Can’t we just drive ourselves through the park – won’t that be the same?
Yes, you can drive yourselves through the park, but the same? Not even a little bit… You can see the National Park, but you won’t really EXPERIENCE the park. If you drive through the parks on your own, you can stop and read the signs at every kiosk. You’ll learn a little bit about the features and maybe even a little about the geology of the area. Maybe you’ll remember an odd fact. You may not know where to look for the nesting pair of bald eagles. You’ll probably miss the secluded spot where a grizzly mama was last seen with her cubs. You won’t know the status of any of the geopolitical issues that may be affecting this region, one of the largest nearly intact temperate-zone ecosystems on Earth. You’ll miss all the anecdotes about life in Jackson Hole in the days of Native Americans, mountain men and homesteaders. You won’t get a succinct geology lesson about Yellowstone and Jackson Hole and learn about the 1000 – 3000 earthquakes annually (what?!). Join us
; get to know the parks. When you send out the “wish you were here” postcards, this time, you can actually mean it.
What is the minimum age for a wildlife safari?
The minimum age on all open trips is 8 years old. This is for the enjoyment and consideration of all guests riding together in the same vehicle. On private trips, there is no set minimum age. We do not provide child safety seats, so please plan on bringing your own child car seat or booster seat for any children in your group that may require it.
Is there a maximum age for safaris?
There is no maximum age.
What kind of vehicle do we ride in?
Our vehicle fleet is made up of SUVs and passenger vans. Both vehicle types are fully enclosed and have heat and air conditioning. SUVs are typically used for small private groups of 4 guests or less.
How many guests ride in the vehicle?
Our maximum group size on open trips is 8 guests per van so that everyone has a window seat. If you have a larger party, we do have more seating available, but not everyone will be sitting at a window seat. We work with each group personally to determine their needs and size the vehicle accordingly.
Do we go off-road or off the beaten path?
There are some side roads, (dirt roads), in Grand Teton National Park that we can explore, but otherwise we travel the same roads in Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park that are accessible to the general public.
Do we get out of the vehicles or do we just drive around?
We make multiple stops at pull-outs where you can use binoculars and spotting scopes to view animals and take photos.
Do we stop for bathroom breaks?
In both Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, there are full service restrooms as well as vault toilets. The facilities may be several miles apart, so please take advantage of any stop that offers a restroom. However, if you need an additional stop, you’ll want to give your guide a 15-20 minute heads up if possible.
Are we doing any hiking during the trip?
Grand Teton National Park does not permit us to venture more than half a mile from the vehicle, so we do not hike any trails. In Yellowstone National Park, the features are located further from the road, so there will be more walking incorporated into the trip. We do offer private hiking trips in Yellowstone National Park during the summer months if you would like a day trip that has a hiking focus.
Is the trip handicap accessible?
Our vehicles can accommodate folding walkers and wheelchairs, but we do not have any vehicles with a lift for motorized wheelchairs. If you plan on bringing a walker or a wheelchair, please let our office staff know at the time of booking so that the proper vehicle can be arranged for your trip. Boardwalks and pull-outs may contain uneven terrain that can be difficult to navigate if you have mobility issues.
Are we able to bring our service dog or emotional support animal?
Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park both make an important distinction between service animals and support animals. For our trips, in order to bring a service animal, you must be booked on a private trip, out of consideration for other guests who may have allergies. The service animal must remain in a carry kennel while in the vehicle and on a leash while outside the vehicle. Support animals, however, are not permitted on any of our trips as they are not allowed in buildings, walkways, or natural areas of either park.
How strenuous is this trip?
While the trip itself is not too strenuous compared with other outdoor activities, there are a few things to take into consideration as you evaluate your readiness for a wildlife safari. Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park both lie at high elevation. It is very important to stay hydrated at high elevation, even in winter. Most walks are optional, allowing you to adjust your activity level to your own comfort.
Can dietary restrictions be accommodated?
We do try to accommodate any dietary restrictions that are brought to our attention at the time of booking. If your allergy is severe, please be sure to notify your guide and have the proper medications on your person at all times during the trip.
Do the trips operate in all weather conditions?
Yes, all our trips go “rain or shine”. As long as the park roads remain open and road conditions are not hazardous, we will run our safaris. Occasionally, the park service closes roads due to hazardous conditions. This is more common in winter, but could potentially happen at any time of the year. Yellowstone National Park does list road closures, although short term closures may not be reflected on their website. Permit holders, like Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris, have access to the most current information, so we will notify you as soon as possible if a road closure is affecting your departure.
