Though they never saw the area, Lewis and Clark added a note to their journals that tempts the first time visitor to the mysteries inside what we now call Yellowstone National Park:
“At the head of this river the nativs give an account that there is frequently herd a loud noise, like Thunder, which makes the earth Tremble, they State that they seldom go there because their children Cannot sleep—and Conceive it possessed of spirits, who were averse that men Should be near them.”
Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park. What most people don’t know is that Paradise Valley, where our lodge and rentals are located, were considered part of the greater Yellowstone area by Native Americans and Europeans alike. The Greater Yellowstone Area is home to a large variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, two species of deer, bison, and elk…many of which you may see from our facility. Preserved within Yellowstone National Park are Old Faithful and a collection of the world’s most extraordinary geysers and hot springs, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and ecological wonders too numerous to list. At 34,375 square miles, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of the largest nearly intact temperate-zone ecosystems on Earth…basically, it’s like exploring the entire state of Massachusetts. And a LOT of people come to visit each year. 4 million at last count.
Take the stress out of figuring out what to see and how to get there. Use one of our shuttle services to experience Yellowstone with an expert educator (typically with a PhD), seeing what you want to see…and not waiting to unload and load a bus at every stop. Our tours are small, private, and leave from the lodge (between 6am-9am) and drop you back (typically at your room at the end of the trip.
We begin all of our experiences with an educational presentation at our Rivers Bend Lodge media room, which will visually orientate you to Paradise Valley and Yellowstone Park and their history, geography, and wildlife. In addition, we’ll give you a tour of original writings, artwork, and artifacts. If you are history junkie, or are someone who just loves to know more about an area than what you can read on a sign, you’ll want to read Paul Schullery’s Searching for Yellowstonebefore you arrive; buy it here.
Drive the north loop of the grand loop, looking for antelope, buffalo, wolves, bears, elk, deer, and various little critters. Along the way, we will stop at multiple waterfalls, take a peek in to a small creek with rare westlope cutthroat trout, briefly experience Mammoth Hot Springs, peer in to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. All the time, you’ll hear from one of our historians and naturalists, as they tell you the story behind the worlds first Yellowstone Park.
* ask about our picnic lunch
Drive to and explore all four major geyser and hot spring locations: Mammoth Hot Springs, Upper, Middle and Lower Geyser Basins. Of course, we’ll see Old Faithful, but there are so many more typically unexplored treasures that our guide and naturalists will show you, such as the Grand Prismatic Spring and Fountain Paint Pots. We’ll also stop at several waterfalls, and tour Obsidian Cliffs and learn how native americans used this lava stone to create arrowheads, knives, and beautiful religious items that were traded all across North America, going back as much as 10,000 years ago.
* ask about our picnic lunch. Bring good walking shoes and a light jacket, but we won’t be doing any strenuous hiking.
Fly Fishing Experience
We have a selection of over twenty fly fishing locations that we can shuttle you to in Yellowstone Park or in Paradise Valley. We drop you off and you fish down- or up-stream to a pick up location. These trips allow you to maximize your fishing, and spend less time walking back to your vehicle. The distances you’ll fish range from 1 to 6 miles, depending on your preference of species (cutthroat, rainbow, brown, brook trout) and how far you want to hike. If you prefer shorter hikes, we’ll shuttle you to multiple locations throughout your day. For those who are beginners or want a refresher course, we provide a fly fishing basics education session every morning or evening right in front of Rivers Bend Lodge on the Yellowstone River. We cover the following topics:
- The Evolution of Trout Species (aka What is a trout?): Special attention is given to our regional native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, which inhabits the waters right in front of the lodge
- Entomology (aka What do trout eat?): We’ll teach you the major life forms that trout feed on, and how to imitate them with “flies”.
- Trout behavior: We’ll teach you various environmental factors, such as river and lake currents, that impact where fish reside in the water you’ll be fishing. Most of the time you can’t see fish under the water, so this skill is important for figuring out “where” to cast your fly.
- Fly Patterns: We’ll teach you several basic fly patterns used to trick trout in to thinking they are going to get a snack when you cast to them.
- Fly fishing equipment: We’ll teach you the basics of the fly rod, reel, line, leader and tippet. Don’t worry, this part is not that difficult.
- Fly casting: We’ll teach you the basics of fly casting. Don’t worry, it’s not just about casting for a long distance; we help you work within your capabilities to get your fly to the trout.
- Catching a trout: Everyone forgets about this one, and it is sometimes the most difficult part to master, aside from casting. Once a fish “bites at” your fly, you still need to “set the hook”, and “play” them, “land” them and finally “release” them safely. We’ll teach you what all of these fishing words mean, and practice.
Wild Experience: Hiking or Nordic Skiing
Shhhhh, listen to the quiet. Get away from the people, the crowds, the traffic, and the congested trails… get off the beaten path to experience “wild” Yellowstone. We have some select, private locations to send you on. Get dropped off at one of our many “one way” hiking or skiing locations, which allows you to maximize the amount of new terrain you can experience. We’ll pick you up at the end of the trail and shuttle you back to your room. On the drive, we’ll explain the history of the area you’ll be hiking. For some of the options we can take you on, see our list of trails and locations.
- Tracking Animals (via tracks, hair, scat)
- Flowers of Yellowstone
- Animal Identification and History
- Native Americans and Yellowstone
- Early European discovery of Yellowstone
* ask about our picnic lunch
- Bear Spray
- Fly Fishing Rod/Reel/Line
- Backpack (water bottle, first aid kit inside)
To learn more about just a few of the places we visit in Yellowstone and Paradise Valley, check out some of the links below.
- Old Faithful
- West Thumb & Grant Village
- Lake, Bridge Bay & Fishing Bridge
- Canyon Village