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yellowstone national park summer positions


newdadzilla

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More specifically, just how physical is the campground attendant position. The person I spoke with said you had to be able to lift 40 lbs but for what duration? Occassionaly, all day? Are you expected to unload large trucks??

Also the person I spoke with repeatedly asked me about how I felt about cleaning bathrooms. What proportion of your workday is spent doing this task...is it a major part of these jobs??

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My wife and I just accepted positions in Yellowstone for this summer, through Xanterra. I will be working in the office as a Guest Service Agent (checking people into the campground). She will be working as an attendant (the job you're asking about). This will be our second year at Yellowstone and Xanterra.

 

She chose to be an attendant because; 1) it's more of an outdoor job; 2) she hates computers (can't emphasize "hates" enough); 3) she worked retail for 30 years and preferred a job with less direct contact with the public.

 

Now to answer your questions -

 

The attendant position can be more or less physical for each individual depending on whether they actually do some work or not. We know of one attendant that did very little work, while others expended quite a bit of energy doing the job. My wife lost 30 pounds over the six month season, doing the work. It depends partly on how you feel the job should be accomplished. One of the attendants at our campground felt the toilets needed to be cleaned with a toothbrush, in all the crevices, every day. That person really worked hard. Most of the attendants let the chemicals do the majority of the work. They just sprayed it on and wiped it off. Either way, we received comment cards from guests expressing satisfaction with the restroom cleanliness at our campground.

 

As far as lifting is concerned - No. It will not be all day, nor every day. The most significant lifting was done when a fire wood delivery was made. Most every attendant on duty at the time would be called to help move the boxes of wood from the truck to the wood shed. That would last about an hour or so, depending on how much wood was delivered. Otherwise, there were very few deliveries made to the campground. The lifting was not bad, but it was important that they be careful when they were twisting with the box of wood in hand, so they didn't strain their backs. We didn't have anyone get hurt moving the wood boxes. Wood was generally delivered no more often than once a week at our campground.

 

At the campground we worked at, there were no showers, so cleaning bathrooms was the primary job, all day, every day. The days were less than 8 hours long and they generally were done with the hard work before the shift was over. There were other jobs that were done, that didn't include bathrooms, that might take a small portion of the day and may only need to be done on a weekly basis. Those jobs included, but were not limited to:

 

1) Cleaning fire pits. Done on a weekly basis generally, unless some guests left a particularly messy fire pit at their site.

2) Cleaning campsites with trash left by guests. Done when needed. I can't say this had to be done every day.

3) Some campgrounds (not the one we were in) had showers that needed to be cleaned. I believe there was a specific crew that did shower cleaning only.

4) Traffic control. At our campground, the entry road was short enough that vehicles could back up on to the main road. We had to prevent that with someone directing the people to other areas inside the campground, while they checked in. Usually the drive through lane of the dump station, which was across from the office. This is less of an issue at some of the other Xanterra run campgrounds in the park.

5) Xanterra has the contract for ensuring all campgrounds in the park are supplied with fire wood - even the campgrounds run by the park service. This meant that some Xanterra employee would have to go to the park service run campgrounds and sell fire wood in the evenings. Our campground had the responsibility of doing this for one of the park service campgrounds, for part of the season. It gave one attendant the chance to drive to another campground in the evening and spend a couple hours in a different setting. They enjoyed the drive and the job rotated to a different person each night, so everyone got to do it.

6) Loop checks. All campers who were scheduled to leave on a given day, were expected to be out of their camp site by 11:00 A.M. (check out time). Some people are jerks and wouldn't even wake up until after 11. Each day, one of our attendants had the job of driving around the campground, checking to see if all the camp sites that should be empty - were - and reporting any that weren't to the office, so we would know not to check the next guest into that site. The attendant was also to gently prod remind those jerks guests that checkout time was 11 AM and that it was already past 11.

