Did you plan your activities yourself or take guided tours?
We did all of our own!
It worked out great!
We could avoid the crowds but still get to see all of the great sites!
Use the Yellowstone National Park WEBSITE! It’s very helpful!
We planned our own activities and took advantage of some of the Ranger programs which vary seasonally.
We took a guided tour.
Its fun to plan and do it myself, based on Tripadvisor and advice from friends. Hotels all around the park are mostly subpar but expensive, and going through tour agency bumps up the cost. Online resources are available to know the history of Yellowstone, and advice for seeing wildlife is also there. At any rate, wildlife is a hit or miss affair. The biggest issue is you’ll need to schedule the day according to their plan, not to your special needs or interests. I did not see many tour groups there except at Old Faithful.
We visited with a few tidbits from friends. If you go on your own, one piece of advice we received was...... if you see cars pulled over, go ahead and do the same. Chances are they have spotted some wildlife. We followed that rule and such was the case every time.
We did a combination of our own and a guided tour. I will admit, as much as we'd like to say we're "good at spotting wildlife"...the guided tour was MUCH better than we could have done on our own! We saw bears running on the hillside (which just looked like a black spot-amongst many bison) but he set up the scopes, 4 of them and we got to see that, 4 wolves, goats up on the rocky hillside (that we would have driven right by) and much more. We used Yellowstone Wild Tours-Emil, the owner took us and it was fantastic. Expensive but the information he gave us as well while we were in the car (and divided by 5 of us for cost) was worth every penny!
My dad planned most stops and activities, I also got ideas from a friend who had visited.
Voyager: I was part of a 16-member guided tour to many national parks in eight states. I'm a solo traveler and must engage guided tours, including transportation, hotels, and other attractions. There are many tour companies that specialize only in Yellowstone, but I've not researched specific park tours. The group stayed at a hotel in West Yellowstone, MT, about five miles from the West park entrance. There may be small-group tours in that city. You may, however, want to contact National Parks Service to learn if there are recommendations of Yellowstone tour companies. I recommend five days in YNP--so much to see! Enjoy! I certainly did.
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