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11 Best Yellowstone Tours & Guided Excursions for 2022 (+ Info & Tips)

11 Best Yellowstone Tours & Guided Excursions for 2022 (+ Info & Tips)

Looking for the best Yellowstone National Park tours and excursions? This guide lists all the VERY BEST options – day and multi-day guided tours to Yellowstone. Find out!

Yellowstone is one of the most beautiful places on the planet and one of the most diverse National Parks in the USA. You’ll find incredible scenery of green forests, mountain rivers, lakes, but also surreal landscapes with spouting geysers, colorful geothermal springs, mud pools, and fumaroles. Yellowstone also has its own incredibly beautiful canyon. And last, but not least, a stunning variety of wildlife.

Since the park is so vast and diverse, planning a trip to Yellowstone requires quite some preparation. But if you rather let someone else do all the planning and the driving, you’ll be happy to know that there is a big variety of Yellowstone tours available.

From private tours to small-group tours and from one-day excursions to multi-day trips, there is a Yellowstone tour for everyone. You don’t have to drive or worry about any practical aspects of planning the trip or the itinerary. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery along the way.

Good to know: Even though the northern portion of Yellowstone is closed due to floods, most Yellowstone day tours are running again. They are usually focused on Yellowstone’s south loop anyway, and this part of the park remains accessible. I’m not sure about the multi-day tours at the moment, but it’s quite likely that they’ll adjust their itineraries if needed as well. Some of them include a visit to Grand Teton which is open as well.

 

In this article, we cover some of the very best Yellowstone tours that will help you make the most of your trip, no matter when or for how long you visit (summer AND winter tours to Yellowstone included). For each tour, we include practical information such as the season, departure point, group size, or duration. Find out!

TIP: If you are planning a self-drive trip, please check our Yellowstone travel guide for the best places to see, suggested itineraries, guides to specific landmarks, and lots of practical tips and tricks for your visit.

Best day trips and multi day tours to Yellowstone
 

Without further ado, here are some of the best Yellowstone tours:

1. Yellowstone Day Tour from Jackson or Teton Village

This day tour is one of the most popular and best-rated organized day trips to Yellowstone. It’s a 1-day that tour allows you to see all the main landmarks of Yellowstone’s Lower Loop in one day.

You’ll visit the Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin, the Midway Geyser Basin with the famous Grand Prismatic Spring, and the Fountain Paint Pots. This tour also visits the main viewpoints of the Yellowstone Canyon Area and Hayden Valley, one of the best places to see bison and other wildlife. And it stops at several other lesser-known areas in the southern part of the park.

During the day, you take several short walks to geyser basins and scenic points. Most places in this itinerary have boardwalks and are easily accessible.

  • When: May – end October
  • Where: From Jackson or Teton Village, Wyoming
  • Duration: 1 day
  • Small-group tour
  • Who is this tour for: Perfect for people who want to see the main landmarks of Yellowstone as a day trip from the Jackson Hole area.
  • How to book: Here you get more information, see availability and customer reviews, and you can book this tour starting at 6 AM or this tour starting at 7.30 AM.
  • Pro tip: If you don’t mind getting up earlier, go with the first tour. Most tours follow the same route and that way you’ll be ahead of the crowds most of the time. Furthermore, your chances to see wildlife are higher early in the morning.
Yellowstone day tour - Grand Prismatic Spring
Grand Prismatic Spring should be included in any Yellowstone tour
 

2. Private Yellowstone Day Tour

This private day tour covers pretty much the same itinerary as the tour mentioned above – the Lower Loop of Yellowstone. The only difference is that this is a private Yellowstone tour. So you get to see all the main landmarks in one day, but with your own family or a group of friends.

The main highlights of this tour include Old Faithful and the historic Old Faithful Inn built in 1903, the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Hayden Valley, and Yellowstone Lake. And, of course, there are many other stops, wildlife encounters, etc.

In the current situation, private Yellowstone tours are really popular. If you are traveling alone or as a couple, then a private tour is quite expensive. But if you are with 4 people or more, then it definitely makes sense to check out private tours.

There are also tours that focus on the Upper Loop of Yellowstone. And there are now two new private tours from Gardiner – geysers and hot springs or geysers, Yellowstone Canyon, and hidden gems. Or you can also just ask your guide to adjust the itinerary to your own desires. After all, that’s one of the benefits of going on a private tour.

Bear in Yellowstone National Park
Bear in Yellowstone – Photo by Pavlina Trauskeova/Shutterstock.com
 

3. Yellowstone & Grand Teton 2-Days Wildlife Tour

If you are mostly interested in wildlife, then this 2-day tour of Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks might be just what you’re looking for.

The first day starts with wildlife viewing at Grand Teton National Park, followed by a visit to the main Yellowstone attractions along the eastern side of the park (West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone Lake, Hayden Valley, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone). You end the day at Lamar Valley, one of the very best places for wildlife in Yellowstone.

