Frequently Asked Questions
You've got questions? We've got answers! Read on for answers to frequently asked questions about our guided Yellowstone National Park tours, and other useful "know-before-you-go" travel tips.
Q: How do I book a tour?
A: At this time, tour bookings can only be made by calling Yellowstone Vacation Tours directly at 800-426-7669. We do not currently have the capability to book tours online or through our hotel reservation office.
Q: What tour options are available?
A: During the winter we offer round-trip Snowcoach Tours to Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, as well as Snowmobile Tours to Old Faithful (due to seasonal road closures, these are all "there-and-back" tours). During the summer months we offer Summer Bus Tours of the full Lower Loop and Upper Loop. Custom tours are also available; call 800-426-7669 for details.
Q: How long do the tours take?
A: Expect each tour to take a full day, regardless of where you're headed. Most tours meet and/or leave around 8:00 AM and return around 5:00 PM.
Q: What should I bring with me?
A: Sunscreen (even in the winter), your camera, binoculars, sunglasses, a water bottle, and possibly some light snacks. Purchasing boxed lunches for your party is also highly recommended for all tours, particularly during the winter months when food service inside the Park is extremely limited, but during the summer months as well since summer crowds can result in long wait times for food service. Boxed lunches can be reserved directly through Yellowstone Vacation Tours when you call in to book your tour, but must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance so they can be ready for pick-up on the morning of your tour. Visit our Lunches To Go page for more details.
Q: Will we get to stop and take pictures?
A: Yes! All of our guides are knowledgeable and passionate about Yellowstone National Park, and will make sure you get some great photo opportunities no matter which tour you are on.
Q: Am I supposed to tip my guide?
A: While not mandatory, tips are an important source of income for our guides. We recommend tipping your guide 15-20% of the total tour cost.
Q: Where do I meet the group for my Snowmobile Tour?
A: All snowmobile tours will meet on-site at Yellowstone Vacation Tours, located at 415 Yellowstone Avenue, right next door to the Holiday Inn West Yellowstone.
Q: What should I wear?
A: You will definitely need some durable snowmobile clothing to protect your body from the elements. We have the following equipment available to rent for all riders:
- Heavy-duty insulated full body jumpsuit: $6
- Snowmobiling boots: $5
- Heavy-duty insulated leather mittens: $3
- DOT approved helmet with face shield: $6
- All of the above: $15 - Best Value!
Winter clothing can be reserved when you call to book your tour, and you will then be sized on-site when you arrive. With the above winter gear, most riders will be comfortable enough wearing jeans, a long sleeve shirt, and thermal underwear. If you'd like to dress warmer you are certainly welcome to, but we suggest dressing in layers so you can better regulate your own personal temperature.
Q: Is riding a snowmobile hard?
A: Not at all! It's been said that if you can steer a lawnmower, you can pilot a snowmobile. All of our snowmobiles are automatics, so you don't need to worry about shifting gears or doing anything crazy. Before your tour departs, your guide will give you a full orientation on how each of the simple controls work, as well as what to expect while riding in town and inside the Park. Even the most timid of riders will be a snowmobile pro in no time!
Q: What do I do if there is a bison or other large animal in the road?
A: Just follow your guide's lead. When you ride through Yellowstone National Park, all snowmobile riders must stay single file, so your guide will always be at the front of your "train". If the guide slows down or stops, just do what they do and listen for their instruction.
Q: Do I need to bring anything with me?
A: There are two items in particular that we recommend all snowmobile riders purchase prior to meeting up for your tour; a balaclava and a boxed lunch. Balaclavas are those "ninja mask" style head gear that you may have seen before, and will provide some much-appreciated warmth to the one area of your body that will otherwise be left partially exposed - your face! We sell balaclavas on-site at Yellowstone Vacation Tours if you don't have your own. Additionally, food service inside the Park is extremely limited during the winter months, and since this is a full day tour, you would do well to purchase a boxed lunch before you head out. Boxed lunches can be reserved directly through Yellowstone Vacation Tours when you call in to book your tour, but must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance so they can be ready for pick-up on the morning of your tour. Visit our Lunches To Go page for more details.
Q: Any other suggestions?
A: A backpack might be a good idea, especially if you are purchasing the recommended boxed lunches. A limited number of backpacks are available on-site, or you are welcome to bring your own. Wool socks are also a good investment for outdoor winter activities.
Snowcoach / Summer Bus Tours
Q: Where do I meet the group for my Snowcoach Tour or Summer Bus Tour?
A: If you are staying in West Yellowstone, our driver will pick you up right at your hotel lobby. If you are coming in from out of town, please meet at the Yellowstone Vacation Tours main office, at 415 Yellowstone Avenue, West Yellowstone, MT 59758.
Q: Do I need to bring anything with me?
A: Purchasing boxed lunches for your party is highly recommended for all tours, particularly during the winter months when food service inside the Park is extremely limited, but during the summer months as well since summer crowds can result in long wait times for food service. Boxed lunches can be reserved directly through Yellowstone Vacation Tours when you call in to book your tour, but must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance so they can be ready for pick-up on the morning of your tour. Visit our Lunches To Go page for more details.
Q: How is the viewing? Am I out of luck if I don't get a window seat?
A: There is no "bad" seat in the house when you book one of our Snowcoach or Summer Bus Tours! All of our coaches have over-sized viewing windows, and you'll be sitting higher up than you would in a traditional automobile, so you'll be able to see just fine no matter where you are located. Additionally, we stop at major attractions and for significant wildlife sightings, so you'll be free to capture that dream photograph.
Q: Will it be cold on the Snowcoach Tours?
A: Nope! All of our snowcoaches have excellent heaters, so you'll be warm and toasty while you relax on your winter tour of Yellowstone. You would still do well to dress warmly though, since we make several stops for you to get out and take pictures.