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Wyoming/Montana

Wildlife Watching in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks

Program No. 23111RJ
Learn about the diverse animals in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks as expert biologists take you to little-known spots for the best wildlife searching.
Length
7 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at
3,149

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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 30 - May 6, 2023
Starting at
3,149
May 7 - May 13, 2023
Starting at
3,149
May 14 - May 20, 2023
Starting at
3,149
May 21 - May 27, 2023
Starting at
3,149
Sep 3 - Sep 9, 2023
Starting at
3,499
Sep 10 - Sep 16, 2023
Starting at
3,499
Sep 17 - Sep 23, 2023
Starting at
3,499
Sep 24 - Sep 30, 2023
Starting at
3,499
Oct 1 - Oct 7, 2023
Starting at
3,499
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 30 - May 6, 2023
Starting at
3,839
May 7 - May 13, 2023
Starting at
3,839
May 14 - May 20, 2023
Starting at
3,839
May 21 - May 27, 2023
Starting at
3,839
Sep 3 - Sep 9, 2023
Starting at
4,419
Sep 10 - Sep 16, 2023
Starting at
4,419
Sep 17 - Sep 23, 2023
Starting at
4,419
Sep 24 - Sep 30, 2023
Starting at
4,419
Oct 1 - Oct 7, 2023
Starting at
4,419

At a Glance

Explore “the Serengeti of North America” as you search for diverse wildlife in picturesque landscapes of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Venture off the beaten path with local biologists and wildlife experts who take you away from the parks’ boardwalks to the best places to search for elusive animals like bears and wolves. Immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Yellowstone National Park as you explore Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs to experience intimate views of your breathtaking surroundings. Discover fascinating wildlife only seen in this region and learn about the animals that call these national parks home.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walk 1 mile on boardwalks or maintained trails. Must be able to get in and out of wildlife watching vehicles. Long drive times. Early starts daily to see wildlife at dawn, when wildlife is most active.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Learn from local biologists and experts while venturing through the parks in vehicles designed specifically for wildlife viewing.
  • Explore the breathtaking Lamar Valley, use spotting scopes to view wildlife and learn the stories of specific wolf packs in the area.
  • Depending on the season, get an up close look at baby wildlife (spring), or observe different species’ mating behavior (fall).

