Hiking and Wildlife Watching in Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone

Yellowstone | Wyoming
5.00
3 REVIEWS
Trip Highlights

Top reasons to hike in Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser

  • Trip Highlight

    Explore one of the most famous geyser basins in North America

  • Trip Highlight

    Hike Yellowstone’s most unique geothermal landscapes

  • Trip Highlight

    Hit up Steamboat Geyser, the tallest active geyser in the world

Yellowstone may be packed with geothermal wonders, but Norris Geyser takes the cake—it’s the oldest, hottest, and most active thermal area in the park. Roaring for over 115,000 years, Norris Geyser actually consists of two regions: Back Basin and Porcelain Basin. The Back Basin sprawls across dense forests and creeks, featuring easy-going boardwalk hikes full of epic vistas, wandering wildlife, and colorful thermal features. Porcelain Basin is more barren and compact, a patchwork of sulfur yellow, green, orange, and sky-blue hues accompanied by the constant hissing of the ancient Roaring Mountain. If you’re looking to meet unique species and visit some record-breaking geysers, you can’t go wrong with the Norris Geyser Basin.

Season

April through November

Nearest city

Jackson, WY, is 2 hours away from Yellowstone NP

Duration

1 day

Skill level

Beginner to advanced

Itineraries

Choose how you spend your day

Private Half-Day of Hiking in Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser Area

Half-day

Enjoy up to 5 hours of hiking in Yellowstone’s magnificent Norris Geyser Basin. Enjoy a scenic hike to Grizzly Lake, or from the Norris Meadows to Ice Lake, and explore the area surrounding the most volatile and exciting thermal basin in Yellowstone with a seasoned, naturalist guide.  From pleasant strolls to steep leg-burners, all levels of hikers are accommodated here!

Private Wildlife Watching Tour From Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser Basin

Full-day

Explore the rich and vibrant fauna of Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser Basin on this epic wildlife watching tour. Meet grizzlies, wolves, elk, bison, and other colorful species with the help of state-of-the-art spotting equipment and a seasoned local guide. Yellowstone boasts the largest free-roaming animal population in the Lower 48—time to meet them all!

Private Geology Tour from Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser Basin

Full-day

Learn about the fascinating geology of Yellowstone National Park on an educational 6-7 hour tour starting in the Norris Geyser Basin. Hike Yellowstone’s stunning trails and boardwalks with multiple stops at various basins, and learn about the geothermal wonderland hiding beneath the park. Lunch, hot drinks, and a comfortable SUV ride are included.

Reviews

Reviews (3)

Matt P. about In Our Nature on Tripadvisor

We booked In Our Nature Guides for two tours: a 6-mile hike in Yellowstone and the early morning nature viewing. The hike was excellent. Nancy, our guide, is a fountain of information! She also had an amazing eye for spotting tracks and other evidence of animals such as pawprints, markings on trees, and lots and lots of different types of poop. The kids asked questions for 6 hours straight and Nancy fielded them brilliantly! The early morning nature viewing was a very cool experience. We got to see a pack of wolves frolicking in a field, many bison, and mountain goats. Nancy and Cara did a wonderful job managing our party of 8 with the scopes and keeping us moving to keep the kids’ attention spans. We would highly recommend this group of guides. In hindsight, we were very happy we didn’t try to do it all on our own. It is a much better experience to go with someone who knows where and when to be!

Mary Ella P. about In Our Nature on Tripadvisor

Claire was a knowledgeable very professional guide. She was also very considerate of our wants and needs. We spent one day with her and saw 2 packs of wolves, a coyote and a group of large rams. She shared a lot of information about the wolf project that she was involved with and answered all of our questions.

Nicole B. about In Our Nature on Tripadvisor

We had an amazing day with Cara. We had 3 kids (one is a baby) along with us… She had so much patience with us and still made it possible for us to see everything we had hoped for and more! We saw a grizzly, a pack of wolves, coyotes, bison, elk, mountain goats, and went on a great hike that was doable for our whole family where we even got to see trout in the lake. So knowledgeable about the animals and the area.. we learned so much in one day. We will definitely be back!

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Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Yellowstone National Park, 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, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Yellowstone, WY, please refer to the official guidelines for air travel into the US and Yellowstone National Park’s COVID-19 guidelines.

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 hiking guide or biologist with extensive knowledge of the area
    • A half or full day of hiking, or a full day of wildlife watching 
    • Hot drinks and water refills on tour
    • Brunch (wildlife watching tour), snacks (half-day hiking tour), or a full lunch (full-day hiking tour)
    • Binoculars and spotting scopes

What’s not included:

    • Transportation
    • Accommodations
    • Park entrance fees ($20 per person, $35 per family)

How fit do I need to be?

The best thing about hiking in Yellowstone NP is that there are incredible options for all skill levels. For beginner hikes, if you can walk for four to six hours on gentle, mostly flat terrain with little elevation gain, you are good to go! Intermediate trails will see more rocks and other obstacles, with up to 700 ft (215 m) of elevation gain. Advanced hikes cover steep, uneven, and heavily rocky terrain with challenging inclines and 1000 or more feet (300+m) of elevation gain. 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 (2L capacity)
    • Lightweight hiking boots or shoes
    • Spare clothes for layering
    • Waterproof rain jacket
    • Sunhat
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
    • Bear spray — provided by guide
    • Headlamp or flashlight
    • Sunglasses
    • Camera — optional (but recommended)

Binoculars and high-quality Swarovski spotting scopes will be provided by your guide for the wildlife watching tour. 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 the private wildlife watching tour and the geology tour, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 6:1. 
    • For the private hiking tours, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 10:1. A minimum of 4 participants is required for these tours to run.
    • The cost per person decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to hike with friends and family! 

Hiking and wildlife watching 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.

Deposits and cancellation policy

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

    • Cancellations up to 30 days before the trip date will receive a full refund minus a $50 processing fee.
    • Cancellations between 29 and 5 days before the 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 Norris Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, most people fly into Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport 3 hours away. From there, your best option is to rent a car or take a taxi to the Norris Junction.

Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, which will usually be at the Norris Junction. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

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