On the second day, you pay an early visit to Lamar Valley. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to see animals and this tour maximizes these opportunities by going to the best places at the best times. The tour then follows the western side of the loop, passing Mammoth Hot Springs and the Old Faithful areas.

  • When: May – mid October
  • Where: Starts and ends in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  • Duration: 2 full days
  • Small-group tour
  • Who is this tour for: Perfect for first-timers who want to visit two parks in the shortest time possible.
  • How to book: Here you can see more information, availability, customer reviews, and book this 2-day tour.
Yellowstone wildlife tour - bison in Lamar Valley
Bison in Lamar Valley, Yellowstone
 

4. Yellowstone 2-Day Tour: Upper & Lower Loops

If you have two days in Yellowstone and want to visit the park with a tour, then look no further. This popular 2-day tour has a very good itinerary covering all the main landmarks on the Lower and also on the Upper Loop. It gives you a more complete picture of what Yellowstone is about than the one-day tours that only visit the Lower Loop.

Furthermore, this tour includes quite a few stops at lesser-known places allowing you to get the absolute most of your short visit without having to plan anything yourself.

Hands down, this is one of the very best organized tours for those who want to see the very best of Yellowstone in 2 days.

  • When: May – end October
  • Where: Starts and ends in Jackson or Teton Village, Wyoming
  • Duration: 2 full days
  • Small-group tour
  • Who is this tour for: Perfect for those who want to see all the major areas of Yellowstone in the shortest possible time.
  • How to book: Here you can see more information, availability, customer reviews, and book this 2-day tour.

Good to know: Please note that accommodation (1 night during the tour) is not included in the price. After you book, you’ll be contacted by the tour operator to help arrange a stay at the historic Chico Hot Springs Resort, famous for its natural hot springs (don’t forget your swimwear!).

Palette Springs at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone
Palette Springs at Mammoth Hot Springs (Upper Loop in Yellowstone)
 

5. Yellowstone & Grand Teton 4-Days Tour

If you want to combine a trip to Yellowstone with that to the nearby Grand Teton National Park, consider this highly-rated 4 days/ 3 nights tour. It gives you a great opportunity to see the very best of both parks, while also providing lots of opportunities for wildlife viewing.

This is a very complete tour that includes a knowledgeable local guide, comfortable transportation, 3 nights accommodation, breakfasts, snacks and refreshments, and also National Park entrance tickets and even binoculars. It’s a small-group tour for maximum of 10 people.

If you want to see the very best that Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks have to offer without having to worry about any practical aspects of the trip, then you cannot go wrong with this tour!

  • When: June – mid October
  • Where: Starts and ends in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  • Duration: 4 full days
  • Small-group tour
  • Who is this tour for: This is a great tour for people who want to see the very best that Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks have to offer and explore deeper without having to arrange anything themselves.
  • How to book: Here you can see more information, availability, customer reviews, and book this 4-day tour.

READ ALSO: Yellowstone & Grand Teton Itinerary Suggestions

Grand Teton and Yellowstone tours
Grand Teton National Park is a perfect combination with Yellowstone
 

6. Yellowstone Day Trip from Cody

This day tour from Cody is a great Yellowstone tour for those staying on the eastern side of the park. It covers all the main highlights along Yellowstone’s Lower Loop in one full day. The itinerary is very similar to the one-day tour mentioned above and includes all the must-see stops along the Lower Loop.

The tour starts very early in the morning, so you have a good chance to see more wildlife on your way into the park. It’s guided by a naturalist who knows the area very well, so you will definitely learn a lot about Yellowstone’s geothermal features and its wildlife.

This tour includes breakfast and snacks on the way.

  • When: May – mid October
  • Where: From Cody, Wyoming or any other accommodation along the road between Cody and East Gate of Yellowstone National Park
  • Duration: 1 full day
  • Small-group tour
  • Who is this tour for: Perfect for those who want to see the main landmarks of Yellowstone in one day as a day trip from Cody.
  • How to book: Here you can see more information, availability, customer reviews, and book this organized tour from Cody.
Caste Geyser Yellowstone
Castle Geyser – Old Faithful Area in Yellowstone
 

7. Yellowstone Lower Loop Tour from West Yellowstone

This day tour departs from one of the best towns to stay near Yellowstone, the town of West Yellowstone, Montana. If you are staying here, it’s quite easy to visit Yellowstone park on your own. But if you are tired of driving or just want a relaxing day, you can also book an organized day tour to the park.

Just as most one-day tours in Yellowstone, tours from West Yellowstone also focus on the Lower Loop: the Old Faithful Area, the Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone Canyon, Hayden Valley, and Yellowstone Lake. Plus some additional stops and wildlife viewing.