General Notes

Roommate matching is unavailable for solo travelers on this program. There is no cell phone service or internet access in Cooke City, Montana.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Kevin Taylor
Kevin Taylor has been part of the Wildlife Expeditions of Teton Science Schools team since 2002. Kevin has a BS in biology and an MS in botany. His biological research experience includes several wildlife research projects, as well as mapping distribution of rare plant species and the effects of global climate change on mountain plants. He believes that it is critical to include modern humans when discussing natural history and ecology, and he studies and teaches ethnobotany and ethnozoology.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Kevin Taylor
Kevin Taylor View biography
Kevin Taylor has been part of the Wildlife Expeditions of Teton Science Schools team since 2002. Kevin has a BS in biology and an MS in botany. His biological research experience includes several wildlife research projects, as well as mapping distribution of rare plant species and the effects of global climate change on mountain plants. He believes that it is critical to include modern humans when discussing natural history and ecology, and he studies and teaches ethnobotany and ethnozoology.
Profile Image of Miles Yazzolino
Miles Yazzolino View biography
Hailing from Jackson, Wyoming, Miles was raised hiking, cross country skiing and soaking in the majesty of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. After a warmer escape to Southern California for environmental studies and religious studies degrees, a few years of rainy trail crews and park ranger gigs in Oregon and a summer of teaching ecology in Yellowstone, Miles returned to the Tetons. When not sharing his love of this unique place with participants, Miles is likely dancing at concerts or reading.
Profile Image of Tyler Griffin
Tyler Griffin View biography
Tyler Griffin grew up on the East Coast and earned a degree in environmental science from Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire. Not long after, he moved to Jackson, Wyoming, to be surrounded by mountains, national parks, and wildlife. He quickly developed a passion for teaching others about the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Tyler served in the Peace Corps from 2015-2017 as an environmental volunteer in Malawi, Africa, before returning to Wyoming. During his time there, he taught sustainable agriculture, home gardening techniques, and natural resource conservation.
Profile Image of Bobby Pfeiffer
Bobby Pfeiffer View biography
Bobby grew up in New Jersey, where he grew fond of all things science related and earned a degree from Rutgers University in animal science. After graduation, Bobby joined Adventure Aquarium and spent time as a marine biologist. When the desire to educate and travel became overwhelming, Bobby headed west. He has taught for Los Angeles County Outdoor Science School and spent summer leading kayak expeditions and whale watches off the coast of Orcas Island, Washington. Bobby enjoys hiking, road tripping and wildlife photography.
Profile Image of Mike Rowell
Mike Rowell View biography
Mike Rowell grew up on his family’s farm near Buchanan, Georgia, raising livestock, corn, soybeans, and timber. Recognizing the value and importance of the natural world, he developed a strong interest in natural resource conservation. He is an alum of Louisiana Tech University with a Master of Science in Wildlife Science from Utah State University. In graduate school, Mike conducted research on mammalian carnivore communities in South Dakota’s Black Hills and Yellowstone National Park. He has worked as a professional wildlife biologist since 1994.
Profile Image of Logan Edgeman
Logan Edgeman View biography
Logan Edgeman grew up in southern Appalachia, which connected him to the outdoors and the natural world. While obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Leadership from Young Harris College in northeast Georgia, he immersed himself in as many outdoor experiences as possible. After working many seasons as a field instructor, Logan began working with private and public colleges in the state of Georgia, coordinating outdoor programming with an emphasis on introducing inner-city and underprivileged students to outdoor initiatives and sustainable practices while enjoying the outdoors.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
American Wolf
by Nate Blakeslee
One of the most recent wolf books published, American Wolf chronicles the story of O-six, an alpha female named for the year of her birth who became one of the most celebrated wolves of Yellowstone. The book tells the gripping story of a powerful wolf, while also telling the larger story of the ongoing cultural clash in the west.
Camping in Wyoming: A 1910 Wedding Trip to Yellowstone National Park
by Mariam Lawton Clayton
In 1910, newly married Marian ventured by train from Kansas to Rock Springs, WY, the starting point for a honeymoon in Yellowstone. This book was made from her handwritten journal and includes some of her photographs. Short, sweet, and honest, it is the tale of a grand adventure for the time, and provides a unique picture of the world's first national park. Available at Blue Creek Press and Amazon. http://bluecreekpress.com/books/camping-in-wyoming/.
Wapiti Wilderness
by Olaus and Margaret Murie
Margaret and Olaus Murie made their home in the Tetons for over thirty-seven years. During this time, Olaus Murie conducted studies of the American elk, the wapiti, and both he and Mardy worked tirelessly for conservation efforts and the preservation of wilderness. Wapiti Wilderness tells the story of their adventurous life raising children while conducting research in the Tetons. Past participants have said that this should be required reading for all programs in the Tetons!
Searching for Yellowstone, Ecology and Wonder in the Last Wilderness
by Paul D. Schullery
An engaging social and environmental history of Yellowstone from the Pleistocene to the present focusing on the park since its founding in 1872. Schullery has worked in Yellowstone as a ranger, a historian and the chief of cultural resources.
Scats and Tracks of the Rocky Mountains
by James Halfpenny
Wonder no more about those tracks in the mud or that poop on the path. With this packable guide, identification in the field is easy. Featured are the tracks, scats, and signs of 70 different species including wolf, ferret, grizzly bear, as well as birds, frogs and salamanders. Scales for scat diameter and footprint size are included along the edge of each descriptive page. Plus, for accurate measurements, there's a ruler on the back cover. *Available for purchase on Amazon.com or Powells.com*
Letters from Yellowstone
by Diane Smith
At the end of the 19th century, an intrepid young woman joins a scientific research team in Yellowstone National Park, to the surprise of the other members of the expedition. This historical fiction brings Yellowstone and the surrounding region at the turn of the 19th century to life.
Windows into the Earth, the Geologic Story of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
by Lee J. Siegel and Robert B. Smith
A geologic history and tour of the northern Rockies, particularly Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park.
The Grizzly Bear
by Thomas McNamee
A natural history of “Ursus arctos horribilis” – lyrical, well written and provocative. An appropriate introduction to the beast for anyone traveling to grizzly country. McNamee also wrote “The Return of the Wolf to Yellowstone.”
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7 days
6 nights
14 meals
6 B 4 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Jackson, WY
D
The Lexington at Jackson Hole

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you check in at the hotel and get your room assignment, head to your room where you will find any updated information and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please locate your Group Leader and let them know you have arrived. We will gather in the hotel lobby with our Group Leader and fellow Road Scholars at 6:15 p.m. and ride to dinner followed by Orientation.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

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. Program activities will be led by a combination of Wildlife Expeditions biologists, local experts, and experienced docents. Hikes will be on official trails in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks or the surrounding national forest land. Expect uneven terrain with elevation changes of up to 600 feet. Travel and transfers will be via Wildlife Expeditions vehicles: closed, safari-style vehicles designed for wildlife viewing. 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
Grand Teton Wildlife Safari, National Museum of Wildlife Art
Jackson, WY
B,L
The Lexington at Jackson Hole

Activity note: Early start. Sitting in vans. Getting on/off vans with high step. Walking up to 1/2 mile; trails with uneven surfaces.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We start early almost every day because that is when wildlife is out. This morning, we’ll set out on wildlife safari through Grand Teton National Park to look for moose, elk, birds of prey, and other wildlife with a Wildlife Expeditions biologist who will provide expert commentary. As we ride, we’ll take in the majestic views of the iconic Teton mountain range.

