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Call us: (406) 646-5145
Kids listening to a guide as he shows them the organisms living in a Yellowstone hot spring during a guided tour
Frequently asked questions...

What does the Park Service charge to enter Yellowstone?

The Park service charges entry fees that vary depending on the time of year and the type of vehicle. The summer rate for a passenger car is $25 for a 7-day pass, and $12 per person for one of our guided trips. They also have season passes, senior passes, and handicap passes available at special rates, all of which can be used on our guided trips. Click here for details. Please note that our tour rates do not include entry passes for Yellowstone.

What are the opening and closing date for the summer and winter seasons in Yellowstone?

Yellowstone is open all year around through the northern entrance in Gardner through the Lamar Valley to Cooke City, MT, conditions permitting. All other roads in the Park have seasonal closures. We offer trips all year around in Yellowstone, check the Lava Creek Yellowstone page for details.
Contributions
How does Lava Creek contribute to protecting & preserving Yellowstone?

A portion of your trip cost goes toward funding educational opportunities for kids through the West Yellowstone Outdoor Education Center and the Yellowstone Park Foundation, including the Junior Smokejumpers, the Junior Rangers, and the Young Scientists programs. Our contributions to the Yellowstone Park Foundation also contribute toward their efforts to help the underfunded Park Service rehabilitate and restore many of Yellowstone's trails and visitor areas, as well as continue ongoing wildlife research projects that help provide data used to ensure the long-term viability of the Park and its inhabitants.

We also donate to the Yellowstone Historic Center museum and its efforts to preserve provide access to our town and area's rich cultural history, and to the West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation and its work to provide outdoor fitness programs and facilities for youth and adults.

Do you give discounts?

We offer seasonal discounts, package discounts, and other promotional discounts from time to time. Call us or see our Rates page for details.

How do I find your office?

Click to see the Map page. We can arrange to meet you at your lodging or campsite location, just let us know when you make your reservations!

Where should I stay?

Let us know if you need help or advice on lodging in our area. We offer packages with discounted lodging and tour rates, call or email for details. For lodging in West Yellowstone, check out our Links page for some of our favorites, or check with the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce. For lodging in the Park, Xanterra is the Yellowstone lodging concessionaire.

What else is there to do in West Yellowstone?

Check out our Links page for some of our favorites. West Yellowstone is an outdoor person's paradise. We have some of the best biking, hiking, boating (including kayaking, water skiing, and swimming), skiing/snowshoeing, fishing, hunting, wildlife watching, geyser gazing, and sunrises/sunsets in the world!

If that isn't enough, we also have an excellent museum, an IMAX theater (along with a regular movie theater), live theater in the summer at the Pinecone Playhouse and the Playmill theater, wild animal educational facility (the Grizzly Wolf & Discovery Center), A USFS Smoke Jumper's museum, live music in the park on summertime weekends, an earthquake visitors center, and lots of shopping, bookstores, coffee bars, bakeries, and restaurants. There are organized (free) outings of all kinds where you can learn about things as diverse as West Yellowstone history (from the seat of a bicycle) to sea kayaking to wildflower identification. Check out the WY Chamber's weekly update. Big Sky and Ashton (45 miles either direction out of West) offer golfing in the summer months.

In the winter, we have some of the best skiing on the planet, including the Rendezvous groomed trail system, Yellowstone and the surrounding area's myriad of touring possibilities, boundless mountains for backcountry sliding, and snowcoach and snowmobile tours in Yellowstone and the surrounding area. Big Sky and Moonlight Basin offer downhill skiing only 45 miles from West, and Karst stage offers daily winter shuttles.

What should I wear?

There are some seasonal hints on clothing here. In general, wool and synthetics are better when it's cool, and are the only thing that will keep you alive for long when it's cold. Cotton is good for the summer months and lounging around town. Layering is the way to go so that it's easier to adjust your temperature during the day. A light, packable/stuffable down or synthetic puff sweater can be really nice when you are in and out of warmer and cooler situations during the day.

If you'll be going out on the town at the end of the day (we have some excellent restaurants and theaters), you'll find that Montana dress code is less formal than many places. Dressing up ranges from a new pair of jeans and presentable shirt/blouse to a suit & tie/evening gown. You decide how much you want to bring and what you feel comfortable wearing.

Spring (April - early June). Beautiful!
Yellowstone has both warm and cool days, cool to cold nights, with frost possible. Days are getting longer, and the weather is variable, with snow almost guaranteed at times near the Park's opening date. Both shorts and warm layers are recommended, including wool and synthetics. Don't forget a warm hat, gloves, and warm socks. Spring can bring some of the most beautiful mountain weather imaginable!

Summer (June - August). 16+ hours of daylight!
Warm days, cool nights. Shorts are generally the norm, although a raincoat and insulating layer are always recommended in Yellowstone.