  • When: May – mid October
  • Where: From West Yellowstone
  • Duration: 1 full day
  • Small-group tour or private tour
  • Who is this tour for: Perfect for those who want to see the ‘must-sees’ of Yellowstone in one day as a day trip from West Yellowstone.
  • How to book: Here you can see more information, availability, customer reviews, and book a small group tour from West Yellowstone or a private tour from West Yellowstone.
Yellowstone Canyon is part of all Yellowstone tours
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River is part of all Yellowstone tours
 

8. Kayak Tour on Yellowstone Lake

If you are visiting Yellowstone in summer and are looking to get off the beaten path, travel slower, and explore deeper, then you may want to consider a kayaking tour on the Yellowstone Lake.

It’s a unique opportunity to see some of Yellowstone’s landmarks such as the West Thumb Geyser Basin and the Potts Geyser Basin from a different angle. Furthermore, you might get lucky and see some wildlife along the shores from the safety of your kayak.

No previous kayaking experience is required and this is a family-friendly activity. Kayaking equipment is provided and lunch is included.

  • When: May – mid September
  • Where: From Grant Marina
  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Small-group tour
  • Who is this tour for: Perfect for people who are looking for a fun activity and want to get off the beaten path in Yellowstone.
  • How to book: Here you can see more information, availability, customer reviews, and book this kayaking tour.
Kayak tour on Yellowstone Lake
Kayaking on Yellowstone Lake
 

9. Yellowstone Winter Day Tour

Since Yellowstone roads are closed for regular vehicles in winter months, the best way to visit is by taking a tour with either a snowcoach or by snowmobile (recommended).

One-day winter tours in Yellowstone also focus on the lower loop; mostly the western side of it. You’ll see the Old Faithful area, West Thumb Geyser Basin, Lewis Canyon, Lewis Falls, and Moose Falls. Also in winter, you can expect to see lots of wildlife, especially bison.

  • When: mid December – mid March
  • Where: From Jackson or Teton Village, Wyoming
  • Duration: 1 full day
  • Small-group tour
  • Who is this tour for: Perfect for everyone who wants to visit Yellowstone in winter.
  • How to book: Here you can see more information, availability, customer reviews, and book a snowcoach tour or -more adventurous – snowmobile tour.

Good to know: Please note that Yellowstone winter tours are usually not available for booking outside of the winter season. So – depending on how long in advance you do your research – check back a few weeks before your trip.

This year, there are two new Yellowstone winter tours available from Gardiner. One is the winter hiking tour and the other one – wildlife viewing tour. These tours allow you to experience Yellowstone in winter in a way that you couldn’t easily do on your own.

They also provide snowshoes (for the hiking tour), binoculars and spotting scopes (for the wildlife viewing tour), and everything is included – from transportation, local guides, to hot drinks and all meals during the day. Check it out!

TIP: If you are visiting Yellowstone in winter, you may also check out Grand Teton National Park just nearby. Winter is the best time of the year to see elk here! Here’s the most popular half-day winter wildlife tour and this is the best full-day tour where you are guaranteed to see elk.

Snowmobile tour in Yellowstone in winter
Snowmobile tour in Yellowstone in winter – Photo by Carolina K. Smith/Shutterstock.com
 

10. Yellowstone Half-Day Private Winter Tour

Yellowstone winter visit is also possible from various locations in Montana. However, only some roads are open for regular vehicles, so this tour departing from the northern side of the park has a very different itinerary than the winter tours mentioned above.

You won’t visit the Old Faithful Area, but you can expect to see some beautiful winter landscapes and lots of wildlife.

  • When: January – mid-March
  • Where: From Bozeman (Montana)
  • Duration: 5-7 hours
  • Private tour
  • Who is this tour for: Perfect for those who are touring Montana in winter and want to see some wildlife.
  • How to book: Here you can see more information, availability, customer reviews, and book this half-day winter tour.
Yellowstone tours - bison in winter
Yellowstone in winter – Photo by Michelle Holihan/Shutterstock.com
 

11. Yellowstone Rafting Tours

If you are visiting Yellowstone in summer and are looking for a fun way to spend a couple of hours or a day, you can also consider one of the rafting tours in the area.

From easy scenic float tours to more adventurous rafting trips on rapids classified as class II or class III, there is a suitable rafting experience for everyone.

It’s not an absolute must in Yellowstone, but a fun way to see a different side of the park and the beautiful surroundings nearby. It’s also a great activity for families, especially those with older kids or teenagers.

  • When: May – mid September
  • Where: Gardiner, MT (North Yellowstone)
  • Duration: 2 hours for a scenic float and short rafting tour and 5 hours for a ‘full-day’ tour
  • Small-group tour
  • Who is this tour for: Rafting is a great activity for those who are looking for a fun activity in Yellowstone beyond hiking and visiting natural landmarks.
  • How to book: Here you can see more information, availability, customer reviews, compare and book rafting tours.

