North America – Yellowstone Winter Photo Expedition 2024
28 Jan 2024 – 03 Feb 2024
Yellowstone National Park reigns as one of the most iconic parks in the world. With a fully intact wild ecosystem, North America’s iconic charismatic megafauna live out their lives and dramas on a bubbling, steaming, mountainous stage.
Answering the howl of the wolf, we spend safari days along Yellowstone’s famous Northern Range, which has the highest density of wildlife in the Lower 48. Seeking wolves, coyotes, fox, moose, river otters, elk, bighorn sheep and more, we explore and photograph Lamar Valley, coined the “American Serengeti.”
The second part of this uniquely American adventure is spent deep in Yellowstone’s Interior, photographing and spending time with America’s National Mammal – bison. With thick winter coats, snowy and frosty bison tell the stories of fortitude and endurance lasting tens of thousands of years. Winter is the prime time to make iconic and special images of bison as they gather around warm geothermal areas in Yellowstone’s Interior. We navigate this wintery temple on private snowcoaches.
Yellowstone has been historically described as Wonderland, and it truly is. Come enjoy Yellowstone as it should be experienced, as a true Winter Wonderland.
Why this Photo Safari is for You
Scenery, Geothermal Features, Geysers, Landscapes, Wolves, Coyote, Fox, Otters, Bison, Moose, Elk, Bighorn Sheep
Day 1: Arrive in Bozeman, Montana
Welcome to the American West! Bozeman, situated in a beautiful valley nestled amongst the Rocky Mountains, is fast becoming a hotspot for tourists. Redbrick buildings along historic Main Street whisper stories of cowboys, ranchers and early industrialists. We offer airport pickups on Arrival Day. If you arrive early, there are plenty of local spots to explore: bespoke shops, delicious restaurants, Western art galleries and the highly-acclaimed Museum of the Rockies. Montana is unique in that Mom and Pop stores are the norm, and chain stores are few and far in between. This first evening, we gather for our Welcome Dinner at the swanky AC Marriot Hotel to meet our group and to receive an introductory presentation to Yellowstone and our American Adventure.
Day 2: Yellowstone Northern Range Safari
After a delicious and filling breakfast, we leave Montanan big-city life behind as we drive 2 hours to the entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Our drive takes us through the now-famous Paradise Valley, which is the constantly fought after location in the television show, “Yellowstone.” Driving through its expanse and snaking along the Yellowstone River, you will understand why this show revolves around this special place; it is Paradise. To enter Yellowstone, we will drive along the Old Yellowstone Road, the historic, train-based, former entrance into the park. It’s now filled with ranches, public lands, and giant herds of elk, white tail deer, mule deer, pronghorn, and bison. We will enjoy a mid-day lunch in Gardiner, Yellowstone’s Northwest Gateway town, and then drive into the park for an afternoon safari. We spend the night and enjoy a delicious dinner at the Historic Chico Hot Springs Resort in the Paradise Valley.
Days 3: Yellowstone Northern Range Safari
At Sunrise, we depart Chico Hot Springs Resort for our full safari day in Yellowstone National Park. Getting into the park early, we will focus on wolves in the early morning light. Yellowstone National Park reintroduced wolves in 1995-1997, for wolves and many predators had been eliminated from the landscape in the early 1900s, due to them being deemed a threat to humans and livestock. This led to an unhealthy surge in numbers of prey species, namely elk, who were destroying the landscape and habitat for other wildlife. We will talk in depth about the Trophic Cascade, the history of Yellowstone, the current status of wildlife, and enjoy how Yellowstone is now a fully intact ecosystem.
OPTIONAL: Midday, when light is at its harshest, we will go to the mountain cabin studio of a local BBC filmmaker for a presentation on his work, his years of filmmaking, and to hear his wild tales from the mountains.
That evening we return to Chico Hot Springs Resort for a delicious meal at their world-famous restaurant, followed by relaxation time in the Hot Springs.
Day 4-6: Private Snowcoaches in Yellowstone’s Interior
As we say goodbye to Paradise Valley and the Northern Range, we begin our journey into the depths of Yellowstone’s Interior. For the next 3 days, we will experience one of the harshest yet most spectacular environments and habitats in the Lower 48. It’s a place where temperatures can reach to -30degF. We hope for these truly frigid days, as they create the rawest settings for photography. On these coldest, winter days of the year, we experience and witness wildlife eking out survival. These are also the days where we hope to find and make photographs of frosty and snowy bison.
Over the course of the 3 days, we visit different places in Yellowstone’s interior. Of course, our great adventure takes us to Old Faithful, the most well-known geyser in the world! To get there, we travel via snowcoach along the Madison River while looking for frosty bison amongst the many Geothermal features. Yellowstone National Park, which sits on top of a massive volcano, is home to more than half of all of the geysers in the world. We also visit Midway Geyser Basin and walk along the frosted visitor boardwalks to the colorful Grand Prismatic Spring.
On another day’s outing, we will visit the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, a frozen force of a waterfall carving out a golden canyon. Notably, it was painted by Thomas Moran in 1872. This painting, along with others with scenes from the park, was sent back East to the US Senate and helped lead to the creation of Yellowstone as the World’s first National Park in 1872. It is still on display in the US Capitol. Art has a significant place in the founding of this park.
We will also venture into the wide, white moonscape of Hayden Valley in the Winter. It either teems with massive herds of bison or is a frigid, stark empty space seemingly devoid of life and haunting with echoes of nothing. The landscape photographs in Hayden are that of a fine art portfolio.
Each night, we return to our homebase in one of Yellowstone’s largest gateway towns, West Yellowstone. We enjoy the finest dinners in town, with local offerings such as Rocky Mountain game meats like as bison, elk and trout, and after dinner, you’re welcome to check out the local Western saloon scene for a nightcap.