FAQs about guided hiking and wildlife viewing tours
Click on questions below to find answers to a dozen Frequently Asked Questions. If you don’t find the answers that you are looking for, please contact us.
Where are your guided trips? Where in Jackson Hole?
All tours are customized so we base your tour location on the time of the year, your interests, physical ability and what we have been seeing in the great outdoors. We also offer auto-based National Park tours so you can see wildlife and explore the Parks with a naturalist. We share the park features while viewing animals and discovering this area from a local’s perspective. Join the experts who know where to go to experience the wonders of nature. Anyone can walk in the woods but understanding the diversity of life and connecting to the landscape through lively interpretation makes the day special.
What defines a naturalist?
A naturalist is a person who specializes in a particular environment and documents what they see. All the guides have interest in nature and this ecosystem. We extensively train and converse on the day’s sightings to become specialists in the area. Our knowledge covers a wide range of topics. Each guide brings personal passion to their interpretation.
How long have you been in business?
We are the oldest hiking company in Jackson Hole. Cathy Shill started the business in 1989 after receiving a degree in biology from the University of Oregon. She is still very active in the company. If she is not in the mountains, you will probably find her behind the computer or on the phone booking reservations or designing a tour.
Do I need to be in great shape?
No, we offer a variety of tours to accommodate everyone’s abilities. We have leisurely strolls with a naturalist, moderate hikes with minimal elevation gain, an aerobic and active morning workout or an all-day experience for those who want to summit a peak or get deep into the backcountry.
How large are the groups?
Since we customize each tour, we only mix people with similar interest so group size remains small. The largest number of people with one naturalist is seven. If we are working with a business group or large family group, we bring more naturalists.
What do you have to offer for my family and children?
Exploring the landscape is great family fun! Your naturalist will create an interactive experience with nature by discussing and tasting edible ants and plants, using binoculars, guide books, and butterfly nets. Consider the Hike + Raptor Center combination tour or the Snowshoe Sampler.
What type of boot is needed to snowshoe/can I rent one?
For snowshoeing comfort, it is important your feet are warm and dry. Waterproof hiking boots or insulated winter boots work well. If you don’t have boots, they can easily be rented locally. Let us know and we will recommend a store near your hotel.
While backpacking, how much weight will I carry?
On the average, each client carries about 20-25 pounds. You will carry your personal gear, some supplies, food and water. All trips now include a porter.
What equipment do I need to backpack?
We provide everything except your personal clothing with most of our trips. When you decide to join us for an overnight trip, we will send you an equipment list which recommends all necessary gear for a comfortable overnight experience.
Will we see wildlife?
To see wildlife, we recommend joining us for one of the auto-based park tours. You will visit mixed habitats so will increase your chance of viewing the animals. We do provide optics so a great way to learn and get close to the animals. We do hike within the animal’s territories but you never know if you will see them. By driving, you cover more distance so greatly increase the wildlife viewing potential. Consider joining a combo trip with a wildlife focus.
Will we see a bear?
There are bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, but we do not often see them while hiking. We make noise while on the trail so animals know we are near. This reduces the likelihood of startling wildlife. We follow “leave no trace” ethics and hang all food while backpacking. We believe that the National Parks and Forests are the animals’ backyards and give them the right of way.