Yellowstone Expedition Ecology Tour
Tour Dates: Available Mid May – September
DAY 1: Salt Lake City
Arrive at the Salt Lake Airport and meet your local tour director and motor-coach. Then depart for a short sightseeing tour of Salt Lake City including the Natural History Museum of Utah. This amazing museum illuminates the natural world and the place of humans within it. Five levels of exhibits guide you through the natural history and wonders of the area from prehistoric fossils to modern day. A great introduction to the geology, fossils and ecology the group will be studying first hand during the rest of the trip. Tonight join the group for a welcome dinner party.
Overnight, Salt Lake City, UT
DAY 2: Great Salt Lake – Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center
After breakfast, take a short drive to Antelope Island State Park on the Great Salt Lake for sightseeing. Stop at scenic Buffalo Point with spectacular views of the lake and the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. There will be the opportunity to view wildlife on the island including buffalo, deer, antelope, coyote, waterfowl and more. At the Visitors Center a park ranger will introduce the students to the unique ecosystem of this inland salt sea. Depart and travel north into Idaho and pass through fertile farmland where Idaho’s famous potatoes are grown.
In the afternoon, arrive West Yellowstone and check in for a two night stay. Then enjoy touring of the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center where students will gain insight into the lives of Yellowstone’s two top predators. The mission of this center is to educate the public and give them a chance to uniquely experience the grizzly bears and grey wolves. A naturalist on staff will lead a guided tour of the facility and then there will be free time to wander through the exhibits and enjoy a variety of presentations on bears, wolves, birds of prey and more. Dinner included at a local restaurant.
Overnight, West Yellowstone, MT
DAY 3: Old Faithful - Yellowstone Wildlife Safari
This morning enter Yellowstone National Park for sightseeing and exploring. The world’s first national park is a wonderland of natural beauty and geologic oddities that has delighted visitors over 100 years. It is a mysterious land of steaming geysers, fumaroles and bubbling mud pots. A land so amazing that the first explorers to bring back tales of Yellowstone were called liars. Today visit the centerpiece of the park, Old Faithful! A Park Ranger will educate the students on the geology and mechanics that have created with world famous thermal features. There will be plenty of time to explore the area, witness an eruption of the world's most famous geyser.
After enjoying Old Faithful, explore more of the geyser basins including Midway Geyser Basin and Fountain Paint Pots which showcases every type of thermal feature found in the park on one 30 minute walk. Return to the hotel in West Yellowstone with a little free time to relax or go swimming. This afternoon, depart on a Yellowstone Wildlife Safari. After breaking into small groups, you will meet your local naturalist guide and return to Yellowstone National Park for an afternoon and evening of exploration. First, travel through Norris Geyser Basin, then make your way to Mammoth Hot Springs for a walk through the colorful terraced formations of calcium carbonate that continues to change and grow. Next, travel east into the beautiful Lamar Valley where the search for wildlife begins in earnest.
Your expert guides will provide high quality optics to help you locate and view a wide variety of wildlife. Enjoy a picnic dinner as the sun begins its slow descent, the best time of the day to view wildlife. Keep the cameras ready: elk, bison, moose, wolves and bear frequently make an appearance in these areas at dusk. It will be a late return to West Yellowstone after an unforgettable experience in Yellowstone.
Overnight, West Yellowstone, MT
DAY 4: Yellowstone - Grand Teton
Depart West Yellowstone and return to Yellowstone National Park for another great day of sightseeing and hiking. First visit the awe-inspiring "Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone," with a chance to see both Upper and Lower falls, where the mighty Yellowstone River has cut its way through sheer rock to cascade down hundreds of feet to the foaming torrents below. A short hike will bring you to the brink of Upper Falls for a spectacular view. Next, drive through scenic Hayden Valley, famous for large herds of buffalo and other wildlife. Travel the shores of Yellowstone Lake and stop for a picnic lunch along the way. Visit the West Thumb Visitors Center Museum to learn about the great forest fires of 1988 and how these fires are part of the natural cycle of the forest.
In the late afternoon, exit Yellowstone via the South Gate and enter Grand Teton National Park. Enjoy picture perfect views of Jackson Lake and the Tetons from scenic points such as Oxbow Bend, the Snake River Overlook and more. This evening arrive in the fun western town of Jackson and check into your hotel for a two night stay. This old cowboy town is now home to hundreds of art galleries, shops, attractions and restaurants but still maintains an old west charm. Dinner will be included at a local restaurant.
Overnight, Jackson, WY
DAY 5: Snake River – Grand Tetons
This morning enjoy some spectacular White Water Rafting on the Snake River! After some instruction from a river guide, grab your paddle and get ready for a thrilling morning on the water. The scenic beauty of the Snake River Canyon will pass before you and your heart will pound as you experience the rapids with names like Lunch Counter and Big Kahuna. After some time back in Jackson for lunch on own, return to Grand Teton National Park and Jenny Lake for a hike to Hidden Falls. The sight of the Teton Mountains piercing the clouds in majestic splendor reflected in the cool waters of Jenny Lake is a sight not to be forgotten. This afternoon, enjoy a conservation experience. The group will spend a couple of hours volunteering on a conservation project contributing to the health of the land at a local site. (Location and project TBA) This evening enjoy some free time in Jackson for shopping, sightseeing and exploring on own.
Overnight, Jackson, WY
DAY 6: American West Heritage Center – Salt Lake City
Depart Jackson this morning and travel through scenic western Wyoming into Idaho, surrounded by silver streams, soaring peaks, and lush meadows. Stop in Montpelier, Idaho and tour the National Oregon and California Trail Center before continuing to the jewel-like Bear Lake, nestled in the mountains on the border between Idaho and Utah, for lunch. Next descend rugged Logan Canyon and pass through the alpine dairy country of Cache Valley before stopping at the American West Heritage Center outside of Logan for a look into what it was like to live in the west from 1820 to 1920. Living history characters will teach the students about the daily lives of Native Americans, mountain men, pioneers and farmers who won the west. In the afternoon, travel back to Salt Lake City and check into the hotel with some time to freshen up. Then join the group for an evening of fun at the farewell dinner party. There will be all kinds of activities and games available to help celebrate the end of an amazing trip to Yellowstone.
Overnight, Salt Lake City, UT
DAY 7: Journey Home
Transfer to the Salt Lake Airport for your departure.
- 6 Night accommodations
- Transportation by motor-coach
- Services of a professional tour director
- 6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 6 dinners
- Entrance fee to national parks, monuments, attractions and activities
- Half-day whitewater rafting on the Snake River
- Instructions & assistance from conservationists and park rangers
- Tips for included meals
- Luggage handling (1 suitcase per person)
- Customary gratuities for the tour director, driver, local guides, and outfitters
- Meals (other than mentioned in the itinerary)
- Items of a personal nature (i.e., room service, telephone, liquor, etc.)
- 1 complimentary twin trip for an adult chaperone per every 10 paid students
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