How to Book your Tour and FAQ's
To Book your tour, confirm the date is available on our schedule by clicking Schedule. If the date is open and no one has emailed for the date prior it's yours.
You can only book a tour by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
(If you get an error be sure to copy and paste or type the email address into your TO: section on your email)
Since every tour is customized we do not have an automated booking system. We need to tailor each trip just for you and because of that you can only book a tour via Email. With the complete info and questions answered I will send you a confirmation email. If you have any questions be sure to read the FAQ's below and if you don't find the info on the tour pages or FAQ section please email.
To book your tour email the following details:
- ● What date and part of the day, morning or evening, would you like to book?
- ● What kind of Tour you would like to book?
- ● What sights or wildlife are you most interested in seeing, learning and/or photographing?
- ● How long of a tour you would like: 4 hour (3.5 hour Winter), 6 hour, or 8 hour tour?
- ● What Estes Park Hotel or Resort you are staying at? (I will pick you up there)
- ● I will recommend a start time once I know what kind of tour you wish. Please Confirm that time will work for you.
- ● What are the first names and age of each guest that will be on the tour?
- ● A cell phone number to reach you during your trip?
- ● What website or search engine did you learn about Yellow Wood Guiding?
Is this tour designed for children?
No, Yellow Wood Guiding tours are very detail oriented with information at a high school and college level. Often children under 16 get bored due to the level of information and the pace as there can be a good bit of driving. There is a strict 12 and up age limit. We are often standing very close to the highway or 75 feet from potentially dangerous wildlife if you are not calm. If your kids are not extremely into nature and science a Yellow Wood Guiding tour may not be for your family. A good test to see if a tour is right for your kids is have them watch the linked video. If they think its cool, they would probably think a tour would be too: Yellow Guiding Tour Video
Your schedule shows you are booked, do you have a cancellation list?
No, In the summer months I get about 1 cancellation per month and its almost always extremely last minute due to horrible situations like death in a family or the like. I do not keep a cancellation list. Check the schedule to see if there are openings, if it's marked as booked it's booked. If you are planning a trip within 30 days, openings will not generally show up. Be sure to plan your summer trip at least 2 or 3 months out to have a good chance of booking your tour. Fall trips might need to be booked as early as February. Sometimes multiple people email for the same day, whomever completes the requested information first will get the reservation.
Will there be other people on the tour?
No, all tours are private and customized. Only the people you invite will come along.
4 Person Tours take note:
The vehicle we use is a mid-size SUV Hyundai Santa Fe, so three people would be in the back seat on a 4 person tour. For some plus sized people this makes for a very tight fit. Our average tour is two people so using a giant SUV or van for most tours is not economically or environmentally friendly. Be sure you are going to be comfortable.
Are Tours limited to Only 4 guests?
Yes, all tours are limited to only 4 guests! There are 4 seat bealts, 4 sets of top of the line binoculars, and 4 sets of hiking poles. No exceptions and we do not allow cars the follow along as folks in the other car miss out on nearly the entire tour experience, and there is limited places to park on the private type of tours Yellow Wood Guiding offers.
What kind of vehicle do you use?
Yellow Wood Guiding uses a civilized SUV, 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Limited. Enjoy the panoramic sunroof, leather heated seats, great music, and when we need it extra heat or A/C.
Do I need a Timed Entry Pass for a Tour?
Yellow Wood Guiding is a CUA Permitted guide in Rocky Mountain National Park. Guided Tours do not require Timed Entry Permits, but you will need a Day, Week, Annual or Lifetime National Park Pass which if needed can be purchased at the Park Gate during the start of our tour. If you plan on entering the park on your own you may need a Timed Entry Permit, click here for details.
How can I get a Timed Entry Pass when not on a guided tour?
The Timed Entry Permit system is a bit complicated so I wrote up a entire page to help explain it here. Unless you plan on a morning hike in the Bear Lake Road area you do not really need Timed Entry Permits to visit the National Park as long as you enter before 9am or after 2pm. The Bear Lake Road Corridor opens to guests without a permit at 6pm.
How are the park roads?
During the summer months, we will travel over excellent paved roads. Route 34 and 36 are federal highways. A few of the side roads and Fall River Road are dirt and can be bumpy in a few locations. In the winter months roads can be snow covered, but are generally always plowed and treated by 8am. Trail Ridge Road is generally closed from Early October until the Friday before Memorial Day.
Are tours only in English?
Yes, all tours are only in English. If you do not speak English fluently you will probably not enjoy the level of detail and information provided on a Yellow Wood Guiding tour.
How far do you hike?
