Small Group Exploration in the Wild & Scenic West

Yellowstone and the Beartooth Range

  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Cody, Wyoming
  • the Beartooth Mountains
  • Red Lodge, Montana

Dates

June 5 - 13, 2022

Highlights

  • Yellowstone National Park highlights: Mammoth Hot Springs, Lamar River Valley, Old Faithful and the Firehole River Geyser Basins, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Western charm in Bozeman, Cody, and Red Lodge
  • The Cody Nite Rodeo - a rollicking and iconic experience!
  • The fun and ease of our signature small group travel style!

Trip Description

Let’s explore several of the world’s most uniquely beautiful wild places: Yellowstone National Park, and the adjacent Beartooth Mountains. We’ll wind our way from Bozeman, Montana, to Red Lodge – Gilded Age emporium of the Beartooths – spending multiple nights in Mammoth Hot Springs (2), Canyon Village (2), and Cody, Wyoming (2). We’ll drive to Yellowstone sites where the buses and campers can’t go, exploring geology, plant and animal life, and the history of the park, punctuated by short hikes. We’ll enjoy the insights of a wildlife guide on one afternoon, and opportunities for horseback riding along the way. In Cody, we’ll explore the vast Buffalo Bill Center of the West museum and cultural center, and the nearby Heart Mountain Relocation Center, with its poignant Japanese – American World War II story.

Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman, MT, USA

Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, WY, USA

Canyon Village

Canyon Village, WY, USA

Cody, Wyoming

Cody, WY, USA

Red Lodge, Montana

Red Lodge, MT, USA

Itinerary

Day 1 – 2

Fly into Bozeman, Montana.  Welcome to Big Sky Country!

The next day, we’ll travel alongside the Yellowstone River to the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park.  Pass through the historic Roosevelt Arch into the National Park, and onwards to Mammoth Hot Springs.  Walk along boardwalks that bring us up close to the steaming hydrothermal features and travertine terraces. See Fort Yellowstone, which dates park’s earliest days when a military presence was required to preserve the newly crowned park’s resources.  Later, relax at our lodging, or opt in for a horseback ride through alpine meadows. This evening, we’ll have a special meal under the stars together on a 1930s ranch.

Day 3

Today, enjoy a drive through the magnificent Lamar Valley, and learn about the park’s diverse wildlife with a local naturalist.  Home to the densest collection of Yellowstone’s “big animals,” we will have chances to observe grazing bison, elk, pronghorn, and more.  With some luck, we may see a pack of wolves or a grizzly on the prowl.

Day 4

Visit Norris Geyser Basin, North America’s most volatile and oldest continually active geothermal area, to get our first real look at the famous park geysers.  Boardwalks will allow us to safely observe the activity, as temperatures have been recorded here at nearly 460 degrees!

Then, it’s time to explore the spectacular Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.  The Yellowstone River flows north from Yellowstone Lake, and has carved some of the most impressive waterfalls and rock formations in the entire park.

 

Day 5

Today, let’s see the world-famous Old Faithful geyser for ourselves!  Old Faithful erupts roughly every 90 minutes.  We will stop for short hikes along the way, including to a viewpoint of Grand Prismatic Spring.  This large hot spring is surrounded by thermophile algae that change color with change in temperature.  The result is a brilliant pool of oranges, yellows and greens. Have your camera at the ready today!

Day 6

Today, pass through Yellowstone’s East Gate, and onwards to Cody, Wyoming.  Along the way, we’ll encounter beautiful views of Hayden Valley, Yellowstone Lake, stunning peaks, and chances for walking and wildlife viewing in these secluded reaches of the park.  Buffalo Bill described this as “the most beautiful 53 miles in America.”  Speaking of Bill Cody, a highlight of our stay will be the fantastic Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which houses five museums that vividly showcase the history, art, and culture of the American West.

Day 7

Today, visit the poignant Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, where we will learn about the wartime internment of thousands of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

This afternoon, choose from horseback riding, scenic drives, or shopping along Cody’s charming Main Street.  In the evening, enjoy an iconic Cody experience: the Cody Nite Rodeo!  Immerse yourself in the spirit of the Wild West that “Buffalo Bill” Cody made famous over one hundred years ago.  The Rodeo officially started in 1919 as a July 4th event commemorating Buffalo Bill, and continues to draw visitors and locals alike.