 

Our crew worked well together and there were very few personal problems between the crew members. There was at least one person who had years of experience cleaning up after slobs, who was willing to attack the occasional gross mess that cropped up (drunks not being able to hit the toilet bowl with their puke, people with a case of the uncontrollable Hershey squirts that couldn't figure out how to hit the toilet with their a$$ on a good day, etc.). This helped the people who couldn't stand the sight or smell of such issues, make it through those cases. Fortunately, these problems were relatively few and far between. More often it was dealing with women from other countries that didn't understand that the toilet seat was for sitting on - rather than standing on - leaving footprints and urine on the toilet seat, or people ignoring the "restroom closed" sign and coming in while they were being cleaned.

 

I hope this helps. If you have any more or more specific questions, I'd be happy to answer them for you.

 

Don

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...One of the attendants at our campground felt the toilets needed to be cleaned with a toothbrush, in all the crevices, every day...

 

Wow! What campground is that? I work for the General Stores. My position has me roaming throughout the park. I'm always on the lookout for clean RRs.

 

newdadzilla - Hope you are successful getting a position. Be prepared - Yellowstone gets in your blood. This will be my fourth of hopefully many summers and I am somewhat of a newbie compared to quite a few of my coworkers.

 

You specifically asked about Xanterra and camphost positions. If you are interested in a retail position I'd be happy to answer any questions.

 

One thing I strongly suggest is to apply right away. I can't speak for Xanterra but right now my company is moving rapidly through the hiring process for this summer.

 

Good Luck. Perhaps our paths will cross at a bear jam!

 

-- Kevin

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Wow! What campground is that? I work for the General Stores. My position has me roaming throughout the park. I'm always on the lookout for clean RRs.

 

newdadzilla - Hope you are successful getting a position. Be prepared - Yellowstone gets in your blood. This will be my fourth of hopefully many summers and I am somewhat of a newbie compared to quite a few of my coworkers.

 

You specifically asked about Xanterra and camphost positions. If you are interested in a retail position I'd be happy to answer any questions.

 

One thing I strongly suggest is to apply right away. I can't speak for Xanterra but right now my company is moving rapidly through the hiring process for this summer.

 

Good Luck. Perhaps our paths will cross at a bear jam!

 

-- Kevin

 

Clean is somewhat relative. Even with a toothbrush, it can be difficult to make an old public restroom "look" clean, even if it is technically clean.

 

If you aren't a campground guest, we would direct you to one of the nearby park service restrooms. There's no place to park in the campground, if you're just visiting. They get enough business from the guests, without additional visitors using them.

 

BTW - Xanterra also has retail positions available. They run the gift stores and restaurants associated directly with the hotels in Yellowstone.

 

Xanterra is also working to fill the positions now.

 

Don

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My wife and I just accepted positions in Yellowstone for this summer, through Xanterra. I will be working in the office as a Guest Service Agent (checking people into the campground). She will be working as an attendant (the job you're asking about). This will be our second year at Yellowstone and Xanterra.

 

She chose to be an attendant because; 1) it's more of an outdoor job; 2) she hates computers (can't emphasize "hates" enough); 3) she worked retail for 30 years and preferred a job with less direct contact with the public.

 

Now to answer your questions -

 

The attendant position can be more or less physical for each individual depending on whether they actually do some work or not. We know of one attendant that did very little work, while others expended quite a bit of energy doing the job. My wife lost 30 pounds over the six month season, doing the work. It depends partly on how you feel the job should be accomplished. One of the attendants at our campground felt the toilets needed to be cleaned with a toothbrush, in all the crevices, every day. That person really worked hard. Most of the attendants let the chemicals do the majority of the work. They just sprayed it on and wiped it off. Either way, we received comment cards from guests expressing satisfaction with the restroom cleanliness at our campground.

 

As far as lifting is concerned - No. It will not be all day, nor every day. The most significant lifting was done when a fire wood delivery was made. Most every attendant on duty at the time would be called to help move the boxes of wood from the truck to the wood shed. That would last about an hour or so, depending on how much wood was delivered. Otherwise, there were very few deliveries made to the campground. The lifting was not bad, but it was important that they be careful when they were twisting with the box of wood in hand, so they didn't strain their backs. We didn't have anyone get hurt moving the wood boxes. Wood was generally delivered no more often than once a week at our campground.

