By Christine Gianas Weinheimer Yellowstone Forever
Binoculars? Check. Camera? Check. Full tank of gas? Check. You’re heading out for a day in Yellowstone, hoping to see the park’s legendary wildlife. But do you know where to find them?
Luckily, the naturalist guides from the Yellowstone Forever Institute do, and they’re ready to help you catch all the wildlife action with a brand-new program. Yellowstone Day Adventures offers a convenient, affordable, expert-led wildlife watching experience for visitors to Yellowstone National Park.
Pickup begins in Gardiner, Montana, at dawn, when wildlife activity is at its peak, then the group departs for Yellowstone’s famed Lamar Valley. The route offers the possibility to see several species including elk, pronghorn and bison, as well as those charismatic carnivores: bears and wolves.
“Many visitors spend a great deal of time and money to travel to Yellowstone, and this tour will help ensure that the visit is a truly inspirational experience,” said Zachary Park, Yellowstone Forever’s assistant director of institute operations.
“The guides will make the most of your time by knowing right where to go to view the latest wildlife activity, and providing you with the use of top-quality optics,” Park added.
Park explained that the tour includes the use of state-of-the-art spotting scopes and the latest digiscoping technology, which allows you to capture what you’re seeing in the scope on your smartphone, and share the images later with friends. He noted that the animals visitors most want to see, such as wolves, will likely be far from the road, so top-quality optics will ensure that guests enjoy an enhanced wildlife viewing experience.
Guests should plan to take home more than pictures, though, as they will also learn from fascinating commentary on the behavior and ecology of Yellowstone’s wildlife, as well as in-depth, facilitated group discussions based on their interests.
“Compared to other wildlife tours in the park, the expertise of the Yellowstone Forever Institute’s naturalist guides is second to none,” Park said. “This half-day tour is a rare opportunity to get in the field with professionals of this caliber, who work closely with park researchers to bring the most recent scientific findings to the park tour experience.”
Yellowstone Day Adventures are offered on Wednesdays and Fridays this summer through Aug. 31. Tours include early morning pickups in Gardiner, breakfast and hot beverages, specialized instruction, all transportation, scopes and binoculars, and digiscoping equipment. This program is available for people 8 and older.
To sign up, visit the Yellowstone Forever Park Store in Gardiner or call (406) 848-2844. You may sign up as late as 5 p.m. the day before the tour, and full payment is due upon registration.
Yellowstone Forever is the official nonprofit partner of Yellowstone National Park. Learn more at yellowstone.org.