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Hiking in Yellowstone: Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Program Number: 4874RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/17/2015 - 5/22/2015; 7/12/2015 - 7/17/2015; 8/2/2015 - 8/7/2015; 8/16/2015 - 8/21/2015; 8/23/2015 - 8/28/2015; 8/30/2015 - 9/4/2015; 9/20/2015 - 9/25/2015; 9/27/2015 - 10/2/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Yellowstone, Montana
Price starting at: $1,049.00 - 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; Gluten Free    

Yellowstone National Park offers 1,200 miles of hiking, walking and backpacking trails that wind through the park’s 2.2 million acres of spectacular and mostly untouched terrain. Led by a naturalist, explore pathways that thread through Yellowstone’s matchless landscape of diverse flora, thermal features, landforms, canyons, cascades and waterways.




Highlights

• Discover a spectacular and mostly untouched landscape while hiking a fragment of Yellowstone's 1,200 miles of backpacking, hiking and walking trails.
• Four days in the field offer a tantalizing glimpse of the Great Caldera’s infinite wonders.
• An instructor’s interpretation and observations enhance your hiking field trips and provide an intimate portrait of the park’s wildlife, habitats and geology.



Activity Particulars

Hikes of 3-6 miles on established hiking trails at elevations from 5,200-9,000 feet. Be prepared for sudden changes in weather.




Date Specific Information

5-17-2015

This date will have 2 instructors and the group will be divided into 2 small hiking groups.



7-12-2015

Discover Yellowstone abloom via ecology presentations and four days exploration among some of the region`s 1,150 native species of flowering plants. Several less active, botanist-led wildflower walks each field day offer subtle blooms to blazing glory; Hike 3-6 miles per day among life zones from the northern desert community to areas above timberline. Consider monkshood, pollinators, bears, elephanthead and fringed gentian when Yellowstone showcases its magnificent wildflowers. This program coincides with program #21597 "Adventurous Women Exploring the Rivers and Trails of Yellowstone" with the same lodgings. This could be an alternative program for a traveling companion who is female or would like the option of seeing portions of Yellowstone on the water.



8-2-2015

This date offers hiking in a small group and runs in conjunction with program #20563 "Capturing Yellowstone: Plein Air Workshop in the Wild" for travel partners interested in painting in Yellowstone rather than hiking.



8-16-2015

This date will have 2 instructors and the group will be divided into 2 small moderately challenging hiking groups.



8-23-2015

This date will have 2 instructors and the groups will be divided into 2 small hiking groups. This date is a "Challenging" activity level and offer challenging hikes of 6 to 8 miles on each of four field days and my not include Old Faithful. This date follows a "Moderately Challenging" hiking program Aug 16-21, 2015. Enrolling in both dates offers adventurous hikers the opportunity to hike for 8 field days in Yellowstone.



8-30-2015

This date will have 2 instructors and the groups will be divided into 2 small hiking groups. This date follows a "Challenging" hiking program Aug 23-28, 2015. Enrolling in both dates offers adventurous hikers the opportunity to hike for 8 field days in Yellowstone.



9-20-2015

This program date has both an activity level of "Challenging" & “Moderately Challenging.” Participants will be split into two small groups to hike. Challenging hikes will take experienced hikers 6-8 miles on each of four field days and may not see Old Faithful. Moderately challenging hikes will take hikers 3-6 miles and include a visit to Old Faithful.



9-27-2015

This date offers hiking in a small group and runs in conjunction with program #17947 "Inspired Images: Photographing the Wonders of Yellowstone" for travel partners interested in photographing Yellowstone rather than hiking.



Coordinated by University of Montana Western.




Yellowstone National Park (Montana)

The world's first national park, established in 1872, is famous for its thermal features, plentiful flora and fauna, as well as its considerable human history, from early explorers to the historic park lodges. Although the park itself is in Wyoming, three of the entrances are in Montana.



Accommodations
Motel, patio overlooking Yellowstone River. Some rooms up one flight of stairs.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Gene Ball

Raised along the rural Louisiana-Texas border, Gene's early outdoor experiences began a lifelong interest in wildlife, western heritage and preservation. After teaching and serving as director for the Hill Country Arts Foundation and Cowboy Artists Museum in Texas, he migrated to Wyoming to work at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. He then became director of the Yellowstone Association and Yellowstone Institute in Yellowstone National Park, and now freelances as a writer and naturalist.
 