Day 8 – 9

Today, we will drive along two scenic highways as we make our way to Red Lodge, Montana.  The first, the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, is named in honor of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe.  The road follows the path where he led his warriors and their families as they fled the US Calvary and sought refuge in Canada in 1877.  We will then join the Beartooth Highway Scenic drive, which was completed in 1936 and boasts spectacular views of the jagged Beartooth Range as we travel high above the tree line on the Beartooth Plateau.

After an overnight in Red Lodge, fly home from Billings the next morning.

 

Featured Experiences

Mammoth Hot Springs Cabins

The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins—named after the nearby springs—offers a warm welcome to visitors. The hotel as it stands today was built in 1936, while retaining a wing of guest rooms originally built in 1911. Guests enjoy in-park accommodations as well as the chance of spotting elk grazing outside the hotel.

Canyon Lodge and Cabins

Canyon Lodge and Cabins is a sprawling facility, featuring the most accommodations in Yellowstone with more than 500 rooms and cabins. Guests enjoy comfortable amenities, a variety of dining options, as well as trail access that leads directly to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Sunrise hike, anyone?

Boutique Lodging in Cody, Wyoming

Enjoy a relaxing stay in the heart of Cody at a family-operated boutique hotel, which once served as a boarding house. Spend the evening by the fire in the hotel's private courtyard and garden, or relax with a glass of wine from the well-appointed lounge.

What's Included

  • Comfortable ground transportation
  • High-standard accommodation
  • Group meals (usually, breakfast + one lunch or dinner per day)
  • Activities and admissions per the itinerary
  • Guide and concierge services

Trip Price

$4,300 / person (double occupancy; single supplement, $1,000)

What's Not Included

Airfare, alcohol, other meals, optional activities, trip insurance (optional, but recommended)

My wife and I have taken two trips with Explore Up Close - Yellowstone and Glacier (National Park) - and each trip was well planned, from interesting and fun excursions planned each day to comfortable lodging and transportation. Our trip leaders, Chumley and Khal, were impressive with their knowledge of each area we explored and gracious in their planning of every aspect of our respective trips. We look forward to participating in future Explore Up Close adventures.
I recently returned from an amazing tour of Yellowstone and environs with Explore Up Close.  This was my fourth small-group excursion with EUC and they never disappoint.  They often team up with local guides to expand the experience (in Yellowstone, it was a naturalist who gathered us at 5 a.m. to view the activities of wolves, elk, pronghorn and other wildlife in the early morning hours).  Our guides took great care of us and provided a wonderful experience.
If you like small group adventures that are expertly researched and well guided, consider Explore Up Close. This includes domestic and international travel. Often, the leader will hire a docent to explain some interesting facts like a naturalist for wildlife spotting in Yellowstone NP. You can select from easy to strenuous encounters. It is hard to name a favorite, but next to Yellowstone would be the Basque Country of Spain.
Couldn't have asked for more in terms of weather, accommodations and scenery. Can't wait to go on another adventure with Explore Up Close!

Trip insurance safeguards your travel investment, your belongings, and most importantly, you. Though trip insurance is optional, we strongly encourage travelers to purchase trip insurance in the event you have to cancel or leave a trip for any reason. Please note, all trip participants should wait for confirmation from Explore Up Close that the trip has the minimum sign-up required to be a “go” before purchasing travel insurance or airline tickets. Please confirm with Explore Up Close before making any additional travel arrangements.

Once you have received confirmation from Explore Up Close, we recommend contacting a travel insurance provider directly to request a quote and compare pricing and features. You can find other providers that may fit your needs at www.insuremytrip.com, or we can gladly connect you with our travel agent.

Please note, all trip participants should wait for confirmation from Explore Up Close that the trip has the minimum sign-up required to be a “go” before purchasing airline tickets.

Explore Up Close will provide a recommended flight itinerary for your consideration, which is intended as a helpful suggestion. We encourage travelers to choose airfare depending on their personal preferences, as some travelers may prefer to travel independently and meet at our destination, or may wish to extend their travels at the beginning or end of the trip. Our travel agent is available to assist you with booking flights and trip insurance.

Again, please confirm with Explore Up Close before purchasing your airline tickets or making additional travel arrangements!

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