Yellowstone Tour in Two Days

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People Don’t Take Trips. Trips Take People.” (That applies to Yellowstone Tours!)

JOHN STEINBECK

Yellowstone, in our opinion, is the best national park in the world. And yet many people only see the main highlights with all the other tourists or, worse, only have one day to spend in the park.

We think hiring a local guide is almost always advantageous but this is especially true in Yellowstone where there is so much to see and learn. We also think our four-day Best of Yellowstone tour is a good amount of time to spend in the park but we realize some travelers might not have enough vacation days for that trip. Thus, we have created this two-day tour of the park featuring the top geologic features, amazing wildlife viewing, and optionally an early-morning wolf watching drive and/or a hike on backcountry trails.

This two-day tour is unique because it includes an evening wildlife viewing drive in addition to the options for a hike and morning wolf watching. It is also unique because it we are the only tour company in the Park that includes a drive over the famous Beartooth Highway, a National Scenic Highway and one of the most spectacular roads in the United States. 

Yellowstone is large, at 2.2 million acres. There are five entrances, seven primary regions you can visit, nine lodges and nine visitor centers, approximately 600 active geysers, 900 miles of hiking trails, and 10,000 geothermal features. It takes over five hours to drive from the north entrance of the park to Old Faithful, Canyon Village, the Lamar Valley, and back – without any stops.

Planning a Yellowstone visit on your own is, to say the least, difficult. And doing it in one day can be unpleasant, with too much time spent in the car. That is why we do the work for you and take two days for the trip – and give you full 10-hour days with our guide.

Custom Tour Just For Your Group

Unlike most tour companies, we customize your experience in the park based on your interests. All of our two-day tours include:

  • Seeing the park highlights, such as Old Faithful, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and Mammoth Hot Springs
  • Visiting lesser-known geologic features that can be just as breathtaking but usually have fewer crowds, such as the Fountain Paint Pots
  • Viewing wildlife on an evening drive to maximize our chance of seeing bears, elk, and bison
  • One night’s hotel in Gardiner, West Yellowstone, or Cooke City / Silver Gate, Montana
  • Two lunches and one breakfast included
  • A professional guide versed in the area’s flora, fauna, history, and geologic features
  • 10 hours with your guide each day (eight hours if starting and ending in Gardiner)
  • Transportation in our vehicle with departure from and return to either Red Lodge, Montana or Gardiner, Montana
  • Park entrance fees

In addition, you can choose to incorporate the following at no extra charge. (These options will mean less of the general sightseeing.)

  • Watching wolves, which requires a pre-dawn start on the second day to give us the best chance at success
  • Hiking 3 – 5 miles on paths that are away from the main sights and often scarcely traveled

Why Book A Tour With Us vs. Visiting On Your Own

  • No Stress: Seeing Yellowstone National Park on your own is possible but difficult and often stressful. Our guides know the best times to see the most popular sights.
  • Two Ten-Hour Days: Two ten-hour days is enough time to see most of the highlights of the park
  • Individually Customized: We create the itinerary, change start and end times, and even book your hotel based on your interests.
  • Professional Guide: Our guides have extensive knowledge about the Park, wildlife, and geological features to make your experience even more memorable.
  • Beartooth Pass: We are the only tour company that includes a drive over on the National Scenic Highway over the Beartooth Pass.

See America’s favorite National Park on an efficient, fun, and stress-free tour! Looking to explore Yellowstone in the winter? Check out our Yellowstone Winter Vacation!

Travel Montana is an authorized permittee of Yellowstone National Park
Main Image Credit: Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development

Private Tour Info

All Yellowstone in Two Days tours are private groups. Minimize group size is two people.

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Details

  • Activities: Sightseeing, Wildlife Viewing, Optional Wolf Watching, Optional Hiking
  • Duration: 2 days
  • Price Per Person
          4 - 5 people: $1,200
          6 - 7 people: $1,100
          8+ people: $1,000
  • Single Supplement: $200
  • Other Info:
    > The price of two-person and three-person tours is $1,500 per person.
    > This tour is only available from Memorial Day Weekend through October 15, when the Beartooth Pass is open.
    > Our guide will customize your tour based on the preferences you provide us when you register.
    >This trip is limited to 11 people. For groups larger than that, please contact us directly.

    To book this tour, please use this booking form

  • Public Tour Date: n/a

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Trip Highlights

  • Experience the wonders of the world's first and possibly best national park
  • Watch Old Faithful erupt, see the Mammoth Hot Springs boil, and admire the colors of the Grand Prismatic hot spring
  • Search for wildlife including bears, bison, and wolves on morning and evening drives
  • Get off the tourist boardwalks on walks or invigorating hikes tailored to your ability level
  • Most importantly, maximize your time in Yellowstone on a customized tour with your own guide.

Your itinerary will be customized based on the information you provide us upon registration.

DAY 1

We meet you in either Red Lodge, Montana or Gardiner, Montana. If we meet in Red Lodge, we start with a drive up and over the Beartooth Pass, a National Scenic Highway and one of the most spectacular roads in the United States. Views of the Beartooth Mountains are breathtaking and we'll reach 10,947 feet at our highest point. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife throughout the trip and you might spot marmots, moose, coyote, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, grizzly bears and black bears. The road takes us to the small gateway communities of Cooke City and Silver Gate and then past the Northeast entrance into Yellowstone National Park. If we meet in Gardiner, we'll head directly into the park from there and your day with your guide will be shorter (eight hours) given the proximity to the park.