 

At the campground we worked at, there were no showers, so cleaning bathrooms was the primary job, all day, every day. The days were less than 8 hours long and they generally were done with the hard work before the shift was over. There were other jobs that were done, that didn't include bathrooms, that might take a small portion of the day and may only need to be done on a weekly basis. Those jobs included, but were not limited to:

 

1) Cleaning fire pits. Done on a weekly basis generally, unless some guests left a particularly messy fire pit at their site.

2) Cleaning campsites with trash left by guests. Done when needed. I can't say this had to be done every day.

3) Some campgrounds (not the one we were in) had showers that needed to be cleaned. I believe there was a specific crew that did shower cleaning only.

4) Traffic control. At our campground, the entry road was short enough that vehicles could back up on to the main road. We had to prevent that with someone directing the people to other areas inside the campground, while they checked in. Usually the drive through lane of the dump station, which was across from the office. This is less of an issue at some of the other Xanterra run campgrounds in the park.

5) Xanterra has the contract for ensuring all campgrounds in the park are supplied with fire wood - even the campgrounds run by the park service. This meant that some Xanterra employee would have to go to the park service run campgrounds and sell fire wood in the evenings. Our campground had the responsibility of doing this for one of the park service campgrounds, for part of the season. It gave one attendant the chance to drive to another campground in the evening and spend a couple hours in a different setting. They enjoyed the drive and the job rotated to a different person each night, so everyone got to do it.

6) Loop checks. All campers who were scheduled to leave on a given day, were expected to be out of their camp site by 11:00 A.M. (check out time). Some people are jerks and wouldn't even wake up until after 11. Each day, one of our attendants had the job of driving around the campground, checking to see if all the camp sites that should be empty - were - and reporting any that weren't to the office, so we would know not to check the next guest into that site. The attendant was also to gently prod remind those jerks guests that checkout time was 11 AM and that it was already past 11.

 

Our crew worked well together and there were very few personal problems between the crew members. There was at least one person who had years of experience cleaning up after slobs, who was willing to attack the occasional gross mess that cropped up (drunks not being able to hit the toilet bowl with their puke, people with a case of the uncontrollable Hershey squirts that couldn't figure out how to hit the toilet with their a$$ on a good day, etc.). This helped the people who couldn't stand the sight or smell of such issues, make it through those cases. Fortunately, these problems were relatively few and far between. More often it was dealing with women from other countries that didn't understand that the toilet seat was for sitting on - rather than standing on - leaving footprints and urine on the toilet seat, or people ignoring the "restroom closed" sign and coming in while they were being cleaned.

 

I hope this helps. If you have any more or more specific questions, I'd be happy to answer them for you.

 

Don

 

 

I couldn't imagine a more honest review than this one.

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Hello. My husband and I just accepted a summer position with Xanterra as GSAs at Bay Bridge Campground. Can anyone give us any idea on what the employee campground is like and what we should expect? We are first time employees. We have 38' Montana High Country 5th wheel. We will be traveling with two weimaraners and two cats. We are trying to get as much information as we can to come prepared for our new adventure in Yellowstone. Thank you in advance

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Hello. My husband and I just accepted a summer position with Xanterra as GSAs at Bay Bridge Campground. Can anyone give us any idea on what the employee campground is like and what we should expect? We are first time employees. We have 38' Montana High Country 5th wheel. We will be traveling with two weimaraners and two cats. We are trying to get as much information as we can to come prepared for our new adventure in Yellowstone. Thank you in advance

 

Bridge Bay Campground employees actually live IN the campground, mostly in the A loop. It is on a bit of a hill (i.e. the loop road goes up a slight incline, turns around at the top and comes back down, with sites on both sides of the one way road). Only Canyon campground and Grant Village campground have remote employee campground areas. Madison, Bridge Bay and Fishing Bridge use sites in their A loops for Xanterra staff.

