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Yellowstone’s Great Outdoors: An Intergenerational Adventure

Program Number: 17306RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/21/2013 - 7/26/2013; 6/26/2016 - 7/1/2016; 7/10/2016 - 7/15/2016; 7/17/2016 - 7/22/2016; 7/31/2016 - 8/5/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Gardiner, Montana
Price starting at: $975.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Intergenerational; National Parks
Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 1 Brunch, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Program intended for grandchildren from 9 - 12 years of age.

From streamside habitat to forested mountains, share adventure and hands-on exploration of Yellowstone National Park with a younger generation. Hiking, horseback riding, a river float, campout and interpretation take place within the largest nearly intact, temperate ecosystem on earth, where plants, animal, bugs, fish, water, geology, habitat and weather patterns work together to make the whole.


• Float the mighty Yellowstone River outside the park to experience riparian habitat and geology, then make camp for the night under star-filled skies.
• Yellowstone’s volcano is revealed through thermal basin, canyon, forest and foothill hikes. Examine mud pots, fumaroles, geysers and hot springs.
• The creak of saddle leather and hoofbeats on the trail punctuate trailside discoveries in the high country, followed by a cowboy cookout.

Activity Particulars

Three hikes up to three miles each on moderately challenging terrain. Elevations from 5,200 feet to 7,700 feet. Ride horseback for two hours. Whitewater rafting seven miles on Class 2 and 3 waters.

Date Specific Information


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

Coordinated by University of Montana Western.


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.

Comfortable local hotel, some rooms up one flight of stairs. One night of camping in wall tents with no indoor bathroom. Shuttle available between motel and airport in Bozeman 79 miles away.
Meals and Lodgings
   Yellowstone River Motel
  Gardiner, MT 3 nights
   Flying Pig Outfitters
  Gardiner, MT 1 night
   Yellowstone River Motel
  Gardiner, MT 1 night
 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 Arch was dedicated in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt. Meals served at local restaurants; sack lunches in the field. Please be aware that the single dietary requirement or preference that can be accommodated at his site is vegetarian - no meat. You may wish to bring supplementary items. Questions? Call UM-Western Road Scholar (406) 683-7302.
  Contact info: 14 Park Street
Gardiner, MT 59030 USA
phone: 888-797-4837
  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 888 797-4837.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Varies. Seasonal rates; call Yellowstone River Motel 888 797-4837.
  Check out time: 9:00 AM

 Flying Pig Outfitters
Type: Tents
  Description: River side campsite.
  Contact info: 511 Scott Street
Dillon, MT 59030 USA
phone: 406-848-7510
  Room amenities: Tents have rain fly and insect screens; sleeping pads provided.
  Facility amenities: Tents, sleeping bags, pads provided. Primitive campsite means sleeping on the ground.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Bath house includes bathroom facilities and hot showers.

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Registration at motel between 4 and 5 p.m. You will be staying at Yellowstone River Motel that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after 11 a.m. grab and go brunch. You will be staying at Yellowstone River Motel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Liability waivers required by rafting and horseback riding outfitters. Please bring a Golden Age, Senior or National Parks pass if you have one.
  Parking availability:
Airport parking is $5.50 per day.
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




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. 




89 miles.


Reservations must be made at least three days in advance; call (406) 388-7938 for rates and reservations. 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. Family groups larger than three may want to consider renting a car


Bozeman, MT


To Airport




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. 




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
  Bozeman, MT Travel east on I-90 for 26 miles to Livingston; turn south here onto US HWY 89 and travel 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 East (Cody, WY) Travel east 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. Call (307) 344-2117 for road construction and road information in Yellowstone.
  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. Call (307) 344-2117 for road construction and road information in Yellowstone.
  from the Southwest (West Yellowstone, MT) Drive east on Hwy 20 into Yellowstone National Park 14 miles to Madison Junction. Continue northwest 14 miles toward Norris, then north 21 miles toward Mammoth Hot Springs. From Mammoth, drive 5 miles north on Hwy 89 to Gardiner. Drive under Roosevelt Arch onto Park Street, continue to end; Yellowstone River Motel is at end of street on left side.
Elevation Note: Site elevation 5,260'. Activities take place at elevations ranging from 5,260' to 7,700'.

