Yellowstone Winter Wildlife In-Depth

9 days
from
£3,669
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4.3 / 5 from 3 reviews >
Leisurely
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Trip code: 
WFU
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–13

Pristine, snowy landscapes, steaming geyser basins, incomparable wildlife viewing and a complete lack of crowds - Yellowstone’s winter season is magical.

The first National Park in America, Yellowstone is quite simply incredible, and winter reveals a side most travellers will miss. Exploring the park under a blanket of snow is the ultimate winter wonderland adventure. On this tour, we explore with a wildlife and wolf tracking guide, take a skiing lesson and go snowshoeing in search of wildlife. We stay within the borders of the national park at a time when animals are scavenging for food, with fewer tourists to scare them. With expert guiding and action packed days, this trip serves up a side of America rarely experienced, at a time Yellowstone is rarely visited, and gives us a glimpse into the true heart of this incredible wilderness.

Highlights

  • Yellowstone National Park in winter
  • Track wolves amidst hot springs
  • See magnificent Old Faithful erupt

Key information

  • 6 nights hotels and lodges, all en suite (plus 1 extra hotel night in Bozeman for Flight Inclusive bookings only)
  • Travel by private 15-Seater ford vehicle and a snow-coach within the National Park
  • Cross-country skiing with included lesson and equipment
  • Guided wildlife and wolf tracking in the Lamar Valley

What's included

  • All accommodation (see below)
  • 6 breakfasts and 3 dinners
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Optional activities

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Bozeman
to
Bozeman
  • Day 1

    Fly to Bozeman.

    Bozeman is the gem of ‘Big Sky Country’! Winter brings powder to the peaks at Bridger Bowl Ski Area and nearby Big Sky Ski Resort, which means there is even more adventure to be had than usual. Historic Main Street district offers visitors trendy boutiques, bustling cafes and eclectic mix of restaurants so it’s worth leaving some time to explore the centre. A welcome meeting will be held at 18:00 hrs tonight to meet your fellow travellers and tour leader over a welcome dinner.

    Accommodation: C'Mon Inn Hotel & Suites

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    To Yellowstone N.P.; visit Mammoth Hot Springs.

    This morning, drive to Mammoth Hot Springs where you explore this bubbling and steaming geothermal area and your first opportunity to witness Yellowstone under a blanket of snow. Follow the easily accessible boardwalks to explore and photograph this unique geothermal wasteland all around you. The perfect place to warm up after a day on the trails is with a nice drink in front of the lodge’s fireplace, or whilst relaxing in the included hot springs for that quintessential Montana experience.

    Accommodation: Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Wildlife spotting in Lamar Valley.

    Today you’ll have more time to wander the geothermal pools, but not before a three-hour guided snowshoe tour to help you find your ‘snow legs’. Your guide will point out interesting facts about Yellowstone and the flora and fauna you encounter surrounding your lodge. You’ll have the snow shoes for the duration of the day so you might like to make the most of what is right outside your front door. Take a walk along the boardwalk at the Upper Geyser Basin, or enjoy some time with a warm drink around the lodge.

    For the first time in more than 70 years, wolves have been reintroduced to the park and their return has brought positive effects - including a decrease in elk, which in turn has stopped over grazing of the park’s grasslands. Today you’ll be accompanied by a professional wolf and wildlife tracking guide who dedicates his life to working with the park’s wildlife (including wolves). As with most wildlife, we can never guarantee sightings but you’ll be in good hands when it comes to spotting wolves, because these guides really know what they are doing. In the evening, why not soak in the lodge hot springs or hit the bar area.

    Accommodation: Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Discover Yellowstone N.P.

    Yellowstone, the oldest and grandest of the national parks in the USA, is home to the lower 48’s highest concentration of wildlife. It’s the magnificent mountain scenery, abundant wildlife and spectacular geothermal activity that draws people here from all over the world. The road from Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful Snow Lodge is closed to public vehicles so the only way through is by snow-coach or snow-mobile. Included today is a private full day guided snow-coach tour on the way to Old Faithful Snow Lodge, where you spend the next three nights. The benefit of having a private snow-coach is you can stop at various scenic points of interest and wildlife along the way. You will typically arrive at the lodge in the late afternoon. The lodge is situated close to Old Faithful and your tour leader will take you to watch Old Faithful erupt from the belly of the earth.

    Accommodation: Old Faithful Snow Lodge

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Search for wildlife in Yellowstone N.P. accompanied by a wolf tracker.

    For the next few days, you are in the middle of it all and can really dig beneath the surface of Yellowstone. Just because the trails and roads are covered with snow, it doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on experiencing the trails which make Yellowstone so popular. An included cross country skiing lesson (equipment provided) will stand you in good stead for navigating your way through this winter wonderland, either as a group or in your free time. After a two-hour lesson and once you feel comfortable on your skis, you have use of the equipment for the afternoon and can pick a trail of your choice.

