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, traveling in specialty North American Safari Trucks
and following the Lewis & Clark Trail over Bozeman Pass to the banks of the Yellowstone River. Here 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: Lamar Valley / Yellowstone Interior—Snowcoach Tour / Norris Basin
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.
As we make our next base in West Yellowstone, we begin to enjoy the advantages of snowcoach trips that take us along the Madison River, a lower-elevation corridor that is abundant with winter wildlife and ideal for photo ops for the likes of bison, elk, wolf and birdlife. Today we board our chartered snowcoach 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 explore the hottest geyser basin in the park, Norris Geyser Basin, which flows with acidic waters that create different color patters in contrast to other parts of the park. The area is also home to the world’s tallest active geyser, Steamboat Geyser, but it’s timetable for eruptions is highly erratic.
Day 5: Old Faithful—Snowcoach Tour
This morning we board our private snowcoach and head toward Old Faithful to explore the famous geyser’s plethora of geothermal features. Because access to the park's interior is limited to snow vehicles, we find ourselves in peaceful seclusion, experiencing the magic of Old Faithful erupting in a crystalline veil of spray. The area makes for excellent photo subjects, as geysers spray hot steam into the frozen air and fumaroles bubble up from the snow. Since this basin surrounding the Firehole River 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. We enjoy a packed lunch in the field today, maximizing our Old Faithful explorations.
Day 6: West Yellowstone—Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center / Grand Teton National Park
Today we rise early for a sunrise photo shoot out on the iconic landscape surrounding west Yellowstone. A hearty breakfast follows the morning photo excursion before we continue by road to Wyoming’s other scenic treasure, Grand Teton National Park. En route we stop to visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, a rescue and education center where you can see up close many magnificent predators that were unable to survive in the parks for various reasons, but that are now product-testing things like bear bags, bear-proof trash cans and other products to keep wild bears out of trouble. We’ll also make time for a gentle snowshoe along the way, possibly venturing out on the wild landscape as the first views of the Teton spires rise to provoke a flurry of snapping shutters. More great shots await as we the jagged range takes on the alpenglow of sunset, and provides an awesome backdrop wildlife such as elk, bighorn sheep, moose and birds.
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, our hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to the airport to connect with individual flights home.
Every alternate trip runs in the opposite direction, from Jackson to Bozeman.