Day 1 - Arrive in Yellowstone National Park
The tour begins with a breathtaking drive south into Yellowstone
National Park. VBT will offer a shuttle from the VBT pre-trip lodging, Lehrkind
Mansion Bed and Breakfast (719 N. Wallace Avenue, Bozeman, MT, 59715) close to
downtown Bozeman, at 9:00 am. The
shuttle will make another stop at the Holiday Inn in Bozeman (5 E Baxter Lane,
Bozeman, MT 59715) at 9:30 am. Please allow for traffic delays.
If you arrive in Bozeman after this time, you will need to
arrange for transportation to Yellowstone National Park at your own expense.
Please call the following taxi company: Karst Stage (Telephone: 406-556-3540).
Transfers are available for $157.50/person or $168/couple. Travel time from the
Bozeman airport to Mammoth Hot Springs is approximately 90 minutes.
For guests driving to the tour, please plan to meet our
group at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel at 11:00 am. Please be aware that a $25 entrance fee per vehicle will be assessed by the National Park Service upon entering the park. Complimentary parking is
available in Mammoth. Our tour will conclude at the hotel, and you will be able to leave
from here on our final morning.
VBT Pre-Trip Extension guests: You have the morning to enjoy
breakfast at the Lehrkind Mansion Bed and Breakfast. At 9:00 am, the shuttle
will arrive and transfer you and the rest of the group to the Mammoth Hot
Springs Hotel. The shuttle will also be traveling to the Holiday Inn in Bozeman
to pick up Land Package Only guests.
We'll meet our VBT Trip Leaders shortly after 11:00 am at
the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. After a light lunch and brief introduction,
we'll depart the hotel at
approximately 1:00 pm for the second half of our journey—this time, over the
Our afternoon will be spent in a snow coach: a van specially
outfitted with treads to travel over ice and snow. Along the way, we'll make
stops at the Midway Geyser Basin and Grand Prismatic Spring. Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest, and one of the most iconic and dramatic, geothermal features in Yellowstone.
We will arrive at our hotel, the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, in
the late afternoon. Enjoy a chance to unpack and relax in your room. Or explore
your surroundings, which include the renowned Old Faithful Geyser. At 6:30
pm, we'll gather for an orientation meeting and welcome cocktail, followed by
an included dinner.
Day 2 - Ski lesson / Ski to Lone Star Geyser
After a hearty breakfast, we'll meet to review the day's
events and logistics. Our morning ski instruction with our Trip Leaders will take place just outside the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. We'll then ski directly from the
lodge to Lone Star Geyser. The short option will ski through the Upper Geyser Basin to Morning Glory Pool. Skiers should be prepared to bring a small day pack to
carry a packed lunch, extra clothing, camera, water, and any additional supplies they may need throughout the
The Lone Star Geyser trail follows an old service road,
which features both groomed and skier-tracked trails. Lone Star Geyser erupts
routinely every three hours. Eruptions can last up to 30 minutes, with water
blasting up to 50 feet in the air. Geysers such as Lone Star are best viewed in
the winter, as the combination of colder temperatures, coupled
with hot water and steam, offers the very best viewing.
The Morning Glory Pool short option will take us past Old Faithful, the Old Faithful Inn, and through the Upper Geyser Basin, containing the highest concentration of geysers anywhere in the world. We will stop at Morning Glory Pool for lunch, one of the most historic geothermal pools in Yellowstone.
We will enjoy our packed lunch outside, on the trail at Lone Star Geyser or Morning Glory Pool. Both trails return to the Old Faithful Snow Lodge where we'll have time on our own.
The afternoon is yours to relax at the lodge or spent exploring our surroundings. Dinner
will be on your own tonight, at either the Obsidian Dining Room or the Geyser
Grill. Later this evening, ice skating is available for those who wish to spend
some additional time outdoors.
