Hiking and Wildlife Watching in Yellowstone’s Mammoth Area

Yellowstone | Wyoming
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to go hiking in the Mammoth area

  • Trip Highlight

    Marvel at rarely-encountered animals from a safe distance

  • Trip Highlight

    Mammoth Hot Springs are described as caves turned inside out

  • Trip Highlight

    Expand your knowledge of the area’s history and conservation efforts

No trip to Yellowstone is complete without paying a visit to the Mammoth area. In this part of the park attractions and hiking opportunities are thick on the ground. Whether it’s the famous travertine terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs or Bunsen Peak, a volcanic summit offering tremendous views of the Mammoth area, you’ll be struck by the splendor of colors and landscapes around you. Breathe in the aspen-scented air as you hike through dense forests, visit beautiful meadows and rolling hills, and observe rarely-seen animals in the Mammoth area. Your guides have plenty of local ecological knowledge, meaning that your chances of witnessing the wildlife you’re interested in increase from the get-go. Join these hiking or wildlife watching tours and take the best photos of stunning landscapes and incredible animals that call this area home.


Late April through early November

Nearest city

Gardiner, MT, is 15 minutes away


1 day

Skill level

Beginner to advanced


Choose how you spend your day

Private Half-Day of Hiking in the Mammoth Area


Treat yourself to a hike to the best gems the Mammoth area offers. Walk through lush forests, meadows, and rolling hills as you make your way towards Beaver Ponds, Blacktail Deer Creek or to the summit of Bunsen Peak. Here you’ll find phenomenal views of the Mammoth Hot Springs, an area filled with travertine terraces and incredible hot springs which you’ll also get to explore with the help of a professional guide.

Private Full-Day of Hiking in the Mammoth Area


If 5 hours isn’t enough to satisfy your hiking needs, kick things up a notch and spend 8 hours exploring the Mammoth Area. Hike across dense forests, grassy hills, and stands of aspen to reach Beaver Ponds, Blacktail Creek, Lava Creek Trail, or the prized Mammoth Hot Springs. Your experienced guide will share interesting facts along the way and you may see animals roaming these pristine areas.

Private Wildlife Watching from Gardiner

1 day

Access the park through the North Entrance and enjoy the views of abundant wildlife from Gardiner, Yellowstone’s only year-round entrance, or Mammoth. Listen to your guide to get a better understanding of the relationships between the varied animals that roam this area of the park, such as wolves and grizzly bears. Learn about Yellowstone’s history, ecology, and the scientific studies that took place here in the process from your knowledgeable guide.


Reviews (3)

Mary Meyer about In Our Nature on 57hours

Nancy was awesome. It was wonderful to fully enjoy “sightseeing ( wildlife and birds) without the hazle of driving or having to have expensive equipment!

Best Guide in Yellowstone
Julien F. about In Our Nature on TripAdvisor

Cara is truly a gem. She customized her tour based on my interests and I got to see so many amazing sights. She was kind and funny and extremely knowledgeable. She somehow knew where all the wildlife was hiding. I had a great time and would not have enjoyed Yellowstone as much if it wasn’t for her!

Kathryn B. about In Our Nature on TripAdvisor

All around excellent experience. Cara has great equipment to help us see all the wildlife and a huge amount of information to share.

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Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Yellowstone National Park, Montana and Wyoming

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Yellowstone National Park, please refer to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Yellowstone National Park Website and Wyoming Department of Health websites.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get on this adventure:

    • An experienced, local naturalist hiking guide or biologist with extensive knowledge of the area
    • A half-day or full-day of hiking, or a full-day of wildlife watching
    • Snacks (half-day hikes), lunch (full-day hikes), brunch and hot drinks (wildlife watching)
    • Bear spray for hikes
    • Water refills 
    • High quality scopes and binoculars

What’s not included:

How fit do I need to be?

The best thing about hiking and wildlife watching in Yellowstone is that people of all ages and abilities can participate. On easier hikes, you’ll cross gentle and mostly flat terrain with minimal elevation gain. Intermediate hikes will see a little more change in elevation (up to 700 feet) and the trails include sections of rocky terrain and other obstacles. Moderately strenuous hikes have uneven rocky terrain and other obstacles with up to 1,000 ft of elevation gain. On advanced hikes, you’ll encounter steeper, rocky terrain, possibly off-trail, with steep inclines and possibly over 1,000 ft in elevation gain. The minimum starting elevation is about 6,000 ft above sea level and you’ll go up from there. Keep in mind, the weather in the summer can be very hot and you’ll also be packing a daypack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout the day.

For wildlife watching, you won’t need to stray too far from the vehicle as wildlife watching is most effective from the road (with short walks to vantage points, up to about a half-mile each). Daily departures are at dawn (5 to 6 am in the summer, 7 am in the winter) and the duration of the tour is typically 7 to 8 hours.

What do I need to bring?

Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

    • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 25-40L bag)
    • Hiking poles — optional
    • Water bottle or hydration bladder (3L capacity)
    • Waterproof insulated shoes (with slip-resistant soles)
    • Warm layers
    • Spare clothes for layering
    • Waterproof rain jacket
    • Lightweight hiking pants
    • Warm hat
    • Insulated gloves
    • Sunhat
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
    • Headlamp or flashlight
    • Sunglasses
    • Camera — optional (but recommended)

Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and prices:

    • For these tours, the max. client to guide ratio is 6:1.
    • Cost per person decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to hike or watch wildlife with friends and family! 

Hiking and Wildlife watching tours in the Mammoth area in Yellowstone can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors younger than 18 are welcome, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Cancellation policy

Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies. 

    • Cancellations up to 30 days before your trip date will receive a full refund minus a $50 processing fee.
    • Cancellations between 29 and 5 days before your trip date will receive a 50% refund.
    • For cancellations within 5 days of booking refunds will not be provided.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Yellowstone National Park, most people fly into Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Montana, just under 2 hours away from Yellowstone National Park North Entrance, MT. From there, you can rent a car to get to Yellowstone National Park North Entrance.

Meeting points

Half-Day Hike:

  • Let your guides know where you are staying in Gardiner MT the night before your trip. If you are staying in Livingston, Pray, Emigrant or Paradise Valley, they will meet you at the Roosevelt Arch at the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Montana.
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