Into the Heart of Yellowstone
February 21st - 27th 2019
Yellowstone Wild, LLC. is now offering an exceptional opportunity to explore the unparalleled beauty of Yellowstone National Park in winter with experienced Yellowstone naturalist guides, Emil McCain and Evan Stout. Ideal for photographers and wildlife enthusiasts, our in-depth, highly-educational tour will guide you on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to the heart of Yellowstone’s wildlife ecology and natural history, geothermal features and winter landscapes.
This all-inclusive tour package is specially designed to experience the magic of Yellowstone during one of the most beautiful and dramatic times of the year, when the pristine wildness and solitude are unmatched. This package includes a one night stay near the airport in Bozeman, Montana, two nights at the new Wonderland Eco Lodge on Yellowstone’s wildlife-rich Northern Range and three nights at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. During this tour, we will venture deep into Yellowstone’s interior on a custom Snow Coach to explore our first National Park and its signature geysers and hot springs, frozen lakes, waterfalls and snow-blanketed valleys, enchanted forests and majestic mountain peaks, all under the spell of old man winter.
Full Trip Itinerary
Day 1, February 21st
This package includes a one night stay at the Gran Tree Inn in Bozeman, Montana, where we will all meet the following morning to depart for Yellowstone. Guests must arrive at the hotel by the 21st of February, in order to be ready for the beginning of the trip on the morning of February 22nd.
The hotel provides a free airport shuttle that can pick you and your luggage up at the Bozeman Airport Exit near Baggage Claim and drive you to the Gran Tree Inn in Bozeman (9 miles from the Airport).
A courtesy phone, located on a desk at Baggage Claim can be used to notify the Gran Tree Inn of your arrival, or you can reach the hotel directly at (406) 587-5261. Upon check-in, you will receive breakfast vouchers for your breakfast the following morning.
The hotel’s restaurant serves dinner until 10 PM. The hotel offers a free shuttle service into the city center, where there is a wider range of dining options.
Day 2, February 22nd
- Pick-up at Gran Tree Inn and Transport to Gardiner, Montana -
- North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park -
Breakfast is available starting at 6 AM in the hotel’s dining area. You will need to check out by 10 AM and have all of your belongings in the hotel lobby.
We will pick you up at the Gran Tree Inn Lobby at 12 AM and begin our 1.5 - 2 hour drive through the Paradise Valley to your lodging in Gardiner, Montana, at the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park.
Stopping along the way will give us the opportunity to experience and photograph the spectacular scenery of the Yellowstone River, Absaroka and Gallatin Mountains and the plentiful wildlife that winters in the valley.
We will have lunch in Gardiner and then check you in at your comfortable lodging accommodations where we will be staying for the next four nights. Your lodge overlooks the Yellowstone River, and each room contains two queen beds. After settling in to your rooms, we set out into the park to see the wildlife wintering in the lower elevation Gardiner Basin.
As soon as we enter the northern gate of Yellowstone National Park, wildlife-viewing opportunities abound! The Gardiner Canyon immediately greets us as we start our ascent towards Mammoth Village. This canyon is home to the McMinn herd of Rocky Mountain big horn sheep, which overwinter in this lower elevation canyon. Come spring they will spread back out and fill in their high-mountain territories throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. November, and December the rams can be found amongst the herds competing for breeding rights. The cracking sound of their impressive skulls and horns crashing together can sometimes be heard for miles. Keep your eyes up on these steep canyon walls, as nowhere is out of reach for these climbing specialists.
Climbing our way to 6200’ elevation, we arrive at the historic park headquarters at Mammoth Hot Springs. Originally established as Fort Yellowstone by the U.S. Army in the late 1800s, Mammoth is most known for the exquisite beauty of the Mammoth Terraces. Large herds of elk spend their winter in and around Mammoth, often providing the up-close views that have given Mammoth the nickname of “Elk Town”.
Visiting the unique geologic structures of the Mammoth Hot Springs complex during the dramatic evening light, we can walk through the stunning Travertine Terraces and travel back to Gardiner for dinner and an orientation regarding the days ahead and what to expect.
Day 3, February 23rd
- Gardiner to Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful -
A 6:00 AM check-out and pick-up will allow us to catch our private Snow Coach into the Interior of Yellowstone National Park. We will hope for good weather to enjoy our breakfast and some wildlife watching time during the sunrise on Swan Lake Flats. This winter wilderness setting is incredible with the stunning views of the alpine-dominated Gallatin Range to the west and the vast expanses of Yellowstone’s Northern Range reaching out to the east towards the rising sun. Winter lighting conditions here can be ideal for amazing pictures.
A stop at Porcelain Basin will reveal geothermal scenes of unearthly colors and surreal steam vents. We will then travel south in the Snow Coach, following the Gibbon River to cross the Madison and continue south up the Firehole River upstream to Old Faithful. The snow coach will be entirely private, allowing us to stop and explore anything along the way. Our route will take us along rivers fed by hot springs and geysers which are particularly spectacular amongst the winter wonderland landscape of Yellowstone’s Interior.
