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Yellowstone: Ultimate Wolf & Wildlife Safari
(Central Route, Bozeman to Jackson)


7 days with Natural Habitat Adventures   Rating: Deluxe

Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices Day 1: Bozeman, Montana
Arrive in the New West town of Bozeman and transfer to our hotel for a welcome dinner.

Day 2: Paradise Valley / Northern Yellowstone
We depart early, following the Lewis & Clark Trail over Bozeman Pass to the banks of the Yellowstone River where we’ll spend the morning in Paradise Valley in search of rough-legged hawks, eagles, mule deer and pronghorn antelope. The ragged heights of the Absaroka Range provide a dramatic backdrop for great landscape photo opportunities. Continuing to Mammoth Hot Springs for lunch, we often see wintering bighorn sheep in Gardiner River Canyon. Toward evening we enter Yellowstone’s Northern Range, the best place in the park to search for wolves. We often spot coyotes, elk and bison against the snow-mantled landscape. Our day concludes with a presentation at the Hartman Gallery, famed for its outstanding photographs of Yellowstone’s wildlife. Owner Dan Hartman is one of Yellowstone's most renowned wildlife photographers, and we'll look forward to getting insights and tips on how to capture great shots during our time in the area. We spend the night just outside the park in Cooke City, Montana.

Day 3: Lamar Valley
As the sun breaks over the frosty meadows of the Lamar Valley, we’re up early to seize the chance to find wolves in their most pristine natural environment. This broad glacial valley offers wide-open vistas of a sublime landscape, and if wolves are present, they are likely to stand out against the snowy backdrop. Dan Hartman, who is a naturalist as well as a famous local photographer, will join us in the field today to share tips on capturing the best shots of the elusive wolves—bring your telephoto lenses! Other wildlife is abundant, and we're sure to come away with some outstanding images.  

Day 4: Snowcoach Tour / Interior Yellowstone / Old Faithful
As dawn illumines the snowy meadows of the Lamar Valley, we return once more in search of wolves. If we are fortunate to sight them, our onboard spotting scope is at the ready to observe their activities from a distance without disturbing their natural behavior. Many of our Expedition Leaders have worked for years with the on-site researchers who track these wolves daily, and together they provide us every opportunity to find these magnetic animals in their natural surroundings. Board our chartered snowcoach again to traverse Yellowstone’s wild interior, accessible in winter only by over-the-snow vehicles. On the Central Plateau we'll be on the lookout to photograph large bison herds, and we'll hope for more wolf sightings, too, though they are less frequent. We’ll also visit the Upper and Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River—an iconic photo opportunity. If it’s cold enough, the falls may freeze into a cascade of ice plunging to the canyon floor. Our final destination today is the iconic Old Faithful Geyser Basin.

Day 5: Geyser Basin Exploration
Board our chartered snowcoach again to explore the geyser basins surrounding the Firehole River. This part of the park boasts the highest density of geothermal features in the world. Opportunities abound to photograph all four types: geysers, hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles. Because of the warmth provided by the steam vents and hot mud, wildlife congregate in the area during the winter, and we’ll have a chance to see and photograph trumpeter swans, bald eagles, elk and bison.

Day 6: Grand Teton National Park
Today we head south by snowcoach to Wyoming’s other scenic treasure, Grand Teton National Park. En route we stop at West Thumb Geyser Basin on the edge of Yellowstone Lake to search for and photograph moose, river otters and trumpeter swans. Crossing the Continental Divide, we drop into the Snake River Basin. The first views of the Teton spires will undoubtedly provoke a flurry of snapping shutters. More great shots await, with the jagged range providing an awesome backdrop for wildlife photos.

Day 7: Jackson Hole / National Elk Refuge
Our winter safari continues in the National Elk Refuge, home to thousands of elk, bighorn sheep and bison that winter on the floor of Jackson Hole. A horse-drawn sleigh ride provides a festive finale to our wildlife odyssey, offering close-up opportunities to photograph the park’s enormous herd of elk.

Day 8: Jackson / Flights Home
After breakfast, the Lexington offers a complimentary shuttle to the airport to connect with flights home.
Map
All This Included
In the pale light of sunrise, we survey the open expanse of Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, searching for wolves. With expert naturalist guides at our side and spotting scopes poised, we hope to see a pack emerge from the forest, energized by the awakening day. In the distance, a large male halts and sniffs the frozen air as we sense the mystical aura of this beast of legend. Elegant predators, wolves are an important part of the Yellowstone ecosystem, where elk, bison and other prey provide sustenance. Winter’s white mantle offers a pristine backdrop against which to search for these elusive wilderness icons. The land itself is part of the magic, too, with steaming geysers and trees covered in ice crystals beneath an immaculate blue sky. Discover Yellowstone with us on this rare winter wildlife safari—your spirit will never be the same.
  • Accommodations
  • Meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on final day
  • Drinking water throughout the trip
  • Services of NHA Expedition Leaders and local staff
  • Airport transfer on Day 1 and the final day
  • Use of warm parkas and winter boots during the trip
  • Most gratuities
  • All permits
  • Entrance fees and taxes
Highlights
  • On this small-group Yellowstone adventure, search for wolves in the remote Lamar Valley—the best place on Earth to see them—with the aid of scientist researchers
  • Travel by private snowcoach to Old Faithful and watch steaming geysers erupt in a crystalline spray against the snowy backdrop
  • Journey by horse-drawn sleigh across the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole for close-up views of the vast winter herds beneath the Grand Teton spires
Accommodations
Yellowstone National Park: To be determined

Notes
  • Group Size Limit: Approximately 14 Travelers.
  • Not Included: Travel to and from start and end point of trip, alcoholic beverages, some gratuities, passport and visa fees, optional activities, airport transfer on final day, items of a personal nature (phone calls, souvenirs, etc.), airline baggage fees, airport and departure taxes, optional travel insurance.
  • Physical Requirements: Easy to Moderate. Tracking wolves in Yellowstone typically occurs in snowy, icy and/or wet conditions, and temperatures can be extremely cold, often dropping well below zero at night with daytime highs in the 30s. Our days generally start before sunrise and are very full with activities. Hikes and snowshoe excursions require moderate physical exertion. They range from one to three miles in length over level ground and slight inclines, though snow and ice may create rough and/or challenging terrain conditions. In order to view Old Faithful, participants must be able to walk 300 yards over icy, snowy pavement and boardwalk. To explore Yellowstone’s geothermal basins, you must be able to walk at least one-half to one mile over ice- and snow-covered boardwalk, dirt trails and pavement. If you opt to snowshoe, you must be able to snowshoe at least a half-mile. The maximum potential distance for snowshoeing is two miles. While much of our wildlife viewing takes place from our vehicles, participants should be prepared to spend extended periods of time outside in very cold temperatures. While travelers are not required to participate in all activities, if you should opt out of any of the day’s scheduled activities, we cannot guarantee that alternatives will be available. Travelers should be aware that activities in the park occur at altitudes between 4,810 and 7,380 feet.
  • You will be met at the airport on Day 1 and transferred to the hotel to meet your group for a 6 pm orientation dinner. You are free to depart anytime on the final day.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Natural Habitat Adventures terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.