Road Scholar : Home
Multi-Sport Adventure: Bike, Hike, and Raft in Big Sky and Yellowstone

Program Number: 20675RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/1/2014 - 6/6/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Big Sky, Montana
Price starting at: $1,068.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Multi-Sport; Bicycling; Walking/Hiking; National Parks Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Experience the adventure of a lifetime while biking, hiking, rafting and riding a scenic chair lift to 8,500 feet amid the stunning backdrop of Big Sky, Mont. and Yellowstone National Park. As you and other active learners encounter remote Western trails, a seasoned naturalist directs your discovery of the complex ecological relationships and adaptations of the Yellowstone Ecosystem.


• Led by an experienced local naturalist, venture on foot and by bike onto trails less traveled by the average visitor.
• Raft a portion of the pristine Gallatin River as it carves its way through the massive canyon of the Gallatin and Madison mountain ranges.
• Hike among marvels of Yellowstone’s geology, wildlife, thermal features and human history in the Fountain Flats, Biscuit Basin and Old Faithful areas.

Activity Particulars

Hiking 1-6 miles daily on packed dirt trails. Mountain biking 3-12 miles on Days 2-4 on dirt roads with possible loose gravel; some paved roads. Rafting two hours on Class 2 and 3 whitewater. Elevations of 6,000-8,500 feet.

Coordinated by University of Montana Western.

Big Sky

Located 18 miles from Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky straddles Gallatin and Madison counties — a detail that leaves the region without a town status or town government. Nestled at the base of Lone Mountain, Big Sky is an ideal location for skiing, snowboarding and outdoor recreation.

Full-service resort set amid magnificent nature.
Meals and Lodgings
   Buck's T-4 Lodge
  Big Sky, Montana 5 nights
 Buck's T-4 Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: Bucks T-4 Lodge is nestled in the Gallatin Valley between the Gallatin and Madison mountain ranges. The provides a stunning backdrop Buck’s T-4 Lodge has been a Big Sky tradition for over 50 years. Visitors to Yellowstone, Big Sky and Moonlight Basin ski resorts and the Gallatin Canyon experience unparalleled hospitality and the genius of Buck's cuisine. Their welcoming atmosphere, nationally acclaimed restaurant, hearty breakfast and many amenities make them the natural choice for lodging in Big Sky, Montana.
  Contact info: 46625 Gallatin Rd
Gallatin Gateway, MT 59730 USA
phone: 406-995-4111
  Room amenities: Guests will stay in room with two queen beds or a queen and a couch. All rooms are equipped with free wireless Internet, iPod docking stations, microwave/refrigerator, satellite TV with 3 HBO channels, direct-dial phones with voicemail, coffee maker, hair dryer and iron.
  Facility amenities: Start each day with our complimentary full breakfast. Other guest amenities include two restaurants with historic bar, free wireless Internet, two huge outdoor hot tubs, patio with outdoor fireplace, microwave/refrigerators and three HBO channels. Our richly appointed guest rooms furnished in a country decor features free Wi-Fi and an iPod docking station in every guest room. Rooms are also equipped with microwaves and refrigerators. Buck's has a beautiful outdoor Garden, with its waterfalls and native landscaping, provides a stunning backdrop for your Montana vacation. They feature over 5,000 square feet of meeting space in one of Montana's most picturesque locations. Buck's rustic log decor sets the stage for superb evening dining featuring Montana steaks, wild game, seafood, and more. Our award-winning wine list features over 250 selections and is recognized by Gourmet, Wine Spectator and Bon Appetit. Buck's Pub features casual dining with a unique flair and the adjacent game room with pool tables and video games offer evening entertainment. Free wireless high-speed Internet access is also available in the Pub and bar.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: varies For seasonal rates call Buck's T-4 Lodge for information at 406.995.4111
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: varies For seasonal rates call Buck's T-4 Lodge for information at 406.995.4111
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Registration at Lodge between 4-5 pm You will be staying at Buck's T-4 Lodge that night.
  End of Program:
11:00 am airport shuttle and independent departure You will be staying at Buck's T-4 Lodge the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. A liability waiver is required by Geyser Whitewater, the rafting outfitter, for participation in the rafting component of the program. Please bring a Golden Age or National Parks Pass if you have one.
  Parking availability:
Parking available at no charge
To Start of Program
  Location:  Big Sky, Montana
  Nearest city or town:  West Yellowstone and Bozeman
  Nearest highway: US Route 191
  Nearest airport:  Bozeman
  From End of Program
  Location: Big Sky, Montana
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details



