The only thing more impressive than Yellowstone in the summertime is Yellowstone in winter—a time when the place seems magical! See Old Faithful without the crowds, marvel at the snowy landscapes, admire the bison as they shake off the snow, and be amazed by steaming geysers. Winter offers some of the best wildlife viewing because of the color contrasts between the animals and the snow, so have your cameras ready for animals such as bison, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, deer, and coyote.Enjoy a walking tour of the Upper Geyser Basin, the greatest geothermal basin on Earth. Travel via snowcoach to some of the famous places in the park, and take an excursion to Lamar Valley, known to locals as the Serengeti of Yellowstone. On this magical vacation, you will also tour Grand Teton National Park and take a sleigh ride in Jackson’s National Elk Refuge, where as many as 10,000 elk congregate each winter. You’ll have leisure time to participate in some of the outdoor activities, such as snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, or you may choose to relax with a warm drink by a crackling fire. Regardless, you’re sure to come away from this vacation with some amazing stories, fond memories, and unique photos.
Day #1 Arrive in Jackson. Welcome to the “Wild West” town of Jackson, Wyoming. At 6 pm, meet with your traveling companions for a welcome drink. Your Tour Director will prepare you for your upcoming adventure.
Day #2 Jackson–Yellowstone National Park. Your day begins in the nearby National Elk Refuge with a fun and exhilarating included [LF] SLEIGH RIDE. Here, as many as 10,000 elk congregate each winter, the largest concentration of wintering elk in the world. Your sleigh will travel among these magnificent creatures for a truly up-close experience. Be sure to keep your camera ready as we watch for other wildlife that’s in residence this time of year, including wolves, coyotes, moose, bison, trumpeter swans, hawks, and even bald eagles. Departing Jackson, we travel through GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, where some of the majestic peaks soar beyond 13,000 feet. At Flagg Ranch, board a Bombardier SNOWCOACH and begin your journey through YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, the world’s first national park. Along the way, marvel at the West Thumb Geyser Basin on the shores of Lake Yellowstone, the Continental Divide, and Shoshone Point Overlook before arriving at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge for a relaxing 2-night stay. (B,D)
Day #3 Yellowstone National park. Wake up this morning to the fresh, crisp air of Yellowstone in the winter. After breakfast, enjoy a guided WALKING TOUR of the Upper Geyser Basin, the greatest geothermal basin on Earth. Here you will view the most famous geyser in the park, Old Faithful, as well as other, less predictable geysers, including Castle, Daisy, Riverside, and Grand Geysers. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Why not participate in a snowshoe excursion or cross-country skiing excursion? Later, relax with a warm drink by the crackling fire. (B,D)
Day #4 Yellowstone National park. Travel north through the park today by SNOWCOACH, with stops to see the Lower Geyser Basin’s famous Fountain Paint Pots—named for the reds, yellows, and browns of the mud—as well as pretty Gibbon Falls. At the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, enjoy a box lunch in a warming hut before proceeding to Upper Falls and thundering Lower Falls, which are nearly twice the height of Niagara. Have your cameras ready, because winter is the perfect time to spot bison, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, deer, and coyote. Later, arrive at the mesmerizing Mammoth Hot Springs, where heat, water, limestone, and rock fractures have created a unique terrace feature. Overnight at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, where ranger talks, ice skating, and outdoor hot tubs are among the activities you can enjoy. (B,L,D)
Day #5 Yellowstone National Park–West Yellowstone. This morning, join our excursion to [LF] LAMAR VALLEY, the magical “Serengeti of North America.” Situated in the northeast section of the park, this large, U-shaped valley was carved by glaciers during the last ice age, and is the perfect place for spotting elk, bison, bighorn sheep, coyotes, wolves, black bears, and cougars. It is also home to the park’s largest concentration of grizzly bears! Next, we travel to Bozeman, Montana, before heading south to the town of West Yellowstone. With your free time this afternoon, consider visiting the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center to learn more about these intriguing predators as you encounter them up close. (B)
Day #6 West Yellowstone–Jackson. After breakfast, board your motorcoach for a journey through Idaho. Get a different perspective of the Tetons as we travel along the western side of the range and enjoy breathtaking views of the highest peak on the range: Grand Teton itself, which rises to an elevation of 13,777 feet above sea level. Tonight, celebrate your adventure with a festive farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Day #7 Jackson. After a leisurely breakfast, bid farewell to newfound friends. The tour comes to an end with an included transfer to the airport. (B)