Day 1: Jackson, Wyoming
Our family Yellowstone safari begins on arrival in Jackson, the town on the edge of Grand Teton National Park that's world-famous for its cowboy heritage and Old West personality. Tonight, we gather for a welcome dinner.
Day 2: Grand Teton National Park
Nothing quite prepares one for the drama of the Grand Tetons, rearing up in a row of pointed peaks from the floor of Jackson Hole. Protected forever as one of America’s most impressive national parks, the Tetons are emblematic of the West’s natural grandeur. The wildlife of Grand Teton is as magnificent as its mountains; we may see elk, pronghorn antelope, mule deer, bison and eagles. At the Murie Museum, which boasts a fine teaching collection of skins, scat and tracks, we learn about the park’s animals. This evening, we float the placid Snake River in the Tetons’ shadow, as the sun descends behind their jagged summits. Late in the day is prime time for wildlife viewing, and we may spot moose, beavers, osprey, pelicans or even a black bear near the river’s edge.
Day 3: Grand Teton / Yellowstone - Old Faithful
This morning we assist in catching and banding songbirds, a close-up educational encounter with nature for all ages. Later, we travel through aspen glades along the park’s inner loop road, with even more spectacular views of the Teton range. We may also take a short walk to Swan Lake in hopes of seeing trumpeter swans and sandhill cranes. This afternoon we enter Yellowstone, America’s first national park, established in 1872. At Old Faithful, there’s time before dinner to see the famous geyser erupt, and to investigate the fumaroles and hot springs nearby.
Day 4: Exploring Old Faithful
Today is dedicated to the unique scenery, wildlife and history of the Old Faithful area. We visit several local geyser basins and discuss the impact of the subterranean geology on the surrounding environment. A hike to Fairy Falls or Lone Star Geyser focuses on the massive wildfires of 1988, whose effects on the landscape are still dramatic. Recovery is evident, however, and we see vivid examples of new forest growth and ecosystem regeneration. Keep watch for bison and elk, which are often seen wandering in the grassy meadows near the hot pools and steam vents.
Day 5: Yellowstone Lake
We visit Yellowstone’s most inspiring vista today, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and the Upper and Lower falls. In Hayden Valley, a favored grazing area for large herds of bison and elk, we may also spot coyotes and bald eagles, and there’s always a chance to see bears. After checking in at Lake Village, we can take a short hike along the shores of Yellowstone Lake to skip stones and watch the sunset.
Day 6: Grand Tetons / Jackson
Following the shores of Yellowstone Lake this morning, we stop to meander over the boardwalks of West Thumb Geyser Basin before departing the park. This afternoon, back in Grand Teton National Park and the lower elevations of Jackson Hole, we’ll have a last opportunity to search for wildlife and enjoy the matchless scenery. As the sun slides behind the peaks once more, we continue to Jackson for a final overnight, concluding our adventure with a farewell dinner to celebrate the memories we’ve made.
Day 7: Jackson / Home
Today, depending on flight schedules, there may be time to explore the town of Jackson and the many activities on offer, including a chairlift ride to the top of Snow King Mountain for high-altitude views (optional; cost not included). Complimentary hotel shuttle service to the airport is available as our family Yellowstone safari comes to a close.