On my most recent trip to Yellowstone National Park, the family decided to do something different, we wanted to pay for a guided animal watching tour. A few days before the trip, we were browsing Viator and came across a company that would take 1-4 people on an 8-hour animal watching tour for $525. Excited by the fact that we didn’t have to drive, we quickly finalized our plans and opted to take the tour.
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After booking and paying through Viator, we made arrangements with Yellowstone Guidelines on when and where to meet. We were staying the Old Faithful Snowlodge and needed to meet around Mammoth Hot Springs. Chris, our guide, also asked us if we had any food allergies since lunch was provided.
Day of the Tour
Due to the two hour drive we had to tackle, we decided to meet at 8 am instead of the typical 6 am. If we had planned appropriately, we would have stayed in Gardiner, Montana and would have been able to catch the sunrise in Lamar Valley, instead, we enjoyed the morning on our ride over to Mammoth.
After greeting our tour guide Chris, we jumped in his car and headed over to Lamar Valley. This trip was the first time we’ve ever explored Lamar Valley, and the family was excited to see wildlife other than Buffalo.
Of course – as soon as we hit the road and see a few dozen buffalo we begged Chris to stop so we could take a few photos. Chris kindly reminded us that we wanted to see wolves, bears, moose and more on this trip, so we needed to say goodbye to the buffalo and continue.
We stopped at a few viewpoints and were not lucky seeing anything other than Buffalo or elks. Then, all of a sudden, one of the wolf fanatics came over the radio and said that two wolves were close to pebble creek. Zooming through the park, we were able to grab one of the last spots by Pebble Creek.
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Spotting the Elusive Wolf
When we got to our viewing area, the locals informed us that two untagged wolves were lounging in the valley. Along with the two wolves were a handful of bison and a coyote in the field. We stayed for about 30 minutes watching the wolves play in the field, chase each other and howl.
Seeing a wolf in Yellowstone National Park is rare because there are only about 100 wolves in the borders of the park and about 500 in the entire Greater Yellowstone Area.
Have you heard a wolf howl? It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever experienced seeing a wolf howl in the scope and hear it just a few seconds later.
After some wildlife, we found a beautiful spot on the side of the road to have lunch. Chris whipped out a small metal table and provided turkey sandwiches, chips, apple, fruit, carrots, and cucumber. The lunch was fresh and filling, and we were able to relax and chat a bit before hitting the road again.
After lunch, we spotted a few more animals including a fox, sheep, deer, elk and tons of buffalo. The chances of seeing a moose or deer significantly decreased as the day went on, so we opted to go outside of the park to see a couple of sheep. One of my favorite things about going on this wildlife tour was finding out about different nook and crannies of the park that one cannot necessarily find out from a guidebook. Chris was able to point out small little dots on top of the mountain, and when we look through the scope, we could tell that they were sheep.
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After the tour was over, we were dropped back off at Mammoth, and there were Elk everywhere. In fact, two males were causing a crowd because they were fighting each other.
After the wildlife tour, we headed back to the Yellowstone area, and we were greeted with what we like to call the Buffalo parade. All throughout the construction on the road to Norris, there were buffalo just taking their sweet time walking down the street.
We never saw a bear or a moose in Yellowstone, but we were able to see a Grizzly Bear at a sanctuary and a Moose in the Grand Tetons National Park. Taking the wildlife tour with Yellowstone Guidelines was a fantastic way for everyone in the family to sit back and relax and experience Yellowstone in a new way.
Have you ever taken a wildlife tour in a national park?