 

The campground manager will normally make an effort to put rigs in appropriately sized sites. Dogs and cats should not be a problem, though park rules state that all pets must stay within 100 feet of paved roads and are never allowed on trails.

 

Don

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You may want to check out Barta Enterprises. They operate National Forest Service campgrounds throughout much of MT, but have many on the west side of Yellowstone. We worked for Vicki in Bakers Hole three miles north of West Yellowstone right on the park boundary and the Madison River. We had full hookups, telephone and Wifi, plus pay. We worked three on and three off. Many of their other campgrounds do not have full hookups. We had a great summer there. Lots of work campers from the park came there on weekends, and went to the plays in West Yellowstone.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We just accepted positions withDelaware North at Yellowstone. We will be at the Canyon. We did not go with the meal plan and was wondering if there is a grocery store in the area? If anyone knows anything else about the area we would like to hear it. Thanks

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There is a general store in Canyon Village, plus a number of other stores/restaurants (one of which you will likely be working in), a post office and a new visitor's center. There is quite a bit of construction going on in the Canyon Village area, where they are removing the old cabins that are rotting away. The Canyon campground is just north of the store area. The employee's campground is north and on the other side of the park loop road from the Village.

 

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (hence "Canyon") is one of our favorite areas. You can walk both the north and south rims of the canyon, plus there are miles of other trails in the area. If you like climbing stairs, you have to take the Uncle Tom's Trail down into the canyon. 328 steps down and back up. At the bottom, you get a great view of the lower falls. Usually you can see a rainbow or two too.

 

Don

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We just accepted positions withDelaware North at Yellowstone. We will be at the Canyon. We did not go with the meal plan and was wondering if there is a grocery store in the area? If anyone knows anything else about the area we would like to hear it. Thanks

 

Congrats on getting the job with DNC. I am sure we will meet this summer as Canyon is one of the stores that is my primary responsibility. I train the employees on the cash register system and customer service. I spend a lot of time at that store.

 

As to your question, yes, there is a grocery store at Canyon. It is part of the main store where you will be working, unless you are assigned to the Adventure Store, which is next door.

 

The Canyon store has three areas: Grocery & Alcohol, General Merchandise and the Fountain. Do you know where they anticipate placing you?

 

When are you supposed to arrive? I will be in the area on April 13. Feel free to PM me if you have further questions, or if others are interested, we can continue with this topic so everyone can learn about summers in the park.

 

Looking forward to meeting you -- Kevin

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You might plan a day trip every so often on a day off to do your major shopping outside the park where prices are cheaper and selection is greater. Also, bring along as many staples as you can by stopping before you come into the park. Depending on the direction you're coming from Cody, Jackson, WY and Bozeman and Livingston, Montana all have huge groceries. West Yellowstone has a couple mom & pop groceries to fill in but again - higher prices and not nearly the selection. Have a good summer!

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Thanks for the info. I always try to plan ahead. Having worked in the oil fields, we usually stock up not know how far from a real grocery store we will be. We love to hike and ride our bikes so we are anxious to explore.

Kevin H, I am working retail at the Canyon starting May 11 and my husband is going to be the manager for employee dining starting May 7. I look forward to meeting you and any other Escapees.

Phyllis and John

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You might try the Yellowstone Association too. We worked for them a few years back and enjoyed it a lot. Good company. Respects their workers. We worked for Xanterra for a few years many years ago and I can't say the same for them about respect for the workers. Was once told by management that workampers are a dime a dozen. We did enjoy working in Yellowstone.

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You might try the Yellowstone Association too. We worked for them a few years back and enjoyed it a lot. Good company. Respects their workers. We worked for Xanterra for a few years many years ago and I can't say the same for them about respect for the workers. Was once told by management that workampers are a dime a dozen. We did enjoy working in Yellowstone.

 

I'm not defending Xanterra nor suggesting you didn't hear that attitude but -

 

I worked for Xanterra last year and will again this year. I don't know if the company has changed their attitude since your time, or if I just didn't see the attitude you saw. They did not treat anyone I worked with that way. Xanterra did have a "big company" feel to me, to some degree.