That depends on you, if you didn't book a Hiking Tour, we won't walk far. We've had great tours with folks in wheel chairs. Nature Safaris can go up to a few miles or just a short walk, Wildlife Safaris involve much more driving so we may go a few hundred yards at time, or some folks only want to take short walks. This tour is customized for you.
When do your tours start?
That again depends on what kind of tour you would like. Wildlife are most common and visible at sunrise or in the evening, so starting as early as possible or a few hours before sunset in the summer months is best. When you email I will recommend a time based on the type of tour your looking for. Photo Safaris can start as early as an hour and a half before sunrise so we can travel and hike to some amazing locations.
Where do tours start?
If you are staying inside Estes Park at a hotel (within a 10 minute drive of Estes) we'll pick you up outside the office of the hotel or lodge your staying. Folks staying at AirBnB and VRBO or if you are staying outside of Estes Park we'll pick you up at the Estes Park Visitors Center by the flag poles, located at 500 Big Thompson Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517 (across the street from McDonalds and Starbucks). We do not offer pick ups outside of Estes Park.
How do I pay?
Please pay by Check, Travelers Check, Cash, or Venmo at the end of the tour. No need for a Credit Card to hold your reservation. Credit Cards can be accepted through Paypal.com after the tour but a 3% fee will be added to the total.
What should we wear and what should we bring in the Summer?
In the summer time be prepared for temps between 30-70 degrees F, yes 30! Don't wear shorts, and always bring a jacket. If you booked a Hiking Tour, a backpack, rain gear, and hiking boots are highly recommended. Also be sure to drink plenty of water both in the days before your trip to Colorado and while your here (4 bottles a day), and for morning tours eat breakfast to prevent altitude sickness. Bring along water and a snack, we will have extra water and granola bars for you as well.
What should we wear and what should we bring in the Fall, Spring and Winter?
In the fall and the spring anything can happen between 70's and sun, or a blizzard. Be prepared for temps between 15-60 degrees F. In the winter time be prepared for temps between -15 to 40 degrees F. Layers are your friend, and avoid cotton socks and jeans in the snow as they soak up water and do not dry. Also be sure to drink plenty of water both in the days before your trip to Colorado and during, and eat breakfast to prevent altitude sickness. Bring along water and a snack.
The forecast is for Thunderstorms, what now?
During the summer months nearly everyday has a 10%-30% chance of thunderstorms generally in the mid-afternoon. On most long range forecasts this looks like nothing but storms all week long. Fret not, most storms either never develop, or pass quickly.
What happens if it rains?
Here in the Rocky Mountains we get very few days of constant rain, be prepared for a random shower during the warmer months, but we will avoid getting wet. However, some of the best wildlife viewing is during the rain as it keeps the daytime temps lower and more comfortable for all our furry friends.
What happens if it snows?
If it snows just an inch or two, the park roads will be well maintained and open. Fresh snow gives us the chance to see fresh tracks. In the event of a larger snow fall we will play it by ear. This is your tour after all, so we can go if you want to go. Yellow Wood Guiding will never put its clients in a dangerous situation. If we feel its not safe to be out we will not go out.
We had a tour scheduled but our guide didn't meet us at the scheduled time?
With two decades of guiding experience I've come to find miscommunication and human error are very rare, but about once a year bound to happen. I want to offer excellent service to all guests and I have strived to avoid and correct any scheduling errors but about once a year a date will get double booked or cancelled by mistake. Bookings are only via email so we can keep a copy and double check to reduce miscommunication.
If the guide doesn't arrive in 5 minutes of your scheduled time, please Text and Email. In the mountains signal is very spotty so calls rarely work. After 10 minutes it is safe to assume we had a scheduling error, in that extremely rare case I would highly recommend heading into the national park on your own, enter on Highway 34 Fall River Entrance, exploring the low valleys of Horseshoe Park and Moraine Park year round, and Trail Ridge Road in the summer months. If you can't contact me via text or email within 5 minutes I am likely outside of signal range. Average Human Error rate is about 4%, my error rate is about 0.27% , and I will do everything I can to make sure you have a great experience.
Can we cancel our reservation, or change our tour date?
Yes, traveling often has its unforeseen happenings. If you need to cancel your reservation just email and let us know. If you want to reschedule, review the Schedule, if the date is open it's yours. Generally rescheduling is only available in the winter months when we're not booked solid more than a month out.
Didn't see an answer to your question?
Make sure you read each tour page completely, after nearly two decades of offering tours our website has been refined to answer just about every common question we get. If you still don't find your answer, please email us at email@example.com.