TIP: There are also rafting tours on Snake River, departing from Jackson, WY (closer to Grand Teton NP).

Rafting tours Yellowstone
Rafting
 

So, this is our selection of the best day trips, multi-day tours, excursions, and some organized activities in Yellowstone.

As you can see, there’s a good option for any trip duration. Even if you just take a day excursion to Yellowstone, it’s absolutely worth it!

If you are looking for more information and tips for visiting this beautiful National Park, take a look at our Yellowstone travel guide and some featured articles below.

Yellowstone Tours FAQ

Can you tour Yellowstone on your own?

In high season (mid-May to mid-October), you can easily visit Yellowstone on your own. All the best places in Yellowstone are easily accessible from Grand Loop Road. However, the park is huge and so you have to plan your trip well. Here you can find our suggestions for your Yellowstone itinerary.

Are there guided tours of Yellowstone?

You can visit Yellowstone on your own, but there are also guided tours available. There are day tours that bring you to the main Yellowstone landmarks in 1 day. But there are also organized multi-day trips that often combine Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in one trip.

Where do Yellowstone tours start?

Most Yellowstone tours depart from Jackson Hole (Jackson, WY or Teton Village). There are also tours that start in West Yellowstone, in Cody, and also in the north side of the park. But if you are looking for the best Yellowstone tours, it’s best to stay in Jackson Hole.

Is it worth visiting Yellowstone if you only have one day?

Even if you only have one day for Yellowstone, it’s absolutely worth it. You can still see some of the best places including the Old Faithful Geyser, Grand Prismatic Spring, and Yellowstone Canyon. In addition, you are likely to see bison and other wildlife. You can take a day tour to Yellowstone or visit on your own. See our suggested itinerary for 1 day in Yellowstone.

 

More information for visiting Yellowstone:

Is Yellowstone part of a bigger road trip? Take a look at these guides as well:

If you found this post useful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin these images!

Excursions and organized tours to Yellowstone National Park
Day trips and multi day tours in Yellowstone National Park
 

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Stacey

Sunday 1st of May 2022

Hi Jurga, My husband and I are spending 2 days in Grand Teton and 4 days in Yellowstone. I have been told we should book an animal tour. We like to hike and do the easy and medium trails, going at the end of this June. I am curious as how we can maximize our time to the utmost. TIA for your help!

Jurga

Monday 2nd of May 2022

Hi Stacey, take a look at our Yellowstone itinerary + Yellowstone and Grand Teton itinerary for tips on how to plan your trip. A lot (also the tour possibilities) depends on where you are staying.

Laura Cammarata

Thursday 16th of December 2021

We are looking for tours from Jackson Hole??

Jurga

Friday 17th of December 2021

Hi Laura, the majority of the Yellowstone tours in our selection start from Jackson Hole. You didn't say in which season you are traveling - there are indeed fewer possibilities in the winter season than in the summer, but it's still possible to find a nice tour. You can also take a look at this website (our favorite for all tour bookings) and see what you can find for your travel dates. Also Viator has a big selection of tours for all seasons. Hope this helps.

Anne

Tuesday 25th of May 2021

Hi Jurga, I'm a first time visitor to Yellowstone. My must see places are the Lamar Valley, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Grand Prismatic. What point of entry would you recommend? Is there a specific tour you recommend? I'm overwhelmed trying to piece it all together! Thanks,

Anne

Anne

Friday 28th of May 2021

@Jurga, yes it does. Thank you so much for your reply and information. I originally did not want to do a tour, but with rental cars being hard to come by right now, I think that is the wise way to go! Appreciate your help!

Anne

Jurga

Wednesday 26th of May 2021

Hi Anne, for Lamar Valley and Mammoth Springs, it's probably best to enter and stay in the north (Gardiner). You can also visit Grand Prismatic from there, but probably not on the same day (or you'll be driving more than sightseeing). East entrance at the Lamar Valley would also work if you start or end your trip at that side. And the West entrance is best for Grand Prismatic. It's really not that much about which entrance to take, rather your whole itinerary - where do you arrive, how much time you have, where do you leave, etc. As for tours, this 2-day tour visits all these places and more. This 4-day tour visits all these places too, and spends more time there, pus it also includes a day in Grand Teton. Both these tours start/end in Jackson Hole, WY. I don't think I have seen a 1-day tour that would cover all these places in a day. Most day tours focus either on the Lower Loop or on the Upper Loop, but not both. Hope this helps.

Jacqueline Quintanilla

Saturday 27th of March 2021

Thanks

Jurga

Monday 29th of March 2021

Glad you found this useful, Jacqueline. Enjoy your Yellowstone tour!

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