From Airport




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


Per Person/One Way:


Group rate approximately $68.00 per person: Call for current rates
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Allow 1 hour 




45 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 2:00 pm on Friday. Arriving in Bozeman a day early or staying an extra day may be more economical than booking individual transportation.




To Airport




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


Per Person/One Way:


Group rate approximately $68.00 per person: Call for current rates
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Allow 1 hour 




45 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 Big Sky.

Driving Directions
  Billings, MT Travel west on I-90 toward Butte for 140 miles. As you reach Bozeman, MT you will merge onto US-191 S via EXIT 309 toward Bozeman/West Yellowstone and travel for approximately 10 miles. A left turn onto Gallatin Rd/US-191 will take you south. Stay on US-191 for 35 miles until you see Bucks T-4 Lodge on your right.
  Idaho Falls, ID Take US-20 E toward Rigby/W. Yellowstone for 105 miles (Crossing into Montana). Turn left onto Canyon Street/US-287/US-191. Continue to follow US-191 to 47 more miles. In route you will quickly pass through Yellowstone National Park, so don't blink or you will miss it.
  Missoula, MT Travel on East on I 90 approximately 190 miles. After passing the small towns of Three Forks and Manhattan take EXIT 298 toward MT-291/Belgrade/MT-85/W Yellowstone/Airport. Turn left onto Amsterdam Rd/MT-347 and take the 1st right onto Jackrabbit Lane/MT-85 S. If you are on the Alaska Frontage Road and reach Yukon Lane you've gone about 0.2 miles too far. After traveling about 6.6 miles Jackrabbit Lane becomes Gallatin Rd/US-191 and continues south. Buck's T-4 Lodge will be on your right after winding along the beautiful Gallatin River for about 35 miles. Your destination is just past Running Iron Road. If you reach Cummings Lane you've gone a little too far.
Elevation Note: Site elevation 6,125'. Hiking and biking at elevations ranging from 6,000' to 8,000'

Equipment Requirements: Bring sturdy, light hiking shoes that will suffice for both hiking and biking; a water bottle and fanny or day pack are a must. Bring a walking stick if you use one. Bikes and helmets included or bring your own; provided bikes have clip-less pedals.
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: Welcome Dinner and Orientation
(Sunday, June 1)
 Arrive To: Welcome to Buck's T-4 Lodge located near the Big Sky area, home of many scenic biking and hiking trails and the near the pristine Gallatin River.
 Dinner: Experience the genius of Buck's T-4 cuisine at the welcome dinner.
 Evening: Orientation and introductions.
Accommodations: Buck's T-4 Lodge
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Overview of the wonders of Yellowstone/bike fitting/scenic ride and hike.
(Monday, June 2)

Note: Day 2-4 will include hiking from 1 to 3 moderate miles and bicycling from 3 to 12 miles on maintained packed dirt trails with possible loose gravel and some paved roads at elevations from 6,000' to 7,500'. Day 5 in Yellowstone will include an approximate 6 mile hike.

