11 Best Montana Nature Tours for Wildlife Enthusiasts

Montana is a trove of natural beauty and wildlife, offering the best nature tours that draw wildlife enthusiasts from around the globe. These tours showcase the state’s natural beauty and contribute to wildlife conservation and protection efforts.

We’ll explore the top wildlife tour operators that provide unforgettable experiences in Montana’s great outdoors and prioritize sustainable travel. From Big Sky Safaris’s expertise to Yellowstone Wild’s knowledge, these operators offer a unique blend of adventure and education.

Ranging from family-friendly activities to in-depth explorations of Montana’s most iconic landscapes, there’s a tour designed to meet your every wildlife-watching desire whether you’re yearning for a glimpse of West Yellowstone’s wolves or a relaxing birdwatching adventure.

A Montana nature tour promise not just a peek into the beauty of nature but an immersive, educational experience. Join us as we explore the offerings of these tour operators, each ready to take you on a journey through the state’s most spectacular landscapes and wildlife habitats.

7 Key Takeaways on Montana Wildlife Tours

  1. Montana offers a variety of guided wildlife tours led by expert guides, providing unique and educational experiences in nature.
  2. Tour operators like Yellowstone Wild, Montana Yellowstone Tours, and Wild Latitudes are known for their specialized wildlife tours in Montana’s national parks.
  3. Big Sky Safaris, despite not currently hosting in-person tours, offers personalized consultation sessions to plan future wildlife adventures tailored to your interests.
  4. Yellowstone Wild focuses on custom wildlife tours in Yellowstone National Park, with a strong emphasis on encounters with wolves and other iconic wildlife.
  5. Naturalist Journeys, with a team of experts, offers small-group tours focused on conservation and intimate wildlife encounters in Yellowstone and beyond.
  6. Montana Yellowstone Tours and Yellowstone Safari Company provide year-round guided wildlife tours, offering unique experiences tracking Yellowstone’s famous wolves and bears.
  7. Tour companies like Natural Habitat Adventures, Merlin Birding & Nature Tours, and In Our Nature Guiding Services offer specialized wildlife tours in Montana, with a focus on small group sizes, conservation, and educational experiences.

Best Montana Wildlife Tour Operators

A solitary bison grazes peacefully near a water source during a Montana nature tour.

Montana is a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise, offering a plethora of guided tours that provide unique and unforgettable experiences in the heart of nature.

These tours are led by expert guides who know the land and its inhabitants, ensuring you get the most out of your wildlife-watching adventure. Here are some of the best tour operators that specialize in showcasing Montana’s diverse wildlife.

1. Big Sky Safaris

A flock of birds in flight over a marshy wetland during a Montana nature tour with Big Sky Safaris.
source: facebook.com

Big Sky Safaris, based in Missoula, Montana, is your gateway to personalized nature tours guided by a wildlife biologist. Although they aren’t currently hosting in-person adventures, they’ve found a unique way to stay connected and plan for the future.

Here’s what you can expect from Big Sky Safaris:

  • Diverse Activities – From wildlife safaris to birdwatching, hiking, photography, and even sketching, they offer a range of activities to suit every nature enthusiast.
  • Local Exploration – Their tours aren’t just about the great outdoors. You’ll also get to visit local hot springs, nature reserves, ranches, bakeries, and even some of Montana’s finest breweries and distilleries.
  • Family Trips – Perfect for families looking to deepen their connection with nature and each other, Big Sky Safaris provides experiences that are both educational and fun.

While you can’t currently join them in the field, Big Sky Safaris has adapted by offering personalized consultation sessions over the phone. During these chats, you get to share your interests, and they follow up with a tailored email full of suggestions.

It’s a great way to start dreaming about your next adventure and to ensure that when the time is right, you’re prepared for an unforgettable experience.

2. Yellowstone Wild

A moose forages in snowy wilderness on a Yellowstone Wild Montana nature tour.
source: facebook.com

Yellowstone Wild is all about creating custom wildlife tours and hiking adventures in Yellowstone National Park. Their team of expert naturalist guides and top-notch equipment ensures that every wildlife sighting and natural or cultural history discovery is top quality.

What sets them apart is their focus on Yellowstone’s dynamic wildlife, especially the wolves. Their passion for these majestic creatures often leads guests to Yellowstone, known as the best place in the world to see wild wolves.

