Yellowstone In Winter
Photography Safari 2024
£8545 per person
Small Group - Max 7 (with 2 wildlife guides plus photography tutor throughout)
Photographing wildlife amidst the snow-clad splendour of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in winter is a truly rewarding experience, with fascinating behaviour, crisp and clean backgrounds and stunning landscapes.
Fitness level: Easy - Medium: Only very short walks, though they are mostly on snow or icy ground and whilst carrying your own camera kit. We will also regularly be getting in and out of large vehicles.
Is this safari suitable for videography? - We can certainly film here (see the video below!) though it is less specialist than some of my other safaris - if you are purely interested in filming making you may wish to consider these alternatives.
Yellowstone In Winter Photography Safari 2024 - Highlights
This three-centre Yellowstone and Grand Teton winter wildlife safari gets you to all of the major areas of wildife activity accessible in winter, as we travel in 4WD vehicles and specialist snow coaches. Plus spectacular landscape features including massive frozen waterfalls and geothermal features along the way.
Primary species we will search for is wolf - this is their breeding season so activity is likely to be interesting
Other major draws here are coyote, red fox, moose, bison, elk, otter, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep
Exclusive access to photograph the pine marten featured in BBC's Planet Earth
Raptors frequently photographed include include bald eagle and golden eagle
Specialist talk from an expert wolf researcher from Yellowstone National Park
Swarovski Optics digi-scopes available with adaptors for all the major camera body manufacturers
Fabulous landscapes featuring Teton mountains, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, frozen waterfalls, Old Faithful geyser and many other geothermal features whose heat attracts wildlife!
Specialist snow coaches and retro-fitted 4WD vehicles with opening windows & roof hatches at every seat
Safari scheduled to ensure optimum photographic conditions for wildlife & landscapes
Never rushed - always time to observe animal behaviour and craft your shots
Great opportunities for experienced photographers looking for new contexts and species
Beginner-friendly atmosphere to learn creative winter photography techniques with experienced tutor
Small group size - max 7 guests
FULL YELLOWSTONE IN WINTER ITINERARY
Day 1: Arrive in Bozeman, Montana
Fly to Bozeman, where you will be met and transferred to our first night hotel.
You'll have a chance to rest up after your flight, and are invited to join Trai and the rest of the group for an optional first night welcome dinner and overview of the trip at a local restaurant in Bozeman.
Day 2: Bozeman - Gardiner Valley - Gardiner (b, l, d)
Have your camera at the ready!
After a relaxed breakfast we set off on our 2 hour road transfer to Gardiner. However it will probably take longer than this as we will follow some back roads en route, to explore the Gardiner Valley where large herds of bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope and elk often gather, having come down from the more elevated areas of the park to these lower levels, where there is less snow and more grass to eat....they're not daft!
We will make comfort and photography stops along the way, as time and conditions allow
Dinner in Gardiner rounds off the day, and will include a specialist talk by an expert wolf researcher from Yellowstone National Park.
Day 3: Northern Ranges, Yellowstone (b, l, d)
We wake early for breakfast at the hotel, leaving Gardiner before sunrise for our first full day in the field.
Today we explore the highly productive Norther Ranges, in specially retro-fitted 4WD vehicles with a captain's style window seat, opening window and roof hatch for every photographer (these aspects may sound as though they should come as standard, but are surprisingly not common here: most tours don't offer vehicles with these specifications, and so we are booked with the only company that does!)
Our expert guides will have the most up to date information on the whereabouts of several wolf packs in this area, which is the most densely populated and most productive for wolf photography in the park.
Of course we will come across many other species during our day, visiting the habitats they favour and benefitting from our guide's experience and knowledge of how best to find each one.
Moose, coyote, red fox and pine marten will all be high on our agenda!
And as a bonus, should a particular animal remain at a distance, on this trip we also have the incredible option of using Swarovski Optics digi-scoping technology, with adaptors for all the major camera body manufacturers.
