We had a chance to speak with Matt Shlim from Backcountry Safaris on the benefits taking a National Park Safari. Backcountry Safaris is a to notch outfitter and would make great choice for booking a guided tour to Grand Teton or Yellowstone National Parks. Here is a transcript of the interview.
Matt Shlim: We do, yes, out of the Rustic Inn, which is a hotel in Jackson. One of our adventure centers is based there, and we offer guided four hour and six hour bicycle tours along the bike paths into Grand Teton National Park.
Matt Shlim: It’s all on paved pathway systems. We have a variety of bikes we can supply people with. For the most part, our bicycle tours are all private-based, so it’s based group decisions. So it’s a very customizable experience, which is something I should say extends to our vehicle-based tours as well. And while we do offer public tours that you can join in on, the private tour is really the place to design your optimal trip and we’re happy to have as many conversations as we need ahead of time to make sure that you and your family, or you and your friends are going to get to have the exact tour that you are after.
Matt Shlim: Yeah, I would say families particularly with younger kids, we often advise that. Especially if you want to do a full-day Yellowstone tour, a full-day Grand Teton Tour or the six hour bicycle tour. Having a single guide with your family and not having to worry about the needs of the other people on the tour allows for everybody to have the most relaxing and beneficial experience.
Matt Shlim: Yes, we absolutely run tours in the winter. At Yellowstone, the roads transition to snowmobiles, snow cat tracks, so we don’t run tours in Yellowstone in the winter, but we offer sunrise and sunset and full-day Grand Teton tours. They winter tours follow a similar curriculum and a similar route to the tours in the summer. But the content of the tour obviously is different to reflect a better understanding of the winter ecology here versus the summer ecologies.
Matt Shlim: That’s a great question. Again, like I was saying earlier, we have a staff that comes from a research and science background and often, a large part of that is education. A lot of people are familiar with the work of the Teton Science School. Many of our guides are graduates of that program, so they have a strong background of how to make these concepts interesting and fun for kids. We do advise if you have kids that are under 10, that it’s best to book the private tour. That way, if you want to stop the car and run around, take a little extra time somewhere, maybe even cut it a little short if you need to, all these options are available to you. The goal is give you the most bang for your buck and enjoyment.
Matt Shlim: All of our tours in Utah are predominantly Jeep-based. That part of the world is really well known for its off-roading and the ability to get right in the muck. Incredible geological features down there. On the other hand, the opportunity for off-roading is just not there in Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks, so out of Jackson, we upgrade the comfort and go with Surburbans. (We don’t offer the Jeeps in Jackson)
Matt Shlim: The big thing that we like to emphasize is that coming out here for a lot of people can feel really foreign and take them outside their comfort zone. We like to emphasize to people when we take them out into the national parks is that this is their national park as much as it is anybody that lives in Wyoming’s national park. The Parks are incredibly special and unique. Just knowing that this is a very special place, and that taking the guided tour is going to open it up to you that much more.
Matt Shlim: From Jackson, to complete the southern loop in Yellowstone which includes many of the very famous geological features like the Old Faithful geyser, the Grand Prismatic Hot Springs and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is a very full 8 to 10 hour day. For friends and family that have been road tripping out here, it has the potential for a lot of extra driving. So taking the guided tour allows you to sit back and look out the window the whole time. The guide will drive for you and it takes the out the stress.