 

Was it a local (to your work area), seasonal employee or one of the permanent employees that showed that attitude? I am aware that some of the seasonal hires have had attitudes that negatively affected the other workampers and the local managers are usually seasonal workers. Xanterra has worked to correct that issue when they became aware of it.

 

Don

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Don; In reply to your comment, it was quite a few years ago, like I stated, and concerned the bonus that workampers had gotten and Xanterra was taking way. At a managers meeting I spoke up to say that that decision was going to upset some of the staff because they were not told ahead of time about the change and they relied on the bonus for traveling money when they left. The top supervisor of campgrounds said " I don't really care. Those workers are a 'dime-a-dozen". Bad person? No. Bad attitude? Yes. The wrong thing to say? Yes. I certainly enjoyed my stay in Yellowstone working for Xanterra and for the Association, but if I had a choice it would be the Association. Xanterra has many, many more employees to take care of the the Association so that, I'm sure has a lot to do with the attitude.

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Don; In reply to your comment, it was quite a few years ago, like I stated, and concerned the bonus that workampers had gotten and Xanterra was taking way. At a managers meeting I spoke up to say that that decision was going to upset some of the staff because they were not told ahead of time about the change and they relied on the bonus for traveling money when they left. The top supervisor of campgrounds said " I don't really care. Those workers are a 'dime-a-dozen". Bad person? No. Bad attitude? Yes. The wrong thing to say? Yes. I certainly enjoyed my stay in Yellowstone working for Xanterra and for the Association, but if I had a choice it would be the Association. Xanterra has many, many more employees to take care of the the Association so that, I'm sure has a lot to do with the attitude.

 

That kind of attitude would be a problem for me too. There was a manager at the company I worked at for my working career that liked to end conversations with "You're done talking, because I'm done listening". That was truly inspirational to me (inspired me to retire earlier than I had planned, even though it wasn't me he said it to).

 

I don't know about when you were at Yellowstone, but Xanterra does have a bonus system (again?). The only issue we heard about was, you had to work your last day that you were assigned to work, or you would not receive the bonus. That included emergency situations. So, if there was a family emergency that called you away the day before your last assigned work day, you were out the entire bonus.

 

Stringent adherence to the rule made management's decision process easy and prevented people from using false family emergencies as an excuse to leave early and still get the bonus, but in cases of honest emergencies, it was rather cold blooded. Especially when one considers that they had no problem paying the bonus to people that took two weeks off in the middle of the season.

 

Don

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  • 3 weeks later...

 

Bridge Bay Campground employees actually live IN the campground, mostly in the A loop. It is on a bit of a hill (i.e. the loop road goes up a slight incline, turns around at the top and comes back down, with sites on both sides of the one way road). Only Canyon campground and Grant Village campground have remote employee campground areas. Madison, Bridge Bay and Fishing Bridge use sites in their A loops for Xanterra staff.

 

The campground manager will normally make an effort to put rigs in appropriately sized sites. Dogs and cats should not be a problem, though park rules state that all pets must stay within 100 feet of paved roads and are never allowed on trails.

 

Don

 

Hi Don,

 

Thank you very much for responding to my post. My husband and I are looking forward to our new adventures. If you can think of any helpful tips or point us to a site to help us prepare for our time in Yellowstone as Guest Service Agents, I would appreciate it. We have been diligently scouring the internet for helpful ideas. We do boondocking so I hope we have everything we need to cover that aspect. Should we come prepared for snow in the campground in early May? Or will the sites be cleared? We come to Yellowstone every year and are prepared for changing weather. We live at 8500' so we know about high altitude weather changes.

 

Again, many thanks for all your information :D

Doreen

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Should we come prepared for snow in the campground in early May? Or will the sites be cleared? We come to Yellowstone every year and are prepared for changing weather. We live at 8500' so we know about high altitude weather changes.

