Yellowstone Park Day Hiking Tours

Whether you are a first timer to the wilds of the western Rocky Mountains or are a seasoned, Peak Bagger *, let our knowledgeable staff share their expertise with you, away from the intensity of the park roads and crowds on a Yellowstone Park trail.

With the assistance of your own personal Naturalist Guide, the transition from pavement to the dirt trail can be made very simple. We consider the safety of your group a top priority while on tour time, so you can feel more comfortable hiking in the heart of Bear Country!

We would be happy to tailor a Day Hiking Tour to meet your individual or group interests and goals. More information regarding our Day Hiking Tours will be coming soon, but if you are interested in learning more now, please email us:

The Yellowstone Insight Staff strongly adhere to and do not waiver from the National Park Service’s rules & regulations in Yellowstone National Park. These rules are in place for a reason – for the safety of the wildlife, the diverse habitats and for the humans that are enjoying the park’s landscape.

(*Peak Bagger – a person that likes to reach the summit of a mountain.)


Tour Times

Your guide will plan to meet you early to take advantage of sunrise opportunities.

Summer Season – 5:00am to 5:30am

Sample Itinerary

Your personal and private Day Hiking Tour begins by meeting before dawn to take advantage of the sunrise opportunities on the drive to the start of your adventure. We will meet you at your lodging or another pre-determined location.

We are the experts in Yellowstone Park and want to help you discover the unique qualities of this very special place!  Rather than defining during the booking process which exact trail we will take, we would rather the trail choice to be fluid, allowing us to take into consideration the current weather, wildlife sightings, temporary area closures and active construction projects.  We want this experience with your private Naturalist Guide to be memorable and special.

Our staff will consider all the information that we have gathered from you in advance of your tour date and dovetail that with the current park information mentioned above to create your personalized Yellowstone Day Hiking adventure.

Leave it to us… You will not be disappointed!

Wildlife Concerns

Grizzly bear, black bear, cougar, wolf, coyote, wolverine and badger are but a few of the amazing animals with sharp teeth that inhabit this magnificent landscape.  Our staff has hiked countless miles on and off-trail around Yellowstone National Park and we take encounters with wildlife very seriously!

Our Naturalist Guides carry bear spray and are trained in how to travel safely in Bear Country. At the beginning of your tour, your guide would be happy to discuss more in-depth, how to handle a bear encounter. We have the utmost respect for the wildlife whose backyard we are walking in. Our staff understands that the animal is the real host here, we are merely the guest that is passing through…

Day Hiking Activity Levels

When considering a Day Hiking Tour with us, please be specific as to the level of difficulty you are looking for.  The activity levels below are a parameter for us to gauge your expectations for the day and help us plan the most ideal trail for your experience with us. Please be aware that the minimum starting elevation for most hikes is 5,200′ to 6,000′ above sea level.   Remember, you are in the heart of the Rocky Mountains!

  • Level I     1 – 4 miles through relatively flat terrain.  On maintained trails or boardwalks.
  • Level II     4 – 6 miles. Be prepared for rocky terrain.
  • Level III    6 – 8 miles. Hiking at a comfortable pace with stops. Over rocky terrain with possible off-trail travel.
  • Level IV   Over 8 miles. Consider this an aerobic hike. Elevation changes can be quite noticeable on rocky, dirt trails and possible off-trail travel should be expected. Loose rock, uneven footing and stream crossings are possible. Steep hillside inclines with over 1,500′ to 2,000′ elevation variation throughout the day’s experience. Good coordination and flexibility are required.
  • ELEVATION GAIN / LOSS – once you inquire with us about this tour option, we can discuss what your expectations are about the elevation gain/loss as it compares to mileage.

Your personal happiness and satisfaction are the goals at each of these activity levels.

Suggested Essential Items for you to Bring

When considering a Day Hiking Tour with us, please remember that you are in the heart of the northern Rocky Mountains. The daily weather can change over the course of your tour time, so it is wise to always be prepared.  Below are some essential items that we highly recommend for you to provide for your Day Hiking Tour with us.  You will learn later in the booking process more specifically what your Naturalist Guide will be providing.  These are the essentials that we ask you to pack.

If you have any questions about this section, please contact us with an email.  Feel free to add items to this list! If you need any help with ideas, again, just ask!

  • comfortable backpack to store the items mentioned below
  • rain jacket (for moisture and a wind barrier)
  • extra fleece layer
  • warm hat (for wind and temperature shifts)
  • FULL WATER BOTTLE (at a minimum, 2 liters per day)
  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • bug repellent
  • travel-size hand sanitizer
  • toilet paper & small ziplock bag(s) (for personal disposal of used toilet paper)
  • personal trash sack (garbage bag, grocery bag, ziplock bag, etc.)
  • camera (digital SLR, point & shoot or your phone)
  • quality footwear (no open-toed shoes, preferably over the ankle coverage, waterproof)
  • any personal trail snacks, if there is something that you particularly like!
  • lastly, an “excellent disposition” and a smile!  (nothing but smiles and happiness please! 🙂


  • door-to-door guide service
  • breakfast items
  • sack lunch (for day hiking tours)
  • binoculars (Nikon & Vortex)
  • high-powered spotting scopes (Swarovski and Vortex) managed by your guide.


  • gratuities for your guide
  • Yellowstone National Park entrance fee
  • airfare
  • transportation to/from airport
  • hotel accommodations
  • rental car

Picture yourself walking along a wooded path. You tune into the sound of the nearby creek & birds calls from the branches above.  A gentle breeze against your cheek brings the scent of pine warming in the afternoon sun.  The ground you are walking on is soft below your step.  The destination that you had anticipated on this day is just around the corner…  What is it?

