Field Notes

Wildlife Tours in Yellowstone

by Monica RobinsonFeb 14, 2024

Everything you need to know before you go

What are wildlife tours in Yellowstone?
Wildlife tours, or wildlife safaris, are excursions that allow visitors to explore the vast wilderness of Yellowstone National Park led by an experienced guide to interpret the geology, history, and diverse wildlife that live in this extraordinary ecosystem. Going with a guide offers the best opportunities to spot wildlife in its natural habitat thanks to their experience and knowledge of particular seasons, wildlife habits, and recent activity in the park. Our guides are well versed in animal behavior and ecology and will educate you on the different characteristics, biology, and seasonal migrations of our wild residents so that you come away with a thorough understanding of what you experienced during your time in the park.

Which animals can be spotted on wildlife tours in Yellowstone?
Yellowstone is home to a wide range of animals including grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, elk, bison, moose, bald eagles, and many more. A van-based or walking tour provides opportunities to see these animals in their natural habitat. With high-quality optics, we can view a number of species in the wild from a safe distance to protect both ourselves and the animals.

A Herd Of Bison Cows And Bison Calves Graze On Grasses In Yellowstone National Park

How long do wildlife tours typically last?
The duration of wildlife tours in Yellowstone can vary and depends on the specific tour you choose. The park is a vast expanse of wilderness, spanning approximately 2.2 million acres (8,983 square kilometers), so it is not possible to cover all of it in a day. We recommend booking a day with us in the Lamar Valley to search for wildlife, as well as a second day with us to explore the interior where we will see many of the biggest highlights such as Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. For a more in-depth experience, our multi-day tours offer more field time with a guide, more time to explore the lesser-known regions of Yellowstone National Park, and more opportunities during prime dawn and dusk hours for wildlife activity.

Are wildlife tours in Yellowstone suitable for children?
Absolutely! Wildlife tours are a fun activity that anyone in the family will enjoy. It is helpful, however, to consider the age and attention span of your child when selecting a tour, considering that there is a lot of time traveling in a vehicle during a long day. Our private tours do not have an age minimum and can be enjoyed by the whole family. Our open tours have an age minimum of 6 years old to ensure the pace of the tour will suit every group on board. If you have a child that loves to explore the outdoors, a private tour is ideal because we can tailor the experience to your interests and desires. Your guide can arrange more frequent stops, or spend more time focused on a particular interest.

An American Beaver Feeds On Green Vegetation In The Water In The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

When is the best time to go on a wildlife tour in Yellowstone?
Wildlife safaris operate the entire year in Yellowstone National Park. Spring is the best time to spot grizzly bears, summer is exciting for bison, fall centers around the elk rut, and winter is the season of the wolf. Each season offers unique wildlife viewing opportunities, so it ultimately depends on what you hope to see. If you have a particular interest, it’s best to reach out to us directly so we can provide the best recommendation for your wildlife safari experience- we’re happy to help you decide!

How do I book a wildlife tour in Yellowstone?
Booking a wildlife tour in Yellowstone can be done easily online! Reserve your spot in advance in order to have your desired dates secured. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, or it’s early in the planning process and you would like us to make a recommendation for you, reach out to our helpful office staff who can provide the best options for your interests.

Close Up Shot Of A Grizzly Bear In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Are wildlife tours in Yellowstone safe?
Wildlife tours with Yellowstone Safari Company prioritize safety and are conducted by experienced guides who are well-trained in wildlife safety and emergency situations. Each guide is trained in first-aid/CPR and Wilderness First Response or Wilderness First Aid. They follow the park’s laws of the roads and laws regarding wildlife etiquette including keeping a minimum distance. It’s very important to know how to safely view wildlife which is why we recommend scheduling a wildlife safari during your first few days in the region. The knowledge you gain from spending time with a professional naturalist guide will enhance the remainder of your time in the area as you continue your travels through the park on your own.

Can I take photographs during wildlife tours in Yellowstone?
Yes, photography is welcomed and encouraged during any of our wildlife safaris, remember to bring your camera to capture the remarkable moments you encounter! Long telephoto lenses are ideal for wildlife photography as you can get great shots from a distance without disturbing the animals. If you don’t have a camera with a long lens, don’t worry- we use high powered spotting scopes to get close-up views, and guides are skilled at taking photos through these scopes with cell phones. You’ll be amazed at the images you’ll come away with after a tour!

A Grey Wolf Stares Down The Photographer In Yellowstone National Park
A Moose Forages For Aquatic Vegetation In Wetlands Near Yellowstone National Park

What should I bring on a Yellowstone National Park tour?
The most important things to bring are comfortable clothing and footwear. The temperatures vary greatly even through the warm summer months as temperatures drop at night, so layers are essential. Comfortable footwear, preferably waterproof hiking shoes or boots, will make sure you can get the most out of the trip with boardwalks and short hikes. Other personal items that are recommended are sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and a camera. We provide high-quality binoculars and spotting scopes for your use while on tour for the best view possible, even at a distance.

Are wildlife sightings guaranteed on Yellowstone wildlife tours?
While taking a professionally guided wildlife tour in Yellowstone greatly increases your chances of spotting animals, it’s important to note that wildlife is unpredictable and sightings cannot be guaranteed. However, our experienced guides leading the tours will do their best to maximize your wildlife viewing opportunities. Using their knowledge of the habits of particular species and recent activity in the park, guides know where to lead you and at what time of the day to increase the likelihood of finding them. Remember, Yellowstone’s wildlife is wild, so each encounter is a unique and exciting experience!