 Breakfast: Hot breakfast at the Lodge
 Morning: Classroom presentation includes overview of Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Fitting for bikes and helmets with time to become accustomed to bikes.
 Lunch: Lunch at lodge.
 Afternoon: The group will bike and hike to prominent state wildlife refuge land to view elk winter range. Paricipants will have an exceptional view of the surrounding mountain-scape and Yellowstone National Park as instructor offers interpretation of how the elk and other wildlife who find refuge in this area during the winter months. 3 mile moderate bike ride and easy 2-3 mile hike.
 Dinner: Dinner at the Lodge
 Evening: Evening presentation about the wonders of Yellowstone and surrounding area considering topics which may include, but are not limited to, geology, human history, thermodynamic features, ecology, predator/prey relationships, riparian habitats and how this all influences the Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Accommodations: Buck's T-4 Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Ride to resort village and hike to scenic falls.
(Tuesday, June 3)
 Breakfast: Hot breakfast at the Lodge
 Morning: Bike moderate 12 miles to resort village on both paved and maintained dirt road with some loose gravel. Continue ride to trail head. Enjoy interpretation of the geology, wildlife and natural history of the surrounding area as the group hikes and rides.
 Lunch: Sack lunches in the field
 Afternoon: Hike on well maintained, switchbacking trail into wonderful canyon. Naturalist will interprest the scene as you hike among towering Engelmann Spruce trees to breathtaking 100 foot Falls.
 Dinner: Dinner at the Lodge
 Evening: Optional movie "A River Runs Through It" which includes scenes filmed across the street from the lodge on the Gallatin River.
Accommodations: Buck's T-4 Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Morning hike and an afternoon raft on the Gallatin River.
(Wednesday, June 4)
 Breakfast: Hot breakfast at the Lodge
 Morning: 2-3 mile hike morning hike close to the lodgings. Enjoy the back drop of the magnificent mountain-scape as seasoned naturalist brilliantly colors the hike with interpretation of the surrounding area.
 Lunch: sack lunch in the field
 Afternoon: Expert outfitters provide a memorable raft trip over class 2-3 whitewater. Active adventurers will enjoy a scenic ride winding through towering rock formations on the pristine Gallatin River.
 Dinner: Dinner on Site
 Evening: Free Evening
Accommodations: Buck's T-4 Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Yellowstone National Park: Hike behind Midway Geyser Basin to Fairy Falls.
(Thursday, June 5)
 Breakfast: Hot breakfast at the Lodge
 Morning: Discover 6 of the 1,300 miles of back country trails as naturalist leads the group off the beaten path through a “lodge pole desert,” created by the fires of 1988. Naturalist will use opportune moments to highlight the various unique thermal features as the hike continues on behind Midway Geyser Basin to Fairy Falls. Experience Fairy Creek's magnificent decent out over the edge of the Madison Plateau as it plunges 197 feet.
 Lunch: Sack lunches in the field
 Afternoon: Field day to Yellowstone will include the Old Faithful area, the Fountain Paint Pots and the Upper Geyser Basin to experience all four examples of thermal features - fumaroles, hot pools, mudpots and geysers. Walk the Old Faithful Geyser Basin and explore historic Old Faithful Inn. Expect fantastic eruptions, beautifully tinted hot pools, pungent sulfur steam. Learn of life forms at high temperatures. Consider the Great Caldera's underground plumbing.
 Dinner: Dinner at Old Faithful
 Evening: Evening return takes advantage of the crepuscular hour and possible wildlife sightings.
Accommodations: Buck's T-4 Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Final Presentation and Review Wrap Up. Group shuttle depart site at 11:30 a.m.
(Friday, June 6)
 Breakfast: Hot breakfast at the Lodge
 Morning: Your instructor/naturalist recaps the learning adventure, summarizing your recently gained knowledge and puts things in perspective. The parts are greater than the whole. Goodbyes and check-out. Airport shuttle departs 11 am. Best to schedule flights after 1:30 pm.
 Lunch: Grab-n-go sack lunches to take on the road
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
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

Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley: A History

Author: Phyllis Smith

Description: The author states that this is the story of those who traveled through, or later settled in, the Gallatin Valley region in successive migrations for perhaps as far back as thirty thousand years. She reviewed newspapers, memoirs, letters and other sources to put together this narrative history of Montana’s fertile Gallatin Valley and its urban hub, Bozeman. The Treasure State’s Valley of Flowers comes to life through beautifully written text illustrated with some 300 photographs, etchings and maps. Subjects ranging from famous frontiersmen, agriculture, transportation, crime and recreation to geology, notorious events and architecture reveal a rich and colorful past.