Experience a memorable adventure away from park crowds. Just you & your private Naturalist/Guide.

Get inspired by scrolling through our gallery or click on a photo to learn more!

Company Disclaimer: as wildlife is exactly that – wild – there are no guarantees we can achieve “headshots” of wolves and bears. We will abide park regulations of 25yrds from all animals with the exception of wolves and bears, where 100yrds will be maintained. We will certainly do our best to make your day’s sightings match your expectations!

Yellowstone Park Tour Rates

Children under 5 are free!


Starting at $650 for 1 person. +$50 for each additional person.


Additional days after the first will be discounted at the amount of $50 per day.

Ready to book your Yellowstone experience?


Wow, Wow and Wow!

“We used Yellowstone Insight and had the best day.  After the tour my grandson said , I learned more today about history than I’ve learned all year in school I think that sums it up. If you are thinking of calling MacNeil - do it! You will not be sorry.”

Scottsdale, Arizona

MacNeil Lyons, The Best Yellowstone Guide Ever!

This guy is a master at coordinating a three-generation Yellowstone trip! In August our family, including grandchildren ages 14,11, and 9, spent two fabulous days learning about Yellowstone with MacNeil. He turned the geology of Yellowstone into a science lab, on a walk we "discovered" a Bison carcass, and all of this plus plenty of fun and a great breakfast to meet the needs of all ages. He is a smart and funny charmer. Don't even think about going to Yellowstone without talking to MacNeil first!

Jim P.
Bainbridge Island, WA

Exceeded our expectations by a wide margin!

Beth and I wanted to let you know how great our tour was. You did an outstanding job for us and it exceeded our expectations by a wide margin. We really enjoyed the time we had together and it was the highlight our trip and a fabulous wedding anniversary present for Beth. It was very memorable and only gets better in the retelling...!

J. Levine

MacNeil is an excellent guide, ranks up there with the very best!

MacNeil is an excellent guide, I've spent some time with wildlife guides both at home and  abroad and he ranks up there with the very best.

Dan and Hazel

The best day ever spent in nature! Thanks for making a magical experience!

Wow. Simply wow! Nancy and I are still reverberating with all we saw and learned on Sunday.  It was the best day, by far, that either of us has ever spent in nature, so many thanks for making it such a magical experience. He's an amazing naturalist and guide...I've taken a series of Sierra natural history classes with "experts", but MacNeil was by far the best.

San Francisco

Better than advertised…guys like you make trips to Yellowstone, Lifetime Events!

We had a fantastic time with you! Better than advertised and would highly recommend you to anyone considering a great adventure in Yellowstone. We are all very impressed with your knowledge of the area and its wildlife, and your story telling. Guys like you make trips to Yellowstone ‘lifetime events’ that won't be soon forgotten.

Vicki & John
Houston, Texas

The most memorable visit I have ever had!

Thank you MacNeil for an absolutely fabulous trip and for your patience and expertise which made this one of the most memorable visits I have ever had, anywhere! I do hope to be able to come over to see you all again before too long.

David, Doha, Qatar

Thanks for providing a customized & memorable adventure for us!

Thank you so much for a phenomenal three days. Your vast knowledge and excitement  about Yellowstone brought so much more depth, meaning, and life to our experience than we could have gotten on our own. With your photography expertise and use of scopes, we were all able to come away with amazing photos. We greatly appreciated your attention to detail, thoughtfulness, and hearing about your experiences in the area. Thank you for going out of your way to provide a customized and most memorable adventure for us.

Bob, Sandy, & Shari

Worth Every Penny!

My family was able to visit Yellowstone in September.  We hired MacNeil and were truly impressed by his knowledge of the park and wildlife.  The kids were able to experience a once-in-a-lifetime, bull elk fight beside a mother grizzly bear and her 3 cubs.  The kids are still talking about the experience months later and always ask when they can see MacNeil again!  I think we will have to schedule another trip to Yellowstone just for MacNeil. The guided experience was worth every penny.  I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who would be in the area. You would never realize how much you have missed on your own in the park until you have spent a day out with MacNeil.

Beth H.

Appreciated the geology, botany, history and current political dilemmas!

We thoroughly enjoyed our day with you. We saw so much and learned so much about so many different aspects of Yellowstone while you made our day comfortable, safe and fun. Pretty amazing that we were able to see so many animals in a day. Wolves, grizzly, fox, coyote, bison, mountain goats, big horn sheep, elk, raven (I probably left something out). I appreciated the geology, botany, history, and current political dilemmas. Thanks so much for guiding us, and for all you do on behalf of Yellowstone and it's creatures.

The Wilson's
Portland, OR

Being able to see the places you hold dear to your heart made us enjoy Yellowstone even more!

From the first moment, you made our journey enjoyable. We all benefited from your upbeat personality and vast amount of knowledge. You showed us the wolves in their natural habitat and how to detect different animal remains... Being able to see the places you hold dear to your heart really made us enjoy Yellowstone even more. Once again, thank you for taking us on a journey we all immensely enjoyed!

YSD High School
Denver, CO.

Both our boys are on the autism spectrum, yet with your help, you engaged them the whole time!

You were very knowledgeable and personable and we all learned a lot from your time with us.  The time and preparation you put into having things for the boys was so appreciated! Both of our boys are on the autism spectrum, so we knew the tour would be a real stretch for them... We hoped to keep them a little engaged and make it through at least a few hours... Instead, we made it almost the whole time with your help...  It was a wonderful experience for our family.

The Robbins
Houston, TX