Here are some of the best wildlife tours that Yellowstone Wild offers:

  • Bear and Wolf Watching Tour – This adventure promises encounters with Yellowstone wolves, grizzly bears, bison, and moose, guided by a knowledgeable local naturalist.
  • Summer Wildlife Photography Tour – Perfect for photography enthusiasts, this private tour offers the best opportunities to capture Yellowstone’s iconic wildlife.
  • Ultimate Yellowstone: Geysers and Wildlife – A blend of wildlife and the park’s famous geothermal features, including hot springs and geysers.
  • Wildlife Watching and Day Hiking Combo – Start your day with wildlife watching and then transition to a hike through Yellowstone’s mountains and valleys.
  • Canyon Waterfalls and Wildlife Excursion – Explore the wildlife-rich northern part of Yellowstone, with stops at the Grand Canyon, Lower Falls, Norris Geyser Basin, and Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces.
  • Spring into Summer: Animal Babies – An all-inclusive late-spring package designed to witness the new life and adventures in Yellowstone as winter gives way to spring.

Yellowstone Wild’s tours not only offer amazing wildlife experiences but also provide a deep dive into Yellowstone’s beautiful scenery and natural wonders.

3. Naturalist Journeys

A pronghorn stands alert in its natural habitat during a Montana nature tour with Naturalist Journeys.
source: facebook.com

Naturalist Journeys, a nature and birding tour company, has been guiding wildlife enthusiasts since 1998. Their team is a mix of naturalists, ornithologists, biologists, geologists, photographers, and artists, ensuring a rich and diverse learning experience.

What sets them apart is their commitment to conservation and responsible travel. They also give back to the places they visit, showing their deep respect for nature. Despite offering over 100 nature and birding tours worldwide, Naturalist Journeys chooses to remain a small company with a big heart.

Their Yellowstone wildlife tours are designed for intimate exploration, with small groups of 8-10 led by expert guides. This setup not only allows for personalized experiences but also fosters a sense of community among like-minded nature lovers.

Their Montana wildlife tours, especially in Yellowstone, are a gateway to some of the most spectacular scenery and wildlife encounters. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect on their Yellowstone tours:

  • Winter Wolf Watching – Witness the intriguing behavior of wolves in the winter, from hunting to courtship.
  • Birds, Bears & Wildlife – This tour focuses on wildlife viewing during the most active hours of the day, with special excursions to explore Yellowstone’s unique features such as Hayden Valley.
  • Yellowstone in The Fall – Perfect for those wanting a taste of Yellowstone in a more relaxed setting. This trip offers opportunities for photography, observing animal behavior, and enjoying the natural beauty of the area.

Naturalist Journeys’ tours not only offer a chance to witness nature’s wonders up close but also provide a platform for learning and understanding the delicate balance of ecosystems.

If you’re looking for a tour that combines education, adventure, and a deep appreciation for the natural world, their offerings in Montana and beyond are sure to deliver an unforgettable experience.

4. Montana Yellowstone Tours

A bison spotted in a grassy field during a Montana nature tour with Montana Yellowstone Tours.
source: facebook.com

Montana Yellowstone Tours is your gateway to a world of adventure in Yellowstone National Park. Based in Gardiner, MT, they specialize in guided hikes and tours that cater to your specific interests, whether it’s wildlife, geysers, or serene hikes.

What sets them apart is their ability to take you not only through the park’s iconic spots but also to areas just outside the park, thanks to their special guiding permits. This flexibility means you can even bring your dogs on hikes.

Their guides are experts in choosing the safest and most interesting routes, keeping a close eye on wildlife patterns to ensure a memorable and secure experience.

One of the most exciting aspects of Montana Yellowstone Tours is that they operate year-round, offering something special in every season. Their wildlife tours are particularly popular, with a focus on tracking down Yellowstone’s famous wolves and bears.

Montana Yellowstone Tours is more than just a tour company; they’re your key to unlocking the full awe-inspiring beauty and excitement of Yellowstone, with a mix of adventure and safety that ensures an unforgettable experience.

5. Natural Habitat Adventures

A mountain goat lounges in a field of flowers during a Montana nature tour with Natural Habitat Adventures.
source: facebook.com

Natural Habitat Adventures has been leading the way in wildlife tours since 1985. They focus on giving small groups of nature enthusiasts life-changing experiences. What’s cool is they’ve teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund to create tours that help protect wildlife and nature.

