Each day’s hike is decided by the group and the day’s destination. On some days, we have the opportunity to hike further if the group is interested. We can also divide the group up as needed if there are different interests. Often faster hikers have the opportunity to explore a short spur off a trial or another view point while waiting for the entire group to arrive. Some days allow for self-exploration which can allow more avid hikers to cover further distance. There is always more opportunity to hike and explore around our camp in the evenings.
Fire danger in the west has greatly increased in the past few years. As such, we take all precautions to avoid fire hazards. In order to enjoy our surrounding, but also protect it from fire, we have opted for a spark-free “Propane Camp Fire.” We feel that this fire provides the same great campfire experience (minus the smoky smell) at no risk to the environment. Due to the fire danger, we also ask that guests refrain from smoking on trip. If this request poses a problem, please talk to the trip specialist and we can discuss options.
Yes, we travel and camp in bear country on our National Parks Unbound tours, and it is important that we take the proper precautions. Bears are attracted to foods and strong smelling odors. Therefore, it is important that we keep food, snacks and deodorants out of our tents. Each evening a “Bear Box” will be provided to lock these aromatic items safely up. Guests are encouraged to pack their bags in such a way that these items are easy to separate and place in these Bear Boxes.
Camp food is stored in bear-proof boxes and guides take all precautions to avoid bear encounters. When on trail in Yellowstone the lead and tail guides will carry bear spray and we stay as a group on our hikes. With any luck and proper precautions, we will enjoy a bear sighting from a distance safe for both the bear and us. While many people use bear bells, we have found that just the noise of a group our size hiking on the trail provides enough sound to warn a bear of our presence.
If you have a medical condition, severe allergic reaction, or special dietary needs, please inform our staff prior to the beginning of the trip. Please complete the section regarding “Medical Information” on your trip application form completely and we will note your reservation accordingly. If you use medications it is recommended to bring two supplies packed in separate, watertight containers. If you carry an insect sting kit, be certain to bring it in your day pack. If it is critical that you use a CPAP, please plan ahead and purchase an independent battery pack. You can find these at www.cpap.com.
We encourage people to disconnect on vacation and get away as that is part of the charm. However, the cell phone reception in these areas is good for the most part. Most days there will be reception at one point. If we are outside of cell reception, please give our office phone number - (800) 451-6034 - to the individual(s) who would be responsible for notifying you in an emergency. While we cannot guarantee we will be able to contact you, we will use all our resources to reach you. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30am – 5:30pm.
We are very proud of our guides. Their hard work, dedication, local knowledge and attention to detail truly sets them apart from the others. If you feel your guides have gone above and beyond the call of duty in providing you with a very special trip, a gratuity may be left at the end of the trip. You can leave the tip with the team leader—they can be counted on to share the trip with all the trip guides. A tip ranging between 7-12% of your trip cost per guest is typical.
You can expect to do some luxury camping on these trips. In order to make your trip run as smoothly and comfortably as possible, we have an additional vehicle to carry camping gear, food and supplies ahead of the main group. The vehicle arrives at camp early to setup the kitchen and spacious 4-person tent, cot and pad that we supply for you. All you have to do is carry your personal gear to the tent of your choice and roll out your sleeping bag, flannel liner and thick, self-inflating foam sleeping pad (all of which is provided by National Parks Unbound and stored in a National Parks Unbound-provided waterproof bag).
We do. The heart of who we are is our ground operations. On any trip, the guides are the most important factor for your enjoyment and the success of the trip. National Parks Unbound guides are exceptional people with years of experience. We maintain a tobacco-free policy and most of our guides have taken interpretation courses from certified instructors. We look for guides who are willing and eager to share, teach, listen, learn, laugh, play, discuss and, above all, work hard to provide a safe, relaxed and spontaneous adventure. Our guides are the main reason many of our guests return to National Parks Unbound time and time again. (References gladly provided.)