16839
West Yellowstone
Winter Ventures in Yellowstone Country
Learn how to snowmobile, snowshoe and ski, discover unique wildlife and visit Old Faithful, fumaroles and bubbling hot springs as you explore the wonders of Yellowstone in winter.
Program No. 16839RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,399
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
West Yellowstone, MT
D
Brandin' Iron Inn

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to confirm when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, our plated dinner will include salad, fresh charbroiled hamburger, hand-cut fries and choice of soft drink, coffee, tea, water. Other drinks available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This program is staffed with both an instructor who is an expert naturalist and will give lectures and lead field trips and a Group Leader who will deal primarily with logistics. Only “over snow vehicles” are allowed in Yellowstone National Park during the winter months. We will travel in the park one day on snow coaches — specialized van-type vehicles that travel over snow and ice that move at very slow speed limits through the park (25 mph). Expect a lot of time spent in the snow coaches, but there will commentary from your instructor all along the way and many stops to take in the winter landscape and the wildlife. Another day traveling into the park will be on snowmobiles traveling all together at slow speeds under the direction of trained guides. If you choose to not take part in any of the outdoor activities, less active options available are the IMAX Theater or shopping in West Yellowstone. Much of the walking to and from activities and in Yellowstone National Park will be on packed snow and possible icy areas. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

DAY
2
Yellowstone Ecosystem, Volcano & Snowshoe Walk
West Yellowstone, MT
B,L,D
Brandin' Iron Inn

Activity note: Three hour snowshoe walk on moderate terrain at 6,666'. Snowshoes provided; no experience necessary.

Breakfast: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a plated breakfast from the menu plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Morning: We will enjoy an overview from our instructor introducing the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem and history of the Yellowstone volcano.

Lunch: In the hotel hospitality room, we will enjoy a catered buffet lunch featuring salad, main entrée and dessert. Coffee, tea, water included.

Afternoon: We will experience winter ecology via an interpreted snowshoe walk at the edge of town on Riverside Trail, where we will discuss animal tracks, scat and sign, and consider habits and habitat —what do they tell us about critters' winter behavior?

Dinner: At our classroom site, we will enjoy a catered dinner, including salad, main entrée with one side, dessert. Coffee, tea, water included. Other beverages available for purchase beforehand.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Snow Coach Journey into Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
West Yellowstone, MT
B,L,D
Brandin' Iron Inn

Activity note: Full-day, 80 mile round trip snow coach journey in heated, over-the-snow vehicles at elevations from 6,666' to 7,734'; several moderate walks on slippery, snow-packed trails, boardwalks and stairs.

Breakfast: In the hotel hospitality room, we will enjoy a buffet breakfast, featuring cheese omelets, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, cereal, eggs, biscuits and gravy, and Danish pastries.; milk, juice, coffee, tea, water included.

Morning: We’ll head out for a full day, naturalist-led adventure into Yellowstone Park to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone area via heated, over-the-snow vehicles called snow coaches. We’ll thread among the park's breathtaking winter beauty along the Madison and Gibbon Rivers to Norris Junction, then eastward toward Canyon, with several moderate walks to scenic overlooks.

Lunch: We will enjoy sack lunches including sandwich, chips, cookie, & fruit amidst the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone's winter grandeur.

Afternoon: We will spend more time at the canyon for photo opportunities and trailside interpretation, where winter's white and iron grip only adds to the magnificence. Upper Fall's roaring, 109' plunge and Lower Fall's classically spectacular 308' sweep into ice-swathed depths. Here, beautifully tinted walls result from hot water's action on volcanic rock.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a plated dinner, including salad, main entrée with side & dessert. Soft drink, coffee, water, tea included. Other drinks available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Wildlife of Yellowstone, Cross Country Ski Rendezvous Trail
West Yellowstone, MT
B,L,D
Brandin' Iron Inn

Activity note: Three hour cross country ski trek on moderate terrain at 6,666'. Cross country skis provided; no experience necessary. Walk to Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, with SUV available.

Breakfast: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a plated breakfast from a limited menu, with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Morning: Following breakfast, we will visit the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center where we will learn about the wildlife of Yellowstone: predator and prey, habitat requirements, winter range, populations and more. The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is dedicated to providing visitors to the Yellowstone area the unique opportunity to learn about, view and ultimately appreciate the grizzly bear and gray wolf.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a plated meal, featuring salad, pizza and soft drink, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After instruction from ski outfitter, we will start our cross country ski trek on nearby Rendezvous Trail System, which encompasses over 18 miles (30 km) of groomed trails on gently rolling terrain in and out of lodgepole pine forest and open meadows. We’ll discuss winter ecology, tracks, and scat.

Dinner: In the hotel hospitality room we will enjoy a catered dinner, including salad, main entrée with one side, dessert. Coffee, tea, water included. Other beverages available for purchase beforehand.

Evening: This evening in the hospitality room we will enjoy a lecture on the wolves of Yellowstone from our instructor.

DAY
5
Snowmobile Venture into Yellowstone to Old Faithful
West Yellowstone, MT
B,L,D
Brandin' Iron Inn

Activity note: Full-day, 60 mile round trip snowmobile adventure on two-passenger, cleaner, quieter, four-stroke machines at elevations from 6,666' to 7,365'; several moderate walks on slippery, snow-packed trails, boardwalks and stairs.

Breakfast: Motel buffet.

Morning: We will next enjoy a full-day guided snowmobile field adventure into Yellowstone National Park, to Old Faithful via Firehole Canyon, Lower and Midway Geyser Basins. We’ll enjoy riding as driver or passenger on two-person snowmobile, exhilarating among breathtaking wonders of the Great Caldera, a land that holds one half of the world's geothermal features - geysers, hot springs, mudpots and fumaroles! We’ll also go on several walks among steamy, sulfur-scented Old Faithful and Lower Geyser Basins.

Lunch: Near Old Faithful, we will enjoy a sack lunch with sandwich, chips, cookie, & fruit.

Afternoon: Our adventure continues through Yellowstone's winter whiteness, where we can expect to see bison, elk and waterfowl, perhaps coyote and bald eagle. Swan sighting possible along the Madison River. Discovery beckons and awaits around each bend of the road!

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a plated meal, featuring salad, main entrée with a side, dessert, plus soft drink, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: The mind reels after our exploration of national forest land on Yellowstone's western border and ventured into Yellowstone National Park, encountering new visions, scents, and sounds, to be introduced to the greatest predator of all: winter. We’ll enjoy an evening wrap-up that ties up loose ends, answers questions, and brings the learning adventure to a gratifying conclusion.

DAY
6
Program Concludes
West Yellowstone, MT
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m. For those requiring the group shuttle to the airport, the taxi departs from outside the hotel lobby at 8:30 a.m. This is not included in the program price; advanced reservations are required.

Breakfast: Motel buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!