The exact itinerary will depend on your interests. We'll very likely visit Mammoth Hot Springs, gaze at Grand Prismatic's amazing colors, and perhaps even swim in the Firehole River. Dinner will be on your own in the park and after dinner we will have a fun wildlife drive in either the Hayden or Lamar Valleys, searching for bison, elk, coyotes, bears, and wolves. We will book your hotel in Gardiner, West Yellowstone, or Cooke City / Silver Gate and check in after dark. We know this is late, especially for families with young kids, but dusk is the best time to see animals in the park and animal sightings can often be your most memorable experience in Yellowstone. Please note, this is a full day of planned activities (~10 hrs) and the start/end times will depend on whether you start in Red Lodge or Gardiner and on the time of sunset, since dusk is the best time to see animals in the park on our wildlife drive.

DAY 2

If you have opted in for wolf watching, we will get up very early to catch the wolves as the sun is rising. Yes, it is early but it is the best time to see wolves in the park. If hiking is on your list, we'll ditch the van to hike to Mystic Falls, where the Little Firehole River drops down from the Madison Plateau. We'll stop into Old Faithful Lodge to see the historic building, after which we will watch Old Faithful erupt and take a tour of the many smaller nearby geysers. In the afternoon, we might continue around the loop to the West Thumb geothermal area, which includes Fishing Cone, a hot spring in Yellowstone Lake in which visitors cooked fish immediately after catching them. We might continue on the loop drive to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and take a walk to view the impressive Upper and Lower Falls. We'll finish our journey by heading out of the park at the East entrance for a drive through Cody, Wyoming, and back to Red Lodge in time for you to choose your own dinner spot from among the many restaurants in town. If you chose to start and end in Gardiner, we'll finish back in Gardiner. Again, your start and end times will depend on whether you start in Red Lodge or Gardiner, on whether you opt in for wolf watching, and on what time the sun rises.

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Trip Accommodations

NIGHT 1

We will book your lodging in one of the nearby gateway towns including Gardiner, West Yellowstone, and Cooke City / Silver Gate. Lodging in the Yellowstone region is scarce and expensive in the summer months, so we will choose your lodging based on availability and the interests you indicated when registering for the tour.

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Arrival & Departure

This tour starts in either Red Lodge or Gardiner, Montana. Start time depends on whether you have prioritized Wildlife Viewing on your registration form. If we are meeting in Red Lodge and you prioritize wildlife viewing, your 10-hour day will run from approximately 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM on Day One, depending on the time of year (and thus sunset) when your tour will run. Starting from Gardiner, your day will run from 1:00 to 9:00 PM.

On the second day, your start and end times will vary based on whether you prioritized Wolf Watching. The best wolf watching is as the sun rises when the wolves are active, which could mean a departure time from our hotel as early as 4:30 AM in the second half of June when the sun rises earliest or as late as 6:30 or 7:00 AM in October. We know this is early but it is worth it if wolf watching is your priority. Your finish time will be approximately 10 hours later if we are returning to Red Lodge and eight hours later if we are returning to Gardiner, which is closer to the park.

What's Included?
  • One local Travel Montana guide will accompany your tour.
  • 10-hour days with your guide for trips departing from Red Lodge and eight-hour days for trips departing from Gardiner
  • One night’s hotel in Gardiner, West Yellowstone, or Cooke City / Silver Gate, Montana
  • Our trip prices are based on double occupancy. If you require your own room, based either on your choice or due to an odd number of people in your group, we will add a Single Supplement charge.
  • Two lunches and one breakfast are included. Dinner will be on your own.
  • Ground transportation is included once you meet your guide on the first day.
  • Entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
  • NOT INCLUDED - Dinner, gratuities to your guides, personal expenses and travel to and from the destination.
When To Travel

This tour is open from Memorial Day Weekend through October 15, when the Beartooth National Scenic Highway is open each year.

Shuttle Time

We get to explore the 2.2 million acres of Yellowstone National Park – and given the sheer size of the park itself, we spend significant time in the car. But no fear, keep your eyes peeled as we drive as we will get to see some amazing sights along the way!

Food and Lodging

Spending time inside the park is a top priority – you get to explore and experience so much more by staying in or very near the heart of Yellowstone. Our two lunches are picnics or trail lunches prepared by your guide. Breakfast will be either at your hotel or, if you select the Wolf Watching option, in the park. Accommodations in gateway cities surrounding the park are usually simple and sometimes chain hotels but we select the high quality ones that are more than adequate.

Delays in Yellowstone

It is not uncommon to get stuck by one of Yellowstone's famous "Bison Jams".  This is when a herd of bison has decided to cross one of the roads within the park and causes a traffic jam. Though they can be inconvenient while trying to stay on time, it is a one-of-a-kind experience that you won't find anywhere else. Additionally, July and August are Yellowstone's busiest months so the park will be crowded if you choose these months for your vacation. Your guide will try to manage this by timing the tour schedule appropriately as well as showing you lesser known (and frankly better!) vantage points for some of the biggest attractions.

Changes to Your Itinerary

We customize this trip based on your interests but you rely on us to plan a super vacation. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please provide this information in your registration form. You can also discuss changes with your guide on the first morning of your tour.

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I'm Interested

Interested in booking a vacation but still have questions? No problem!