Catherine Raven

A resident of the Greater Yellowstone region for 18 years, Dr. Catherine Raven began her career as a backcountry ranger at Glacier and Mt. Rainier National Parks. She later received her Ph.D. in biology from Montana State University while working as a biological technician in North Cascades and Voyageurs National Parks. Her high school Forestry textbook was published in 2006 and she has since published natural history essays in American Scientist, American Mensa and Montana magazines.
 
Leslie Stoltz

Raised and educated in the Finger Lakes region of New York, Leslie Stoltz now lives in Big Sky, Montana, surrounded by the wild places that she loves. Her decade of work for the National Park Service in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks in the areas of research and education provided a wonderful foundation for her career as a teacher and park expert. Since the early 1990s, Leslie has worked for a variety of companies and non-profit organizations, teaching classes and leading trips in national parks and wild areas throughout the American West. Farther afield, she has led educational trips to Nepal, Bhutan, Tanzania, Botswana, Ecuador, and Mexico. Leslie also runs a non-profit with a mission to keep kids connected to the outdoors though scholarship opportunities for outdoor learning experiences.
 
Lee Harry

Lee Harry earned a master's degree in forestry with an emphasis in wildlands fire ecology. He enjoyed a forester's career with the U.S. Forest Service where his roles included planting, tending and harvesting trees, applying prescribed fire, and suppressing wild fires. Lee has a particular interest in bark beetles and the white pine blister rust that is impacting high mountain ecology. Now retired, Lee enjoys hiking, camping, snowboarding, reading and traveling as much as possible. Lee lives on a ranch near Bozeman, Montana though he is often found - or not found - exploring the Great Beyond.
 
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. Remember, you are experiencing the atmosphere of a small, rural community and meal options are naturally limited. 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 this 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
web: www.yellowstonerivermotel.com
  Room amenities: In-room coffee, refrigerator, microwave, satellite TV, phone, wireless internet.
  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 in office.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Varies. Seasonal rates; call for information.
  Check in time: 4:30 PM
  Additional nights after: Varies. Seasonal rates; call for information.
  Check out time: 9:00 AM


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 with 11 a.m. grab and go 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 $81.00; call for current group rate.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

Two hours. 

 

Distance:

 

90 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 $81.00; call for current group rate.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

Two hours. 

 

Distance:

 

90 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. OR Travel south 89 miles on US HWY 191 to West Yellowstone. Enter Yellowstone National Park and drive east 14 miles to Madison Junction. Drive east then north 14 miles to Norris Junction; carry on northward 21 miles to Mammoth; bear 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. (Note, travel in the Park is slow as speed limit averages 15-40 miles per hour.)
  from the East (Cody, WY) Call (307) 344-2117 for road conditions, closures, etc. in Yellowstone. 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.
  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.
Elevation Note: Site elevation 5,260'. Hikes take place at elevations ranging from 5,800' to 10,243'.

Equipment Requirements: Sturdy hiking boots or hiking shoes, water bottle and fanny or day pack are a must. Bring a walking stick if you use one.
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 to Gardiner, northwest gateway community to Yellowstone National Park. Welcome dinner, orientation and introductions.
(Sunday, September 27)

Note: Please note you will be hiking in high elevations on uneven and rocky terrain. Your hiking experience will be more fulfilling if you do some preparation ahead of time.



   
 Afternoon: Check-in between 4 and 5 pm.
 Dinner: Welcome Dinner at nearby restaurant.
 Evening: Orientation and Introductions.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: The adventure begins with an overview of Yellowstone's grand ecosystem and your first hike in "Wonderland."
(Monday, September 28)

