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Yellowstone Wolf Quest

Track Yellowstone’s Most Intriguing Predator Against a Stunning Winter Backdrop
Day 1: Bozeman, Montana
Our Yellowstone wolf tour begins in Bozeman, where you will meet your Expedition Leader at a welcome dinner this evening. An initial orientation introduces us to the geography of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

Day 2: Northern Range, Yellowstone National Park
After breakfast, we make our way to Yellowstone National Park’s northern entrance where our wolf-tracking expedition begins. We scout first for bison, pronghorn, elk and bighorn sheep, but we’ll hope to spy our first wolves near here as well, as they range across the park’s entire northern reach and are sometimes seen in this area. We break for lunch at the historic park settlement at Mammoth Hot Springs, with time afterward to explore the geothermal features and learn about the establishment of Fort Yellowstone. Later this afternoon we drive east across the Yellowstone's Northern Range, discovering the prime wolf habitat we will explore intimately over the next two days.

Day 3: Lamar Valley Wolf Safari
Following an early continental breakfast, we head into the secluded Lamar Valley on an intensive search for wolves. This glacial valley, a wide expanse of grassland and streams in Yellowstone’s remote northeast corner, is North America’s best wolf-watching habitat. Wolves are drawn to this region because of the resident elk and bison herds, and by hunting in packs over snowy terrain, they are capable of bringing down large prey. Although wolves are highly wary of human presence and can be very difficult to spot, our Expedition Leaders work tirelessly to find them, remaining in constant communication with other local wolf researchers to track and monitor wolf activity. We might see lone wolves, or occasionally a whole pack in search of prey. We generally observe them at a distance, but our guides carry high-powered spotting scopes that offer excellent views, and we are deeply moved as we watch their captivating behavior in a wholly natural realm.

We head back to Cooke City for lunch and a slide presentation with Dan Hartman, a local naturalist and photographer. Dan's wolf images are widely renowned, and he is happy to share wildlife photography tips, as well as insightful observations about wolf behavior gleaned from his years among them. By mid-afternoon we return to the Lamar Valley for more wolf tracking and an optional snowshoe hike to see the last remaining acclimation pen used in 1995 to transition and acclimatize wolves to their new home range when they were reintroduced to the park.

Day 4: Wolf Tracking / Wolf Den Snowshoe Excursion
Rising early once again, we return to the Lamar Valley’s isolated reaches to search for wolves. Winter is the best time to look for them, as they are readily visible against the snowy white backdrop, though we will again need to employ patience in our efforts to find and observe them. Later we snowshoe to the site of an abandoned wolf den to become more intimately acquainted with the lives of these elusive predators.

Day 5: Lamar Valley / Paradise Valley
Spend a final morning enjoying the wildlife and winter landscape of the Lamar Valley before traveling into Paradise Valley, just north of Yellowstone National Park. The Yellowstone River flows through this aptly named landscape, renowned for world-class trout fishing. The valley is also an important winter range for wildlife, and we’ll have excellent opportunities to spot bald eagles, rough-legged hawks, mule deer, white-tailed deer and elk. This afternoon we check in to our accommodations at historic Chico Hot Springs Resort. The main lodge was built in 1900 to serve visitors seeking the curative properties of the natural mineral springs. The afternoon is free to soak in the steaming open-air pools or take a hike or snowshoe outing in the Absaroka Range with our Expedition Leader.

Day 6: Bozeman / Home
Our Yellowstone wolf tour concludes after breakfast with a group transfer to Bozeman to connect with flights home. Guests wishing to spend additional time in Bozeman will be transferred to the GranTree Inn, with the remainder of the day free to explore this historic Old West/New West town. With its rich mining and trapping heritage, it’s not surprising that Bozeman has 40 individual properties on the National Register of Historic Places. Today it is home to Montana State University and offers a wide range of cultural and outdoor activities.

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