Fall (September - November). Indian summer!
Yellowstone has both warm and cool days, cool to cold nights, with frost possible. Days are getting shorter, and the weather is variable, with snow almost guaranteed sometime near the Park's closing date. Warm layers are recommended, wool and synthetics, hat, gloves and warm socks (in case). Bring shorts too, because our Indian summer is usually awesome!

Winter (November - April). Otherworldly! Yes, it is cold, but the low humidity makes it surprisingly pleasant on most days. Temps are seldom above 32 F/0 C, but a little layering in warm clothing and it can be very comfortable. Make sure you have insulating wool or synthetic layers, and a windproof outer layer (hood recommended). A warm hat and gloves are mandatory, along with warm boots and socks.

More Questions? Please Call 406-646-5145 or email info@lavacreekadventures.com

Who can go kayaking?

You do not need be able to run a marathon, or even spell the word kayak. Anyone 5 and older, with supervision, can kayak with us! We have tandem kayaks so parents can travel with their younger children, and light single kayaks for the adventurous child (ages 12 and up). Call us if you have any special needs or concerns.

What is a "sea kayak?"
Modern kayaks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, designed for all sorts of specialized uses as diverse as paddling on glassy smooth lakes to running raging whitewater and 100' waterfalls. They essentially fall into two broad categories, those designed for "flat" water paddling (lakes, slow moving rivers, and the ocean) and those designed for "white" water paddling (rapidly moving rivers and creeks that have waves and rapids to negotiate). The craft designed for the former are generally called "sea kayaks" or "recreational kayaks," and the latter are "whitewater kayaks."

We are focused on the "sea kayaking" end of the spectrum, which involves paddling on the incredibly scenic lakes and slow moving rivers in our area. It's a great way to get outside and see the world from a new perspective without needing the special skills that whitewater kayaking involves.

You don't need to know how to roll a kayak, or have any specialized skills or experience to enjoy sea kayaking. We'll show you the basics and get you comfortable on the water.

Is it safe?
Yes! Our kayaks are designed with beginning and intermediate paddlers in mind, and are exceptionally stable and easy to paddle. Our guides are experienced paddlers with extensive experience in open water rescue techniques. Weather always plays a factor in trip safety, and we reserve the right to reschedule or cancel trips if the weather is unfavorable for safe paddling...However, a little rain or variable weather can make for some of the best and most beautiful trips.

Trip fees will be credited or refunded in the event of a cancellation. Unguided rentals are charged for all time the kayaks are out, regardless of weather conditions.

Guides carry emergency first aid equipment and kayak rescue gear, and are practiced in open water rescue techniques. Our kayaks are very stable and easy to paddle, and are fast and quiet on the water. Our guides are trained to get you back in your kayak and back underway in the very unlikely event of a capsize (you'll have to try really hard to tip one of these boats over...dancing in the seat perhaps?).

Do you offer any river or whitewater rafting or kayaking?

Yes! We offer Park & Paddle trips that include a half-day of seeing the sights in Yellowstone, along with a half-day of whitewater rafting. We also book rafting trips for Montana Whitewater on both the Gallatin and Yellowstone rivers, and provide whitewater kayak instruction, including roll classes and river running skills classes. It's great fun for the adventurous! Call us for details!

What about the weather?
Most of our summer season involves warm water and great weather. During the shoulder seasons, the water and air temperatures are colder and sometimes require a little extra gear for the most comfort. Some of the best wildlife viewing happens in the spring and fall, and some of the most amazing paddling experiences are had on a rainy day...you can be as comfortable as a duck in his feathers if you want to get out when the weather seems unfavorable. We'll get you set up right!

Remember, kayaks were originally crafted by the eskimo peoples on both coasts of the North American continent as a means of efficiently traveling and hunting in a very cold and wet environment. They would even sleep overnight in their boats on long hunting expeditions...

So, kayaks are designed for some of the most extreme weather on earth. With modern boats and clothing, they are comfortable in almost any condition.

We have spray skirts available that cover the cockpit opening in rainy or cold conditions and make for a cozy environment. We also have neoprene mittens available if you tend to get cold hands, and rain gear too.

What should I bring?

We provide kayaks, life jackets, paddles, and dry bags. We also have spray skirts and neoprene mitts for cold conditions, and rain gear available too if you forget yours (we recommend bringing your own waterproof/breathable jacket). For kayak rentals, we have car top carriers or a shuttle service available, so you can take the kayak where ever you want to go.

You should remember to bring; sun screen, sandals (or shoes you don't mind getting wet), a fleece or wool jacket, and a rain coat. Warm pants and rainpants are a good idea in the spring or fall, and when the weather is changing

It is better to have and not want, than to want and not have...That is why our kayaks have plenty of storage space.

More Questions? Please Call 406-646-5145 or email info@lavacreekadventures.com

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Images & site design by David Robinson/Two Ravens Productions 2008-2013 Lava Creek LLC

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Yellowstone National Park Commercial Use Authorization Permittee

USFS Operations under permit by the USDA Forest Service

Beaverhead-Deerlodge & Gallatin National Forest

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