by Kate Ready
Locating moose, bears, bison, elk, antelope, eagles, wolves and more in the vast wilderness of Jackson Hole and the national parks is easier—and educational—with an experienced tour company like Buffalo Roam Tours. Read on for how a wildlife tour with Buffalo Roam Tours will extend the legs of your trip long after you’ve left.
Bringing the Ecosystem Alive
So you’re considering taking a wildlife tour for your trip to Jackson Hole. Take it from us here at Jackson Hole Traveler, if you’re not a zoologist or historian or geologist (or even if you are), a Buffalo Roam wildlife tour is really the best way to personalize your knowledge of Jackson Hole’s breathtaking landscape, its history and its wild inhabitants.
“It’s about bringing the ecosystem alive, and really elevating that understanding to build that bond and connection.”
Seeing a moose is incredible, but what’s even better is learning that they can close their nostril cavities for two and a half minutes and dive up to 20 feet underwater! And maybe the next time you pass a hillside of rolling sage, AKA “cowboy cologne,” you’ll remember how cowboys used their antiseptic oils to disinfect wounds.
As Matt Fagan, owner of Buffalo Roam Tours, said about his tours, “It’s about bringing the ecosystem alive, and really elevating that understanding to build that bond and connection.”
Buffalo Roam Tours is an unforgettable option for a wildlife tour because, as we can attest, their guides are meticulously vetted; their contagious passion for the environment will surely spark a lifelong reverence for public lands and their inhabitants.
Types of tours offered: Private full-day tours / multi-day expeditions.
Where: In Grand Teton and/or Yellowstone national parks
Ages: Generally, all ages are welcome
Average cost: Grand Teton: $600 (1-4 people); $1,000 full-day (1-4 people); Yellowstone: $1,450 full-day (1-4 people). See website for larger groups pricing.
Create Your Own Tour Into the Wild
Buffalo Roam tours are 100% private, so it’s guaranteed that the experience will be tailored to focus on your interests and pace exploring Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. Custom routes, stops in town, lingering at wildlife sightings—Buffalo Roam Tours designs the day for you! The knowledgeable guides can also help customize the rest of your trip for you: recommending local lakes that are great for kids, hiking trails your group will enjoy, maybe even a hot springs nearby. Their insider tips will help you make the most of the rest of your time in the area.
We suggest taking a wildlife tour at the start of your vacation not only for some help in planning the rest of your trip, but also so that when you spot a moose, hawk, bison, fox, etc. on your own later, you’ll have more knowledge of that particular animal or bird. For instance, you’ll know that only the male elk have antlers and the number of tines on their antlers do not denote their age (it’s affected by genetics, actually).
Take a wildlife tour at the start of your vacation.
Another perk of a Buffalo Roam wildlife tour is that it could actually benefit your relationships.
“Save your marriage, get a tour guide,” laughed Matt.
Tensions can sometimes arise over where and when to stop along the park roads, the best places to view wildlife, not to mention navigating yourselves safely in a majestic landscape that’s bound to glue your eyeballs elsewhere.
“We’ve got the park dialed, so you can relax and receive ‘The Call of the Wild,’” said Matt.
• Experienced naturalist guide dedicated to giving you a memorable day in the Tetons or Yellowstone National Park
• High-quality binoculars and spotting scopes and field guides to help with a hands-on learning approach
• Complimentary pick-up and drop-off in town at your hotel or a convenient meeting place
• Comfortable Ford Transit vans with high box windows
• Snacks, beverages and lunch are included in full-day tours. Park pass not included but can be picked up at the entrance gate to either park
Combine Education With Discovery
In our sunrise tour of Grand Teton National Park, Matt and I experienced bugling elk in the throes of mating, two mule deer wandering the autumnal forest, a cow and calf pair of moose exploring a local watering hole, a bear foraging for red chokecherries and an old homestead cabin. Matt explained the history behind the fur trappers, early explorers and homesteaders of Jackson Hole, and how the famous elk herd and the National Elk Refuge came to be here.
Whether you opt for the full-day Grand Teton or Yellowstone tour, Buffalo Roam Tours picks you up curbside in one of its luxury Ford Transit vans, thoughtfully equipped with locally sourced snacks. All passengers are provided with their own binoculars to use on the tour and high-quality spotting scopes are also on board for the guide to set up outside for incredibly close-up views of animals and birds in their native western habitat.
Buffalo Roam’s Yellowstone wildlife tours explore off-the-beaten-track areas.
The most popular tours are the full-day Grand Teton and Yellowstone tours, leaving early in the morning when the animals tend to be more active and the sunlight on the Tetons and the horizon make for spectacular photo opportunities.
People interested in more in-depth wildlife discovery will find that a full-day trip allows the guide the flexibility to visit other ends of the valley and—depending upon the time of year—different parts of Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. In fact, Buffalo Roam’s Yellowstone wildlife tours explore off-the-beaten-track areas.
Spring, fall and winter are the best times to see large herds of elk on the move and moose grazing the willow bushes. Grizzlies and black bears are also active during the shoulder seasons—spring and fall—storing up calories either pre- or post-hibernation. In the spring, you’ll likely see bears with their cubs as well as other mammals and ungulates with newborns in tow. Of course, the summertime provides a plethora of wildlife sightings!
After availing yourself of a full-day tour around Jackson Hole, Matt recommends you go play for a day or two and explore the region with your newfound knowledge of our area’s wild things.
About the writer: Kate Ready is a freelance writer for Jackson Hole Traveler and an enthusiastic new resident of Jackson. Curious and passionate for storytelling in all its forms, in her free time you can find her reporting for the Jackson Hole News & Guide or drooling over Steinbeck.