4874
Montana
Choose Your Pace: A Walk on the Wild Side in Yellowstone
Hike Yellowstone with a naturalist, exploring hidden trails, stunning landscapes, diverse ecosystems and glacier-carved peaks in the world’s first national park.
Program No. 4874RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,399
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-In / Registration / Welcome Dinner / Orientation
Gardiner, MT
D
Yellowstone River Motel

Activity note: Note: Hotel check-in from 2:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration 4:00-5:00 p.m.: After you have your room assignment, come over 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, and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: At a local restaurant with a tasty plated meal featuring a salad, entrée, and dessert, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Group Leader will lead orientation and introductions, review the program theme, up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. This program will be led by both the Instructor, an expert naturalist who will lead the educational portion of the program, and your Group Leader. All transportation will be provided via SUVs unless specified otherwise. This allows for small hiking groups and easier access to trail heads. Remember to bring your own water bottle. Ice water will be available in coolers on the bus during travel, from which you may fill your water bottle; disposable cups will not be available. The Greater Yellowstone area is considered high desert, very dry. At high altitudes you are more susceptible to dehydration and altitude sickness. Carrying a water bottle with you and drinking plenty of water is important and a simple way to avoid these unpleasant and sometimes dangerous problems.

DAY
2
“Wonderland” Learning Session / Mammoth area hike
Gardiner, MT
B,L
Yellowstone River Motel

Activity note: Choose from 3 hiking options in the Mammoth Hot Springs area: Slower paced 3 mile hike; elevation gain/loss of 350'. Medium paced 4-5 mile hike; elevation gain/loss 350'. Faster paced 6-7 mile hike; elevation gain/loss of up to 1,000'. All hikes/walks will be on dirt & rocky trails with uneven terrain. All hikes may vary from the description based on conditions, hikes will be finalized & described by the instructor the night before.

Breakfast: In our meeting room located in the church’s basement a short walk from the hotel, enjoy a catered breakfast with a hot entrée and sides, plus water, coffee, tea and juice.

Morning: Morning introduction provides an overview of the Greater Yellowstone area. Known for its geothermal activity and diverse ecosystems, Yellowstone spans 2.2 million acres of valleys, canyons, rivers, lakes and mountain ranges. Sometimes called “Wonderland”, the park is home to the highest concentration of wildlife in the lower 48 states and is at the core of one of the last undisturbed ecosystems in the Earth’s temperate zone. Mid-morning we will then board onto SUVs for our first hiking adventure. Hikers will have the option to choose from different levels of hikes based on preference and ability. Your instructor will give description of all three hiking options offered.<>br>< We will board our SUVs according to hiking groups and head into Yellowstone National park to our first hiking destination. As we enter the Mammoth District, you will right away notice the Mammoth Hot Springs, which are the main attraction of this area. These features are quite different from thermal areas elsewhere in the park. Travertine formations grow much more rapidly than sinter formations due to the softer nature of limestone. As hot water rises through limestone, large quantities of rock are dissolved by the hot water, and a white chalky mineral is deposited on the surface. Mammoth Hot Springs are a surficial expression of the deep volcanic forces at work in Yellowstone. The hiking options offered will be in and around this area and will help you determine your comfort level hiking on the rocky terrain and high elevations.

Lunch: We will enjoy trail side sack lunches including sandwich, chips, fruit & cookie.

Afternoon: After lunch we will continue our hike and the immersion into the Yellowstone ecosystem and become more familiar with its various life zones. Our daily exploratory hikes with commentary from our instructor are 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.You may have time for additional walking on the several hundred stairs that lead over the large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine terraces.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like and is a great opportunity to check out your hiking headquarters in Gardiner. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: An evening at leisure to enjoy camaraderie and the view from the back patio which overlooks the grand Yellowstone River which is revving up for spring runoff.

DAY
3
Yellowstone's Northern Range
Gardiner, MT
B,L,D
Yellowstone River Motel

Activity note: Choose from 3 hiking options in the Northern Range: Slower paced 2.5 mile hike; elevation gain/loss of 160'. The other two groups will possibly do a more difficult hike of 6 miles, 1,343' elevation gain.. All hikes/walks will be on dirt & rocky trails with uneven terrain. All hikes may vary from the description based on conditions, hikes will be finalized & described by the instructor the night before. Driving distance of 80 miles with slower speed limits; about 2 hours.

Breakfast: We’ll walk or shuttle to restaurant for a hearty breakfast with choices from a limited menu.

