On this small-group guided safari, we coordinate with on-site scientists and search for wolves in Yellowstone’s remote Lamar Valley
Travel by private snowcoach to Old Faithful and watch geysers erupt against the snow
Journey by sleigh across the National Elk Refuge to see the vast winter herds up close
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Yellowstone: Ultimate Wolf & Wildlife Safari
In the pale light of sunrise, a wolf pack emerges from the forest into the open expanse of Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley. They yelp and cavort, energized by the awakening day, oblivious to our still presence. A large male halts and sniffs the frozen air. As we watch from a distance, we sense the mystical aura of this beast of legend. Elegant predators, wolves are thriving in Yellowstone’s environs, where abundant elk, bison and other prey provide sustenance. Winter’s white mantle offers a pristine backdrop against which we view these wild creatures on a rare expedition away from summer crowds.
Days 1 & 2: Jackson Hole / National Elk Refuge
Old West Jackson sits at the edge of Grand Teton National Park in the shadow of the mountain range’s jagged spires. On Day 1, we meet for an informal welcome dinner and orientation.
Our winter safari begins the following morning as we venture into Jackson Hole in search of bighorn sheep, bald and golden eagles, coyotes, bison, mule deer, moose and elk.
Later, we visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson. Then, by horse-drawn sleigh we 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.
Day 3: Grand Teton / Yellowstone / Old Faithful
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 snowcoach conveys us into Yellowstone's silent winter splendor. Because access to our resort is limited to snow vehicles, we find ourselves in peaceful seclusion, experiencing the magic of Old Faithful erupting in winter’s crystalline veil.
Day 4: Mammoth Hot Springs & Lamar Valley Wolves
Back aboard our snowcoach, we head northward through the park’s geyser basins to the silver terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs, where we may see many elk. Our evening destination is Cooke City, Montana. As dusk descends, an evening drive through the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone’s far northeast corner offers our first chance to see wolves.
Day 5: Wolves / Lamar Valley
A full day is ours to look for wolves in the best place in North America to view these magnetic animals. Reintroduced 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. We may see an entire pack as they test the elk herd for a weak or sick animal, or spot lone individuals who forage on their own.
Day 6: Lamar Valley Wolves /Bozeman, Montana
As dawn illumines the Lamar Valley’s snowy meadows, we return once more in search of wolves. Our on-board scopes help us to observe their activities from a distance without disturbing their natural behavior. We may even experience the thrill of a close-up encounter. Many of our Expedition Leaders have worked for years with the on-site scientists who track these wolves daily, and together they provide us every opportunity to see these elusive creatures in their natural surroundings. Returning to Mammoth Hot Springs, we leave Yellowstone’s wintry quiet and continue to Bozeman for our final night.
Day 7: Bozeman / Home
If your schedule allows, you may enjoy exploring Bozeman on your own today. Transfer to the airport for your flight home is at your convenience. Please note: Every other trip runs in the opposite direction, from Bozeman to Jackson.
Dates and Costs
Dec 31 2011 - Jan 6
Jan 7 - 13
Jan 28 - Feb 3
Feb 4 - 10
Feb 11 - 17
Feb 18 - 24
These trips run in the opposite direction, beginning in Bozeman, Montana and ending in Jackson, Wyoming, making all the same stops.
Dec 29 2012 - Jan 4
Jan 5 - 11
Jan 26 - Feb 1
Feb 2 - 8
Feb 9 - 15
2013 dates are not confirmed and are subject to change.
Itinerary direction for 2013 departures are not yet confirmed.
Single Supp.: $695
The Independent Traveller may be able to offer individual trips to Yellowstone throughout the winter & spring for small groups of travellers depending on availability.
Contact us for more details
Location of Adventure
Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks, Wyoming
Group Size Limit
Approximately 14 Travellers
A very important feature of this adventure vacation is the limited group size as nature expeditions are best experienced with smaller groups of travellers.
Accommodations, meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on final day, bottled water, services of NHA Expedition Leaders and local guides, most gratuities, airport transfer on Day 1, use of warm parkas and boots during the trip, permits and entrance fees, all taxes.
Travel to and from start and end point of trip, alcoholic beverages, some gratuities, passport and visa fees, optional activities, airport transfer on final day, items of a personal nature (phone calls, souvenirs, etc.), airline baggage fees, airport and departure taxes, optional travel insurance.
Easy to Moderate
Tracking wolves in Yellowstone will be in snowy, icy and/or wet conditions, and it can get very cold. However, hikes are moderate in physical exertion and a good amount of wildlife viewing takes place from our vehicles. Travelers are not required to participate in all excursions.
This adventure combines the rare chance to view wolves in the wild with an all-encompassing adventure in one of North America’s most renowned wildlife preserves: Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Travelers must understand that even though to date we have had a 100% wolf sighting rate on our trips, these are very secretive animals and they may or may not come within close range.
Much of our wolf viewing is done through spotting scopes to allow the wolves to go about their normal behavior. For those considering the photo tour please keep in mind that since this is a 100% wild experience the wolves are often far in the distance. However, the sheer beauty and grandeur of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks in the winter provide remarkable nature imagery.
On some dates we travel in reverse order of the itinerary listed on our trip page.
Please contact our office for details.
Getting There &Getting Home
Please note that this trip begins and ends in two different cities. You will be met at the airport on Day 1 and transferred to the hotel to meet your group for a 6pm orientation dinner. You are free to depart anytime on the final day.