This tour is designed for those who do not have a lot of time to spare, but still want to see the best that Yellowstone has to offer. The focus is on Old Faithful and Yellowstone's other famous geysers, hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles. You can also expect to see wildlife on this tour.
The tour starts at 10 a.m. on the first day, and you can be back in Salt Lake, from Yellowstone, a little less than 45 hours later. In other words, you travel up to Yellowstone on the first day. The second is spent touring Yellowstone's lower loop, and that evening you start making you way back to Salt Lake, an hour or so after you get out of the park. You will spend the night in a motel in Idaho, and then have the opportunity to get back to Salt Lake as early as 6.40 a.m. on the fourth morning.
If you get to Salt Lake the day before the tour, please let us know if we can book your hotel for you. We can often get better rates than you can.
This tour leaves from the Salt Lake airport and a central downtown location. We suggest staying at a hotel with free airport transportation and taking that to the airport.
You will take a shuttle through northern Utah, into Idaho, and eventually Montana, before arriving in West Yellowstone. There are stops at several towns along the way. The vehicle is generally a mini bus.
Please note that today is an unescorted part of the tour. What this means is that although you obviously have a bus driver with you at all times, there is no tour guide providing a running commentary the way there is when you are in Yellowstone.
When you reach West Yellowstone, you will be taken to West Yellowstone Lodge, where you will be staying. After checking in you can explore the town, take a walk through the forest into Yellowstone, go to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center (a must see) or check out a movie at the IMAX.
The roads running through Yellowstone make up a massive figure of eight. The lower loop of the figure of eight comprises most of the thermal features that are to be seen in Yellowstone, including, of course, Old Faithful!
From West Yellowstone we'll follow the Madison River to Madison Junction. At Madison Junction we will turn right, or south, and travel along the Firehole River which runs through Yellowstone's thermal areas. The Firehole is famous amongst anglers for its pristine beauty and selection of brown, brook and rainbow trout. Depending on the time of the year, this area is often teeming with wildlife. With any luck you will see bison, elk, Trumpeter Swans and other animals and birds. A special treat in the spring is the baby bison calves.
The first main thermal area we will be visiting is the Lower Geyser Basin, and Fountain Paint Pots. There is a boardwalk system running around and through the Fountain Paint Pots area, and it is a great place to go for a stroll, if the bison haven't got there first! Apart from the paint pots, there is also a selection of other thermal features in the area, including a number of geysers, one or other of which almost always seems to be erupting.
The next stop is the Midway Geyser Basin, home to Grand Prismatic Spring - one of the largest anywhere in the world - as well as Excelsior Geyser, now dormant, but discharging thousands of gallons of water every minute.
It is a short drive to the Upper Geyser Basin, home of Old Faithful, the world's best known and most reliable gusher. There is also so much more to the area than just Old Faithful. Old Faithful Inn, a wonderful old building - recently renovated - is located there - and a system of boardwalks will take you around the various other geysers in the area.
Yellowstone Lake is off to the east as we make the trip up to Fishing Bridge. From there we head through the Hayden Valley, following the Yellowstone River, up to Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. On the way we will pass Mud Volcano.
The Hayden Valley is known for its wildlife, particularly large herds of bison at certain times of the year. It is also an excellent location to look for grizzly bears, especially in the spring and early summer when they may be preying on newborn bison and elk cubs.
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is an unexpected treat amongst the thermal wonders. The Yellowstone River has carved an impressive canyon through the rocks, over which two falls drop. The Lower Falls is over twice the size of Niagara Falls! It is in this area that you can catch a glimpse of the yellowish tinge to the rocks, from which the Yellowstone River got its name, but at a different location. We'll check out the canyon and falls from a number of different locations. You get so close to the Upper Falls that you almost feel like you can reach out and touch the thundering water. Don't!
The shuttle back to Salt Lake City departs at about 6 p.m. this evening. You will drive through Montana, before crossing into Idaho, and spending the night in a small town called Rexburg. The hotel is included in the tour price.
Tomorrow morning, you can depart from Rexburg at various times, to return to Salt Lake. Please note that this is an unescorted part of the tour. What this means is that although you obviously have a bus driver with you at all times, there is no tour guide providing a running commentary the way there was when you were in Yellowstone.
The shuttle to Salt Lake this morning makes several stops along the way. You can choose from several departure times from Rexburg. The shuttle will pick you up at your hotel, and drop you off at the Salt Lake City airport, or at a central downtown location opposite Temple Square, where the tour ends.
Depart 2.05 a.m. Arrive 6.40 a.m.
Depart 3.35 a.m. Arrive 8.10 a.m. (Not available on Sundays)
Depart 5.05 a.m. Arrive 9.40 a.m.
Depart 6.35 a.m. Arrive 11.10 a.m.
Depart 8.05 a.m. Arrive 12.40 p.m.
Depart 9.35 a.m. Arrive 2.10 p.m.
Please note in the comments section which one you want.
Payment And Cancellation Details: CANCELLATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED FOR THIS TOUR. Changes will also not be accepted, and refunds will not be given. Please consider purchasing trip insurance as our cancellation policy is strictly enforced. The payment schedule is as follows: Half of the total will be charged any time from when you make the booking. The other half will be charged 30 or fewer days from the tour date, at our discretion.
The credit/debit card used must be in your name and must be present, so we can take an imprint. Please contact us if this is not possible. Please ensure you have the card you used with you. If the card is not in your name please let us know ahead of time, as our credit card authorization process will need to be completed.
A purported or attempted cancellation will result in the entire amount being due, and being charged to your card immediately.
The name on your credit card statement will be USA Park Tours.
The days and dates this tour runs can be seen in the calendar at the top right of this page.
The entry fee to Yellowstone is included.
Two nights' accommodation are included: One night at a West Yellowstone motel called West Yellowstone Lodge. If lodging there is sold out, you will stay at a moderate category motel in West Yellowstone. A second night's accommodation is included at the Rexburg Americinn or similar.
Prices are based on double occupancy. Single, triple and quad occupancy rates are also available and will be seen at checkout. There is no tax.
The price includes the services of a guide/driver and transportation.
One sack lunch and one continental breakfast are the the only meals included.
The shuttle departs Salt Lake at 10 a.m. You can be back in Salt Lake on the third morning as early as 6.40 a.m., depending on which shuttle you choose.
All times are approximate. We are not responsible for the consequences of any delays, and this itinerary may change without notice.
Portions of this tour are subcontracted to other reputable vendors.
After ordering this tour please wait to receive a confirmation email from us before making any plans that are dependent on this tour.