuss the goals you have for your time in the Greater Yellowstone area. If necessary, we will advise you on lodging options or make reservations for you. While we have some structured services and safaris, to a major extent all outdoor experiences are unique and therefore we recommend personal communication to give you the best idea of the safari experience and activity options. We will agree payment details as well as on date, meeting time and place. After your deposit is received, we will email a confirmation and other relevant documents.
2. Are your safaris suitable for children?
Our safaris are very suitable for children. In general, all our safaris are great for all family members to share and remember. Our guides are experienced with and facilitating an interactive learnign experience for kids. We feel that from about 4 years old and up, kids can very effectively use optics and participate in the safari experience. Playing in a meadow or along a stream and looking at natural curiosities are great activities for small children.
3. Are your safaris suitable for seniors?
We can accommodate any level of desired activiy, from total motorized safari to all day hikes, so seniors would be fine. To be able to see certain features, you may be required to walk. In most cases, an auto tour with short walks will allow us to see all the major features.
5. What type of equipment is provided and what should we bring?
For most of our services we provide everything you need for the experience. There are some accessories you should consider: hat, gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen,camera and maybe a daypack are good year-round items to bring.
6. What's included in your safaris?
Each safari is provided with a professional wildlife guide, custom transportation, binocular and spotting scope use for each participant, snacks, beverages, lunch. Half-day tours and guded day hikes do not include lunch.
7. How physical are your safaris?
Trips can be as strenuous as you like. We can hike all day, or not at all. If you have reserved a Full Day Private Safari, since it is private, we can be as flexible as you like and extend or shorten any hiking time.
8. What about restroom facilities?
On single day events in developed areas we will provide every consideration for your comfort. In some areas of Yellowstone only pit toilets are available, in others, plumbing and toilet facilities are common. Certainly one of the most called upon levels of "special knowledge" provided by your guide, is to know efficient toilet locations! On backcountry trips toilet facilities can be more primitive.
9. What if we don't see wildlife?
We do not guarantee any particular species, though many of the most dramatic (wolf and bear) are seen at a very high success rate, particularly during certain seasons and in certain localities.
10. What if the weather is bad?
Generally the weather doesn't affect us in a negative way. Keep in mind this is a dry climate and the weather is generally excellent. If we simply have rain or snow, you will probably be much better with the day reserved with us, since we are best able and equipped to deal with the vagaries of mountain weather. However, mountain weather can change suddenly and our intent is to provide an outdoor experience. We will not cancel unless it is for safety reasons. For example, a severe blizzard would make driving unsafe and may necessitate cancellation. This has not happened in our over 20-year history, but it is possible. If we do cancel for this reasons you will receive a full refund of all payments.
11. Is Yellowstone really crowded?
In summer, Yellowstone can be crowded in the vicinity of major site features such as Old Faithful Geyser. Traffic jams can also occur due to the presence of wildlife (gridlock can occur when a bison crosses the road, or a bear or moose forages roadside). In general Yellowstone is not really crowded. Note that few people go beyond the developed areas, so a short hike can quickly take you in to a "wilderness" experience. Yellowstone is definitely not crowded during fall, winter and spring seasons.
12. We want to be away from people. What can you provide?
We can guide you to little visited areas and rare experiences in Yellowstone and the surrounding area. If you truly would like a wilderness experience, we facilitate that too (see our multi- day trips or consider an all day hike, llama trek or river trip). However, if you are visiting Yellowstone and you have a limited amount of time, keep in mind that some of the most dramatic and impressive features, such as Old Faithful Geyser and the Lower falls of the Grand Canyon, are near roads, parking areas, and boardwalk trails to facilitate public access. These areas are the most "crowded". While these areas are easy to access and find, visiting them with us can help you understand the natural history of the features and facilitate an efficient experience. In general, Yellowstone is not nearly as crowded as the media would have us believe. It really is crowded only at key site locations and features, and we can best help you maneuver efficiently through these areas. Most groups, on average, want some measure of "away from roads" time, but do not want a strenuous hike. It is not necessary to exert yourself strenuously to experience the wonderful values of the Yellowstone and Grand teton landscape.
13. What is the best season to visit Yellowstone or Montana?
Truth be told, there is no "best season." Some seasons are better for certain values and others are not. For example, winter is not the time for watching bears since they are hibernating. Winter is best for big mammals on big landscapes, including wolves. Spring is best for bears, wolves, and overall wildlife diversity, but the weather can be very variable. However, odds are weather will be excellent. Fall is a season of color and select wildlife sights associated with breeding. Fall as "the season of the rut" and great for watching large grazing animals, both males and females, interacting and courting in complex and dramatic displays. Most visitors come in the summer season, so the roads are busier at that time. The weather is also most accommodating in the summer. Summer is a great season for being at low elevations near rivers, or for being at high elevations where temperatures are cooler.
14. How cold does it get and what type of clothing do we need?
Average daytime temperatures mid-winter are about 28'F to 30'F. Winter nighttime temperatures may be less than 10'F. Average summer temperatures may be in the 80's with lows in the 40's. These are averages, so keep in mind the range of temperatures can be quite a bit more dramatic. The best way to deal with this range of temperatures is to have a layered garment system such as: windproof jacket, vest, sweater, heavy shirt and undergarments. One rule of thumb: even in summer, consider bringing one more layer than you expect to need. Of course, in all seasons: hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and sturdy walking shoes. Rain gear is also a good idea.
15. What type of footwear is appropriate?
Footwear is sometimes governed by activity. In general, footwear should be sturdy, broken-in walking shoes. In summer, light hiking shoes are good for day hikes and general touring. Heavier boots are better for backpacking. Snowboots ("PAC" style, or "Sorel" style with rubber bottom and leather upper) are best for snowshoeing. Some type of shoe or sandal which you can get wet and swim in is best for river trips.
16. Can I bring my firearms on a safari or backcountry trip?
We do not allow any firearms on our tours. Non-compliance will be followed by immediate termination of your tour. Thank you for your understanding.
Here are some of our favorite lodging facilities and activities providers in the Bozeman/Livingston/Big Sky/Three Forks area:
The Voss Inn-Bozeman
Another very unique experience is a stay in Silver Gate, a small hamlet just out side the NE entrance of Yellowstone National Park:
***Please note that even though we recommend the above places to stay, we may not always pick up there but may suggest a different meeting location based on time of year or type of tour.***
White Water Rafting:
Photographs on this website have been provided by Doug McLaughlin, Danny Nestor, Davina Stebbins, Alan Carey, Ruben Gamoo, Priya Kuladeva, Daniel J. Smith, Ken and Susi Sinay