My experience on a Yellowstone snowcoach tour is brought to you today by Yellowstone Vacations.
Yellowstone is astoundingly beautiful. I have written this many a time and I will probably write it again. The hubby and I took a Yellowstone snowcoach tour into our country’s first National Park with Yellowstone Vacations and it was delightful. I must note that this was not my first time into this Park and if I am lucky it will not be my last. Truth be told we were quite torn between that area of Montana and the town where we ultimately settled when we decided to settle in what is now our home.
Yellowstone is Still Open!
The park stays open even in the big snows of winter and will remain so through March 17th so there is still plenty of time to get into Yellowstone and see all of the scenery and wildlife. It’s a completely different park in the winter than it is in the summer and I honestly can’t say which I like better.
A Comfortable Coach
The big Yellowstone Vacations snowcoach picked us up at our hotel – the Grey Wolf Inn and Suites – which was super convenient. It was there that our very friendly guide, Jon, gathered up my Park pass and ID for entry into Yellowstone. The cost of the tour does not include the entry fee to the Park. You will be asked when you make your reservation if you have a pass or if you will need to purchase one. Yellowstone Vacations offers two different snowcoach tours as well as the ability to book a private coach:
OLD FAITHFUL EXPLORER
Enjoy Yellowstone’s most popular tour, offered daily. Here, you’ll visit the world’s most concentrated geothermal area with knowledgeable local guides. Tours can include stops at Madison Junction, Fountain Paint Pot, Fountain Flat Road and Biscuit Basin, and lots of wildlife stops. We also allow for lunch and sightseeing time at Old Faithful.
- Available now through March 15, 2017
- Adults: $114
- 12 & Under: $94
Visit Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon and see the Lower Falls. Experience the Park’s hottest and most dynamic geyser basin, Norris Geyser Basin, and Steamboat Geyser (the world’s largest active geyser). Also, you’ll discover abundant wildlife at Gibbon Falls and Beryl Spring. This tour is offered Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Boxed Lunches are required.
- Available now through March 7, 2017
- Adults: $124
- 12 & Under: $104
DAILY PRIVATE/CUSTOM TOURS YELLOWSTONE EXPLORER
Let us help create a custom or theme tour for your school, group or family. Enjoy the flexibility of choosing your departure time, destinations, how much time you want to spend at each stop.
- 6 Passengers: $795
- 14 Passengers: $1,340
- 30 Passengers: $2,875*
*Information from the Yellowstone Vacations site. Subject to change.
Onward to Old Faithful
The hubby and I were on the Old Faithful Explorer trip. After we got all settled in the comfortable coach – I will admit to needing a bit of a push up the steps – we headed into the park. It wasn’t long before we saw some bison. In my experience bison are the most frequently seen animals in the park. They are truly amazing animals; they look slow and stupid but they can come to life in a minute and they can reach speeds of up to 30mph. A bull can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. One should never treat a bison lightly.
The scenery is often otherworldly as evidenced by these trees covered by an icy buildup from the mist from a hot spring. Don’t they look beautiful? We actually saw them on the way back from Old Faithful when we stopped to visit a geologic area. Just look:
Pretty stunning, right? I’ll tell you there is really something about staring down into pools of water ranging in temperature from 70° to 200° while standing in a snowstorm in 20° weather.
It is completely surreal.
The colors you see are true as well, despite it being a rather grey day there was much color to be found in the park.
In addition to the overwhelmingly beautiful scenery in Yellowstone it is also a place where you are bound to encounter many species of wildlife. Just on this one day in the park we saw bison, elk, coyotes, ravens, swans, bald eagles, mallards and Canada geese. In the spring and summer there are more animal sightings but there are also a LOT more people so it can take some of the enjoyment out of the visit. We also saw many wolf tracks but we never actually saw the wolves.
The Yellowstone snowcoach tour took us to Old Faithful so we could stop for lunch, check out the visitor center and then watch the famous geyser erupt. We arrived just as Old Faithful was putting on its act so it would be about an hour before the next show so we went to the Grizzly Cafe for our lunch. I had a cheeseburger and the hubby had a bison bratwurst; it was some of the best food we had during our stay in West Yellowstone. My burger was perfectly seasoned and he loved his bratwurst. The staff were super friendly and the place was spotless. The gift shop had a lot of fun and different souvenirs (be sure to keep reading my Yellowstone stories. I’m going to have a giveaway next week!). The Old Faithful Visitor Center had quite a few interactive displays and it was fun to go through and learn more about this amazing park, but soon it was time to go out and wait for the geyser. A ranger gave an informative talk prior to Old Faithful putting on its show.
If you watch the video you can see part of Old Faithful’s eruption plus the rest of our fun on our Yellowstone snowcoach tour.
The Madison River Valley
After our stop at Old Faithful we took an unexpected turn. In the winter snowcoaches are allowed to the wrong way on the road through the Madison River Valley. It gives the visitor a different view from what they would see in the summer. The vistas were gorgeous with the fast moving river and the snow covered mountainsides. We stopped at one point to take pictures of a waterfall (you can see it in the video above) that was really rushing. It was truly magical to stand and watch the river while the snow fell all around me.
All good things, as they say, must come to an end and so did our trip into this magnificent park. It was a full day of exploring with plenty of time for picture taking. Our guide Jon, was very knowledgeable about the Park’s history and it’s geology. He was able to answer any questions that came his way. He was friendly and available when you needed assistance.
The coach was comfortable which is important when you are going to be riding for many hours. I read on the company’s Facebook page about the windows fogging up and this did happen at the very start of the tour but the windows soon cleared and it wasn’t a problem for long. If you sit on the left side of the bus you might feel as if you are missing out on all of the good views but you go back out the same way you came in so you will get to see them as you leave. Plus the stunning views of the Madison River Valley are on the left side so now you know a secret.
Everyone I spoke to at Yellowstone Vacations was friendly and eager to help. I would most assuredly work with them the next time I go back down to my favorite National Park.