These are some of the tours that Natural Habitat Adventures offers in Montana:

  • Yellowstone: Ultimate Wolf & Wildlife Safari – You’ll be with naturalists and researchers looking for wolves in Yellowstone. This is the best place in the world to see these amazing creatures.
  • Hidden Yellowstone & Grand Teton Safari – Adventure guides who know Yellowstone well will show you spots where you can see lots of wildlife.
  • Yellowstone Wolf Quest Adventure – In winter, you’ll spend 4 days in the Lamar Valley and Northern Range, tracking wolf packs.
  • Winter Wonders of Yellowstone Photo Expedition – This tour lets you take amazing photos of wildlife like elk, bison, and coyotes in the snowy Yellowstone.
  • Glacier & Waterton – You’ll explore Glacier and Canada’s Waterton Lakes with articulate guides.

Here’s a chart with more details about each tour:

Tour NameSeasonGroup SizeDurationPrice
Yellowstone Wolf & Wildlife SafariDec – MarMax 137 or 8 daysFrom $7895
Yellowstone & Grand Teton SafariDec – MarMax 137 daysFrom $6995
Yellowstone Wolf Quest AdventureMar & NovMax 127 daysFrom $7895
Winter Wonders of YellowstoneJan – FebMax 1011 daysFrom $12995
Glacier & WatertonJun – Sep10-129 daysFrom $8695

These adventures let you see wildlife in Montana and beyond. Whether you’re tracking wolves in Yellowstone or capturing the beauty of Glacier and Waterton, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

6. Yellowstone Safari Company

An adult bighorn sheep stands guard next to a juvenile on rocky terrain during a Montana nature tour with Yellowstone Safari Company.
source: facebook.com

Yellowstone Safari Company, a local, family-run business, is all about sharing the magic of Yellowstone National Park’s wildlife. They are deeply committed to wildlife conservation, making every tour not just an adventure but also a learning experience about the importance of protecting our natural world.

Here are some of the incredible trips that Yellowstone Safari Company offers:

  • Yellowstone Wildlife Safari – This full-day adventure is all about the rich variety of animals and birds in Yellowstone. It’s a day packed with sightings and insights into the park’s ecosystem.
  • Yellowstone Winter Wildlife Safari – In the quiet of winter, this tour brings you face-to-face with the park’s animals in their snowy habitat, offering a unique perspective on their lives.
  • Yellowstone & Beartooth Pass Tour – Starting from Cody, this full-day journey is a double treat, showcasing the wildlife of Yellowstone and the breathtaking views from Beartooth Pass.
  • Winter Wolves and Wildlife Safari – This multi-day tour focuses on the resilience of North American wildlife in the winter. It’s a deep dive into the lives of Yellowstone’s most iconic residents.
  • Wild West Safari – A longer, multi-day safari adventure, this tour not only explores the wildlife of Yellowstone but also takes you through the hidden gems of the Rocky Mountain West, with a special chance to see wild mustangs.
  • Bear and Wolf Safari – Available in spring, summer, and fall, this tour is all about observing bears and wolves in their natural habitat, offering a unique and unforgettable wildlife experience.

If you’re curious about the specifics of each tour, here’s a quick look at what to expect:

Tour NameDestinationSeasonGroup SizeDuration
Yellowstone Wildlife SafariYellowstoneApr – OctMax 88-10 Hours
Yellowstone Winter Wildlife SafariYellowstoneNov – AprMax 86-10 Hours
Yellowstone & Beartooth Pass TourAbsaroka-Beartooth Wilderness YellowstoneJun – OctMax 810-11 Hours
Winter Wolves and Wildlife SafariYellowstoneNov – AprMax 82 or 3 days
Wild West SafariYellowstoneJun – OctMax 63 days
Bear and Wolf SafariYellowstoneMay – OctMax 62 or 3 days

These tours are designed to give you a deep and personal look at the abundance of wildlife in Yellowstone, whether you’re interested in a day-long adventure or a multi-day exploration. With a maximum group size, you’re sure to have an intimate and unforgettable experience.

7. Merlin Birding & Nature Tours

A falcon spotted mid-flight during a Montana nature tour with Merlin Birding & Nature Tours
source: facebook.com

Merlin Birding & Nature Tours are all about quality over quantity. They cap their wildlife adventures at 12 people to ensure everyone gets a front-row seat to Montana’s natural wonders. What sets them apart is that they don’t have a middleman; their amazing guides are the heart of the experience.

They take their responsibility to the planet seriously. For every participant, they cover the cost of carbon offsets. Plus, they give back by supporting conservation groups and partnering with Montana Audubon, showing their commitment to preserving the state’s natural beauty.