    Accommodation: Old Faithful Snow Lodge

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Continue to explore Yellowstone N.P.

    Today you’ll have more time to wander the geothermal pools, but not before a three-hour guided snowshoe tour to help you find your ‘snow legs’. Your guide will point out interesting facts about Yellowstone and the flora and fauna you encounter surrounding your lodge. You’ll have the snow shoes for the duration of the day so you might like to make the most of what is right outside your front door. Take a walk along the boardwalk at the Upper Geyser Basin, or enjoy some time with a warm drink around the lodge.

    Accommodation: Old Faithful Snow Lodge

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Morning in Yellowstone N.P.; afternoon to Bozeman; end Bozeman.

    Sadly though your exploration of Yellowstone in winter must come to an end. However, there is time for another guided snow coach tour of Yellowstone with the chance to spot more wildlife and enjoy snowy wilderness views. Upon arrival to Mammoth Hot Springs you pick up your vehicle and make your way back to Bozeman where this tour finishes.

    For those on group flights, there is an included night in Bozeman. The group flights depart in the afternoon the following day and will arrive in the UK the day after that.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Depart Bozeman.

    Depart Bozeman

  • Day 9

Essential Info

Visas

United States

British, New Zealand, Swiss and most EU passport holders do not need a visa (and enter the country under the Visa Waiver Program), provided they are in possession of an onward air ticket when entering the USA. Visas for the USA are required by some nationalities and it is always best to check with the relevant embassies. All passengers travelling to and from the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are required to hold a machine-readable passport (MRP). A MRP has the holder's personal details, e.g. name, date of birth, nationality and their passport number contained in two lines of text at the base of the photo page. This text may be read by machine. The US now charges $14 for the visa waiver program and must be paid by credit card. The US authorities have introduced a mandatory requirement for all passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme to register for an Electronic Travel Authority. As of 21 January 2016, any person who has travelled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria since March 2011, or have dual nationalities of these countries, may no longer qualify for the VWP. For additional specifics about the VWP please consult the VWP information on the U.S. Embassy London website. More information and all necessary Internet links can be found at www.exodus.co.uk/Usvisa

Vaccinations

United States

There are no mandatory vaccinations required for this trip.

Eating and Drinking

6 breakfasts and 3 dinners included.

Whilst there are a number of meals included on this tour, some meals are at your own expense. To help you budget for your meals on average hotel breakfasts cost from $6-$12, lunches from $8-$15 and dinners from $13-$30; this does not include alcoholic beverages. Wine costs approximately $5 per glass and beer $4 per bottle. Please also be aware that a tip of approximately 15%-20% is added to group meals in North American restaurants. Applicable taxes will also be added to all listed menu prices.
Please note due to the lack of restaurant options available, a premium supplement can be charged. We apologise but this is out of our control.

Please make sure we are aware of any special meal requirements before travelling. We will do all we can to accommodate for various dietary requirements but in certain parts of North America certain food types can be limited.

Weather

The temperatures will be cold during the day, with -5C to -20C being typical. You can expect a combination of cold, clear days and warmer cloudy days with intermittent snow flurries, and occasionally, a blizzard with driving wind and snow!

Is this trip for you?

This tour is operated in partnership with our sister company Grand American Adventures (GAA). As such the departures are not exclusive to Exodus and groups may be a mixture of Exodus, Grand American Adventures, and other clients. This trip is booked through Exodus and you will receive the same award winning customer service that you are used to. GAA operate with the same core principles used by Exodus and champion the benefits of small group travel.  This active tour is suitable for people of all levels of experience and fitness however, it is recommended that you have a degree of fitness prior to arrival. Active tours are about exploring the places your visit so whether it’s sightseeing, walking, snow-shoeing or cross country skiing you’ll be out exploring the places you visit . If you do not enjoy the activities you do not need to join and are free to go at your own pace in the afternoon.Although each tour follows an itinerary, there is a certain amount of flexibility and from time to time your tour leader may suggest changes. This may be due to road conditions, weather or a visit to a special attraction or event that happens to be in progress. Flexibility is key and often a side diversion will be a highlight of the tour. Hikes and optional activities cannot be guaranteed and may vary depending on ability, group interest, local weather conditions and time of year.

The temperatures will be cold during the day, with -5C to -20C being typical. The right clothing and footware is essential to be comfortable. You will often be standing (sometimes for lengthy periods) in the cold when looking for and observing wildlife. We will always have the transportation for a warm retreat. The average elevation is around 2,000m. Dehydration occasionally causes headaches and nosebleeds.
All snowshoe and walking excursions are optional, the maximum length will be 3 miles over uneven, but mostly flat terrain.

