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CONTACT Toll free 1 800 724 7767 (USA) 435 658 2227 Email International phone numbers
2009 Yellowstone Four Day Tour
There is a new and much better version of this tour!
Day Pre Tour
| ||This tour generally leaves between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., so you will need to fly in the evening before. Please let us know if we can book your Salt Lake lodging for you. We offer a good rate at the downtown Crystal Inn (http://www.crystalinnsaltlake.com/), which has a free airport shuttle and a good, free hot breakfast buffet. |
It is also possible to add another day onto this tour, and take a one day tour of Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole, or go white water rafting, or just hang out in Yellowstone!
Day 1 - Salt Lake City to West Yellowstone - 322 mi / 518.1 km - Five to six hours
|This tour leaves from the Salt Lake City airport and from a central downtown location.|
You will take a shuttle through northern Utah, into Idaho, and eventually Montana, before arriving in West Yellowstone. There are stops at several of the towns along the way.
You have an opportunity this afternoon to go horseback riding on the Continental Divide. Just about anyone can go riding, even if you have never done it before, and experienced cowboys will show you the ropes.
If you choose not to go horseback riding you can explore the town, go to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center (a must see) or take in a movie at the IMAX.
Day 1 - West Yellowstone
| ||The motel at which you are staying, Al's Westward Ho, is the closest one to Yellowstone! |
Our little restaurant/Internet Cafe is right next door, and supper at the restaurant is included in the tour price. You will spend the night at Al's.
Day 2 - Yellowstone - All day
|The roads running through Yellowstone make up a massive figure of eight (see the map to the left). On one of your two days in West Yellowstone you will be doing the top loop of the figure of eight, and on the other day you will be touring the bottom loop. Generally speaking, it does not matter which tour you do on what day. For the purposes of this itinerary, we'll assume that you do the lower loop first. This is the area that comprises most of the thermal features that are to be seen in Yellowstone, including, of course, Old Faithful.|
From West Yellowstone we'll follow the Madison River to Madison Junction, where we'll turn right, or south. Depending on the time of the year, this area is often teeming with wildlife. With any luck you will see bison, elk deer, Trumpeter Swans and other animals and birds. A special treat in the spring is the baby bison calves.
|After Madison Junction the tour turns down Firehole Canyon Drive, a side road that follows the Firehole River. The Firehole River runs through the thermal areas of Yellowstone northward, to join the Gibbon River and form the Madison River. The Firehole is world famous amongst anglers for its pristine beauty and selection of brown, brook and rainbow trout. The road takes us past 800 foot thick lava flows. Firehole Falls is a 40 foot waterfall. There is an unstaffed swimming hole here.|
The first main thermal area we will be visiting is the Lower Geyser Basin, and Fountain Paint Pots. There is a boardwalk system running around and through the Fountain Paint Pots 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 two of the largest hot springs to be found anywhere in the world, as well as Excelsior Geyser, now dormant, but discharging thousands of gallons of water every minute.|
|It is a short drive to the Upper Geyser Basin, home of Old Faithful, the world's best known and most reliable gusher. There is also so much more to the area than just Old Faithful. Old Faithful Inn, a wonderful old building - recently renovated - is located there, and a system of boardwalks will take you around the various other geysers in the area.|
|The road from Old Faithful passes over the Continental Divide twice, on its way to West Thumb, a geyser basin right on the shores of the incredibly blue Yellowstone Lake.|
Yellowstone Lake is off to the east as we make the trip up to Fishing Bridge. From there we head through the Hayden Valley, following the Yellowstone River, up to Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
|West Thumb to Fishing Bridge|
|The Hayden Valley is known for its wildlife, particularly large herds of bison at certain times of the year. It is also an excellent location to look for grizzly bears, especially in the spring and early summer when they may be preying on newborn bison and elk cubs. There will also be the opportunity to view the Mud Volcano and Sulphur Caldron areas.|
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is an unexpected treat amongst the thermal wonders. The Yellowstone River has carved an impressive canyon through the rocks, over which two falls drop. The Lower Falls is over twice the size of Niagara Falls! It is in this area that you can catch a glimpse of the yellowish tinge to the rocks, from which the Yellowstone River got its name, but at a different location. We'll check out the canyon and falls from a number of different locations. You get so close to the Upper Falls that you almost feel like you can reach out and touch the thundering water. Don't!
It is now time to go back to West Yellowstone.