Merlin Birding & Nature Tours cover a range of experiences:

  • Birding Tours – These are designed to show you the best of Montana’s birdlife and natural habitats, with a touch of cultural and historical insights.
  • Yellowstone Park Tours – Here, you’ll witness the iconic wildlife of Yellowstone, from bears and wolves to bison and eagles.
  • Nature Tours – If you’re into both birding and wildlife watching, they have a tour that perfectly blends the two.

Their one-day Yellowstone National Park tour is priced as follows:

Group SizePrice
1-2 Passengers$645
3 Passengers$825
4 Passengers$1,075
5 Passengers$1,145
6 Passengers$1,195
7+ Passengers$1,245-$1,695

This pricing structure makes their tours accessible to different group sizes, ensuring that everyone can enjoy an immersive experience in Montana’s wilderness without breaking the bank.

8. In Our Nature Guiding Services

Two white swans sighted swimming on a lake during a Montana nature tour with In Our Nature Guiding Services.
source: facebook.com

In Our Nature Guiding Services is a standout in the world of wildlife tours, making its mark as a small, woman-owned, and community-focused business in Yellowstone National Park. What makes them better is their commitment to sustainability and the exceptional range of experiences they offer.

They’re known for creating custom adventures that cater to your every nature-loving desire. Their team, comprising seasoned local biologists, naturalists, and environmental educators, is all set to lead you through Yellowstone’s wonders.

Whether you’re keen on wildlife watching, day hikes, multi-day backpacking, or winter adventures like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, they have the perfect journey for you.

Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect with In Our Nature Guiding Services:

  • Winter Wonderland – Dive into the magic of winter with wildlife-watching tours, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
  • Yellowstone’s Wildlife – Enjoy private, year-round tours led by biologist guides who know the park like the back of their hand.
  • Exploring Hotspots – Discover Yellowstone’s geothermal wonders with your own experienced naturalist guide, learning about the park’s unique geological features.
  • Off the Beaten Path Hikes – Escape the crowds and explore exclusive trails in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
  • Birdwatching – Immerse yourself in Yellowstone’s summer bird paradise, home to around 300 species.

Now, let’s talk about the pricing and duration of some of their most popular tours. This chart gives you a quick overview of what to expect:

Tour NameDuration1 guest2 guests3 guests4 guests5 guests6 guests
Yellowstone Wolves & Wildlife6-8 Hours$780$850$920$990$1,060$1,130
Yellowstone Birding6-8 Hours$780$850$920$990$1,060$1,130

These tours are not just about spotting wildlife; they’re about creating memories in some of the most beautiful sites nature has to offer. In Our Nature Guiding Services ensures that every moment spent with them is an enriching and unforgettable experience.

9. Wild Latitudes

A western meadowlark perches on a branch during a Montana nature trip with Wild Latitudes.
source: facebook.com

Wild Latitudes is all about sharing the joy of nature through their wildlife tours, with a special focus on birds. They believe in taking time to appreciate all wildlife, from the tiniest insects to majestic grizzly bears.

In Montana, Wild Latitudes has some amazing adventures lined up:

  • Exploring the Glaciated Plains for unique birds like the Upland Sandpiper and Chestnut-collared Longspur.
  • A visit to Glacier National Park, where they hope to spot Grizzly Bears, Mountain Goats, and special boreal bird species.
  • Scanning the skies for raptors and watching Prairie Dogs at Buffalo Jump State Park.
  • Riding the ski lift to the top of Big Mountain, offering stunning views of the Flathead Valley.
  • Up-close encounters with Bison, Elk, Pronghorn, and more at the National Bison Range.

Their Montana tour is designed to have:

DurationGroup SizeTrip Focus
6 daysUp to 10Birding and Wildlife

Wild Latitudes makes sure every day is filled with fun and learning, making your Montana tour an enjoyable experience from start to finish.

10. Nomadic By Nature

A curious fox peers through a vibrant green meadow dotted with wildflowers on a Montana nature tour with Nomadic By Nature.
source: facebook.com

Nomadic By Nature is a small guiding company that’s all about people, nature, and sharing the great outdoors with guests. They specialize in guided backpacking trips in Yellowstone, providing everything from gear to food, so all you have to do is show up and soak in the adventure.

Their Yellowstone Day Trips are perfect for those looking to experience the park’s highlights in a single day. Starting and ending in Bozeman, Montana, these all-day trips take you through Fort Yellowstone and into Lamar Valley, where you’ll witness bison herds and a variety of wildlife.