Equipment Requirements: Hiking boots or shoes, durable water bottle and a day pack.
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: Orientation, Introductions, Get Acquainted Activities
(Sunday, July 21)
 Afternoon: Check-in between 4 and 5 PM.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at nearby restaurant.
 Evening: Orientation, introductions then a short walk to Roosevelt Arch. Welcome to Yellowstone.
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Field day in the heart of Yellowstone National Park: The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Old Faithful; Wildlife Spotting
(Monday, July 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant; walk up to two blocks.
 Morning: Grand perspectives from Lookout and Artist’s Points reveal roaring water; beautiful, pastel tinted canyon walls and a sense of the great canyon’s immensity. Generations explore a world of thundering noise, churning waters, cool mist and unique life zones. Back to the canyon rim and upriver to magnificent Upper Falls; watch for waterfowl, osprey and water ouzel. Here is rushing water, yawning depths, riverside habitat, wildflowers, birds, evidence of geologic forces, forest, waterfall mist and rainbows.
 Lunch: Sack lunches in the Park.
 Afternoon: Walking investigation in the Old Faithful area offers all four thermal features - hissing fumaroles, steaming geysers, sulfurous mudpots and bubbling hot springs. Over one fourth of the world's geysers are found here. See them, feel clouds of steam, smell sulfur, hear growling fumaroles and bubbling, plopping mudpots. Enjoy a wonderland of unique features, beautiful colors and spouting geysers. Find out about life forms in boiling water. Hike a moderately steep and rocky trail to Observation Point for an overlook of the Old Faithful area. Explore Geyser Hill and along the Firehole River among thermal features with names like Beehive, Grand, Giant, Lion and Plume. Appreciate Old Faithful Inn's historic ambiance. Become acquainted with or renew your acquaintance with beloved Old Faithful Geyser.
 Dinner: Dinner at Old Faithful Lodge Cafeteria offers a variety of entrees.
 Evening: Evening return to Gardiner offers optimum opportunity for spotting critters in prime wildlife habitat .
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Discover the Mammoth area/Fort Yellowstone; then saddle up, enjoy a Cowboy Cookout and an evening around the campfire.
(Tuesday, July 23)
 Breakfast: Walk two blocks.
 Morning: Travel into Yellowstone National Park to the Mammoth area and up through the Hoo Doos and Golden Gate to Swan Flats. From here, take a 3 1/2 mile naturalist-led hike, mostly downhill over moderate terrain, trekking through ancient limestone formations to Mammoth's beautiful travertine terraces. About two tons of travertine are deposited daily as hot, mineral-laden water wells up from beneath the earth’s crust to add to terraces that began building thousands of years ago. Experience the unique geology and the flora that occurs here and area wildlife.
 Lunch: Sack lunch along the trail.
 Afternoon: Check out the Albright Visitor Center. Optional, short walking tour of Fort Yellowstone. Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872 and immediately came under threat of exploitation by poachers, souvenir hunters and developers. Civilian superintendents suffered from inexperience, lack of funds and manpower. After fourteen years, the US Army was called on for help and the Cavalry was sent in to protect Yellowstone's resources and visitors. The year was 1886. The National Park Service was established in 1916 and the Cavalry gave control of Yellowstone back to the civilians; their duty concluded completely in 1918. Fort Yellowstone became the administrative center for the Park. Travel back to lodgings to don riding duds then to nearby trailhead to meet your horse. Outfitter shares riding etiquette. Mount up for a two hour ride on moderate terrain among the Gallatin National Forest's scenic landscape. Appreciate your dependable mountain horse, the creak of saddle leather, scented mountain breeze of sage and forest and expansive views of the Absaroka and Gallatin Mountain Ranges. Ah, the West! Note: horseback riding weight limit is 220 pounds.
 Dinner: Delicious cowboy cookout near old Jardine.
 Evening: Evening around the campfire (actual fire depends on local fire conditions; safety measures dictated by US Forest Service) includes s'mores, singing and reflection.
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Overnight Float accentuates the days adventures.
(Wednesday, July 24)
 Breakfast: Breakfast included.
 Morning: Experiencial learning at its best with special presentation from a National Park biologist, naturalist and former back country ranger. Pack day packs; short walk to meet outfitter and rafting guides at rafting headquarters for safety meeting and adventure overview. All aboard.
 Lunch: Riverside lunches.
 Afternoon: Practice paddling skills on this area of the Yellowstone River's class II and III rapids. Float encompasses Class I, II, III and IV rapids. Guides and naturalist discuss riparian habitat; identify birds including waterfowl, ospreys and shore birds; hear human history of the area. Raft seven miles to camp. Revel in the joy and excitement and freedom of being on the water. Special pre-dinner presentation.
 Dinner: Delicious dinner prepared out of doors. Fresh air and being on the water make for ravenous appetites. Enjoy!
 Evening: Help prepare camp. Enjoy evening's beautiful light, bird calls and natural history presentation. Sleep well under Montana's star-filled sky.
Accommodations: Flying Pig Outfitters
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Yellowstone expedition continues. Return to town for some down time. Evening presentation.
(Thursday, July 25)
 Breakfast: Delicious riverside breakfast.
 Morning: Help pack gear and board rafts as adventure continues another eight miles down the Yellowstone. Guides and interpreter discuss geology, native fish and wildlife that inhabit the riparian area including beaver and otters. Watch for mule deer, bighorn sheep and pronghorn.
 Lunch: Riverside lunch.
 Afternoon: Rafting adventure winds to a close as intrepid adventurers say goodbye and thank you to the mighty Yellowstone River and all it offers to those who take the time to listen. Transportation back to lodging for some down time.
 Dinner: Dinner included.
 Evening: Living history presentation describes individual who contributed to the area's colorful past.
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Morning hike, closing, group photo and goodbye brunch.
(Friday, July 26)
 Breakfast: Naturalist-led morning hike along the Yellowstone River east of lodgings; discover yet another life zone within the Greater Yellowstone area, the Northern Desert Community, which receives up to 15 inches of moisture per year. While exploring this unique habitat, watch for bighorn sheep, osprey, pronghorn, elk and mule deer. Return to lodgings for closing and bring your camera for a group photo.
 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 Hiking
One trailhead 1/2 mile from lodgings; another 3/4 mile from lodgings.
Scenic float or whitewater rafting on Yellowstone River. For additional information, visit
  Xanterra Parks and Resorts
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
  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
  Yellowstone National Park
Official website for Yellowstone National Park. Information, planning a visit, history, etc. For additional information, visit
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

