This one-week trip visits some of North America’s greatest national parks to view wolves and other wildlife in the white and silent spendour of winter.
This winter safari ventures into Jackson Hole in search of bighorn sheep, bald and golden eagle, coyote, bison, mule deer and moose, before visiting the National Elk Refuge to photograph the huge herd wintering on the valley floor. Crossing Buffalo Valley and Grand Teton National Park, you enter Yellowstone National Park to track wolves in the remote Lamar Valley, the best place in North America to see these elusive creatures in their natural surroundings.
Day1: Fly to Jackson
Fly to Jackson Hole, where you will be met and transferred to your accommodation, a western-style lodge centrally located and across the road from the world famous elk refuge. After meeting the rest of the group, there’s time to enjoy an informal welcome dinner and orientation.
Accommodation: The Lexington at Jackson Hole, 2-nights
Day2: Explore Jackson Hole & visit National Elk Refuge
Jackson is situated on the edge of Grand Teton National Park and is surrounded by dramatic mountain landscapes. In winter, the snowy peaks become especially breathtaking. Your winter safari begins this morning as you venture into Jackson Hole in search of bighorn sheep, bald and golden eagles, coyotes, bison, mule deer, moose and elk.
Later, you’ll visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson. Then, by horse-drawn sleigh you’ll glide across the snows blanketing the National Elk Refuge for close-up photos of the massive herd that winters there, with thousands of animals roaming the valley floor.
Day3: Cross Buffalo Valley & Grand Teton National Park to Yellowstone National Park
A traverse of Buffalo Valley and the northern portion of Grand Teton National Park offer a panorama of the Tetons rising above the Snake River. Upon entering Yellowstone, an enclosed, heated snow coach conveys you into Yellowstone's silent winter splendour. Because access to the resort is limited to snow vehicles, you’ll find yourselves in peaceful seclusion, experiencing the magic of Old Faithful erupting in winter’s crystalline veil.
Our overnight lodge, which is normally not accessible by road during the winter months, offers classic accommodation, affording access to the wild areas.
Accommodation: Old Faithful Snow Lodge, 1-night
Day4: Visit Mammoth Hot Springs en-route to Cooke City
Back aboard the snow coach, you’ll head northward through the park’s geyser basins to the silver terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs, where you may see many elk. This evening’s destination is Cooke City, Montana. Located along the Beartooth Highway - named by Charles Kuralt as one of the most scenic roadways in America - Cooke City is a typical old-time western mining town. As dusk descends, an evening drive through the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone’s far northeast corner offers the first chance to see wolves.
Accommodation: Hotel/motel in Cooke City, 2-nights
Day5: Wolf tracking in Lamar Valley
Today’s activities will be focused on tracking wolves in the Lamar Valley, perhaps the best spot in North America to view these wonderful animals. Re-introduced to Yellowstone in the 1990s amid much controversy, wolves were returned to this native ecosystem after a 70-year absence following their government-sanctioned eradication. Now they are flourishing, supported by bountiful prey, including a multitude of elk. Tracking wolves will entail following tracks and other signs as you drive along the road, stopping to view and photograph wildlife. At times you may see or hear a single wolf foraging alone, or if you are lucky, you may see an entire pack on their relentless hunt for food.
Day6: Wolf tracking in Lamar Valley en route to Bozeman
As dawn illumines the Lamar Valley’s snowy meadows, you will return once more in search of wolves. The on-board scopes help to observe their activities from a distance without disturbing their natural behaviour. You may even experience the thrill of a close-up encounter. Many of the expedition leaders have worked for years with the on-site scientists who track these wolves daily, and together they provide every opportunity to see these elusive creatures in their natural surroundings. Returning to Mammoth Hot Springs, it’s time to leave Yellowstone’s wintry quiet and continue to Bozeman for your final night.
Accommodation: Hotel in Bozeman, 1-night
Day7: Depart Bozeman
The tour ends at Bozeman today; transfer to the airport is not included, however your guide will be on hand to assist with arrangements.
Day8: Arrive UK
You should note: Selected departures operate in the opposite direction, beginning in Bozeman, Montana and ending in Jackson, Wyoming, making all the same stops. Selected departures are nine days' duration, with an extra night spent in Old Faithful.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 8 daysfrom £5,645 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 7 daysfrom £4,895 pp
6 nights in lodge-style accommodation with private facilities
Airport transfer on arrival
Expedition leader and local guides
Use of warm parks and boots
The Lamar Valley is located in the remote northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park, and is one of the best places to view wolves, as several packs live here. These isolated rolling grasslands become a blanket of long grass meadows during the summer months, but are virtually inaccessible during winter.
Ideal for viewing: elk, grey wolf, Canada goose, bighorn sheep, bald eagle
Excellent for: Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Wolf watching
Yellowstone National Park is dominated by its forest covered mountains and, because of its location on the North American plate, also experiences volcanic activity in the form of geysers, of which Old Faithful is the most famous. This relatively unique geography has attracted over 60 different animal species.
Ideal for viewing: American black bear, brown bear, elk, grey wolf, puma
Excellent for: Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Bear watching, Wolf watching
The Teton Range dominate the park’s skyline, rising to over 4,000 metres. Plains are dusted with wild flowers and streams cascade down rocky canyons to crystalline lakes. Home to the National Elk Refuge, the park offers stunning mountain scenery and a range of wildlife that includes bison, coyote and black bear.
Ideal for viewing: American black bear, elk, grey wolf, lynx, moose