Winter Wildlife in Yellowstone

  • 6-day adventure with a wildlife biologist
  • Discover Yellowstone's geology and wildlife amid a winter landscape

Expedition Details


Experience the magic of Yellowstone in the quiet of winter. Watch shaggy herds of bison shake snow off their backs as elk browse nearby. Learn about the return of Yellowstone’s wolves and a study, partially funded by the National Geographic Society, on their impact on the park. Take in Yellowstone's brilliant views as you discover steaming geysers and dramatic canyons.

Trip Highlights

    • See famous sites like Old Faithful without the crowds, and explore remote reaches of Yellowstone in the comfort of heated snow coaches.
    • Watch for elk, bison, elusive gray wolves, and more. Yellowstone’s wildlife spend the winter in valleys, where they are easier to spot against the sparkling snow.
    • Learn about the reintroduction of wolves to the park and a National Geographic–supported study on their impact.
    • Ride a horse-drawn sleigh through Gallatin Canyon’s quiet, snowy landscape.

Itinerary - 6 Days

Day 1 — Bozeman, Montana/Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming

Travel from Bozeman, Montana, to Yellowstone National Park, on the lookout for bald eagles, mule deer, antelope, and bighorn sheep. At Mammoth Hot Springs, settle into a historic national park lodge, and stroll the steaming, colorful mineral spring terraces outlined in pure white snow.
Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel or Best Western Plus by Mammoth Hot Springs (D)

Day 2 — Lamar Valley

Head to the open, rolling meadows and wide vistas of the Lamar Valley, where wolves were first restored to Yellowstone in 1995. Using a spotting scope, search among herds of elk and bison for coyotes, eagles, and the elusive wolf. An Emmy® award-winning wildlife cinematographer joins us this evening to discuss his career shooting films on wolves and other wildlife for the National Geographic Society.
Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel or Best Western Plus by Mammoth Hot Springs (B,L,D)

Days 3 & 4 — Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone/Old Faithful

Travel by private snow coach to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Walk to the rim of the spectacular gorge to see its thundering waterfall and the ice arch that forms from the spray. Wander amid the bubbling mud pots and fumaroles of the Upper Geyser Basin. Then continue to Old Faithful to explore on foot or by snowshoe a dramatic landscape of erupting geysers, frozen waterfalls, and gem-colored mineral pools. Keep an eye out for wildlife—bison, encrusted in ice, often stand among the pools for warmth. After dark, step outside to admire the incredible canopy of stars in one of the world's best constellation-viewing spots.
Old Faithful Snow Lodge (B,L,D daily)

Day 5 — Yellowstone/Big Sky, Montana

After visiting the whimsical Fountain Paint Pots, leave the park via the West Yellowstone gate. Travel to the Gallatin Canyon—near Big Sky, Montana—and settle into a comfortable log cabin lodge. Relax or enjoy a sleigh ride through the countryside. Then celebrate your winter adventure in Yellowstone at a farewell dinner.
320 Guest Ranch (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Bozeman

Return to Bozeman for your flight home.

Related Trips

National Geographic Expert

Kitty Coley

Kitty ColeyKitty Coley is a geologist, wildlife naturalist, and avid birder who has led expeditions for National Geographic for more than a dozen years, including several to Yellowstone during both winter and summer. Since Kitty was a child, she has been visiting and camping throughout Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Her lifelong love of the region has played an important role in her following the career path she has. She is deeply knowledgeable about western ecology, the parks’ unique geology, and their amazing wildlife. Kitty’s interactive and enthusiastic approach make traveling with her a delightful way for you to learn about and appreciate the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Kitty will join the following departures:

Jan 03 - 08, 2016
Feb 14 - 19, 2016



  • Dec 24 - 29, 2015
  • Dec 27, 2015 - Jan 01, 2016
  • Jan 03 - 08, 2016
  • Jan 31 - Feb 05, 2016
  • Feb 14 - 19, 2016

Expedition Cost

2015 - 2016


Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room on December 2014 to February 2015 departures, add $740. For a single room on December 2015 to February 2016 departures, add $775.

Airfare from/to your home city is not included in the expedition cost.

Featured Expedition Moment