Accommodation

Hotels & Lodges

Accommodation will be in clean, comfortable national park lodges, boutique hotels and unique locations that bring the flavours of the areas to life. They will all be in close proximity to the highlights of the region. You will be roomed with a fellow passenger of the same sex on a twin share basis (two people per room) unless you are travelling as a couple. Each hotel used is listed within the itinerary so you are comfortable with the standard at the time of booking. They are subject to change for a similar style/standard , although we endeavour to stick to the advertised itinerary as closely as possible.

C’MON INN HOTEL AND SUITES

C’mon Inn Hotel and Suites has a warm and friendly atmosphere. The unique open courtyard provides guests with a sense of tranquillity and has all the usual amenities including large pools and Jacuzzis. The hotel is beautiful on the inside and outside and there is a heavy influence of a wood build and finish.

CHICO HOT SPRINGS RESORT AND DAY SPA

This historic resort is located in the heart of Paradise Valley, just north of Yellowstone National Park and nestled in the foothills of the Absaroka Mountain Range. Chico Hot Springs offers an array of accommodation styles, dining options and entry into the relaxing hot springs.

OLD FAITHFUL SNOW LODGE

Completed in 1999, the Snow Lodge has been recognised with the Cody Award for Western Design and Travel and Leisure’s Inn of the Month. The heavy timber construction, exterior log columns and cedar shingle roof were part of the design that is destined to make the Snow Lodge a significant example of classic “parkitecture.” The Snow Lodge features an open fire, full-service dining room and is 6 minutes’ walk to Old Faithful geyser.

Expert Blog Entries

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  • Reviewed January 2016
    Elizabeth Thompson

    Winter Wildlife.

    I saw lots of wildlife and beautiful scenery blanketed in snow which was exactly what I wanted. Learning to cross country ski and going snow shoeing was a bonus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first herd of bison I saw. (I now know it's an obstinancy of bison.)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Ben, was great. Everything ran smoothly and he was available when needed and not intrusive. Tried very hard to help us see as much wildlife as possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have warm shoes or boots that are good to walk long distances in. Spikes for walking on ice or something like Yaktraks are very useful. You don't have to walk long distances, but if you want to see more they're worthwhile having. Don't forget sunscreen.
  • Reviewed March 2015
    Jackie Downey

    Winter Wildlife of Yellowstone

    This was a great trip to see Yellowstone in winter, however the Park has not had much snow this season - it was visible mainly at higher altitude. This did not stop us seeing a great variety of the Park's wildlife - Bighorn sheep, Pronghorn Antelope, Bison, Bald eagle, Elk, Coyote and, of course the Wolf!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Without doubt seeing the wolves! We also heard them howling one morning which was incredible! However, our sightings were all quite far away and only really seen through a scope. We saw wolves from 4 different packs in all. We had 1 good, but brief, sighting with our eyes though - a 'white' wolf moving quickly away from us, and we'd had to scamper up a hill quite quickly in order to see it at all!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Out guides - Nathan, MacNeil and Emil were all very good and knowledgeable about the wildlife, and the wolves in particular. You need this knowledge to really see anything at all, especially the wolves. They know the researchers and can tap into their sightings etc.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Wrap up warm, especially in the mornings. We enjoyed very early starts and it was quite cold then, so layers work well as you can take clothing off as the day warmed up (and it did on this trip!). You can also be standing around for quite a while, as you scope for the wolves.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared to enjoy everything that the Park has to offer - the scenery is spectacular. as is the wildlife, - this may make up for not having quite the sightings that you'd expected re the wolves. It is quite a short trip, it's worth thinking about adding a few days on to make it worthwhile travelling all that way (we did)!
  • Reviewed September 2014
    Jim Eite

    Winter Wildlife of Yellowstone

    Amazing scenery, good wildlife viewing and guides. A few minor changes needed for 2015.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the short snowshoe walks. Yellowstone is a magical destination and getting away from the vehicle and exploring the snow covered landscape - frozen waterfalls, snowdrifts, tracks and some good sightings of Elk, Proghorn antelope and Bighorn sheep was special.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nathan and his wife were extremely helpful and knowledgeable. Both have been involved in wolf research and conservation since the mid-1990's when wolves were reintroduced to the park. Their contacts in the area also added value with expert talks in the field.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Wrap up warm... days start early and the time we stop (for breakfast/breaks) is often dictated by the wildlife and conditions. There is also a lot of standing around, scanning the surroundings for any sign of wildlife.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The first departure of the trip (March 2014) wasn't perfect, and the wold sightings were not as good as we had hoped. We saw 8 or 9 different animals, but all from distance. Sightings of Pronghorn, Bighorn, Elk, Moose, Golden and Bald eagle were amazing. Also plenty of wildlife, one of the group (briefly) saw otters and we spotted Mountain goats from distance. Despite travelling in March there was no sign of Grizzlies coming out of hibernation. The trip is being renamed Winter Wildlife of Yellowstone in 2015.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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