Day 1 - Fly from Salt Lake to Yellowstone - About 1 hours, 30 minutes
If you arrive at Salt Lake the day before the tour, please let us know if we can help book your hotel for you. We can often get a better hotel price than you can. In any event, we suggest you choose a downtown Salt Lake hotel with a free airport shuttle, and free breakfast. Downtown Salt Lake is close to the airport, and many hotels have free shuttles. This is also the part of Salt Lake where Temple Square is to be found.
It may be possible to fly into Salt Lake the day the tour begins, but we cannot be responsible if your flight arrives late, and you miss the flight to Yellowstone!
This tour starts at the Salt Lake airport, and you will need to find your way there, for the flight to Yellowstone. This is why we suggest staying at a hotel with a free airport shuttle. Flight times vary during the summer season, but most days there will be both a morning and an afternoon flight. Please note that the airline charges a checked luggage fee, which you will need to pay. Consider, perhaps, traveling with just a carry-on bag.
Please also be aware that today is an unescorted part of the tour. What this means is that you do not have a tour guide or one of our staff with you for most of the day. You will fly from Salt Lake To Yellowstone, where one of our staff will pick you up at the airport, and take you to West Yellowstone Lodge, our motel, at which you are staying. If we are sold out, you will stay in another clean, comfortable motel in town.
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.
Depending on your flight times today and tomorrow, you may do the actual Yellowstone tour on either the first or the second day. It does not matter which day you take it on, you will still see and do all the same things. For the purposes of this itinerary, we have assumed you do the Yellowstone tour on day two.
This tour focuses on Yellowstone's main attractions, its thermal features - like Old Faithful and the other geysers, mud pots, hot springs and even weird things called fumaroles. Depending on the time of the year, you can also expect to see wildlife. A sack lunch is included today, which you can enjoy in the park.
There is also the option of extending your tour in the park for an additional three hours or so, and visiting the magnificent Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone!
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 (geysers, hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles) that are to be seen in Yellowstone, including, of course, Old Faithful! These are Yellowstone's main attractions, and this, plus wildlife, is what we will be focusing on today.
We frequently get asked how often we stop inside Yellowstone. Basically we stop any time there is something to see or do, or any time there is a picture to be taken! This means that you spend a lot of time outside the vehicle, walking around, shooting images, and touring the various geyser basins and other sights on foot, rather than sitting in the vehicle all the time. Having said that, if you would rather stay closer to the vehicle, you can almost always see much of what there is to be seen without having to go too far. This tour does not involve any hiking, but rather walking around the great sights.
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 Pot. There is an extensive boardwalk system running around and through the Fountain Paint Pot 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 - plus Excelsior Geyser, now dormant, but discharging thousands of gallons of water every minute. There is also a boardwalk system through this Basin, and you will be able to explore all of it.
It is a short drive to the Upper Geyser Basin, home of Old Faithful, the world's best known and most reliable gusher. Soon you'll be watching Old Faithful erupting - no tour to Yellowstone would be complete without that! This may also be a good time to enjoy the sack lunch we have prepared for you.
There is a lot more to the Upper Geyser Basin than Old Faithful. Old Faithful Inn is a wonderful and historic old wooden building, one of the greatest in the National Park system, and well worth a visit. There are many other geysers in the area as well, and you should also be able to walk around and take in some of them.
A tour of Yellowstone is by nature very fluid. We never know what we may see around the next corner, or when we will run into a buffalo jam! For this reason, this itinerary may change.
Depending on how long we spend at each location, other areas we may visit include Firehole Drive, Biscuit Basin, Fountain Flats and Black Sand Basin.
We will now retrace our steps, traveling through the various geyser basins again, stopping on the way at Firehole Lake Drive, a less visited part of the park that is home to some great hot springs and geysers. Geysers that we hope to be able to show you erupting here include White Dome as well as a couple of very small geysers.
Please be aware that park entry is not included on this tour, and you will need to pay it on arrival.
Day 2 - Optional add-on tour, to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone!
On this trip, you do have the option of adding on a short tour to Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. This is a magnificent canyon that has been carved over the eons by the Yellowstone River, leaving brilliantly colored, and finely carved, canyon walls, through which two mighty waterfalls plummet! You can occasionally see thermal features on the banks of the river, deep down in the canyon. This option can be ordered at check out. Note that the price is for the visit for your entire group, and not per person.
This tour needs a minimum of four people to run, or you can pay a surcharge, and we will run the tour for fewer than four people. You can see the amount of the surcharge just below this.
We regret that no cancellations or changes will be accepted, and no refunds will be given.
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: This tour has two air legs. The cost of the flights, plus half of the remaining balance will be charged any time from when you make the booking. The final balance 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 not included, and will need to be paid on arrival.
All times are approximate. We are not responsible for the consequences of any delays, and this itinerary may change without notice.
One night's accommodation is included at West Yellowstone Lodge, or similar.
This tour starts and ends at the Salt Lake City airport.
Prices are based on double occupancy. Single, triple and quad occupancy rates are also available and will be seen at check out. There is no tax. The price assumes you book with sufficient notice. Higher air fares may result in a higher price if you do not do so. If that is the case, we will always contact you first and ask if you want to proceed.
This tour may require a minimum of four people to operate. That is not four in your group, but a total of four. If there are fewer than four, you can pay a surcharge and we will run the tour just for you.This option is available for groups of two and three people, but not individuals.
After ordering this tour please wait to receive a confirmation email from us before making any plans that are dependent on this tour.
The price includes the services of a guide/driver and transportation.
One sack lunch is the only meal included.
Portions of this tour may, at our discretion, be subcontracted to other reputable vendors.
There will be a checked luggage fee on the flights. This is not included in the tour price and you will need to pay it.