It’s the steam of a gently boiling hot spring spiraling skyward on a chilly mountain morning. It’s the jagged mountain peaks bathed in a fiery orange as the sun sets over the Rockies, paving the way for the Milky Way to take over the inky black sky. It’s the grunting, huffing and bellowing of a herd thousands of bison strong joining together for the rut in August. It’s the aspens changing color to a golden yellow as a busy summer makes way for a sleepy fall. It’s the surrounding national forest land where you can hike for days on end but never see another soul. This is the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and there is no place like it on Earth.
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) contains not only – you guessed it – Yellowstone National Park, but also its southerly neighbor, Grand Teton National Park. However, one of the largest nearly intact ecosystems on our planet doesn’t just consist of two adjacent (yet disconnected) national parks. The GYE beyond the national parks is made up of over 18 million acres of surrounding state lands, 5 national forests, 3 national wildlife refuges, Bureau of Land Management holdings, tribal lands and private lands.
This huge amount of land supports one of the largest elk herds in North America, the largest free roaming bison herd in the US and one the few grizzly populations in the lower 48. Along with this spectacular array of wildlife, this acreage is protected for its geothermal features, vegetation, lakes and geologic wonders. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is truly home to some of America’s most spectacular lands, water and wildlife – and the best playground for those looking for some space to breathe in Big Sky Country.
With our roots in Montana, Austin Adventures’ home base is just a stone’s throw from the borders of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The mighty Yellowstone River runs right through our backyard (literally) and our playground every weekend is where the bison, bears and wolves roam. Our company is family owned and operated and has grown over the years out of a love for our national parks and a passion for exploring these protected places and what lies beyond their borders. Our local connections and guides have been 30 years in the making. We truly believe that you’ll be hard pressed to find a Yellowstone tour better than what we’ve got in store!
Our three Yellowstone itineraries take you deep into the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Our classic and number one selling Yellowstone Family vacation begins and ends in Bozeman, Montana, taking you on a journey around our world’s first national park. Staying in historic park lodging by night, you’ll explore attractions like Old Faithful, Lake Yellowstone, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs by day alongside knowledgeable guides who know how to show you a side of Yellowstone away from the crowds.
Our Montana Adventure shares a host city in Bozeman and follows a similar route to our Yellowstone Adventure, even venturing into Yellowstone for one night to take in the popular sights. However, you’ll spend more time in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem just outside the park exploring Gallatin National Forest and Big Sky, west of the park and aptly named Paradise Valley north of the park.
Our Yellowstone & Grand Teton tour begins and ends in Jackson, Wyoming where cowboy culture meets outdoor adventurer. This excursion takes you through two gems of our national park system, giving you the chance to compare Yellowstone’s volcanic plateaus with Grand Tetons’ glacially carved valleys and jagged mountains.
Now for our question to you: why would you go to Yellowstone with anyone else?
Austin Adventures has a 30 year proven track record of providing vacations of a lifetime, local connections stemming from our Montana base, and experienced, passionate guides who love to show off their stunning backyard. Our itineraries were created for adventurous families by adventurous families and have been tweaked to perfection over the years. When it comes to exploring the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, there’s no better tour operator than Austin Adventures, the expert in adventure travel.
After a week discovering Yellowstone and beyond with your guides and fellow guests who’ve come to feel like an extension to your family by week’s end, you’ll find yourself saying, “The toughest part is going home.”