Lunch today will be out in the field
Dinner and overnight Gardiner
Day 4: Northern Ranges, Yellowstone (b, l, d)
Capitalising on yesterday's sightings, we will continue to explore the northern reaches of Yellowstone, with another full day out in the field photographing all the wildlife of the area, and working on visual storytelling and techniques to get the best out of the wonderful clean backgrounds the snowfields offer.
Wolf remains our priority, with moose, coyote, pine marten and red fox all strong possibilities between Mammoth and Cooke City, and even the possibility of the odd bear waking up for a while from its winter slumber.
Depending on sightings, lunch today will be out in the field or at Cooke City
Dinner and overnight Gardiner
Day 5: Mammoth - Norris Geyser Basin - West Yellowstone (b, l, d)
For the next couple of days we switch vehicles. A specialist snowcoach is the only way to access the interior of Yellowstone during winter, and we have chartered one of these impressive beasts for our group.
Our day starts once again with an early breakfast in Gardiner and then the short transfer to Mammoth where we board our snowcoach.
This will then take us down through the scenic geyser basin area, where we will hope that the heat associated with the geothermal features has lured plenty of wildlife. The possibilities of photographing bison wreathed in mist, or coated with frost as the steam freezes on them are mouthwatering. Many other species of animals and birds are also drawn to the warmth of these features.
Our journey today ends in the small town of West Yellowstone where we will settle in for two nights.
Lunch out in the field
Dinner and overnight West Yellowstone
Day 6: Grand Canyon Of The Yellowstone (b, l, d)
Today we retain our specialist snowcoach to explore another iconic area of the park: the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Isolated right in the middle of the park, and accessible to relatively few people each day, this region is another great combination of stunning landscapes and wildlife rich territory.
As we explore the canyon we will come to the famous Lower and Upper Falls on the Yellowstone River, spectacularly frozen into sculptural icy formations. Once again wildlife is on our radar, though, with pine marten, wolf.
Lunch out in the field
Dinner & overnight West Yellowstone
Day 7: West Yellowstone - Grand Teton NP - Jackson Hole (b, l, d)
Today we board our snow coach for the final time, heading through the only part of the park we have yet to explore - the far south.
The park's most famous resident - Old Faithful geyser - will be one of our stops on the journey south, and of course we will always on the lookout for animal and birdlife, scouting these southern reaches as we had for Flagg ranch. This is as far south as we can go in Yellowstone, and we must transfer back into our specialist 4WD vehicles as we head to the third of our wonderful winter photography bases..
Bordering Yellowstone to the south is Grand Teton National Park, which takes its name from the beautifully photogenic Teton mountains that dominate the scenery here.
We will explore Grand Teton as we continue to head south towards Jackson Hole, where we will find our our final accommodation and a hearty dinner waiting.
Lunch in the field
Dinner & overnight Jackson Hole
Day 8 Grand Teton NP (b, l, d).
Less known than Yellowstone, Grand Teton is a well-kept wildlife secret, with active wolf packs and coyote, drawn by large amounts of prey animals which shelter here in the lower lands off the high mountains.
Moose and bison sightings are excellent here, and the backdrop of the Tetons brings a staggering extra dimension to contextual shots of any of these species.
And there's nowhere better to enjoy the view of the Tetons than at our lunch venue today.
Later in the afternoon we will take a private horse-drawn sleigh into the heart of the National Elk Preserve. Over 6000 elks winter here, making for great herd and portrait shots, as well as being a huge draw for predators. Herds of bighorn sheep, mule deer and bald and golden eagles can all be photographed at close range and large numbers here too.
This will bring our tour to a close and over a farewell dinner this evening the group will share their many favourite shots and memories!
Overnight Jackson Hole
Depending on what time your flight home is, you may wish to spend time in Jackson Hole souvenir shopping, or visit the renowned National Museum of WIldlife Art
Your airport transfer will arrive at the hotel in time to transfer you to Jackson Hole International for your flight connection home.