The Wolves of Yellowstone National Park

Tour Code: USA09

An 11-day holiday to the snow-covered mountains of Yellowstone National Park in search of Wolves, North American Bison and other winter wildlife.

12 days from £5895(inc flights) Land Only Price: £5195 SRS: £995


Yellowstone National Park is a World Heritage Site and protects one of America’s finest landscapes, drawing visitors from around the world to appreciate its scenery, waterfalls, geysers and abundant wildlife. In winter, however, once the snow has fallen and the crowds have retreated, the park is returned to the resident wildlife. Against a spectacular snowy backdrop, herds of North American Bison huddle around the steaming geothermal pools for warmth, whilst Moose, Rocky Mountain Elk and Bighorn Sheep venture down into the valleys stalked by packs of Grey Wolves, Yellowstone’s most famous and iconic inhabitants. This tour offers the opportunity to explore Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks at a time of year free from the tourist crowds. It focuses on the park’s abundant wildlife and spectacular landscapes and makes a special effort to find the Wolves.

  • Spectacular winter landscapes of Yellowstone National Park.
  • Look for Grey Wolves in the Lamar Valley
  • Old Faithful & other geothermal highlights.
  • North American Bison, Bighorn Sheep & Pronghorn Antelope.
  • Explore Yellowstone by heated ‘snowcoach’.
  • Birds including Bald & Golden Eagles, Clark’s Nutcracker & Pine Grosbeak.
  • Led by expert naturalist guides.

Food

All included in the price, except for lunch and dinner on Day 10. Allow around £50.

Accommodation

Comfortable lodges and motels, all rooms with private facilities.

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Jackson & overnight

Day 2 Grand Teton National Park. Overnight Jackson.

Day 3/5 Yellowstone National Park from West Yellowstone

Day 6/9 Yellowstone National Park from Gardiner

Day 10 Depart Bozeman

Day 11 Arrive London

In the year 1872, US president Ulysses S Grant set aside a huge area of pristine mountains, forests and geothermal springs known as ‘Yellowstone’ as the world’s very first national park. Today, nearly a century and a half later, Yellowstone National Park is also a World Heritage Site and remains one of America’s finest protected landscapes, drawing visitors from around the world to appreciate its scenery, waterfalls, geysers and abundant wildlife. The Park’s geology is fascinating. Yellowstone sits in a huge active volcanic caldera measuring 45 by 30 miles and the heat that wells up from deep beneath the Earth’s crust fuels over 10,000 geothermal features, from boiling pools of mud to huge geysers such as Old Faithful, one of over 250 geysers that dot the Park’s steaming valleys and basins. The jagged peaks of the Grand Teton National Park lie just to the south and are now included within the ‘Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’, a vast tract of protected land that covers over 80,000 square kilometres.

Yellowstone has become one of the country’s most popular national parks, but in winter, once the snow has fallen and the crowds have retreated, it is largely left to the resident wildlife. Against a spectacular snowy backdrop, herds of North American Bison huddle around the steaming geothermal pools for warmth; Moose, Rocky Mountain Elk and Bighorn Sheep venture down into the valleys and Bald Eagles soar effortlessly overhead. Perhaps the greatest wildlife spectacle of them all, however, is the sight of one or more of the Grey Wolves that hunt and play in Yellowstone’s Lamar and Hayden Valleys! The last Wolf was shot in Yellowstone in 1926, but 69 years later this much maligned creature was reintroduced back into the Park and, despite a lot of local opposition and controversy, the Wolf is once again thriving. Indeed, Yellowstone National Park is now one of the best places in the world in which to see this secretive and unfairly persecuted mammal.

We begin our holiday with a flight to Jackson Hole (where we will stay for two nights) on the edge of the Teton Mountains in Wyoming. Here we will meet our local guide and explore the dramatic landscapes and exciting wildlife of the Grand Teton National Park. Moving on, we will head north to the town of West Yellowstone, our base for three nights. West Yellowstone offers easy access to the western and central regions of Yellowstone National Park such as the Upper Geyser Basin (home of Old Faithful) and the mix of habitats between the park entrance and Madison Junction, one of the most productive areas for wildlife in the winter. We will spend our time enjoying short walks and watching the wildlife from the comfort of a heated ‘snowcoach’, a specially adapted minibus designed to cope with the snow-bound and icy winter landscape. Here we are sure to encounter the majestic North American Bison, an animal that was driven to the brink of extinction from an initial population that was estimated to number over 65 million! The story of the Bison is one of the most tragic in natural history, but today nearly 5,000 animals roam the grasslands of Yellowstone and the sight of a herd feeding or standing huddled around a steaming hot spring will no doubt be one of the enduring memories of this holiday.