Lunch will be enjoyed picnic style at the Madison River while searching for wildlife, which frequent this route and can sometimes be seen among the hot springs and geysers. In the afternoon, we will visit the Fountain Flats and the Fountain Paint Pots, where all four different types of Yellowstone’s geothermal features can be seen. The mud pots are our favorites! We will arrive at Old Faithful around 5 PM to be able to check into our Premium Lodge Rooms and Frontier Cabins, and then enjoy a hearty meal together at the Obsidian Dining Room. Dinner tables are reserved for our group every evening at 8:30 PM. This should allow us time for a sunset viewing of the world-famous Old Faithful Geyser just outside our lodge.
Day 4, February 24th
- Old Faithful - West Thumb - Hayden - Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone -
- Yellowstone Lake - Old Faithful -
With an early 6:00 AM start on the Snow Coach we will travel east to the western edge of Yellowstone Lake to catch the sunrise at the West Thumb Geyser Basin. Traveling north along the lake shore, we will have spectacular views across the frozen lake to the rugged skyline of the Absaroka Mountain Range, way off to the east.
After seeing where the mighty Yellowstone River emerges from Yellowstone Lake, we will venture into the Hayden Valley, the home of the Wapiti Wolf Pack, where the vast expanses and winding Yellowstone River offer many of the most breathtaking views in Yellowstone. Again, breakfast and lunch will be enjoyed out in the park or possibly in one of the park’s warming huts.
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone along with the famous Upper and Lower Falls will be a special focus of this day. Short hikes along the canyon rim offer various spectacular views into the canyon and of the falls. Traveling back to the south, we will watch the sunset from the Lake Hotel, where evening light across the Lake illuminates the Absaroka Mountains to the east. We will then return to Old Faithful for our 8:30 PM dining reservation.
Day 5, February 25th
- Upper and Middle Geyser Basins -
Without having to travel, we will enjoy a sunrise on foot in the Upper Geyser Basin – including the sunrise at Castle Geyser, one of about 15 major geysers located within walking distance of our lodging and dining. After an active morning, we return for a late warm breakfast at the grill and to warm up. Sometime after breakfast, we will take the Snow Coach to Middle Geyser Basin, Grand Prismatic Spring and the Madison River for wildlife. Picnic lunch will be served along the Madison River. Depending on wildlife activity we will return to the Snow Lodge during the late afternoon or early evening.
Day 6, February 26th
- Old Faithful to Mammoth & back to Gardiner -
Depending on your preferences and the weather conditions, we have two options for this day:
Early departure to view and photograph the sunrise along Firehole River to see the Hoarfrost or Rime Ice (ice sculptures caused by frozen condensation on the trees from the steam coming from hot springs and thermal activity).
Returning for a late breakfast, we will check out of our cabins and ride the Snow Coach back to Mammoth, stopping along the way to view landscapes and wildlife.
2. An early check-out and departure to Hayden Valley to look for the Wapiti Wolf Pack (20 individuals right now!) and other wildlife along the way as we traverse the park on our trip back north towards Gardiner. We can expect to arrive mid-afternoon at Mammoth and transfer from Snow Coach back to the van. After checking-in at the lodge, we will enjoy a celebratory end-of-trip dinner together.
Day 7, February 27th
- Gardiner - Bozeman Airport -
Meet at 7:30 AM in front of your Lodge to pack all your luggage into our vehicles and check out.
At 8:00 AM we will have breakfast together at the Wonderland Cafe and depart at 9:30 AM from Gardiner towards Bozeman International Airport.
Due to the possible adverse driving conditions and the distance to the airport, we will arrive at Bozeman International Airport no earlier than 11:30 AM. Please make sure you plan enough time for check-in for your departure flight.
If you choose to stay longer in the Bozeman area, we will drop you off at your preferred location in Bozeman. If you desire to rent a car, the rental car companies are located right next to baggage claim at Bozeman International Airport.
Prices will vary depending on whether you would like this package as a private tour or if you would like to be a part of a larger group (up to 12 guests). Prices also vary per person depending on shared occupancy (two people) or private, single rooms. Please contact us directly with your preferences so we can calculate the best price option for you.
In order to hold your spot on this special trip, we require a 30% deposit upon booking. Full payment will be due 45 days prior to the beginning of your tour.
In case you need to cancel your trip with us, we will fully refund you up to 60 days prior to the starting day of this trip minus a $65 processing fee. In case you need to cancel your trip with us between 32 and 59 days prior to the starting day of your trip, we will refund half of the costs of your trip. Any cancellation made 31 days or less before the starting day of your trip, will not be refunded.
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 will be given at that time.
Contact & Reservation
Please contact us directly by sending an email to
or call us at
+1 (406) 224 000
to reserve your spot on this magnificent journey into the Heart of Yellowstone!
Let's go out and play in the snow!