The Bloody Bozeman: The Perilous Trail to Montana's Gold

Author: Dorothy Johnson

Description: Part of the Western Trail series, The Bloody Bozeman showcases some of the American West’s most colorful personalities, memorable events and personal stories of the men and women who emigrated to Montana over this trail and others. The author reviews the creation of the Bozeman Trail in 1862 and traces events along its length from 1863 through 1868. The bloody Bozeman Trail through Wyoming and Montana was known for the violence and peril that shadowed it as travelers faced hostile Indians, hard climates, outlaws and solitude. This historical book describes how the trail developed, why it was used, who utilized it and why the Army abandoned the forts it had established along the trail. Dorothy Johnson, a true storyteller touches on the other gold fields of early Montana, Road Agents, Vigilantes and Frontier Justice.

A Ranger's Guide to Yellowstone Day Hikes

Author: Roger Anderson and Carol Shively Anderson

Description: Consider wildlife etiquette and tips for hiking in bear country then choose trails by area, difficulty and distance; appreciate highlights and naturalist notes while on the trail.

A River Runs Through It

Author: Norman Maclean

Description: Lean, penetrating lyrics of words describe a time and a life based in Norman Maclean’s childhood experiences. Descriptions of life, of fly fishing in Montana’s Big Sky country along the Big Blackfoot River is an exquisite blended word painting of land, water and family. Come fish in the Rockies and read this novella which begins: In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. We lived at the junction of great trout rivers in western Montana, and our father was a Presbyterian minister and a fly fisherman who tied his own flies and taught others. He told us about Christ's disciples being fishermen, and we were left to assume, as my brother and I did, that all first-class fishermen on the Sea of Galilee were fly fishermen and that John, the favorite, was a dry-fly fisherman.

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.

Windows into the Earth: The Geologic Story of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

Author: Robert B. Smith and Lee J. Siegel

Description: Find out about the forces that shaped and continue to shape the Greater Yellowstone-Teton region. Illustrations and driving tours of both parks help visitors enjoy and understand the Earth's creative forces in this wondrous region.

A Field Guide to Mammal Tracking in North America

Author: James Halfpenny

Description: Discover how tracks tell the story by learning to read all the evidence left by critters - including scat and gait patterns. Become a nature detective by unraveling these impressions to identify the animal and its behavior. Clearly written, amply illustrated and easy to use.

Scorched Earth: How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America

Author: Rocky Barker

Description: The Yellowstone fires brought to the forefront longstanding conflict over whether federal land management should go with immediate fire suppression procedures or the ‘let it burn’ philosophy. The author, who experienced the Yellowstone fires of 1988 as an environmental reporter there, reviews US wildlands fire history by highlighting wildlands fire management. Discussion of this history and the history of federal lands management considers how these policies shaped the protection of public lands in the US today. Further explained are the details behind the creation of Yellowstone National Park and the role the US Army played in ‘protecting Yellowstone and shaping public lands in the West.’

The Last Best Place, A Montana Anthology

Author: William Kittredge & Annick Smith, editors

Description: This anthology preserves Montana's rich literary heritage from myths and stories of the earliest Native American inhabitants to works of contemporary authors. Read accounts written by early explorers and visitors including Lewis and Clark, Osborne Russell and James Audubon and by miners, cowboys and settlers. This literature that has been birthed in the Last Best Place - diaries, essays, legends, journals, tall tales, poetry - reflects the remarkable nature of the Treasure State.

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.

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.

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 2016 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768