You could very well have some snow after you arrive as snow is known to come well into Man and happen in June as well. They won't be putting you into RV sites that are not cleared of snow so I'd not worry about that and you won't need to bring your snow shovel. You will experience some very cool, if not cold weather.

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Hi Don,

 

Thank you very much for responding to my post. My husband and I are looking forward to our new adventures. If you can think of any helpful tips or point us to a site to help us prepare for our time in Yellowstone as Guest Service Agents, I would appreciate it. We have been diligently scouring the internet for helpful ideas. We do boondocking so I hope we have everything we need to cover that aspect. Should we come prepared for snow in the campground in early May? Or will the sites be cleared? We come to Yellowstone every year and are prepared for changing weather. We live at 8500' so we know about high altitude weather changes.

 

Again, many thanks for all your information :D

Doreen

 

Hi Doreen,

 

Last year, we pulled into the campground we were working at, with four feet of snow on the ground. The entry road and the sites in the loops that the workers stay in had been cleared enough to set up our units. We couldn't find the fire pits and the picnic tables were just a taller pile of snow than the rest of the non-paved ground until the beginning of June. It was actually a little easier walking between the office and our rig at night, since the snow banks would not allow us to get off trail in the dark :rolleyes: . They opened more loops as the snow melted. By June, nature had cleared all the snow from our campground.

 

We didn't get an appreciable amount of snow during our stay at the park, though we did get a couple of dustings at the beginning and end of the season. The winter of 2013-2014 had 130% snow pack in Yellowstone. That was good for the fire season. There were only six fires in the park, all caused by lightning and less than a total of one half acre burned all season. This winter appears to have provided much less snow. Hopefully we won't have significant fires this summer.

 

Bridge Bay was a little different than our campground. Being on Yellowstone Lake and barely above water surface level - the marina is right next to Bridge Bay campground - some of the lower loops there were water logged for quite a while. I remember a number of guests switching to our campground because they couldn't find a dry spot to setup their tent, in their campsite at BB. The best point, with respect to Bridge Bay campground is its central location. No matter which way you go, you're headed toward something interesting in the park. There are other campgrounds that are closer to the park boundaries and farther away from many of the spectacular sites in the park, but each has its advantages. it's also close to Fishing Bridge, so a quick trip to the general store is easy and you could potentially get a cell signal there. Where we were, it was a 14 mile drive to any type of store and at least 7 miles to cell service (but I consider that a benefit too).

 

As far as preparing for your stay at Yellowstone - I don't have any specific websites in mind. It is a great place for hiking. Less than 5% of the visitors to Yellowstone see anything more than they can see from their car. If you were to take a different hike on each of your days off, you wouldn't be able to hike half the designated trails in the Yellowstone ecosystem. Each of them will give you something different to see. Since you will be working in an "improved" campground (running water, restrooms, paved roads, dump station, reservations for the guests plus water electric and sewer for the workers) you won't be doing much boondocking, unless you take a long hike that requires more than one day (there are plenty of those available too). If you can find someone you work with that likes to hike and has one or more common days off with you, that can be helpful. There are plenty of hikes that are just long enough and not loop hikes, that it would take more than one day to hike out and back. With hiking partners, you can park one car at the end of the trail and drive to the other trailhead together, then hike back to the other vehicle. We bought a couple of books at the bookstores that give ideas for day hikes that we really enjoy. ALWAYS wear layers of clothing. The weather can change without warning and leave you out in the cold - literally.

 

Xanterra will provide you with a couple weeks training (if they are using the same reservation system we used last year). They keep talking about upgrading to a more modern software package, but I'll believe that when I see it.

 

Xanterra also provides free tours during your stay. If you have the day off that some particular tour is being given, I'd suggest taking advantage of as many of them as possible. It'll give you a chance to see areas that many people are not aware of, described by a knowledgeable person that has been there before. The tour guides were great. Some were from Xanterra, others from the Yellowstone Association. Many include short hikes to features not listed in any books or webpages. They generally require getting on a list of desired attendance, so it can be planned properly.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Don

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