Road Scholar : Home
Take a Walk on the Wild Side in Yellowstone National Park

Program Number: 15966RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/19/2013 - 5/24/2013;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Gardiner, Montana
Price starting at: $796.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking; National Parks Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 1 Brunch, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

On invigorating, comfortably paced nature walks in Yellowstone National Park, a naturalist leads you to favorite destinations and less-visited but no-less-spectacular corners of the park. Active days present countless opportunities for hands-on learning and interpretation in the field. Supporting lectures in the classroom consider predator-prey dynamics, diverse ecosystems and park-management issues. Learn the ethics of wildlife viewing and how to use binoculars.




Highlights

• Enjoy opportunities to investigate geyser basin, waterfall, riparian, canyon and mountain environments.
• See newborn animals and identify spring wildflowers when wildlife is more active and park visitors are few.
• Delve into the park’s human and natural history, geology and the role of fire in the Yellowstone Ecosystem.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to 3.5 miles a day on varied, sometimes uneven terrain; some stairs. Elevations of 5,260-8,850 feet.




Date Specific Information

5-19-2013

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Coordinated by University of Montana Western.




Gardiner

Founded in 1880, this town in Paradise Valley is the original northern entrance to Yellowstone Park and today is the park’s only year-round point of entry. Gardiner has the atmosphere of a quaint Western town, complete with elk meandering the streets.



Accommodations
Comfortable motel, some rooms up one flight of stairs.
Meals and Lodgings
   Yellowstone River Motel
  Gardiner, MT 5 nights
 Yellowstone River Motel
Type: Motel
  Description: Lodgings are located on Gardiner's main street, Park Street, on Yellowstone's northern boundary. Yellowstone's northwest entrance at Roosevelt Arch is three blocks from motel. The Gardiner entrance was dedicated in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt.
  Contact info: 14 Park Street
Gardiner, MT 59030 USA
phone: 888-797-4837
web: www.yellowstonerivermotel.com
  Room amenities: Refrigerator, microwave, in-room coffee, wireless internet, satellite TV, phone, air conditioning
  Facility amenities: Quiet, though one block from downtown. Grassy patio overlooks the mighty Yellowstone River. Within walking distance of shopping, ice cream, deli, lattes. Hair dryers, iron, ironing board available upon request.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: varies Seasonal rates; call Yellowstone River Motel for information 888-797-4837.
  Check in time: 4:30 PM
  Additional nights after: varies Seasonal rates; call Yellowstone River Motel for information 888-797-4837.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Registration at motel between 4 and 5 PM. You will be staying at Yellowstone River Motel that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after 11 am brunch. You will be staying at Yellowstone River Motel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Please bring a Golden Age, Senior or National Parks pass if you have one.
  Parking availability:
Free
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Gardiner, MT
  Nearest city or town:  Livingston, MT is 53 miles north.
  Nearest highway: State HWY 89.
  Nearest airport:  Gallatin Field in Bozeman, MT, 89 miles
  From End of Program
  Location: Gardiner, MT
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Bozeman, MT

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Greater Valley Taxi
phone: 406-388-7938
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Group rate is approximately $68.00; call for current group rate.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

Two hours. 

 

Distance:

 

89 miles.

   

Reservations must be made at least three days in advance; call (406) 388-7938 for rates and reservations. You may be asked to leave a message. Group shuttle departs airport at 1:30 pm. In order to take advantage of the group shuttle rate, your flight must arrive before 1 pm on Sunday and depart after 2:30 pm on Friday. Arriving in Bozeman a day early or staying an extra day may be more economical than booking individual transportation.

 

Bozeman, MT

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Greater Valley Taxi
phone: 406-388-7938
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Group rate is approximately $68.00; call for current rate.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

Two hours. 

 

Distance:

 

89 miles.

   

Return shuttle must be arranged at least three days in advance; call (406) 388-7938. Group shuttle departs site at 11:30 am. Outside of the above scheduled times, individual transportation (not at group rate) can be reserved through Greater Valley Taxi (406) 388-7938 or Karst Stage (406) 556-3540 (72 hours notice required). Car rental and drop-off are available at the Bozeman airport; drop-off is not available in Gardiner or Yellowstone National Park.