It Happened in Yellowstone: Remarkable Events That Shaped History

Author: Erin Turner

Description: Discover true tales from Yellowstone's past that shaped its history including geologic events like the volcanic eruption that formed Yellowstone over 600,000 years ago and the massive 1959 earthquake that created Quake Lake. Read about wildlife, the historic Nez Perce flight and early tourists, Truman Everts-lost in Yellowstone and a great stagecoach robbery.

Hey Ranger? Kids Ask Questions About Yellowstone National Park

Author: Kim Justesen

Description: Here are real questions - some smart and some silly - that kids ask rangers every day. This well researched, educational guide is fun to read and filled with fascinating facts and amusing anecdotes.

Who Pooped in the Park? Yellowstone National Park: Scat and Tracks for Kids

Author: Gary Robson and Elijah Brady Clark

Description: Accurate information that is fun to read. Kids will learn how to identify critter scat and tracks in a straight forward manner. Lots of extra detail is included such as how to tell the difference between similar looking tracks, why wolf scat has hair in it and much more.

Lost in Yellowstone, Truman Everts' Thirty-seven Days of Peril

Author: Lee Whittlesey, editor

Description: Read this true life adventure of the fifty-four year-old, nearsighted Truman Everts who visited the Yellowstone area with an exploration party in 1870. Although he was an inexperienced woodsman, he was determined to map and investigate the grand and mysterious Yellowstone country. After becoming separated from his party and abandoned by his horse, he wandered Yellowstone for thirty-seven days, injured, alone and with little food and shelter. Lee Whittlesey, Yellowstone National Park's historian, edited Everts' story which records one of the American frontier's most grueling survival adventures. Appreciate many early day photographs of Yellowstone National Park which illustrate the book.

Scats and Tracks of the Rocky Mountains

Author: James Halfpenny

Description: Scats and tracks have a story to tell and the author, a nationally renowned tracker, teaches the reader how to read signs to figure out who passed by. Includes written descriptions, track and gait pattern illustrations, glossary and more.

Yellowstone Place Names, 2nd edition

Author: Lee Whittlesey

Description: Yellowstone National Park Historian's well-researched and entertaining reference source for information on many of Yellowstone's place names and their origins.

Watching Yellowstone and Teton Wildlife: The Best Places to Look From Roads and Trails

Author: Todd Wilkinson and Michael L. Francis

Description: Pack this guidebook, along with your binoculars and enthusiasm, when visiting both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. The authors identify numerous viewing areas for optimum wildlife watching and have included maps, color photographs, samples of animal tracks, driving tours, hikes and animal descriptions including behavioral information.

Roadside Geology of Yellowstone Country

Author: William Fritz & Robert Thomas

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

Mountain Spirit: The Sheep Eater Indians of Yellowstone

Author: Lawrence Loendorf and Nancy Medaris Stone

Description: Drawing on the results of ongoing archaeological excavations and extensive ethnographic work among descendant native peoples, the authors discuss the many Indian groups, in particular the Tukudika Shoshone, who visited or lived in the Yellowstone area in prehistoric and historic times. The Tukudika or Sheep Eaters made skillful use of their environment and maintained an abundant way of life closely related to their primary source of protein, the mountain sheep of high-altitude Yellowstone.

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.

Empire of Shadows: The Epic Story of Yellowstone National Park

Author: George Black

Description: Consider the history of the exploration of Yellowstone National Park through this "historical account of the origins of America's majestic national landmark." The author's well-documented history is a realistic look at people and political and economic factors; his book is sectioned into Pathfinders, Civilizers, Soldiers, Explorers and Tourists. "He casts Yellowstone's creation as the culmination of three interwoven strands of history - the passion for exploration, the violence of the Indian Wars and the 'civilizing' of the frontier and charts its course through the lives of those who sought to lay bare its mysteries."

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.

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.

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.

Super Volcano: The Ticking Time Bomb Beneath Yellowstone National Park

Author: Greg Breining

Description: Yellowstone sits atop one of the world’s five super volcanoes. The Yellowstone volcano has erupted about every 600,000 years and is now about 30,000 years overdue. The author suggests that the Yellowstone caldera is potentially the most explosive, most violent, most deadly active volcano on the planet and what will happen, in human terms, when it does erupt. Find out more as the author describes how volcanoes function and explains complicated and violent geological processes, the important field of plate tectonics and more.

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