Yellowstone in Winter

As Winter sets in over the vast landscape of Yellowstone, nights become shorter, the air colder and the World’s First National Park becomes a place of inspiration for photographers. The landscape is a quiet tapestry of white, covered in blankets of deep powdery snow with its forests of lodgepole pine decorated in icy patterns of rime frost. Yellowstone’s winter solitude is however, very alive with wildlife as Fox leap through the powder for hidden rodents and massive Elk wander the winter wilds. Bison are everywhere and can be seen tossing snow aside with their enormous heads, acting as shovels to access buried grasses below, the hot air of their breath steaming in the frosty air. Wolves play on the stark, white snowfields and are much easier to spot against the white backdrop as are most species of wildlife.

Our seven-day lodge based excursion into this magical, almost otherworldly landscape will give you the best chance to explore and photograph Yellowstone. Backcountry Journeys offers a fine-tuned and well-practiced itinerary, great lodging and delicious meals to accentuate your visit to Yellowstone in the Winter. Our private snow coach allows us access to areas of the park that are otherwise snowed-in for the winter and inaccessible to the public.

Unlike the majority of the year when tour buses ply the Grand Loop, Yellowstone during winter only sees about ten percent of the park’s yearly visitation. It truly is a world of quiet, cold isolation and features a rare winter beauty not seen elsewhere. Sunrises of pink & orange light up the sparkling snowpack as steam rises through the cold morning air from aquamarine hot pools. Fumaroles hiss and roar, while Geysers bubble and erupt, splashing scalding water into the wintery sky that begins to freeze almost instantly.

Russ has been traveling and photographing inside Yellowstone National Park for over 15 years. This hand-picked itinerary was designed to provide the most intriguing, all-encompassing and memorable way to not only photography Yellowstone in the winter but to truly experience the uniqueness of this place. You will be in the right place at the right time to ensure your experience is second to none.

The Photographic opportunities on this trip are unparalleled using our private snow coaches to travel deep into the park’s interior where others aren’t able to go in the winter. We’ll photograph iconic spots such as Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon, Hayden Valley and the Upper Geyser Basin, which alone contains nearly one quarter of the world’s geysers. You’ll have the opportunity to photograph a misty Old Faithful (without the crowds) and a snowshoe out to Lone Star Geyser, one of the most picturesque and powerful thermal features in the park. After long, but productive days in the field you’ll head into warm, cozy lodges to relax by the fire and review your days photography with your group.

You’ll leave this seven-day trip with an impressive collection of unique images and a wealth of experience. There really aren’t many experiences as unique as visiting Yellowstone during the winter months. Join us this winter for the trip of a lifetime. Come Photograph Yellowstone’s Winter Wonderland with Russ Nordstrand and see a side of the park you’ve never experienced before.

Highlights

  • Immerse yourself in Winter Solitude
  • The Best Season to Photograph Wildlife
  • The Least Crowded Season in Yellowstone by far
  • Private, chartered Snowcoach rides into the interior
  • Snowshoe or ski to Lone Star Geyser
  • Lamar & Hayden Valleys in Winter
  • Small Groups
  • Cozy lodges
  • All-Inclusive Trip, including top-notch meals
  • Learn from & shoot alongside a seasoned pro

Yellowstone in Winter

8 Days

Price: $4995

Deposit: $2000

Fitness Level: Moderate “Hikes in snow from 2-5 miles per day on fairly level terrain or wooden boardwalks”

Meals: Dinner Day 1 through breakfast day 8

Lodging: 7 nights lodging

Start/End: Bozeman, Montana

Open Daily: 6am-6pm MST

928.478.1521


*trip difficulty ratings

2018 Departures

Dates Difficulty Availability
January 27th to Feb 3rd, 2018 1-3 Sold Out

2019 Departures

Dates Difficulty Availability
January 13th to 20th, 2019 1 Open

Trip Details

Physical Requirements
All participants must be in good physical condition and have the ability to handle potentially adverse weather conditions including extreme cold as well as the ability to hike between 2-5 miles per day in winter conditions.

Group Size
Small group to maximize your one on one time with the guide / instructor.

