Yellowstone in winter is a photographer's delight: mineral pools burn through the snow, revealing their gem-colored depths; waterfalls freeze mid-spill; and elk and moose stand out clearly against the glistening white landscape. Record the beauty of winter in our oldest national park, zooming in on wildlife in the Lamar Valley, catching the interplay of steam and snow on Mammoth Hot Springs and rising early for a sunrise photo shoot in the Lower Geyser Basin.
Travel from Bozeman, Montana, to Yellowstone National Park, following the Yellowstone River through magnificent valleys on the lookout for bald eagles, mule deer, antelope, and bighorn sheep. At Mammoth Hot Springs take our first photo walk amid the steaming, colorful mineral spring terraces outlined in snow. Gather this evening for a welcome reception and dinner.
Best Western Plus Mammoth Hot Springs (D)
At Mammoth Hot Springs take our first photo walk amid the steaming, colorful mineral spring terraces outlined in snow. Then head to the open, wide vistas of the Lamar Valley to photograph wildlife at one of their most active times. Gray wolves were first restored to Yellowstone in the Lamar Valley in 1995, and the snow-covered meadows host herds of elk and bison. Use a spotting scope and your telephoto lens to find coyotes and eagles and perhaps an elusive wolf. An Emmy® award-winning wildlife cinematographer joins us this evening (his schedule permitting) to discuss his career shooting films on wolves and other wildlife for National Geographic.
Best Western Plus Mammoth Hot Springs (B,L,D)
Travel by private snow coach to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone where winter adds extra magic to an already dramatic landscape. Walk to the rim of the spectacular gorge to capture images of its thundering waterfall and the ice arch that forms from the spray. Stroll amid the bubbling mud pots and fumaroles of the Upper Geyser Basin with your camera in hand. Continue to Old Faithful, stopping along the route to photograph a geothermal wonderland of erupting geysers, frozen waterfalls, and gem-colored mineral pools. Keep an eye out for wildlife—bison, encrusted in ice, often stand among the pools for warmth.
Old Faithful Snow Lodge (B,L,D)
Awaken at dawn to photograph Old Faithful in the first light of morning. After breakfast, hit the trails on an optional snowshoe or cross-country ski excursion or go on a photo shoot near the lodge. This afternoon, head to the Upper Geyser Basin, discovering the geological forces behind Yellowstone. Focus on steaming, mineral pools, whose sapphire, emerald, and violet hues appear even more brilliant in the snow. After dark, step outside to admire the incredible canopy of stars in one of the world's best constellation-viewing spots, and work on low-light photography to capture scenes of steam, stars, snow and night sky.
Old Faithful Snow Lodge (B,L,D)
After breakfast, head west stopping to photograph the colors and shapes of bubbling, popping mud at the whimsical Fountain Paint Pots. Leave the park via the West Yellowstone gate and travel to the Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, Montana. Settle into a comfortable log cabin lodge at Lone Mountain Ranch - a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection (December 30 - through February 18 departures only). This evening, gather to share your best photos and toast your winter adventure in Yellowstone at a farewell dinner.
Rainbow Ranch Lodge or Lone Mountain Ranch (B,L,D)
Return to Bozeman for your flight home.
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