Explore both the Upper and Lower Loop of Yellowstone National Park in two days. This is one of our most popular tours of Yellowstone; both loops in two days with an overnight stay at Chico Hot Springs, in Pray Montana (given availability at time of booking). Two unforgettable days in the world’s first National Park and a night enjoying the hospitality of Chico Hot Springs Resort. Fantastic!
Dates of operation: Tour available from the second weekend in May, through the first weekend in Nov.
||Any size group||$550 per adult|
|$475 per child 13 yrs and younger, plus lodging for the overnight stay at $70-$140 depending on availability and room type. We will call you to finalize all details.|
Note: This itinerary works best originating from Jackson, WY. If you are starting from another gateway community we will be happy to customize a trip to suit your travel plans.
We are happy to pick you up from your place of lodging anywhere in Jackson or Teton Village. We will make arrangements to meet lodgers staying in outlying areas at a convenient location.
Our day begins as we head north from Jackson, WY towards Yellowstone National Park, passing through Grand Teton on the way. A couple of photo ops as we pass through Grand Teton, but mostly heading directly towards Yellowstone’s south entrance, of course stopping for a photo with the Yellowstone sign.
The theme for the morning will be “thermal features.” With over ten thousand thermal features in Yellowstone National Park (half of the world’s), it is tough to see them all, but we will explore some of the more fantastic, and famous as well.
Generally our first major stop will be at Upper Geyser Basin, or the Old Faithul area. The Old Faithful Geyser will erupt every ninety minutes and we will make a point of witnessing the eruption. Given the timing of our arrival we may have time for a short boardwalk stroll to view some of the other thermal features in the basin. In addition to Old Faithful there are numerous other fantastic geysers that will erupt with less certainty and frequency, which we may also have the good fortune to witnesss, including: Beehive, Castle, The Lion Group, Sawmill, Grand, Daisy,and such.
In additon to the numerous thermal features the history buffs will also enjoy a visit to the Old Faithful Inn, (in season) arguably one of the most magnificent National Park Lodges in existence.
We will venture north and most tours we will have the time to stop at most major points of interest and for short and exciting boardwalks excursions. I really enjoy stopping at both the Midway Geyser Basin, and Fountain Paint pots. Both truly fantastic thermal collections unto themselves. I will not ruin the surprise but such features as the Grand Prismatic Spring, Clepsydra Geyser, Excelsior Geyser crater, and the Fountain Paint Pots are just a few of the features we will visit while walking on the boardwalks.
Also features of note include the Firehole Lake Loop, Great Fountain Geyser, White Dome Geyser, Pink Cone Geyser, and more!
By 1:00 we generally are arriving at lunch stop, usually Fountain Flats, or beyond.. A great, fresh picnic spread provided by us including Boars Head turkey, ham, lettuce, onion, tomato, avocado (freshly prepped on site) chips and salsa, fruit, cookies for dessert, condiments, etc. A really great picnic stop.
After lunch we will spend some time in the vehicle as we make our way north with a couple of diversions possible including the Firehole Canyon Loop, Madison River Valley, Gibbon Falls, Elk Park, Artists Paint Pots (one of my favorites), and onto Norris Geyser Basin.
Norris Geyser Basin is the hottest geyser basin in the Park and is also home to the world’s tallest geyser, Steamboat Geyser, which has erupted in 2013 for the first time in almost 10 years! Porcelain Basin is also not to be missed.
As we head north and begin to approach the northern edge of the Yellowstone Plateau we will explore more points of interests including Roaring Mountain, Gardiner’s Hole, and pass through the Golden Gate as we descend off of the Plateau into the Mammoth Hot Springs area.
After a thorough exploration of Upper Mammoth Terrace and Lower Mammoth Terrace we continue down the valley towards the north entrance of Yellowstone and the town of Gardiner, Montana, passing over the 45th parallel, and into the state of Montana.
Usually we head straight out to Chico Hot Springs Resort, about 25 miles north of Gardiner, Montana. We try to arrive between 5:30 and 6:00 pm, giving you time to soak in their historic mineral pools before you settle down to a delicious meal in arguably the best dining room in Montana!
If the dining room is not your style the poolside grill serves up great food in a casual family setting, or see what’s happening in the world famous (Montan famous anyway) Chico Saloon, grill menu available also.
We will depart Chico at 8:00am and begin the second day of our tour byreturning back to Gardiner and entering Yellowstone via the North Entrance. On day two wildlife is a major theme as we will be spending the morning hours making our way from Mammoth Hot Springs south toward, and into Lamar Valley, scoping for wildlife along the way. Some points of interest as we approach Lamar Valley include the Gardiner River Bridge, Floating Island lake, Black Tail Plateau scenic loop, Petrified Tree, Roosevelt Lodge, and onto Lamar Valley. Considered some of the richest grassland habitat for large ungulates in the lower 48 states, Lamar Valley is famous for it’s Bison herds, Elk and Antelope herds, large predators such as the Grizzly Bear and Grey Wolf, all of which are a common site throughout this area of Yellowstone.
By lunch time we will have backtracked out of Lamar Valley and will continue heading south over Dunraven Pass towards the Canyon Area, with a stop of course at Tower Falls along the way.
We will spend some time at the Canyon Area with arguably the most spectacular hydrological features of your tour waiting to be discovered at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. With the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River, 109ft, and 308 feet tall respectively, being the main draw, there are also numerous overlooks into the canyon and many short walks opening to stunning views at every turn.
We try to be heading south from the Canyon Area no later than 3:00pm still with some ground to cover. Heading south from the Canyon Area we will pass through Hayden Valley (fantastic wildlife here, bison, bear, and wolves, a great spot to glass for wildlife), Mud Volcano area, Yellowstone Lake, and West Thumb.
We will have completed our Grand Loop at West Thumb and will continue south from there back to Jackson, usually arriving in Jackson between 6:00 and 7:00 pm, concluding our two days in Yellowstone.