Morning: Hikers will have the option to choose from different levels of hikes based on preference and ability. Your instructor will give description of all three hiking options offered as we continue hiking in a portion of Yellowstone's spectacular and mostly untouched 2.2 million acres offer a lifetime of discovery and 1,200 miles of hiking trails. We will depart early for our hiking adventure into Yellowstone National Park's Northern Range, which includes the Lamar Valley, often called America’s Serengeti for its large and easy-to-see populations of large animals; and Mt Washburn, a prominent mountain peak in the in Yellowstone National Park, elevation 10,243 feet

Lunch: Trail side sack lunches featuring a sandwich, fruit, chips, and cookies. Bring your own water bottle.

Afternoon: We’ll continue hiking as our instructors lead the way with educational commentary on this amazing "wonderland".

Dinner: Receive a voucher to use at the Canyon Cafeteria. Choose from a buffet including salad, entrée, and fruit, plus water, coffee, and tea; other food and beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: Evening return to Gardiner takes advantage of prime wildlife viewing time.

DAY
4
Hike in the heart of Yellowstone-Old Faithful
Gardiner, MT
B,L,D
Yellowstone River Motel

Activity note: Choose from 3 hiking options in the Old Faithful area: Slower paced 3-4 mile hike on paved trail around Geyser Hill. Medium paced 4-5 mile hike. Faster paced 6-7 mile hike. The medium paced and faster paced hikes will be on some paved trails & some dirt/rocky trails with uneven terrain which could also include elevation gain of 160'. All hikes may vary based on conditions, hikes will be described by the instructor the night before. Driving distance 120 miles, slower speed limit; about 4 hours.

Breakfast: We’ll walk to restaurant for a hearty breakfast with choices from a limited menu.

Morning: Hikers will have the option to choose from different levels of hikes based on preference and ability. Your instructor will give description of all three hiking options offered. We’ll depart early into the heart of Yellowstone National Park and home to the most famous geyser in the world - Old Faithful. We will have the opportunity to hike in the Upper Geyser Basin, which is home to the largest numbers of this fragile feature found in the park. Within one square mile there are at least 150 of these hydrothermal wonders.

Lunch: Sack lunches in the Park featuring a sandwich, fruit, chips, and cookies. Bring your own water bottle.

Afternoon: Hiking will continue hiking with time to see some of the many thermal features in the Upper Geyser Basin and to watch Old Faithful erupt, a Yellowstone tradition. The park’s wildlife and scenery might be as well-known today, but it was the unique thermal features that inspired the establishment of Yellowstone as the world’s first national park in 1872.

Dinner: Receive a voucher to use at the Old Faithful Cafeteria in the heart of Yellowstone. Choose from a buffet including salad, entrée, and fruit, plus water, coffee, and tea; other food and beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: Evening return to Gardiner takes advantage of prime wildlife viewing time. Appreciate the opportunity for wildlife watching through binoculars and spotting scopes.

DAY
5
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Gardiner, MT
B,L,D
Yellowstone River Motel

Activity note: Choose from 3 hiking options in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone area: Slower paced 3 mile hike. Medium paced 5 mile hike. Faster paced 6 mile hike. All hike will be on dirt/rocky trails with uneven terrain. Some areas of the trail are along the Canyon rim, but the trail is wide and safe with not much exposure. All hikes may vary based on conditions, hikes will be described by the instructor the night before. Driving distance 120 miles, slower speed limit; about 4 hours.

Breakfast: We’ll walk to restaurant for a hearty breakfast with choices from a limited menu.

Morning: Hikers will again have the option to choose from different levels of hikes based on preference and ability. Your instructor will give description of all three hiking options offered. Today our journey will be to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. We will enjoy hiking amidst the geologic splendor and ambiance of the canyon. All hiking group will enjoy a stop at the Upper Falls where the mighty river roars and plunges 109' and at the iconic Artist Point to appreciate the classic view of massive 308' Lower Falls. Your naturalist's ongoing interpretation while hiking, provides meaningful insight into the mysteries of Yellowstone and its continuing drama.

Lunch: Sack lunches in the Park.

Afternoon: Continue the day on our hiking adventure as Yellowstone's grand landscape unfolds at every bend in the road and on the trail.

Dinner: We will walk 1 block to restaurant and enjoy our closing meal which includes salad, a main entrée, dessert and water. Other beverages will be available for purchase.

Evening: We will walk to our meeting room for a final evening presentation by the instructor. With time for Q & A the weeks hiking adventures will be reviewed as you begin to understand all that makes Yellowstone one of the most dramatic environments on the planet.

DAY
6
Independent departures
Gardiner, MT
B

Breakfast: We’ll walk to restaurant for a hearty breakfast with choices from a limited menu.

Morning: Airport shuttle departs at 8:30 a.m. We hope you enjoy all your Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. We encourage you to join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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