Lunch: In Grand Teton National Park, we’ll have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: For our next field trip, we will ride to the historic Murie Ranch in Grand Teton National Park, former home of Olaus and Mardy Murie, and the birthplace of the modern wilderness movement. Olaus Murie was a renowned naturalist who studied elk and other wildlife in Jackson in the early to mid-1900s. He went on to become President of The Wilderness Society. His wife, Mardy, carried on his conservation ethic after he passed away, and became known as “the grandmother of the conservation movement”. We’ll feel their story come alive as we explore the log cabin ranch where they lived and worked. Next, we’ll ride to the National Museum of Wildlife Art for a self-directed exploration to examine the connection between wildlife, art, and conservation. Resting upon a dramatic cliff overlooking the National Elk Refuge, the National Museum of Wildlife Art serves to enrich and inspire the relationship between humans and nature. The museum contains more than 5,000 works of art, with exhibitions and programs that focus on wildlife of the world. We’ll return to the hotel after our field trips.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to have what you like in Jackson. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. There are numerous eateries to choose from.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
3
Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful Geyser Basin
West Yellowstone
B,L,D
Golden Stone Inn

Activity note: Early start. Sitting in vans. Getting on/off vans with high step. Walking up to 1 mile; boardwalks in geyser basins.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel, board our safari vehicles, and set out on our four-day exploration of Yellowstone, America’s first national park. We will stop to see and learn about several points of interest as we head to the Old Faithful Geyser Basin, home to Old Faithful as well as nearly one-quarter of all of the geysers in the world.

Lunch: In Yellowstone National Park, we’ll have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll explore the Old Faithful Geyser Basin, walking on the boardwalks in the area. The Upper Geyser Basin is home to more than half of the world’s geysers. We’ll learn about the different types of thermal features and why so many of them are in this part of Yellowstone. Then, we’ll ride to our hotel in West Yellowstone, stopping to view wildlife and at other points of interest along the way.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
4
Mammoth Hot Springs, Lamar Valley, Dan Hartman Gallery
Cooke City, Montana
B
Super 8

Activity note: Early start. Sitting in vans. Getting on/off vans with high step. Walking up to 1 mile; boardwalks, trails.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will ride to the northwest corner of Yellowstone to explore Mammoth Hot Springs. We’ll walk through the Mammoth terraces on the boardwalk as we learn about these unique geologic features.

Lunch: On your own to have what you like at Mammoth Hot Springs. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Our next field trip will take us through the scenic Lamar Valley, called the Serengeti of North America for its abundance of wildlife. We’ll stop to view bison herds, pronghorn, and other wildlife as we make our way to our hotel in Cooke City. Using our binoculars and spotting scopes, we’ll get a closer look at the unique wildlife behaviors and interactions that take place during the “rut.” We’ll drive to Cooke City and check in to our hotel after the field trip.

Dinner: On your own to have what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Wildlife Watching in Lamar Valley
Cooke City, Montana
B,L,D
Super 8

Activity note: Early morning field trip to view wildlife at dawn. Sitting in vans. Getting on/off vans with high step. Hiking up to 2 miles; uneven surfaces.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll set out early in search of wolves, bears, and other wildlife in the Lamar Valley with our Group Leader, a trained biologist. We’ll learn the stories of specific wolf packs in the area, and observe firsthand how the reintroduction of wolves has shaped the landscape of our nation’s first national park as we use spotting scopes to view wildlife.

Lunch: At a scenic spot, we’ll have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: We’ll stretch our legs on a hike in the Lamar Valley, where we will explore wolf habitat and learn about the rocks, plants, and animals that make this valley unique. Next, we’ll meet Dan Hartman at his home in Cooke City to view his wildlife photography as he tells stories behind the photos.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: We’ll gather with our Group Leader for a presentation on wolves that reside in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. We’ll learn about the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone, wolf behavior and biology, and gray wolf interactions between packs. We’ll also discuss the controversies surrounding wolves and how current decisions will affect the animals’ futures.

DAY
6
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Hayden Valley
Jackson, WY
B,L,D
The Lexington at Jackson Hole

Activity note: Early start. Sitting in vans. Getting on/off vans with high step. Walk about 1/2 mile along the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone; paved surfaces, boardwalks.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll ride through the Lamar Valley one more time looking for wildlife, then make our way to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. From the National Park Service: “The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River expresses the park's complex geologic history in dramatic colors and shapes. Puffs of steam mark hydrothermal features in the canyon's walls. The Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River add to the grandeur of the unique natural treasure.” We’ll walk about 1/2 mile along the canyon rim to view the waterfalls and learn about the area’s geology.

Lunch: At a scenic spot, we’ll have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: We will ride to the Canyon Visitor Center for a self-directed look at the geology and geologic forces that are active in Yellowstone. On our return to Jackson, we’ll ride through the Hayden Valley, keeping our eyes on the landscape as we look for large mammals that call this valley home. We may see bison, bears, elk, and all kinds of birds.

Dinner: At the hotel. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
7
Program Concludes
Jackson, WY
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 11:00 a.m. The hotel offers a free airport shuttle between 7:00-9:00 a.m., otherwise a taxi can be arranged.

Breakfast: At the hotel. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.