Adventuresome is good!

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Posted by Granite Head ( on 11:41:43 02/16/16

In Reply to: Organized Tours? posted by Erin K

Very easy to be overwhelmed by the options in these two huge, magnificent parks! But I don't think it's either-or, the Xanterra tours are generally quite good quality and I think if you've not been to the parks before and have a couple of days to explore on your own as well, it would not be a bad investment to do one (in each park probably). Also there is a variety of shorter free programs, like the docent tours of the historic Old Faithful Inn and Lake Hotel, both of which would be enlightening. There are also ranger-led walks and evening talks on a multitude of subjects that can be very worthwhile. The newspaper they hand you at the entrances (of both parks) will list these offerings.

One strong recommendation for orienting yourself in Yellowstone is to get a copy of Janet Chapple's great guidebook, book, Yellowstone Treasures. The link to her website is below. You can buy the book from her, at Amazon, or at the Yellowstone Association bookstores in the park. Take it with you in the car, it's organized by features along the Grand Loop, with a chapter on the geology of the Tetons as well. It's a great resource and if you get it ahead of time you can use it to prioritize your agenda.

Keep in mind that no matter what you do, there are always more new and exciting things to do in both parks. Maybe what will happen to you is what happened to all of us on this chat page: we became so smitten that we can hardly wait for the next trip! Some of us, me included, moved from other places around the country to be near the park, making frequent forays possible, and even so they're never frequent enough :-)

Please let us know how else we can help you plan and appreciate your journey - for example, if you're planning on hiking, we'll provide advice on using bear spray and other important ways to assure your safety. We love nothing more than talking about Yellowstone, the Tetons, and the many wonderful things in the greater surrounding areas.

Photo of two great horned owl fledglings taken at Mammoth Hot Springs, June 2015.

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