Hidden Yellowstone & Grand Teton Safari

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2025 Photo Expedition — 8 Days

Itinerary Map
On a photo safari, we slow down to take advantage of photo opportunities as they arise, so you don't miss a thing. Our days begin very early and conclude after sunset, to maximize the best light. These trips are guided by naturalist Expedition Leaders who are also accomplished wildlife photographers and instructors. Photo Expeditions include a private gallery visit with renowned local wildlife photographer Dan Hartman who is known for his wolf images. Early summer departures feature wildflowers, while golden aspen add a fiery accent in the fall.

Please note: Alternating trips run in the opposite direction, starting in Bozeman and ending in Jackson.


Day 1: Jackson, Wyoming
Old West Jackson sits at the edge of Grand Teton National Park. While retaining its cowboy flavor, Jackson hosts guests with panache. We spend the first night of our Yellowstone safari here, meeting our Expedition Leaders and fellow travelers at a welcome dinner this evening.

Day 2: Grand Teton National Park—Scenic Float Trip
Nothing quite prepares you for the drama of the Tetons that rear up in a row of pointed peaks from the floor of Jackson Hole. Protected forever in one of America’s most impressive national parks, the Tetons are emblems of the West’s grandeur. Grand Teton's wildlife is as magnificent as its mountains, and we may get to photograph elk, pronghorn antelope, mule deer, bison and eagles as we traverse the park today. This afternoon, water level permitting, float the placid Snake River beneath the Tetons’ jagged summits, with long lenses ready to capture moose, beavers, osprey, pelicans or even a black bear near the river’s edge. Nearly as appealing a subject as the wildlife are the historic barns and ranch cabins, backed by the summits dusted with fresh snow. In the early evening, we photograph the sunset over the iconic range.

Day 3: Grand Teton National Park—Alpine Exploration
Rise early for daybreak on the Tetons and capture sunrise shots as the sky transforms from pastel pink, purple and orange into the deep blue of day. Today is devoted to capturing mountain landscapes and images, and to searching for more of the region’s iconic wildlife. We’ll travel to some of the more photogenic areas of the park while on the lookout for elk, moose, eagles, bears and possibly even elusive wolves. After lunch we’ll take the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort tram up Rendezvous Peak, elevation 10,455 feet. As we rise 4,139 vertical feet, get a sense of the grand scope of this unique mountain range. Without foothills to ease the climb, the Tetons strike high in the sky and create their own unique ecosystem. From the tram dock we have the option of short and longer hikes to explore this rugged terrain, with plenty of time for photography. We’ll ride the tram back down to the base and take our time to photograph sunset over the range.

Day 4: Oxbow Bend / Yellowstone National Park—Old Faithful
There’s no better light than dawn for outstanding photography, and we rise early to capitalize on it. Moose are our objective this morning as we search the willow-covered bottomlands of Oxbow Bend east of Jackson Lake. The slow-moving water provides habitat for fish that are food for other wildlife, too, and we may spy river otter, beaver, muskrat, osprey, bald eagles and American white pelicans. Entering Yellowstone, the world’s first national park, established in 1872, we get our first glimpses of the geothermal features that dot the landscape. From bubbling mud pots to eruptions of boiling water rocketing skyward, Yellowstone’s geyser basins are one of the unique features that captivated early explorers like John Colter and Jim Bridger and prompted conservationists like Teddy Roosevelt to encourage protection of the park’s natural assets. We also learn about fire ecology as we drive through recovering areas once ravaged by wildfires. At Old Faithful there’s ample time this afternoon to photograph the famous geyser in action, and to walk among the fumaroles, mud pots and hot springs nearby.

Day 5: Hayden Valley / Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone / Lamar Valley / Gardiner
More of the park lies ahead, including Hayden Valley, a picturesque grazing area for large herds of bison and elk. Yellowstone is home to some 4,000 bison, the largest land mammals in North America, which we expect to encounter today. Bighorn sheep may be on display near Mount Washburn, and we may also spot coyotes and bald eagles. A stop at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, where Yellowstone Falls pours off a sheer cliff into a thousand-foot-deep gorge, offers the park’s most inspiring vista and an iconic photo opportunity. This afternoon, continue to the Lamar Valley in the park’s remote northeast corner. As the sun starts to dip, we'll take spotting scopes on a search for bears and wolves. Though Yellowstone's famous gray wolves are elusive and almost always seen at a substantial distance, the Lamar Valley is the best place in North America to find them. We have the added advantage of working closely with wolf researchers in the park, who help us track them. Tonight, we stay just outside the park's northern boundary in Gardiner, Montana, which lies along the Yellowstone River.

Day 6: Lamar Valley Wildlife Safari
Early this morning, set out in search of wolves, grizzly bears and large herds of elk and bison in the broad meadows of the Lamar Valley. Wolves were reintroduced here to their native ecosystem amid much controversy in the 1990s. After a 70-year absence following their government-sanctioned eradication, wolves have again flourished, supported by bountiful prey. In addition, their predatory presence has helped to right imbalances in the ecosystem. As prey numbers have diminished, however, and wolf hunting has increased outside the national park borders, the frequency and proximity of wolf sightings has decreased. We often see them, though, and our guides' high-powered spotting scopes bring their activities in for a closer view.

This afternoon, we visit the art gallery of Dan Hartman, a local wildlife photographer whose wolf images are highly renowned. We also thrill to some of the most dramatic mountain vistas in North America as we ascend the famous Scenic Byway to the top of Beartooth Plateau. Charles Kuralt called it the most spectacular road in America, and it’s easy to concur: high alpine lakes sparkle in the waning light as quaking aspen shimmer gold, surrounded by an intensely rugged granite landscape. Early this evening, we head back to the Lamar Valley in hopes of spotting wolves and bears before returning to Gardiner.

Day 7: Lamar Valley / Mammoth Hot Springs / Paradise Valley / Bozeman
One last quest for wolf and bear viewing awaits in the Lamar Valley this morning. Traveling back toward the northern reaches of the park, we may take a short hike to photograph an abandoned wolf or bear den before continuing to Mammoth Hot Springs. Here, thermal water spills over travertine terraces that have been described as a “cave turned inside out,” and heat-loving organisms called thermophiles add distinct colors to the mineral-laden formations. We then follow the Yellowstone River north through scenic Paradise Valley, with views of the Absaroka and the Gallatin ranges en route. Reaching Bozeman, we recount our adventures over a farewell dinner this evening.

Day 8: Bozeman / Depart
Our Yellowstone safari concludes this morning. The day is free to enjoy the town of Bozeman, a historic Old West/New West town with a rich mining and trapping heritage. The rapidly growing city boasts 40 individual properties on the National Register of Historic Places, and it is also home to Montana State University. A Bozeman highlight is the Museum of the Rockies, a Smithsonian Affiliate and repository for state and federal dinosaur fossils, including the mounted Montana's T. rex skeleton. A transfer is included to the airport to meet your departing flight.

Physical Rating: Easy to Moderate


Natural Habitat Adventures is an authorized permittee of Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks.
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