Do you Need a Tour in Yellowstone?

No.  Okay, wait, that was hasty.

  • A wildlife tour in Yellowstone will cost $400 for a family of four
  • The tour leaves at  unGodly-o’clock and returns 8 hours later
  • You will have a 50/50 chance of being on the wildlife side of the bus
  • The bus has other people

See it?
This is what a bear looks like from the road. See it?

This is what a bear looks like in the wild from the roadside.  This is through binoculars.


Contrast this with 8 hours of hiking

  • Cost, nothing
  • Leave after breakfast
  • Hike eight hours and return to your cabin ready to sleep
  • Both sides of a trail have a view
  • Get to know your kids instead of strangers

We clocked 28-1/2 hours of hiking with our teenagers, Gage and Cole, in five days of hiking at Yellowstone.  We learned that we were more afraid of buffalo than seeing a bear, that my husband, Brad, has no idea how far 100 feet is.  We learned that Gage is the best judge of 100 feet and Cole is the best photographer.  A rented camera lens weighs 8 pounds, same as a gallon of water.

This is what wildlife looks like from the trail.

Yellowstone 579Yellowstone 257Yellowstone 376Yellowstone 528Yellowstone 383Yellowstone 588Yellowstone 497Yellowstone 643

So, now that I think about it, my answer is the same.  No, you do not need a tour in Yellowstone.  Get out and hike, get to know what 3-and-1/4 miles feels like.  Get to know your family.

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