Day 2 - West Yellowstone
| ||You will once again spend the night at Al's Westward Ho.|
Day 3 - Yellowstone - All day
|Today we'll be doing the Upper Loop of Yellowstone. This will be a full and fun day The route we take will depend on possible road closures in the park, but it will be something like the following.|
There is going to be a lot to see and do. We'll head out of West Yellowstone towards Madison Junction, where the Madison, Gibbon and Firehole Rivers meet. Turning left (north) we'll make for Norris Geyser Basin. Along the way we'll stop briefly at Gibbon Falls.
| ||Although not as well known as the other geyser basins, Norris is the most thermally active part of Yellowstone. It is divided into two separate areas: Porcelain Basin and Back Basin. You will have the opportunity to stroll around both, enjoying the pristine beauty. Back Basin is home to Steamboat Geyser, the highest geyser in the world.|
|Leaving Norris, we will travel through some beautiful meadows, which are often home to elk and bison. In the late summer and early fall the bull elk present a magnificent sight, with their large racks.|
The next stop is Mammoth Hot Springs, headquarters of the park, and home to a fascinating array of weird rock shapes, bright colors and sizzling hot springs. Elk are generally plentiful in this area, wandering around the old park buildings, and, if you're lucky, you might even see a whole herd.
You can stroll down the ever changing terraces at Mammoth, admiring the travertine creations and hot springs.
|We will detour off the main figure of eight at Tower Junction, and take the road to the north east entrance to the park. This leads to the Lamar Valley, an area rich in both wildlife and vegetation. This is where the serious wolf spotters are to be found, although there is also a wide assortment of other animals to be seen, including coyotes, pronghorn, grizzlies, deer and bison.|
|Everyone wants to see a bear in the wild at Yellowstone, and the trip from Tower Junction to Tower Falls is one of the best places to do so. The spring can be a great time to go looking for bears, as you have the opportunity of seeing mothers with their new born cubs. Tower Falls is an impressive water fall.|
|Assuming that it is open, the road from Tower Falls to Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone towers up into the sky as it crosses the Dunraven Pass at almost 9000 feet. We then drop down to Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, which we saw yesterday. |
If there is time, other areas along the route that we may visit include Obsidian Cliff, Virginia Cascade and Undine Falls.
After a long, fun-filled day, it is time to return to West Yellowstone.
Please note that from the 17th August, 2009, until the end of the 2009 season, it will not be possible to tour the upper loop. This is as a result of the closure of a major road in the park for road construction. From the 17th August this tour will consist of the regular lower loop tour, with the Jackson and Grand Teton tour taking the place of the upper loop tour. There is no problem with doing the upper loop prior to the 17th August, and there is no change in price.
Day 3 - West Yellowstone
| ||You will once again spend the night at Al's Westward Ho.|
Day 4 - West Yellowstone to Salt Lake City - 322 mi / 518.1 km - 5 1/4 hours to 5 3/4 hours
|The shuttle back to Salt Lake generally leaves between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Thanks for joining us!|
You can, if you choose, extend the tour by one day and visit Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole. This will include another night in West Yellowstone.
|Tour ID ||1077|
Please note the following...
- This tour is subject to a $1.00 per person fuel surcharge.
- Runs every day from spring through fall.
- Please note that as a result of road closures in the park, from the 17th August 2009 through the end of the 2009 season, it will not be possible to tour the upper loop. The four day tour will consist of the regular lower loop tour, with the Jackson and Grand Teton tour taking the place of the upper loop tour. There is no problem with doing the upper loop prior to the 17th August. The price does not change.
- The entry fee to Yellowstone is included.
- Three nights' accommodation is included at Al's Westward Ho (http://www.yellowstonelodging.biz/west_yellowstone_motel.htm). Luxury accommodations are available at a surcharge. Prices vary depending on the month.
- You can add another day to this tour and spend a day touring Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole. You will need to spend another night in West Yellowstone, and that is included in the cost of the add on.
- Prices are based on double occupancy. A single surcharge of $132 is applicable, or we can try and match singles.
- The price includes the services of a guide/driver and transportation.
- The only meal included is one dinner.
- The tour itinerary may change at our discretion without notice. Factors that may cause a change include, but are not limited to, the weather, vendors and road conditions.
- Portions of this tour may, at our discretion, be sub-contracted to other reputable vendors. This will in no way affect your safety, comfort or enjoyment, and there is no additional cost if this happens
- A minimum of two people may be required for a tour to depart.
- It may be necessary to book several weeks ahead of time to ensure that there is space.
- This tour may be subject to a fuel surcharge.
- Payment Details: While we would rather you not make a booking until you are sure you want to go, you are welcome to cancel the booking any time up until 31 days prior to the start of the tour, and you will get a full refund. After that time, we will not accept a cancellation and you will have to pay for the tour in full. Trip insurance is available. Half the cost of the tour will be charged to your card any time from 31 days prior to the start of the tour, and the balance will be charged any time from 7 days prior to the start of the tour.
Please call us at 1 800 724 7767 or (USA) 435 658 2227, or mail us for additional information.