Yellowstone Wild is offering the unique opportunity to actually track wild cougars and wolves in the winter wonderland of Yellowstone National Park with a trained biologist and seasoned traditional tracker.
Duration: 6 days
Ages: All ages
Further information: Fully customizable
- Single Occupancy
- Double Occupancy
Yellowstone Winter Wolves and Wildlife Tour
Spend full days immersed in Yellowstone’s wildlife-rich Lamar Valley and Northern Range, highly revered as the very best place on Earth to see wild wolves. Lodging and dinners will be in the comfort of our new boutique eco-lodge and evenings will be filled with presentations from local wildlife biologists and filmmakers. This tour is a visually stunning adventure through the pristine beauty of Yellowstone landscapes – towering peaks and sweeping valleys, blanketed by soft winter snow. Each day provides new possibilities to see multiple wolf packs, frosty bison, long-legged moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, otters, foxes, coyotes, eagles, owls and more. Your tour will also be highly educational, as we highlight the monumental reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone, the complexities of wolf social behaviors, wolves’ specialized hunting strategies and their ecological impacts on the Yellowstone ecosystem. We will explore how these factors, and others, have captured the human imagination for centuries, and over time have characterized the wolf as the ultimate icon of Wilderness.
The deep snows of winter have pushed Yellowstone’s iconic wildlife down out of the mountains and onto the wintering grounds of the Lamar Valley and the Northern Range. Thousands of elk and bison, along with moose, big horn sheep, white-tailed and mule deer and pronghorn have filtered out of the higher mountains of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and have concentrated in the lower valleys and grasslands where there is less snow and less extreme temperatures. Winter can be tough on these grazing animals, and partially because of that, this is where Yellowstone’s wolves and other carnivores thrive. Come and explore the unparalleled beauty and wildlife watching opportunities of Yellowstone National Park with experienced local naturalist guides during the most beautiful and dramatic time of the year: winter. Winter is the season of the wolves, and wolves are our specialty.
This all-inclusive tour package is the ultimate way to experience the wild magic of Yellowstone National Park, while treating yourself to the luxuries of the brand-new Wonderland Cafe and Lodge. Wonderland is the area’s first and only boutique eco-lodge where you can find rustic elements with all of the modern amenities to make your vacation the best it can be. Breakfasts and lunches will be catered by the Wonderland Cafe and enjoyed picnic-style out in the park, overlooking one of our favorite vistas in Yellowstone. Dinners will be shared in the lodge with local artists, researchers and/or storytellers by the warmth of the Wonderland fireplace. Each evening, following dinner, we will be treated to a private presentation from a local Yellowstone wildlife expert.
- Experience the magic of Yellowstone’s abundant wildlife and iconic beauty
- Local naturalist guide(s)
- Small group – up to 10 guests
- Away from the crowds and into the wild
- Vast wide open spaces and clean mountain air
- Optics for EVERYONE
- Breakfast and lunch – picnic style
- Dinners at Wonderland Dining Room
- Evening presentations from local wildlife experts
- Safe, fun and educational for all ages
Tour Schedule Summary
|1||Bozeman, MT||Bozeman, MT||Arrive in Bozeman
Check in to Hotel
|2||Gardiner, MT||Gardiner, MT||Transportation to Yellowstone Check in to Wonderland Lodge
Wildlife and Geology Day 1
|3||Gardiner, MT||Gardiner, MT||Northern Range Wildlife Day 2 Evening Guest Speaker|
|4||Gardiner, MT||Gardiner, MT||Northern Range Wildlife Day 3 Evening Guest Speaker|
|5||Gardiner, MT||Gardiner, MT||Northern Range Wildlife Day 4 Evening Guest Speaker|
|6||Bozeman, MT||Travel back to Bozeman, and say our farewells. Until next time!|
- One-night’s stay in Bozeman, MT
- Four-night’s stay in historic Gardiner, MT in the new boutique eco-lodge at North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park
- Round-trip transportation – Bozeman to Gardiner/Yellowstone
- Transportation in our fully-equipped touring vehicle(s) (we drive, you enjoy the scenery)
- Half-day tour of Mammoth Hot Springs and Gardiner Basin
- Three full-day (8 hours) guided wildlife tours in Yellowstone’s Northern Range
- Local naturalist guide(s)
- Dinners together at Wonderland Dining Room
- Private evening presentations with local wildlife experts
- Optics for everyone: top-of-the-line binoculars and high-powered spotting scopes for each guest
- Fresh-baked breakfast pastries
- Hot drinks (coffee, tea, hot cocoa)
- Healthy and hearty snacks (various bars and trail mix, etc.)
