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Yellowstone all-inclusive tour options?

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Jun 12th, 2011, 06:04 PM
  #1
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Yellowstone all-inclusive tour options?

I'm posting on behalf of a woman in her late 60's who would like to visit Yellowstone for the first time. She'll probably be traveling solo, and is interested in some sort of group tour. She wouldn't be doing any serious hiking, but is in good enough shape to, say, walk from Old Faithful to the other end of the Upper Geyser Basin and back. She would much rather sit and look out the window of a bus than have to drive herself around. Importantly, she'd like to visit this summer if possible, and she doesn't have any lodging reservations yet.

How should she proceed? I was a little surprised to find that searching this forum didn't yield a lot of informative results. I note that Xanterra offers various package tours on their site. Is that the best way to do this? Is there a chance that Xanterra has some lodging set aside for people who book the package tours? Alternatively, are there any non-Xanterra options that, say, have a bus that departs from West Yellowstone and returns there at night?
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Jun 12th, 2011, 06:41 PM
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hawksbill,

Most Fodorites don't do tours. That's why there isn't a lot of tour info on here.

Personally, I would hate a bus tour of Yellowstone and I go there solo all the time.

That said, there are bus tour companies that do Yellowstone. You do see lots of tour buses all over the park.

I would do a Google search for Yellowstone tours and see what comes up.

good luck!
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Jun 12th, 2011, 08:25 PM
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Most Fodorites drive, this is why you don't see much about the tours.

I was looking at going to Y-stone with a tour group, the options were: Caravan, Brandon, Cosmos, don't remember who else. When I start searching for tours I go to AffordableTours website and search for escorted bus tours.

My favorite was 11 days with Brandon, but this popular tour is solidly sold out this year.

Elderhostel has programs there, look into them also. Their are not tours but programs - usually only 1 hotel Sun-Fri, day trips and lectures.

On our own we would go to Jackson, WY and take daily bus tours from there.
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Jun 12th, 2011, 09:31 PM
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Yes, I personally favor driving and seeing things at my own pace too. Hence my heavy dependence on detailed suggestions from Fodorites! But this time I'm looking for suggestions for someone who won't be driving.

Dayenu, thanks for the tips. I have forwarded links from Brendan and Elderhostel (which now appears to call itself Road Scholar). Do you have personal experience with either of those? I once chatted with some people on a Road Scholar bus in Utah, while we were all stopped at a gas station, but we didn't talk much about Road Scholar in particular.

Also, I didn't quite understand your last sentence. Have you taken daily bus tours from Jackson? If so, can you recommend a particular operator? I think it's about an hour and a half drive from Jackson just to get to the South Entrance of YNP, so that seems to me like kind of a tough way to see the park. But it could be very convenient for a non-driving person, because there's easy taxi service from Jackson Hole Airport into Jackson, and it's a pleasant town with plenty of services.
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Jun 13th, 2011, 09:40 AM
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We only searched how we could go to Y. without a car on our own, and the most convenient seemed Jackson for both Y. and Tetons that everybody recommends to see. We didn't go (something else came up).

I did some programs with the old EH before Road Scholar, the old one ranged from fabulous (Oregon, Sequoia) to so-so (Palm Springs, St Lois).

How are they now not sure, it all depends on the local provider of the program. What I like - they usually stay in one place doing day trips, so no unpacking every day

Brendan... once I was on a trip that also had Brendan people on it, and cannot recall which one. I mean, they deliver what they post on their website, depends who is the tour guide.
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Jun 13th, 2011, 10:13 AM
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There are at least a couple companies that do bus-type tours of Yellowstone, often combined with Grand Teton and Jackson WY and sometimes other nearby destinations.

I don't drive except as a last resort, so I did such a tour via AdventureBus, which I happened to enjoy very much. It did allow a decent bit of structured walking and hiking time. It also is mostly a "camp-out" type of experience where one sleeps in or near the bus in sleeping bags and several meals are taken in a campfire cookout style circumstance. Showers are encountered in those camping sites that have them. They leave out of Salt Lake City.

There was a thread here back last year about what appears to be a similar company called Travel Dream West. I have no experience with them:

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...ellowstone.cfm
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Jun 13th, 2011, 06:26 PM
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Thanks again to you both. Bachslunch, that thread was quite helpful, thank you for linking to it. It made me reconsider the possibility of day tours, with an outfit like BrushBuck.

It's interesting to read about the kinds of experiences that people have on guided tours. I'm realizing that, as much as I like driving myself around on my own pace, there's a lot more that I could potentially see and learn by seeing places like Yellowstone with a good guide too.
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Jun 15th, 2011, 08:49 PM
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Hi! New to the forum, but just wanted to post and say I HAVE taken an ElderHostel/Road Scholar tour to Yellowstone. I went in May of 2009, did the Hiking tour out of Gardiner Mt and it was awesome! I had previously been to Yellowstone maybe a dozen times, but I really enjoyed the instructor and learned so much. I also saw more animals than I have ever seen there. The leader, the instructor and the bus driver all had spotting scopes we could use. The motel accommodations were clean and OK, certainly not fancy. Food good and plentiful. Others on the tour were very well travelled, both with EH and otherwise. All in all, a wonderful experience and one I would do again.
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Jun 16th, 2011, 04:06 PM
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Dobby, thanks for chiming in! On your tour, was the lodging in the park? And was it different places on different nights? Also, how did you get to Gardiner? I assume you flew into Billings or Bozeman, but did EH/RS have a way to get you there from the airport? Thanks!
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