You don’t go to Yellowstone just to be told where to go and what to do.
Savvy and independent travelers are turned off by advice like: “Take a guided tour,” or “Hire an expert!” The only ‘guide’ they’re interested in is a map, book or brochure.
But a ‘guide’ may also be chaperone, leader or teacher. Here’s a look at how a guide makes a trip to some of the most stunning, wild land on Earth – even better.
Yellowstone: better backpacking (And A Better Backpack)
Can you find great hikes on your own in Yellowstone? Of course! But if you want to cover a lot of great terrain – get a guide. Their real-time knowledge and experience spare you attention to logistics, giving you more time to explore. On the morning before a big trek, the last thing you want is to be stuck in line at the visitor center or making last minute calls for directions. A guide will have already handled those details for you.
Finding your bearings in unfamiliar surroundings is requisite for any adventure. You don’t go to Yellowstone to be told where to go and what to do. Helpful guides often provide a list of things to explore on your own. Don’t assume they’re hired to hold your hand through the whole experience. Take advantage of pre-adventure consultations to ensure they know how much involvement is expected or desired of them.
Backpacking essentials – a well-fitted waterproof backpack, day pack, sleeping bag, tent, cooking supplies, First Aid, and more – add up! If you don’t own these items, bear in mind the time and costs of acquiring them. Many companies will supply basic gear as part of their guided services in Yellowstone. At the very least, they should give you a checklist for what you’ll need. The wild terrain and rugged landscape call for many items that a Google search won’t suggest. Guides help you prepare for what’s out there, based on real, human experience.
Yellowstone: better views (Fewer Crowds)
If you have a long to-do list for your trip to Yellowstone, a guide helps you check more of those boxes. Let them know what you want for your vacation and they can create an itinerary to meet your wishes and stay within budget. For rarely-visited or obscure places, professional guides have advice and access to get you there.
Some areas are best enjoyed at certain times of the year. Bad weather can deter the inexperienced visitor from certain destinations. A guide can suggest alternatives, so you don’t waste any time. Or, better yet, they may show you the sheltered, secret spots from which enjoy the experience anyway.
Despite the vast wilderness and sheer size of the Park, you’re bound to run into crowds. Veteran guides know the busy spots and can recommend less crowded times and areas.
Yellowstone: better (Less Common) adventures
Plenty of tourists never venture far from their cars but you want adventure as possible- right? Instead of making decisions between whitewater rafting, biking, fly fishing and horseback riding – why not do them all? Group adventures can be kept small while providing big benefits like private access to river spots and a customized float based on your activity level. Wilderness viewing isn’t limited to trekking on foot. The right guide can get you binoculars and some bikes for a unique journey.
Backcountry travelers know that hearty healthy calories are crucial for long days of adventure. They also know it takes a lot of time to plan and pack nourishing food. Most guided tours offer meals and there’s been an increase in culinary variety. Whether you’re partial to organic, all-natural foods, are a vegetarian, or have allergy restrictions- there are plenty of options to serve you needs and save you time.
Yellowstone: better accommodations
Because the Park is a such a popular vacation destination, Yellowstone lodging and accommodations can be complicated. It’s best to plan a trip well ahead of time. Established companies often have partnerships with inns and lodges. Whether you want a rugged cabin or a luxury rental – they take your preferences into account and can help you make reservations otherwise unavailable if you’re shopping and searching on your own.
Above all, you want to spend your time exploring Yellowstone. Guides know the area and know how to maximize time doing what you love. Before you say you can’t afford the extra expense of a guide – ask around, do some research see more of what they offer.