- Healthy fruit juice soft drinks and water
- Full picnic lunch (GF and vegetarian/vegan and kosher options available upon request)
- Dynamic and engaging discussions interpret the wildlife activity and behaviors we observe
- Informed and accurate information on the biology and conservation issues surrounding the wildlife you will observe on our tours
- Plenty of space in our vehicle(s) for your extra clothing *we provide detailed recommendations on appropriate winter clothing
- 12/28 – 1/2
- 1/11 – 1/16
- 1/25 – 1/30
- 2/8 – 2/13
- 2/22 – 2/27
- 3/8 – 3/13
- 3/22 – 3/27
Day Location Accommodation General Comments 1 Bozeman, MT
Gran Tree Inn
Arrive in Bozeman, Check In 2 Gardiner, MT Gardiner, MT Northern Range Wildlife Day 1,
Evening Guest Speaker
3 Gardiner, MT Gardiner, MT
Northern Range Wildlife Day 2,
Lunch at Dan Hartman’s
Evening Guest Speaker
4 Gardiner, MT Gardiner, MT Northern Range Wildlife Day 3,
Evening Guest Speaker
5 Gardiner, MT Gardiner, MT Northern Range Wildlife Day 4,
Evening Guest Speaker
6 Bozeman, MT Travel Back to Bozeman, and Say Our Farewells! Until Next Time!
We reserve the right to cancel the trip due to extreme weather conditions, events that would jeopardize the success of the expedition, or other factors that are outside of our control. Full refunds, minus a $65 processing fee, are given if this occurs.
Your tour includes:
• Full-day (8 hour) private guided tour
• Local naturalist guide
• Transportation in our fully equipped touring vehicle (we drive, you enjoy the scenery)
• Plenty of space for your extra clothing – please bring warm clothing (see “What to Bring” list)
• Optics for everyone- top-of-the-line binoculars and high-powered spotting scopes for all
• Fresh-baked breakfast pastries
• Hot drinks (coffee, tea, hot cocoa)
• Healthy and hearty snacks (various bars and trail mix, etc.)
• Healthy fruit juice soft drinks and water
• Full picnic lunch spread (GF and vegetarian/vegan and kosher options available)
• Dynamic and engaging discussions interpret the wildlife activity and behavior observed
• Informed and accurate information on the biology and conservation issues surrounding the wildlife you will observe
• Optional photo/video package ($50 value – see website for details)
Gratuity is NOT included in the price of the tour. Tipping your guide is a common practice in North America, and tips are an important part of their income.
What to bring:
- Yellowstone possesses some of the most extreme changes in temperature and weather conditions anywhere. Temperatures on any given tour could range from -40°F to +40°F (-40°C to +10°C). We therefore recommend plenty of warm clothes that can be layered and easily removed; therefore, allowing you to adjust and stay comfortable throughout your tour.
- As far as clothing goes, here are our suggestions and what our guides wear on winter tours:
- Long underwear. Starting with your base layers, synthetic or wool long underwear tops and bottoms are critical to your comfort (we can find places to shed this layer later in the day if necessary). Please stay away from cotton, which can hold moisture and drastically chill the body, whereas wool and synthetics wick moisture and can even insulate while wet.
- Sweater or fleece. Ideally more than one layer of insulating layers like fleece or wool sweaters will allow for effective layering and allows you to easily shed layers as the day warms up.
- Fleece or down vest. Vests are great as a layering item that can really hold in core body temperature, yet also allow for maximum comfort and mobility.
- A windproof and water repellent insulated jacket is your most important protection from the biting Wyoming winds. Gore-Tex or something similar is highly advised as the best moisture/wind barrier and goose down insulation is the best insulation.
- Snow pants/ski pants – Insulted pants with moisture/wind barrier. You should have long underwear thermal layers in addition.
- Heavy gloves or mittens with windproof barrier.
- Warm hat that covers your ears. We lose tremendous body heat from our heads. Protect your ears from the chilly wind with a wool or fleece hat.
- Warm wool or synthetic socks are key to keeping those toes from hampering your good time. Be sure you have plenty of wiggle room inside your boots. If your socks are too thick and fit too tightly in your boots, you will actually reduce blood flow to your feet, resulting in cold toes, regardless of how warm your socks are.
- Insulated winter boots (roomy boots are better as you do not want to restrict circulation in your feet/toes)
- There are several ways you can go for boots: the insulated rubber “muck” boots that farmers and ranchers like. These are slip on boots that come in varying levels of insulation (up to -50 degrees). They are fine for short walks, but you would not want them for full-day hikes. For the purpose of this trip, they would be fine. Good brands there are Muck and LaCrosse. These are probably the best bang for your buck.
- The other option is a lace up insulated boot. There are lots of them on the market and you could spend a lot for a boot that you may never use again.
- Here is a link with discussion about boots recommended for Antarctica tours.
- If you need to order boots, you could have them shipped here, and we will have them on hand for you when you arrive, not a problem at all. Just let us know.
- Hand and toe/foot warmers. These are lifesavers! We advise everyone to place a full-sized foot warmer inside your boots every morning before the tour. This keeps the edge off and keeps you comfortable to be able to enjoy yourself to the fullest during those hard-earned wildlife encounters! Toe and hand warmers can be used as needed
- With high elevation sun, many of us burn easily, especially when we are distracted by something like watching wolves for extended periods of time.
- Even if you are not a serious photographer, a camera is nice to have on tour.
- A day pack is very handy for personal items: hand and toe warmers, water bottle, sunglasses, camera, and of course for all the extra layers you will want.
