Best Yellowstone tours

11 Absolute-Best Yellowstone Tours (+ Info & Tips)

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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.

 

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. 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. Take a look!

1. Yellowstone Day Tour from Jackson or Teton Village

This is one of the most popular day trips to Yellowstone. This 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

The Lower Loop private Yellowstone tour covers pretty much the same itinerary as the tour mentioned above. In other words, you get to see all the main landmarks in one day, but with your own family or a group of friends. Perfect for social distancing.

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 of social distancing, 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 private tours that focus on the Upper Loop of Yellowstone. 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 Day Trip from Cody

This is a great Yellowstone tour for those staying at the eastern side of Yellowstone entrance. 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
 

4. Yellowstone Lower Loop Tour from West Yellowstone

One of the best places to stay near Yellowstone is the town of West Yellowstone, Montana. If you are staying here, it’s quite easy to visit the 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 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
 

5. 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
 

6. 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.

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

7. 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 wildlife. Furthermore, this tour includes a visit to the Grizzly Bear and Wolf Discovery Center and sledding.

  • When: January – beginning of April
  • Where: From Big Sky, West Yellowstone, or Bozeman (Montana)
  • Duration: 4-5 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
 

8. 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 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)
 

9. 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
 

10. 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 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.
Grand Teton and Yellowstone tours
Grand Teton National Park is a perfect combination with Yellowstone
 

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 in the park, you can also consider one of the rafting tours.

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.
Rafting tours Yellowstone
Rafting
 

So, this is our selection of the best day trips, multi-day tours, and some organized activities in Yellowstone. If you are looking for more information and tips for visiting this beautiful National Park, take a look at our other articles below.

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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