Accommodation
We will be staying in cozy lodges throughout the trip

Meals

All meals are included during the trip dates and we typically eat at park lodges with lunches out on the trail.

Weather
Expect a range of weather in Yellowstone during the winter from beautiful sunny days to blowing winter storms. Daytime temperatures are usually in the 10-20 Fahrenheit Range but can be colder.

Price Includes
Meals, ground transportation, chartered snowcoach, accommodation during the trip dates, professional photography instruction, medically certified wilderness guide.

Price Does Not Include
Airfare, alcoholic beverages, accommodations before or after the trip dates, guide & staff gratuities

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Bozeman, MT (BZN) by 6pm for an orientation and welcome dinner. There is a free airport shuttle at our hotel – simply call to make a reservation! (Hotel Included).

Day 2

We’ll depart Bozeman before dawn, arriving in Yellowstone just before the sun rises and catch the light on Mammoth Hot Springs. After an introduction to the geothermal features and a tour of Mammoth we’ll have a late breakfast with our group. Our next phase of the trip is an exploration of Lamar Valley – we’ll explore Lamar all the way to Cooke City with possible opportunities to photograph Bighorn Sheep, Moose, Bison, Coyotes, Eagles and even Wolves. Our day ends with an evening session as Mammoth Hot Springs and a great dinner at our lodging back in historic Gardiner.

Day 3

Today we’ll board our privately chartered, snow coach and begin the journey into Yellowstone’s remote interior. This is truly an exceptional day as traveling by private coach means we can stop when the conditions are right. Wildlife sightings are the norm as we travel towards the Upper Geyser Basin of Old Faithful. We’ll photograph Norris Geyser Basin, the hottest and most active in Yellowstone as well as the lovely Gibbon Meadows and Firehole River Basin.

Day 4

Mileage: 2-5 miles, up to 200 feet elevation gain

Today we will focus on the thermal features surrounding Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin. We’ll walk and snowshoe to some of the more impressive yet less predictable Geysers such as Beehive, Grand, Castle, Riverside and Daisy Geysers. The goal is to time it right and get some excellent images of the Geysers as they are erupting into the wintery air!

Day 5

Mileage: 6-7 miles, minimal elevation gain

After an early breakfast we’ll have a morning session of photography at Old Faithful before departing for our snowshoe out to Lone Star Geyser. Lone Star is one of the most unique and impressive thermal features in the park. A giant Sinter Cone that stands tall and alone in the center of a snowy white field, Lone Star’s powerful eruptions can last 30 minutes!

We’ll have some opportunity later in the day to photograph Bison and other wildlife along the Firehole River before retiring to the Snow Lodge in the evening.

Day 6

Mileage: 1-3, minimal elevation gain

This morning we’ll board the Snow Coach early to travel to Lake Yellowstone, Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon and Hayden Valley. We’ll spend ample time photographing Yellowstone’s classic Lower Falls from Artists point and have ample wildlife opportunities along the Yellowstone River through Lamar Valley.

This evening the coach will drop us off at Mammoth and we’ll return to our accommodations in Gardiner and some well-earned rest and relaxation.

Day 7

It’s an early morning again as we embark for Lamar Valley. We’ll be there to photograph the landscape at dawn, looking for Wolves, Coyotes, Bison, Bighorn Sheep and other species. We’ll spend the entire day in Lamar photographing “The Serengeti of North America”. Return to Gardiner tonight for our last night in Yellowstone Country!

Day 8

We’ll head out in the morning for one last session of Photography before breakfast in Gardiner. After breakfast, it’s off to Bozeman for our return flights home and a successful trip! We should arrive in Bozeman by 1 pm.

“I’ve visited Yellowstone several times in my life but never in the winter. We wanted the best opportunity to photograph the Wolves in Lamar Valley…and we got it! Aside from wolves Russ was able to take us to spots were we were able to get really good winter images of Bison rooting in the snow, Moose, Coyotes and Bald Eagles. The thermal features are also really interesting in the winter. This trip comes highly recommended!”

Joanna JRaleigh, North Carolina

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