 
Driving Directions
  Billings, MT Drive west 116 miles on I-90 to Livingston. Exit onto US HWY 89; proceed south 53 miles to Gardiner.
  Bozeman, MT Travel east 26 miles on I-90 to Livingston, then south 53 miles on US HWY 89 To Gardiner. Proceed into town, cross the Yellowstone River bridge and straight ahead to Park Street. Turn left; Yellowstone River Motel is one block down at end of street on left.
  from the East (Cody, WY) Roads in the park may or may not be open in May - depends on winter snows/snow removal schedule; call 307 344-2117 for road conditions; road closures, etc. Travel east into Yellowstone Park 80 miles on HWYs 20 and 14/16 past Fishing Bridge area to junction. Turn north here to Canyon (16 miles). Travel 12 miles west from Canyon to Norris Junction. Travel north 21 miles to Mammoth; continue north five miles to Gardiner. Drive under Roosevelt Arch onto Park Street. Proceed to end of Park Street; Yellowstone River Motel is on left side of street.
  from the North (Livingston, MT) Exit I-19 onto US HWY 89. Drive south 53 miles to Gardiner. Proceed into town, cross the Yellowstone River bridge and straight ahead to Park Street. Turn left; Yellowstone River Motel is one block down at end of street on left.
  from the South (Jackson, WY) Travel north 86 miles on HWY 89/287 (slow miles as most of travel is through two national parks with speed limit averaging from 15-40 miles per hour) to West Thumb, then west and north 33 miles to Madison Junction. Drive east then north 14 miles to Norris Junction; carry on northward 21 miles to Mammoth; bear north five more miles to Yellowstone's northwest entrance at Gardiner. Drive under Roosevelt Arch onto Park Street; Proceed to end of Park Street; Yellowstone River Motel is on left side of street. For road conditions and construction update in Yellowstone National Park call (307) 344-2117.
Elevation Note: Site elevation 5,260'. Activities take place at elevations ranging from 5,260' to 8,850'.

Equipment Requirements: This vigorous walking program requires sturdy hiking boots or shoes.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check-In/Orientation
(Sunday, May 19)
   
 Afternoon: Check-in between 4 and 5 PM.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at local restaurant
 Evening: Orientation and introductions. Throughout the week, you'll appreciate interpretation during walkabouts, while traveling throughout the park to various trailheads and other destinations and during wildlife viewing interludes. Important background and natural history information pertaining to Yellowstone will be provided during presentation sessions.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Morning presentations: "Welcome to the Wild Side," acclimation walk, Optics and Ethics of Wildlife Viewing"
(Monday, May 20)

Note: Acclimation walk, up to 3 1/2 miles, on moderate terrain.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at local restaurant
 Morning: The adventure begins! Throughout the week, presentations will highlight the natural history of Yellowstone - wildlife, habitats, management issues, geology and more. Later, your interpreted field days and walking exploration offer moments of delight, discovery and the opportunity to investigate geyser basin, waterfall, riparian, canyon and mountain environments. Spring in Yellowstone offers the optimum time of year for wildlife viewing. A variety of wildlife and their young and birds may be seen during this time of year when movement between winter and summer ranges occurs, nesting season is underway and many species are born.
 Lunch: Lunch at nearby restaurant
 Afternoon: Vigorous walks throughout the week, with interpretation, offer the opportunity to explore various life zones and habitats in Yellowstone National Park. Be aware that spring in the mountains may result in wet or muddy stretches along certain trails. This afternoon, enjoy a 3 1/2 mile acclimation walk on maintained trail or roadway - some uneven terrain - along the Yellowstone River, old Yellowstone Trail or historic railroad bed near lodgings. In addition, the walk provides a valuable opportunity to continue to acclimate to Gardiner's elevation (5,260'). At high altitudes you are more susceptible to dehydration and altitude sickness. Taking the time to acclimate, exercising moderately, carrying a water bottle with you and drinking plenty of water is of utmost importance to avoid these sometimes dangerous problems. Later afternoon is free time to familiarize yourself with Yellowstone's northwest gateway community of Gardiner, MT.
 Dinner: Dinner at nearby restaurant
 Evening: "Optics and Ethics of Wildlife Observation". Discover the correct way to use binoculars and scopes (both provided; however, bring your own if you have them) or brush up your own skills using tips provided by instructor. Learn how to view wildlife unobtrusively and how to behave in their environment.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Walking on the Wild side in Yellowstone National Park.
(Tuesday, May 21)

