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Yellowstone: Winter Photo Expedition

Capture Awe-Inspiring Scenery and Wildlife Images in the Silent Grandeur of Winter
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
Again we explore Old Faithful’s plethora of geothermal features which offer excellent photo subjects, as geysers spray hot steam into the frozen air and fumaroles bubble up from the snow. 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 hope to 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, depart Yellowstone and continue by van 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 as we venture into Jackson Hole in search of bighorn sheep, bald and golden eagles, coyotes, bison, mule deer, moose and elk. Later, we stop for lunch at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson. Then, by horse-drawn sleigh we glide across the snow blanketing the National Elk Refuge for close-up photos of the massive herd that winters there, with thousands of animals roaming the valley floor.

Day 8: Jackson / Flights Home
After breakfast, the Lexington offers a complimentary shuttle to the airport to connect with flights home.

Please note: Every alternate trip runs in the opposite direction, from Jackson to Bozeman.

+ Interested in adding a few days to your trip? Click here to view our Extension Options.


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