Connect with us


Making it in Big Sky: Yellowstone Scenic Tours

Avatar photo



Yellowstone Scenic Tours provides an unforgettable experience to those looking to explore Yellowstone National Park’s many wonders. PHOTO COURTESY OF LAURA CALLAGHAN


BIG SKY—Following the completion of her Outdoor Recreation and Education degree at Ohio University, Laura Callaghan left the quaint town of Athens, Ohio with the intention of applying her acquired knowledge. During the winter season, Callaghan’s friends embarked on a journey to Big Sky and returned with enthusiastic accounts of the captivating lifestyle they encountered. Intrigued by their experiences, Callaghan made the bold decision to depart from her summer job in North Carolina and relocate to the West. Driven by an unwavering passion for boundless possibilities and the ever-evolving beauty of nature, Callaghan has dedicated the past 14 years to conducting guided tours, with eight of those years being specifically in Big Sky. 

In this edition of Making it in Big Sky, Explore Big Sky had the privilege of conversing with Laura about her journey, tracing her path from humble origins to becoming a guide for her own enterprise, Yellowstone Scenic Tours. Through her work, Callaghan has the remarkable ability to share her profound admiration for the outdoors with individuals, one awe-inspiring view at a time. 

This series is part of a paid partnership with the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce. The following answers have been edited for brevity.

Explore Big Sky: I’d like to start with a little background information on you, when did you first come to Big Sky and what brought you here? 

Laura Callaghan: While working summers in North Carolina, friends invited me to join them for the winter in Big Sky. They loved the ski bum/raft guide life, so I decided to check it out for a winter season. I moved to Big Sky in the fall of 2013, having never been to Montana before. Ten years later, those friends have moved away, but I’m still here.    

EBS: Tell me about the history of Yellowstone Scenic Tours. When did it first come to be?

LC: Yellowstone Scenic Tour’s first season was in 2017. I had spent the previous summer as a guide for another tour company in town. I loved guiding in the park, but that company wasn’t a good fit for me. Then, I met a woman who was interested in starting a business in Big Sky. It wasn’t my intention to start a company, but it seemed like a great option to be able to keep guiding. Yellowstone Scenic Tours allows me to continue guiding, and I have found I really enjoy operating a business. My degree is in Outdoor Recreation and Education therefore I am still using my degree every day! 

EBS: Tell me about the different services you offer.

LC: We offer fully customized private tours into Yellowstone National Park, which removes the hassle of planning, driving, park fees, and lunch. By fully customizing each tour, we can design the day based on the needs and  desires of our guests. Our experienced guides love educating and showing guests around Yellowstone and the surrounding area. Most often, these tours are booked as single-day tours. There is also the option to book multiple days with us. 

EBS: How big is your team?

LC: The team includes 10 guides and one office administrator. As of fall 2019, I am the sole owner of Yellowstone Scenic Tours. Each guide has a unique story and set of experiences that have brought them to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Most of the team has been guiding in some capacity for over 10 years.

EBS: What’s the best part or your favorite thing about your job?

LC: My team!  

When guiding, my favorite part is having the opportunity to share my passion for Yellowstone with others. I feel super fortunate to have an incredible team that also shares this passion and commitment to consistently create great experiences for our guests. 

EBS: What is the best business advice you have ever received?

LC: Employees are your most valuable asset.  

This is a core value of Yellowstone Scenic Tours. Each year, I invest in the guides through various continuing education opportunities. This allows us to provide the best service for our guests year after year. 

EBS: Anything else you would like to add?

LC: Our tours are not just for people visiting the area. We love to show locals the park! Yellowstone is a vast place. There is always something new to learn! I guarantee our team can teach you new things and show you places you’ve never been before!  

Upcoming Events

october, 2023

Filter Events

04octAll Day17Fall Community Cleanse(All Day) Santosha Wellness CenterEvent Type :OtherEvent City:Big Sky

04oct7:00 pm9:00 pmTrivia at The Waypoint7:00 pm - 9:00 pm The WaypointEvent Type :OtherEvent City:Big Sky

06oct(oct 6)3:00 pm07(oct 7)8:00 pmBig Sky Community Gear Swap3:00 pm - 8:00 pm (7) Event Type :OtherEvent City:Big Sky

10oct5:00 pm9:00 pmWine and Dine Tuesdays5:00 pm - 9:00 pm Rainbow Ranch Lodge & RestaurantEvent Type :OtherEvent City:Big Sky