4874
Gardiner
Hiking in Yellowstone: Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Hike Yellowstone with a naturalist, exploring hidden trails, stunning landscapes, diverse ecosystems and glacier-carved peaks in the world’s first national park.
Rating (5)
Program No. 4874RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,329
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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, Program Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Gardiner, MT
D
Yellowstone River Motel

Activity 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 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, we’ll have a tasty plated meal featuring a salad, entrée, and dessert, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages 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 will be led by both the Group Leader and an instructor, who is an expert naturalist and will lead the educational portion of the program. Unless specified otherwise, all transportation will be provided by SUVs to allow us better access to parking lots and 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 activity level for this date is challenging; expect hikes of 5 to 8 miles on each of 4 field days, plus 1 mile of walking at field trip sites for a total of about 9 miles. Hikes will be as a group and include educational commentary along the way. The Greater Yellowstone area is considered high desert, very dry. At high altitudes you are more susceptible to dehydration and altitude sickness. Instructors will use their best judgement to select hiking sites for each day depending on current local conditions. 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. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
“Wonderland” Introduction, Mammoth Area Hike
Gardiner, MT
B,L
Yellowstone River Motel

Activity note: Hiking up to 8 miles; walking about 1 mile at field trip sites for a total of approx. 9 miles throughout the day; maintained trails, asphalt paths, boardwalks, stairs, some uneven and rocky terrain; elevations ranging from 5,260 to 10,243 feet. Exact route will depend on program staff’s judgement. Driving approx. 15 miles throughout the day; about 1/2 hour total.

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

Morning: We’ll walk to our meeting room for an introduction given by our instructor that will provide 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 least undisturbed ecosystems in the Earth’s temperate zone. Afterwards, we’ll set out on SUVs for a field trip to the Mammoth Hot Springs area. Be sure to bring your camera and binoculars to soak in the surroundings.

Lunch: Along the trail during our hike in the park, we’ll stop to have sack lunches including a sandwich, fruit, chips, cookie. Bring your own water bottle.

Afternoon: Immersion into the Yellowstone ecosystem through hiking is an opportunity to become familiar with the various life zones of the area. We’ll go on a hike with our instructor, who will provide informative commentary as we explore the unique features of the park. As we hike through the wilderness, we’ll gain an understanding of how their geologic features, together with elevation and weather, evolved into vibrant habitats populated by the flora and fauna that is present today. Upon completion of our hike, we’ll return to the hotel.

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 our hiking headquarters in Gardiner. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to explore the town, enjoy the back patio, or just relax.

DAY
3
Hike in Yellowstone’s Northern Range
Gardiner, MT
B,L,D
Yellowstone River Motel

Activity note: Hiking up to 8 miles; walking about 1 mile at field trip sites for a total of approx. 9 miles throughout the day; maintained trails; some uneven and rocky terrain; elevations between 8,000 and possible 10,223 feet with gradual elevation gains/loss of about 1,400 ft. Driving approx. 120 miles; about 2.5 hours.

Breakfast: We’ll walk to a nearby restaurant for a hearty breakfast ordered from a select menu, plus juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Leaving the hotel via SUVs, we’ll transfer for a full-day hiking field trip in Yellowstone’s Northern Range with our Group Leader and Instructor. The day's journey will take us through a magnificent landscape featuring Mt. Washburn and over Dunraven Pass at 8,859, all accompanied by commentary given by our instructor.

Lunch: Along the trail in the park, we’ll have sack lunches featuring a sandwich, fruit, chips, and cookies.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our hike led by our instructor in the Northern Range as we seize the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Yellowstone and step away from the fast pace of everyday life.

Dinner: At the cafeteria in the Yellowstone Grand Canyon area, we’ll use vouchers to choose from items on the buffet including salad, entrées, and fruit, plus coffee, tea, water; other food and beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Hiking in the Old Faithful Area
Gardiner, MT
B,L,D
Yellowstone River Motel

Activity note: Hiking up to 8 miles; walking about 1 mile at field trip sites for a total of approx. 9 miles throughout the day; maintained trails and boardwalks with some stairs; some uneven and rocky terrain; elevations between 7,200 and 7,400 feet. Minimal driving.

Breakfast: Nearby restaurant plated meal.

Morning: We’ll head out for the day on a hiking field trip in Yellowstone National Park after driving through the some of the park’s broad expanses that will lead us into the “heart” of Yellowstone, home of the famous geyser, Old Faithful. As we hike our instructor will talk about evidence that indicates how the Yellowstone hotspot is continuously undergoing the geologic processes of volcanism, earthquakes, faulting and large-scale movement and deformation of the Earth's crust.

Lunch: Along the trail in the park, we’ll have sack lunches.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our day of hiking amidst the many unique thermal features located in the Lower Geyser Basin.

Dinner: At the cafeteria in the Old Faithful area, we’ll use vouchers to choose from items on the buffet including salad, entrées, and fruit, plus coffee, tea, water; other food and beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll then return to our lodgings and the remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Remember: evenings offer the some of the opportunities to spot wildlife and take in the gorgeous light for taking photographs.

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

Activity note: Hiking up to 8 miles; walking about 1 mile at field trip sites for a total of approx. 9 miles throughout the day; maintained trails; some uneven and rocky terrain; elevations ranging from 5,260 to 10,243 feet. Driving approx. 80 miles; about 2.5 hours with stops.

Breakfast: Nearby restaurant plated meal.

Morning: We will board our SUVs and continue our expedition to the mighty Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone where we’ll follow our instructor on a hike along a portion of the Canyon that is 20 miles long, 800 to 1,200 feet deep, and 1,500 to 4,000 feet wide. Our hike will reveal extraordinary colors of muted scarlet, pale yellows, greens and blue, all created by hot water acting on volcanic rock. Along the way, we’ll experience the roar of the 109-foot Upper Falls and see the mighty Lower Fall's 309-foot plunge into its Canyon depths. Our instructor will guide our examination of the canyon's geologic story of glaciers, a volcanic eruption, lava flows and huge ice dams as we have a clear view of the pinnacles towering among the canyon walls.

Lunch: Along the trail in the park, we’ll have sack lunches.

Afternoon: Continue the day on our hiking adventure in the Canyon area.

Dinner: At nearby restaurant, we’ll enjoy a plated farewell dinner including salad, entrée, and dessert, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: Through a presentation given by our instructor, we’ll focus on the dark and light sides of Yellowstone in order to – with the help of a little humor – see some of the good and the bad of what makes Yellowstone one of the most dramatic environments on the planet. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
6
Program Concludes
Gardiner, 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: Nearby restaurant plated meal. 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!