Amongst the other mammals that we will hope to encounter here are Bobcat, Coyote, Moose and Rocky Mountain Elk, plus such birds as Bald and Golden Eagles, Northern Shrike, Steller’s and Grey Jays, Clark’s Nutcracker and Pine Grosbeak. We will also have the opportunity to visit ‘Old Faithful’, Yellowstone’s most famous geyser, and watch it erupt into a cloud of steam and, if cold enough, crystalline mist. Winter is undoubtedly the most spectacular time to watch this natural wonder. Other areas to explore include Hayden Valley and the boiling mud pools of the Fountain Paint Pots and Lower Geyser Basin.

Passing the colourful travertine terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs, we continue our exploration of Yellowstone from Gardiner, our base for four nights whilst we explore the Lamar Valley and the northern sector of the National Park. Back in a conventional 4- wheeled minibus, we will make a particular effort to find Grey Wolf on evening and early morning walks and drives. This is one of the most reliable places in the world in which to view this secretive mammal, and although nothing is certain in the world of wildlife-watching — and the Wolves range over huge areas (especially in the winter) — we stand a good chance of striking lucky! At times the Wolves are distant, but on occasions they can be wonderfully close. Whether they are hunting, playing or just moving through their icy home, it is a rare privilege in the modern world to be able to watch such a persecuted animal returned to its former status in its traditional home. It should make a fitting finale to our snowy wildlife odyssey to one of North America’s finest parks and last remaining wildernesses.

Bighorn sheep_(Peter Dunn)Bison_(Peter Dunn)Canyon pack_(Peter Dunn)Clarks nutcracker_(Peter Dunn)Coyote_(Peter Dunn)Dawn at Yellowstone_(Peter Dunn)Grey jay_(Peter Dunn)Hairy woodpecker_(Peter Dunn)Jackson Lake area_(Peter Dunn)Lazy fox wakes up_(Peter Dunn)Moose_(Peter Dunn)Mountain chickadee_(Peter Dunn)Pine grosbeak_(Peter Dunn)Pine grosbeak_(Peter Dunn)Pronghorn_(Peter Dunn)Prospect peak pack on the move_(Peter Dunn)Red squirrel_(Peter Dunn)Ruffed grouse_(Peter Dunn)Sage grouse_(Peter Dunn)Stellers jay_(Peter Dunn)Teton sunrise_(Peter Dunn)Watching Old Faithful (Peter Dunn)Wolf watching (Peter Dunn)Red fox_(Peter Dunn)Snow height_(Peter Dunn)Trumpeters_(Peter Dunn)
Anon
UK
An amazing adventure! Incredibly beautiful winter mountain scenery, snow +++, meticulous leadership & naturalist guiding. Adam went the extra mile- the extra 100 miles for us. We saw wolves & a cougar with young & other wildlife. Happy friendly trip. We felt safe despite the snow/icy roads & serious cold weather. One of the best Naturetrek trips I have been on.
H.E.
County Durham
Itinerary was very well planned by the local guides, ably supported by Naturetrek representative. Guides were responsive to requests of clients and provided a personal service through which people of different interests and needs were all catered for in an individual way.
K.E.
County Durham
Dedication and knowledge of all 3 guides. Well organised itinerary. Guides made sure everyone saw everything. Can’t praise the organisation or dedication of all 3 leaders enough. My first time with Naturetrek- won’t be the last. WOW FACTOR 10!
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Fri 12th January 2018 - Tue 23rd January 2018

1

£5895

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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £5195 More info

Room sharing options: Male sharing is available More info

Visiting: United States

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Tour Reviews

An amazing adventure! Incredibly beautiful winter mountain scenery, snow +++, meticulous leadership & naturalist guiding. Adam went the extra mile- the extra 100 miles for us. We saw wolves & a cougar with young & other wildlife. Happy friendly trip. We felt safe despite the snow/icy roads & serious cold weather. One of the best Naturetrek trips I have been on.
Anon, UK