I hope that helps. Please let us know if you have more questions on gear.
Yellowstone National Park is a very large place divided by mountain ranges, deep valleys and a massive lake. The weather within the 2.2 million acres can vary widely, so checking the weather in the park can be a difficult task. We recommend checking several different NOAA weather stations around the park, and working an average of those if you’re planning to travel around the entirety of the park.
Can you expect to see all the wildlife you hope for?
It is important to remember that the wild animals we seek to observe are exactly that, WILD free-ranging animals that can roam across all of Yellowstone’s vast and rugged 2.2 million acres. The probability of locating and observing them is greatly elevated due to your guide’s intimate personal familiarity with the landscape and the animals themselves. We do not guarantee any wildlife sightings on our tours; however, we will guarantee that your guide will use their knowledge, skills, and network of other guides, wildlife watchers and photographers to do everything we can to find you the animals you’d like to see. We are in the park nearly every day searching for and watching wildlife, and that consistent experience pays off in finding the animals you’ve traveled to see.
Park Rules and the Yellowstone Wild Code of Ethics
As a licensed Commercial Use Permit holder with Yellowstone National Park, we must follow all park rules and regulations. Additionally, as life-long proponents of wildlife and wild places, we will also follow our own ethical wildlife viewing practices. We will take this opportunity to teach you about how we can have the very best viewing and photography opportunities possible without having negative impacts on wildlife by respecting the animals’ space and movements as they go about their lives.
While on tour with Yellowstone Wild LLC, we will observe the following park rules (subject to law
- Keep at least 25 yards from all wildlife
- Keep at least 100 yards from wolves and bears
- Avoid remaining near or approaching wildlife, including birds, at any distance that disturbs or displaces
It is our ethical responsibility as visitors to the park to make sure that our actions do not inflict undue stress or hardship upon the animals that we are observing. Wild animals in a natural setting do not have easy lives, and the last thing we want to do is make their lives any more difficult. Your guide is an expert at reading animal behavior, and the moment that our presence is bothering an animal, we MUST back off until we are no longer disturbing its natural behavior. Failure to promptly respond to your guide’s instructions to back away from wildlife may result in the termination of your tour, subject to the discretion of your guide.
This is where our optics prove invaluable. We use only the finest quality Swarovski and Vortex spotting scopes so that we can thoroughly enjoy our wildlife sightings at a distance that allows the animals to carry on about their business, as if we were not there. In fact, much of the time they probably don’t know we are there, yet our high powered and crystal clear optics give us an up-close and personal view. Furthermore, we must be mindful of any animal feeding on or resting near a carcass. Approaching such an area may drive the animal(s) away and deprive them of valuable food. It is important to remember that a carcass is regularly scavenged upon by any number of other animals, including grizzly bears, who will violently defend such a food source. Approaching such an area is strictly prohibited and can seriously put people and wildlife in danger. Finally, it is important to be mindful of the other park visitors and biologists who may also be observing the same animals. We promote quiet, respectful behavior to maximize everyone’s wild Yellowstone experience.
Photo Package Add-On Options
Yellowstone Wild is proud to offer two unique photography packages with our tours. Now you can cherish visual souvenirs of your Yellowstone experiences for years to come.
Wildlife Photo Package
Our Wildlife Photo Package includes photos and videos of the wildlife you observe on your tour. Most of the wildlife will be too far away to photograph, unless you have a large telephoto lens. However, our top-of-the-line spotting scopes offer a magnified view into the lives of the animals in the park, even at a great distance. These high-powered optics allow us to observe the natural behaviors of the wildlife from a safe distance, where our presence does not bother them, therefore offering the best sightings of animals carrying on about their lives as though we are not there. The images we take through our spotting scopes capture the memories of your wildlife sightings and are perfect to share with friends and family or on social media; however, they will probably not be adequate quality to print in a large professional format. (For examples of these images, please see our Instagram site.)
Final products: USB memory stick with wildlife photos from the tour
Custom Portrait Adventure Photography Package
If you are visiting Yellowstone to celebrate an important milestone in your life (anniversary, birthday, honeymoon or graduation) or are simply on a much-needed family trip, our Portrait Adventure Photography Package is designed to capture your special moment. Our partner, Jess, at Chocolate Moose Images specializes in classic portraits as well as highly candid photographs in and around Yellowstone National Park. Jess has a special gift for capturing genuine moments that vividly portray personality and emotion – and in a setting like Yellowstone, personality and emotion shine bright!
Jess will visit with you before your tour to develop a rapport, share ideas with one another and discuss how her photo shoot works. She will then join us on your tour out in the wilds of Yellowstone. She works discretely to capture meaningful moments of you exploring Yellowstone, while also keeping her trained eye open for the perfect Yellowstone-themed backdrop for your portraits. To see a sample images from a winter tour, please visit the gallery here. If you have more specific questions about how to customize this for your adventure, please reach out to Jess.
Cost: $589 including a candid session on tour and a slightly more formal session (time to be arranged).
Final products: All in total, she’ll spend between 3-5 hours with your family providing around 70 images in an online gallery. Printing services are available and highly encouraged.