Can we bring our drone for photography?
It is illegal to fly a drone over Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and parts of Jackson Hole. You’ll want to leave your drone at home. We do recommend bringing a nice camera with you to capture photos of wildlife. If you’d like to learn more about photography and use the National Parks as your classroom, you can read more about our Custom Photography Workshop
(for half day or full day) online.
Do we have to pay to enter the National Parks?
Yes, the national parks charge each person to enter the park. As of April 1, 2019, the fee to enter each National Park will be $20 per adult (age 16+). If you are visiting Grand Teton National Park as well as Yellowstone National Park, the fee will be $40 per adult (age 16+). If your park fees are not paid in advance, you may pay upon entrance at the park entrance station. The parks accept both cash and credit card.
Is gratuity included? What is the suggested gratuity?
Guide gratuity is generally not included but is always appreciated. The suggested gratuity is 10-20%.
Do you offer discounts?
If you are an active member of the US Military, we offer our safaris at a 50% discount. Other groups may inquire about our private safaris as some guests may benefit financially by purchasing a private safari instead of booking an open safari.
What is the cancellation policy?
We have a 48-hour cancellation policy for all single day safaris and a 7-day cancellation policy for all 2-3 day safaris. For groups with 15 or more guests, our cancellation policy is 30 days. For expeditions and multi-day safaris of 4 days or more, our cancellation policy is 90 days. Cancellations made before the policy goes into effect will receive a full refund with no penalty. Cancellations made within the cancellation policy period will be partially refunded (50%), but cancellations made the day of the departure will not be refunded. We recommend obtaining travel insurance before your departure to protect you from incurring any costs associated with unforeseen circumstances that prevent you from joining us.
Where do we meet you?
We will pick you up at your hotel accommodations in Jackson, Wilson or Teton Village. Your pickup time will vary depending on the location of the hotel. You will be notified of your exact pickup time at the time of booking. Please be waiting in the lobby area and do allow 5-10 minutes for your guide to arrive. (Your guide will greet you in the lobby.) If you are driving in from Idaho or from southern Wyoming, you can meet your guide at the Home Ranch Welcome Center (at the corner of Cache Street and Gill Street in Jackson) or you can meet at the Village Transit Center / Stilson Parking Lot, located at the junction of Highway 22 and Highway 390 (the Moose-Wilson Road).
What do we bring? What do we wear?
You’ll want to plan on being in and out of the vehicle throughout your trip. This allows us to take full advantage of the wildlife viewing and photography opportunities. Your guide will provide you with binoculars and spotting scopes for your use. Don’t forget your camera! For clothing, synthetic layers are best in a variable mountain climate. Base layers provide a wicking layer against the body, so we recommend light to expedition weight synthetic or wool layers, depending on the season. A mid layeris for warmth, so we recommend a mid weight fleece or softshell jacket for the upper body and a pair of travel pants or jeans for the lower body. The outer layer is your wind/moisture blocking layer. We recommend a water-proof shell for your upper body and weather proof rain pants or ski pants for your lower body. Footwear should fit comfortably and be suited for the season. For warmer months, walking shoes or hiking boots work well. Please avoid wearing flip-flops. For cooler months, snow boots with wool socks will keep your feet warm. Additionally, you’ll want to bring a wool/fleece hat, and mittens/gloves for colder weather. For warmer weather, a sun hat or visor is nice to have. Don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses! At high altitude the sun’s rays are more intense, even in the cooler months.
What makes Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris different? Why should we go with you?
As a guide owned and operated company, we understand that the guide staff is the key to the experience we can provide for you. Our guides have a passion for this work and this area and that shines through for every guest that takes a tour with us. We have made it a priority to seek out the most talented and experienced local guides so that we can provide our guests with a guarantee that they will experience the highest quality tour offered in Jackson Hole. Our guide staff is hired based first on their passion for the area and for the enthusiasm to share it with our guests, and second on their depth of knowledge of this 22 million acre parcel, nestled in the Rocky Mountains, known as the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. A crucial component of a premium wildlife tour is the ability of the guide to provide expert interpretation throughout your tour. Most of our guides are energetic, curious, highly intelligent and continuously studious. A professional guide can intuitively calibrate the tour to the interests of the guests. At Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris, no two tours are ever the same. There are no canned speeches; there are no rehearsed facts. Instead, you are engaged throughout the day in a rolling discussion about what you are seeing, stories about the area and insider perspectives on current local events. Our goal, each day, on every tour, is to share our passion of this area with you and give you a newfound appreciation for all things wild.