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Famed for its wildlife and geothermal features, Yellowstone National Park is home to many species of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles. The world’s first national park takes its name from the headwaters of the Yellowstone River, and is located principally in Wyoming, but also extends into Montana and Idaho.

Many species of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles – including several that are either endangered or threatened – are found here, and the vast forests and grasslands include several unique plant species, making Yellowstone the largest and best known location for megafauna in the United States – almost 60 species of mammals include grey wolf, lynx (threatened), grizzly bear, coyote, black bear, elk, moose, mule deer, white-tailed deer, mountain goat, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and mountain lion (puma). Yellowstone is one of the last strongholds of the bison, once numbering between 30 and 60 million across North America. The free-rangng herd here is the country’s loldest and largest, at 4,900 in 2015.

Our Yellowstone Wolf & Wildlife Safari takes you to observe the fabulous wildlife found here in wintertime. And our photography trip, with award-winning widlife photographer Nick Garbutt, will give you thrilling encounters with bison, elk, big horn sheep, and even wolves, whilst honing your photography skills. 

The park has many different ecosystems, however, subalpine forest is dominant. Although Native Americans have lived here for at least 11,000 years, organized exploration did not start until the 1860s, and the National Park Service was created in 1916.

The area of 8,983 square kilometres of lakes, canyons, rivers and mountains includes one of North America’ largest high-altitude (2,357 metres) lakes, which lies directly above the Yellowstone Caldera – the continent’s largest supervolcano – which has erupted violently several times in the last two million years. The many geothermal features are fuelled by continuous volcanic activity, and much of the land is covered with lava flows from volcanic eruptions.

The Yellowstone Plateau, at an average elevation of 2,400 metres above sea level, is bounded on most sides by the mountain ranges of the Middle Rockies. The area is cut by three canyons and contains one of the world’s largest petrified forests, which was buried under volcanic ash and transformed into mineral. Of the 290 waterfalls of at least 4.6 metres high, the highest is the dramatic 94-metre-high Lower Falls. A network of paved roads provides easy access to the major areas, although in winter, the preferred mode of transport is by snowoach or snowmobile.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: American black bear, brown bear, elk, grey wolf, puma
  • Where: Wyoming, USA

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Wild West Winter Wonderland

Amidst stunning winter scenery, with hot springs and geysers, enjoy thrilling encounters with elk, big horn sheep and possibly wolves. Led by prize-winning photographer Nick Garbutt, this small group trip will reward you with images of frost-covered bison herds, coyotes and superb frozen waterfalls.

  • When to go: Jan-Feb
  • Duration inc. flights: 17 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £7,295 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Yellowstone Ultimate Wolf & Wildlife Safari

Enjoy an unforgettable winter safari that tracks and observes wolves and other wildlife in the white and silent splendours of some of North America's greatest national parks. Lamar Valley is undoubtedly one of the best places in the USA to see the elusive wolf in its natural habitat.

  • When to go: Jan-Feb
  • Duration inc. flights: 8 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,645 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour
Suggested accommodation is shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Yellowstone Expeditions Yurt Camp

The Yurt Camp is located in a small meadow surrounded by a pine forest, close to the Grand Canyon and Falls of the Yellowstone River. Enjoy the comforts of a fully outfitted base camp with private heated sleeping huts, heated camp showers, a sauna and a communal area in the dining room yurt.