Note: Walk up to 3 1/2 miles on established trails, boardwalks and stairs.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant
 Morning: Natural history of Yellowstone continues with an in depth look at predator/prey dynamics; wolves, mountain lions, coyotes and more.
 Lunch: Lunch at nearby restaurant.
 Afternoon: Afternoon/evening field trip into Yellowstone National Park's northern range, the Lamar Valley, and possibly the Tower area, for afternoon and evening walks for habitat exploration and wildlife viewing; walk up to 3 1/2 miles. The Lamar Valley offers prime wolf habitat and the Tower area offers prime black bear habitat. The possibility of seeing wolves and bears exists. Sightings are not uncommon; however, sightings cannot be guaranteed. The wide open, astonishingly beautiful and wildlife-filled Lamar Valley will astound with its rich habitat and wealth of wildlife including elk, bison, pronghorn, coyotes, waterfowl, eagles and songbirds. Spring-green, nutritious vegetation, clumps of cottonwood trees along the wild Lamar River, quaken aspens hugging timbered ridges, sagebrush covered hills and meadowlarks will awaken you to paradise. Those not wishing to walk may wait at the trailhead.
 Dinner: Picnic dinners in Yellowstone
 Evening: Field trip continues with a late return to lodgings; remember, evenings offer optimum opportunity for spotting wildlife and gorgeous light for taking photographs.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Walking on the Wildside in Yellowstone National Park includes exploration in the Canyon area.
(Wednesday, May 22)

Note: Walk up to 3 1/2 miles on established trails, boardwalks and stairs.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant
 Morning: Interpreted walking expeditions for the day - walk up to 3 1/2 - are planned in the Mt. Washburn and Canyon areas. Please note: Field trip and walking destinations could change due to weather and road conditions or wildlife considerations; sometimes trails or regions are temporarily closed due to grizzly, wolf, bison or other wildlife moving in and using the area. Weather and trail conditions permitting, you'll walk several miles along an old wagon road that snakes up the side of Mt. Washburn, an ancient volcano. The road which was constructed in 1905 was eventually used by Model Ts then later closed to motor vehicles and has since evolved into a wide trail - perfect for hikers who like to get out and enjoy expansive views. Fill your eyes and senses with lush, grassy slopes that have begun to fill up with wildflowers as spring in the high country evolves into summer. Enjoy the sight and scent of mountain breezes and high elevation coniferous trees including whitebark pine, subalpine fir and Engelmann spruce.
 Lunch: Sack lunches in the Park
 Afternoon: Walking exploration in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone area to experience beautiful, pastel tinted canyon walls and roaring water. A riverside walk offers a grand perspective of the river, canyon and both 109' Upper and 309' Lower Falls. Walking reveals the experience of rushing water, yawning depths, riverside habitat, wildflowers, birds, evidence of geologic forces, forest, waterfall mist and rainbows.
 Dinner: Dinner at nearby restaurant
 Evening: An introduction to Yellowstone's Geothermal Phenomena provides an overview of the caldera's violent, geologic past and a great preview for tomorrow's exploration in the Upper Geyser Basin.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Walking on the Wildside in Yellowstone National Park includes exploration in the Old Faithful Area.
(Thursday, May 23)

Note: Walk up to 3 1/2 miles on established trails, boardwalks and stairs.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant
 Morning: Walking investigation in the Old Faithful area offers hissing fumaroles, steaming geysers, sulfurous mudpots and bubbling hot springs; after all, over 1/4 of the world's geysers are found here. Check out the Visitor Center and appreciate historic Old Faithful Inn. Consider the thermal basin environment and the great Caldera's volcanic past, as you walk trails with your interpreter at Old Faithful, along the Firehole River and among thermal features with names like Giantess, Beehive, Grand, Giant, Beauty, Chromatic and Castle.
 Lunch: Sack lunches in the Park
 Afternoon: Walking exploration continues among a wealth of wildlife habitat. Remember to bring your binoculars; scopes provided. Walk up to 3 1/2 miles.
 Dinner: Dinner at nearby restaurant
 Evening: Presentation discusses 'Bears of Yellowstone,' and may include Yellowstone resource issues.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: "Railroad to Boot Hill" walk on nearby terrain wraps up the adventure.
(Friday, May 24)

Note: Walk two to three miles round trip from lodgings.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant
 Morning: Final morning walkabout wraps up the adventure and loose ends, answers questions and brings the adventure to a satisfying conclusion. Group photo; bring your own camera. Check-out.
 Brunch: 11 a.m. grab and go brunch. Airport shuttle departs at 11:30 a.m.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Brunch

