Want to explore Yellowstone but don’t want to do all the driving? Looking for a super cool, retro experience while you’re touring America’s most beloved National Park? Then Yellowstone’s Historic Yellow Bus Tours are just what you’re looking for!
We arrived in Yellowstone on Daniel’s birthday and I wanted to do something special, so I booked us on a two hour Historic Yellow Bus Geyser Gazer tour. These 14 passenger buses were built in 1920s by the White Motor Company and during the height of their use, there were said to be 400 yellow buses touring Yellowstone. Yellowstone used to brag that they had one bus for every day of the year! The buses have been used in Yosemite and Glacier National Park, though many of them were sold. These days, the National Park Service has re-purchased and restored 8 yellow buses which currently take visitors in tours of various lengths through the park.
We boarded our afternoon bus tour and set off with our guide (who was also the driver) on a two hour exploration of nearby geyser basins. What I really loved about this tour – well, heck, there wasn’t anything I DIDN’T love about this tour ! Let me try this again….one thing I really loved about this tour was that it was relaxed. Our guide decided where we would go based on traffic and parking, the group’s desires, and what she thought would be most interesting to share.
We ended up exploring the areas around Firehole River and Lower Geyser Basin. Our guide would drive us to an interesting spot and lead us all on the boardwalks, teaching us all about the geysers, and sharing interesting stories about the history of the park. Even though we were there in late July, a very popular and busy time for Yellowstone, she managed to find hidden gems with very few others around.
We enjoyed the scenery from both inside and outside of the bus. The tour was a good mix of riding and walking. I was so glad I got to see the park from the prospective of a passenger, rather than fighting all the traffic and becoming frustrated with parking.
Somehow, the park looks even prettier from the passenger seat of a Yellowstone Historic Yellow Bus.
On our way back to the Old Faithful Inn, our guide told us a bit about herself. She had lived in Los Angeles for 35 years and had been a career singer there….so different from her now wonderful, wild life in the Wyoming wilderness. She told us a story about how she had visited here some years ago and something resonated in her heart so deeply, that she picked up everything and got a job in the park. She started out in concessions and has been working as a tour guide for the last three years and couldn’t be happier. We all wanted a song, so she obliged our request and sang us a wonderful old song from Yellowstone days of old. I can’t remember the name of the song, but I can remember how that song made me feel. Tears sprung into my eyes as she sang and I imagined visitors young and old, gathered around a warm, crackling campfire, talking and laughing, and telling stories about their wonderful adventures in this most amazing National Park. Her song echoed in my heart and added to our magical experience of participating in the life and rhythm of beautiful Yellowstone.
If you have a change to experience a Yellowstone Historic Yellow Bus tour, don’t hesitate! Look in the gift shop for this adorable painting, too.