Give me land, lots of land, and the starry skies above… You definitely won’t feel fenced in as you experience some of the greatest natural wonders in your own backyard — Yellowstone, the place that inspired the world’s first national park system. Even during the 1800s when most of the west was undeveloped and wild, the wondrous geysers and hot springs along with the bountiful wildlife caused early explorers to realize that they were standing on “sacred” ground. Discover first-hand why Yellowstone National Park still continues to provide inspiration to people all over the world. Extend to the scenic Grand Tetons for a delightful end to your western discovery.
Very Active. May involve strenuous hikes, severe stair climbing, arduous activities, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.
This spectacular park can be visited year round. For our winter program, January/February is the best time, and for our summer, June through September.
Upon arrival at Bozeman Airport, you will be escorted to the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park, then on to your hotel. Named after the steaming limestone terraces just above the hotel area, it is home to park headquarters and historic buildings from the 1800s. Elk routinely graze outside the hotel, around the parade grounds of what was once Fort Yellowstone. Your accommodations are rustic but comfortable. Meet your fellow travelers during a welcome dinner tonight. MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS HOTEL. (D)
Visit the Albright Visitor Center and Museum, located next to your hotel, to learn about the park’s history pre-1800 until today. Explore the Gardner River and Canyon area as you drive past crumbling walls of sandstone and ancient mudflows. The vegetation is much thicker in the canyon than on the open prairie down below, the common trees being Rocky Mountain Juniper, Cottonwood, and Douglasfir. Watch for eagles, ospreys, dippers, and kingfishers along the river, and bighorn sheep in the steeper parts of the canyon. Drive east to the Tower-Roosevelt district, through incredibly varied geology. Absaroka volcanic, glaciations, and erosion have left features as varied as Specimen Ridge’s petrified trees to the gorges along the Yellowstone River’s Black Canyon and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Stop at Tower Falls for stunning photographs of the 132-foot drop of Tower Creek, framed by eroded volcanic pinnacles. For the next two days, you will stay in the Yellowstone Lake area. With a surface area of 136 square miles, Yellowstone Lake is the largest freshwater lake at high elevation in North America. It is a natural lake situated 7,733 ft. about sea level and is roughly 20 miles long and 14 miles wide with 110 miles of shoreline. Recent research has uncovered geysers, hot springs, and deep canyons beneath the surface. Other natural highlights in the area are Mud Volcano and Sulphur Caldron, among the most acidic springs in the park with a pH level of 1.3. Moose are often seen in the meadows and marshes along the creek. Also stop by the Fishing Bridge Museum and Visitor Center, built in 1931, a National Historic Landmark. Your historic hotel has been restored to its 1920s grandeur. Sip your favorite cocktail in the Sun Room as you enjoy wonderful views of the lake. There is often a piano or chamber music performance in the evening. LAKE YELLOWSTONE HOTEL. (B,L,D Daily)
Continue your exploration of this magnificent park as you discover the lower loop over the next two days. The West Thumb Geyser Basin is the largest geyser basin on the shores of Yellowstone Lake, formed by a large volcanic explosion that occurred approximately 150,000 years ago. Yellowstone possesses close to 60 percent of the world’s geysers and during the next two days you will have the chance to experience more of their explosive beauty. The Upper Geyser Basin is home to the largest number of this fragile feature found n the park. Within one square mile there are at least 150 of these hydrothermal wonders. Of this remarkable number, only five major geysers are predicted regularly by the naturalist staff. They are Castle, Grand, Daisy, Riverside, and Old Faithful, the best known of the approximately 10,000 geothermal features in the park. Thousands of gallons of steaming water thunder into the sky with each eruption. Old Faithful has rarely missed its eruptions during more than 120 years of observation. The Lower Geyser Basin is also a large area of hydrothermal activity which can be viewed by foot along the boardwalk trail at Fountain Paint Pots as well as by car along three mile Firehole Lake Drive. The latter is a one-way drive where you will find the sixth geyser predicted by the Old Faithful staff: Great Fountain. Its splashy eruptions send jets of diamond droplets bursting 100-200 feet in the air, while waves of water cascade down the raised terraces. The Firehole River is world-famous for its challenging fly-fishing where brown, rainbow, and brook trout give the angler a wary target while the geyser basins provide awesome hot springs. Your accommodations, completed in 1999, are the newest of the park’s hotels. OLD FAITHFUL SNOW LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)
Transfer back to Bozeman for your flight home. (B)
Extend your western adventure to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, gateway to Grand Teton National Park. Blending its western heritage with that of a destination resort, there is ample opportunity for hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, and kayaking. In the evenings, enjoy rodeos and live musical comedy shows. Towering more than a mile above the valley of Jackson Hole, the Grand Teton rises to 13,770 feet. Twelve Teton peaks reach above 12,000 feet and support a dozen mountain glaciers. Enjoy a full day discovering its stunning mountain scenery, diverse wildlife, and river raft on Snake River.
Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.
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