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Gardiner, MT Yellowstone National Park
Official web site for Yellowstone National Park. For additional information, visit www.nps.gov/yell/home.htm
  Hiking
Trailhead 1/2 mile from lodgings.
  Horseback Riding
Trailrides provided by Rendezvous Outfitters in Gardiner, MT (406) 848-7967.
  Rafting
Scenic float or whitewater rafting on Yellowstone River. For additional information, visit www.yellowstoneraft.com
  Yellowstone Association
Founded in 1933 to assist with educational, historical and scientific programs that would benefit Yellowstone National Park and its visitors. Operates book sale outlets in park visitor centers which supports expanded naturalist training and programs, finances publication of trail guides, books and pamphlets about the Park, helps with funding for museum exhibits and research equipment. The Yellowstone Association Institute sponsors outdoor courses for all age groups, some of which are especially designed for women, families and children. The Institute's purpose is to explore, understand and appreciate Yellowstone. For additional information, visit www.yellowstoneassociation.org
  Yellowstone National Park concessioner
For a closer look at Yellowstone and to find out what's available in the Park- horseback riding, ranger-led activities, wildlife excursions and any other park activities. Xanterra Parks and Resorts is Yellowstone's principal concessioner and includes operations of park's lodging facilities, some campgrounds, restaurants, gift shops, interpretive tours, etc. For additional information, visit www.TravelYellowstone.com
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Searching for Yellowstone: Ecology and Wonder in the Last Wilderness


Author: Paul Schullery


Description: Eloquent, elegant, truthful and practical - an environmental history of America's best idea, Yellowstone.



After the Fires: The Ecology of Change in Yellowstone National Park


Author: Linda Wallace, Editor


Description: The ravaging fires of 1988 caused many scientists to predict long-term devastation which did not come to pass. This scientific summary by wildlife biologists, ecosystem and forest scientists and landscape ecologists discusses the many things that changed and did not change in the Yellowstone area. Realize the role of fire in the ecosystem and the resiliency of nature.



Decade of the Wolf, revised and updated edition: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone


Author: Douglas W. Smith and Gary Ferguson


Description: Research and storytelling meld to document wolf recovery in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Wolf biologist, Smith, and nature writer, Ferguson, provide an inside look at the Yellowstone Wolf Recovery Project ten years after the controversial decision was made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to reintroduce wolves into the park. Smith, wolf project leader who has worked with the Yellowstone Wolf Project since its inception, has studied wolves for 25 years. Ferguson, whose writing largely arises from intimate experiences, followed through the seasons, the first 14 wolves released into Yellowstone National Park. Their collaboration offers hard facts and 'impressionistic portraits of individual wolves that reveal their epic lives full of struggle and conquest.' Here is the history of the return of the top predator to Yellowstone.



Restoring a Presence: American Indians and Yellowstone National Park


Author: Peter Nabokov and Lawrence Loendorf


Description: This first comprehensive account of Indians in and around Yellowstone corrects more than a century of ignorance. Detailed here is Yellowstone's native peoples and their story of a long engagement with a remarkable landscape.



To Save the Wild Bison: Life on the Edge in Yellowstone


Author: Mary Ann Franke


Description: The author brings clarity and revelation to one of Yellowstone's most complex struggles by tracing the history of bison and humans into the 19th century and further into the national parks era. Here's discussion of bison management and park policy - the battle over brucellosis, snowmobiles and groomed winter roads, desires of Native Americans, bison and predators.



Roadside Geology of Yellowstone Country


Author: William Fritz & Robert Thomas


Description: Updated, classic roadside geology book for the Yellowstone Region explains current geological theories.



The Sibley Guide to Birds


Author: David Allen Sibley


Description: Sibley, a talented painter, offers this wonderful, data-packed color guide with range maps and detailed descriptions of songs and calls. This book is perfect for field trips with short walks and may be too heavy for some to take to the field in which case it can await back in the car.



Letters from Yellowstone


Author: Diane Smith


Description: Through correspondence - detailed letters and telegrams - follow an 1898 scientific expedition whose purpose is to collect flora unique to Yellowstone National Park. Learn of the park's early history, trials of pioneer scientists and the engrossing and often funny story of Cornell medical student and amateur botanist, Alexandria Bartram, who emerges as a brave leader and serious scientist. Delightful fiction.



Yellowstone and the Great West: Journals, Letters and Images from the 1871 Hayden Expedition


Author: Marlene Deahl Merril, editor


Description: Daily record of Ferdinand Hayden's historic 1871 scientific expedition to the Yellowstone basin. This expedition's findings influenced Congress to establish Yellowstone as the world's first national park. The expedition made many scientific discoveries as well as producing the earliest on-site images of Yellowstone by photographer, William Henry Jackson, and guest artist, Thomas Moran.





You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.


As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.



Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:


© Road Scholar 2014 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768