Note: Hike 3 to 6 miles on each of four field days.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant.
 Morning: The morning introduction provides an overview of the Greater Yellowstone area, its wildlife and habitats, including populations, predator/prey dynamics and more. This information lays the foundation and sets the tone for discovery and exploratory hikes in"Wonderland." Field trip departs mid morning. Bring binoculars.
 Lunch: Sack lunches in the park.
 Afternoon: Today's field trip into the Yellowstone ecosystem is an opportunity to become familiar with various life zones. Exploratory hikes with interpretation into these areas is hands-on discovery of marshland, high desert, forest, hydrothermal and grasslands communities. You'll understand how their geologic bones, together with elevation and weather, evolved into vibrant habitats populated by the flora and fauna that is present today. Remember, at higher altitudes you are more susceptible to dehydration and altitude sickness. Exercising moderately, carrying a water bottle with you and drinking plenty of water is of utmost importance to avoid these sometimes dangerous problems.
 Dinner: Picnic suppers in the park.
 Evening: Evening return offers wildlife viewing during evening's golden light and the crepuscular hour. Bring camera and binoculars. Expect to see bison, elk, waterfowl, coyote. The opportunity to see moose, bear or wolf exists; however, sightings cannot be guaranteed.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Field day in Yellowstone for hiking; hiking destinations vary due to instructor's preference. You will visit the Canyon and Old Faithful areas at some point during field days in the Park.
(Tuesday, September 29)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant.
 Morning: Field day in Yellowstone National Park for hiking. PLEASE NOTE: hiking destinations vary due to instructor's preference. Hiking destinations may change at the last minute due to weather conditions, area closures due to thermal activity, trail closures due to grizzly bear, wolf, bison or other wildlife activity. Remember, the Park is their home! *You will visit the Old Faithful and Canyon areas at some point during your field days in the Park. These golden hiking days are to explore, learn about and enjoy all Yellowstone has to offer. *Hikes and walks take place at elevations ranging from 5,800' to 10,243'. *Elevation gains CAN RANGE from 600' in 1/2 mile to 1,400' in 3 miles.
 Lunch: Sack lunches in the Park.
 Afternoon: Field day/hiking continued.
 Dinner: Dinner at nearby restaurant.
 Evening: Evening on your own.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Field day among Yellowstone's mostly untouched 2.2 million acres for hiking. Most trailheads are miles from lodgings; enjoy splendid views, the unexpected, observations and interpretation while adventuring to the trailhead.
(Wednesday, September 30)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant.
 Morning: Field day in Yellowstone National Park for hiking. Yellowstone's spectacular and mostly untouched 2.2 million acres offer a lifetime of discovery and 1,200 miles of hiking, walking and back packing trails. Most trailheads are miles from lodgings. Here is the opportunity to appreciate splendid views, the unexpected, your naturalist’s observations and interpretation, to see more of the Great Caldera than you had imagined while voyaging to the various trailheads. Joys of hiking are well worth the getting there as memorable moments string together into golden days.
 Lunch: Sack lunches in the Park.
 Afternoon: Field day/hiking continued.
 Dinner: Dinner at nearby restaurant.
 Evening: Natural history presentation.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Explore, learn and enjoy. Hikes are not aerobic-style but rather offer interpretation of the area, an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Yellowstone, step away from the fast pace of everyday life and seize the moment.
(Thursday, October 1)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant.
 Morning: Field day in Yellowstone National Park for hiking.
 Lunch: Sack lunches in the Park.
 Afternoon: Field day/hiking continued.
 Dinner: Dinner at nearby restaurant.
 Evening: Evening presentation addresses an aspect of Yellowstone's natural history or current issues affecting the Greater Yellowstone area.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: 'Railroad to Boot Hill' hike is a wrap.
(Friday, October 2)

Note: Hike 2-3 miles round trip from lodgings.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant
 Morning: Final morning hike includes interpretation of the local area, wraps up the adventure, ties up loose ends, answers questions and brings the adventure to a satisfying conclusion. Group photo; bring your camera. Checkout
 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
Yellowstone River Trailhead is 7/8 mile fom lodgings. Old Yellowstone Trail Trailhead is 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
  Xanterra Parks and Resorts
Xanterra Parks and Resorts is Yellowstone's principal concessionaire and includes operations of park's lodging facilities, some campgrounds, restaurants, gift shops, interpretive tours, etc. For additional information, visit www.TravelYellowstone.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
Official website for Yellowstone National Park. Provides information about Yellowstone, for planning a trip to Yellowstone, history, what to do-ranger led activities, news and etc. For additional information, visit www.nps.gov/yell/home.htm
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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



Roadside Geology of Yellowstone Country


Author: William Fritz & Robert Thomas


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





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