For a deeper dive into Yellowstone’s wilderness, Nomadic By Nature offers the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone tour. This is one of their earliest backpacking routes in the park and is known for its rich wildlife sightings, including big horn sheep, elk, deer, bison, and birds of prey.

Here’s a quick look at the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone tour options:

DurationDistanceDifficultyCost Per Person
5 days40 miles (64.4 km)4/5$1350
4 days25 miles (40.2 km)3/5$1250

These backpacking adventures are not just about walking through nature; they’re about immersing yourself in incredible wildlife and creating a truly amazing experience. With Nomadic By Nature, you’re not just a tourist; you’re a part of the landscape, making memories that will last a lifetime.

11. Yellowstone Wildlife Guide Company

A curious grizzly bear peers through dense green foliage during a Montana nature tour with Yellowstone Wildlife Guide Company.
source: facebook.com

Yellowstone Wildlife Guide Company is all about sharing their love for Yellowstone’s wildlife, nature, and people through unforgettable guided tours. They offer a private full-day adventure that’s all about soaking in the beauty of Yellowstone National Park and getting up close with its native animals.

This fantastic trip is designed to be a deep dive into Yellowstone’s natural world. The tour is tailored to your interests and focuses on finding and learning about the park’s iconic wildlife, from bears and wolves to bison and elk.

The best part is you can do Yellowstone Wildlife Guide Company’s tour year-round, each season offering a unique experience:

  • Spring – It’s like winter in many places, but the sun is already warming up the valley by the afternoon.
  • Summer – Perfect for a visit with cool mornings, warm days, and a gentle breeze.
  • Fall – A favorite time with cool, dry air, crunchy ground, and lots of sun.
  • Winter – Legendary for wildlife sightings and a quieter park.

Here’s a quick look at their pricing, which varies based on your group size:

Group SizePrice
1 – 2$850

So, whether you’re a small group or a larger one, Yellowstone Wildlife Guide Company is ready to take you on a personalized journey through one of America’s most treasured landscapes.

Montana Nature Tour Final Thoughts

A young deer prances through a lush green meadow during a Montana nature tour.

Montana’s wildlife tours offer an unparalleled opportunity to connect with nature, led by expert guides who are passionate about the state’s diverse ecosystems. From intimate small-group experiences to adventures that blend education and adventure, the range of tours ensures there’s something for every nature enthusiast.

Tour operators like Yellowstone Wild, Montana Yellowstone Tours, and Wild Latitudes stand out for their specialized focus on Montana’s national parks, offering insights into the lives of iconic animals like wolves and bears.

Whether you’re exploring the wonders of Yellowstone or capturing the beauty of Glacier, these tours promise not just wildlife sightings but also a deeper understanding of the natural world and the importance of conservation.

As you plan your next adventure, consider the wealth of options available, each offering a unique perspective and a chance to create lasting memories in Montana’s great outdoors.

Montana Nature Tour FAQs

1. What Wildlife Can You See in Montana?

In Montana, you can expect to see a diverse array of wildlife including elk, bison, grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, moose, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, mule deer, whitetail deer, and a variety of bird species such as bald eagles, golden eagles, and various owls.

2. When Can You See Animals in Glacier National Park?

In Glacier National Park, your best opportunities to see animals are typically in the morning or early evening when crowds have passed.

Many species, including bears, elk, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep, are more active during these times, increasing your chances of wildlife sightings amid the park’s stunning landscapes.

3. What Is the Main Animal in Montana?

The main animal representing Montana is the Grizzly Bear, which was designated as the official state animal and mammal in 1983.

4. How Likely Am I to See a Bear in Glacier National Park?

It is quite usual to come across bears or their tracks while hiking on several trails in Glacier National Park.

5. Where Is the Best Place to See Moose in Montana?

One of the best places to see moose in Montana is around Swiftcurrent Lake or Lake Josephine in Glacier National Park, especially shortly after sunrise.

Additionally, the hike to Grinnell Lake offers a fairly easy trek through excellent moose habitat, increasing the chances of spotting these majestic creatures amid the park’s stunning landscapes.

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Written by:

Elizabeth Hawley
Hey, fellow travelers! I'm Elizabeth Hawley, stepping into the world in the hues of fall. For me, Montana is more than just a state; it's a muse. The golden aspen trees and russet landscapes in the fall have always fueled my creativity. Co-founding PocketMontana.com was a no-brainer, blending my love for art, photography, and Montana's ever-changing palette.

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