Day 3 - Ski Geyser Basin or snowshoe Duck Pond Trail to Observation Point / Transfer to Mammoth Hot Springs
Today we'll head north on the ski trails, skiing through the
Geyser Basin. If you'd prefer, you may choose to snowshoe on the Duck Pond Trail and up to Observation Point instead. The winter
trails through the Geyser Basin offer a sense of solitude that is seldom
experienced in the summer. As we ski, our Trip Leaders will help us identify a
variety of thermal features, explaining what makes each one unique. There's
also a good chance that we'll encounter some of the native wildlife of
Yellowstone. Our morning ski returns to the lodge on the same trail that we took out.
For the snowshoe option, our Trip Leaders will take us over the river and through the woods—the Firehole River and lodge pole forest, that is. Along the way, we'll stop and observe unique thermals nestled in the forest. After the short snowshoe loop, we'll have the option to return directly to the Snow Lodge or continue uphill to Observation Point.
After a lunch on our own at the Snow Lodge, we'll head north via snow coach to Mammoth Hot Springs. Our ride includes
stops at the Fountain Paint Pots and Firehole Canyon for interpretive walks.
Walking along the Fountain Paint Pots boardwalk, we'll have the
opportunity to witness all four types of geothermal features: geysers, mud
pots, steam vents and hot springs. And as we drive along the Firehole Canyon,
we'll stop to take in the awesome sight of the 40-foot-high Firehole Falls.
Our ride north will continue to the Mammoth Hot Springs
Hotel, where we will arrive in time to relax and settle in before an included
dinner at the hotel's restaurant.
Day 4 - Skiing the Tower Falls area
Our day in Mammoth will begin with a route review in the historic Map Room of the Mammoth Hotel. We'll have the option to either ski on the Mammoth Terraces Ski Trail or take an interpretive walk with our Trip Leader on the Mammoth Terrace boardwalks.
The Mammoth Terraces are travertine steps created by limestone deposits dissolved by thermal water and redeposited on the earth's surface as travertine marble. A walk up the boardwalk or ski on the upper Terrace Drive will get us up close and personal with these features.
After our ski or walk, we'll meet at Mammoth Hotel for an included lunch. Our afternoon will be free for us to explore the Mammoth area. You may choose to stop by the Visitor Center for more information on Yellowstone. This afternoon is also a great opportunity to shop for unique Yellowstone souvenirs.
As the original (and current) headquarters of the Park, and former U.S. Army Base known as Fort Yellowstone, there are many opportunities to take in the history while strolling through and around the many buildings that make up the area: the post office, jail, Visitor Center, and hotel.
The afternoon and evening are yours to relax at the hotel before dinner on your own. Later, you may choose to listen to Randy, the hotel's piano player and historian, as he presents an entertaining account of the history of Yellowstone. You may also decide to retire early, as we will be up before the sun tomorrow for a morning of wildlife viewing!
Day 5 - Lamar Valley wildlife / Farewell dinner
Our final full day in Yellowstone will include a special wildlife safari and a ski or snowshoe with our group. We'll have an early morning departure at 6:30 am to take
in the sunrise as we transfer to the Lamar Valley, a drive of approximately one
hour. Breakfast will be on the road (not to worry: our lodge's coffee will be
hot and ready from 5:30 am) and we'll arrive in the Lamar Valley early to
increase our chances of seeing wildlife movement.
The Lamar Valley, known locally as the “American Serengeti,”
hosts a vast range of wildlife including bears, wolves, elk, bison, antelope, and bighorn sheep. While we likely won't encounter any bears, the
Lamar Valley is the winter home to hundreds of bison and elk, and the
pristine, snow-covered winter landscape makes spotting wildlife much easier. Due to the vast numbers of potential prey, the Valley is also one of the best
places in the world to catch a glimpse of wild wolves. As we explore, we'll
learn more about the successful re-introduction of these apex predators to Yellowstone and
the role that their packs play in the surrounding ecosystem.
After our visit to the Lamar Valley, we will head to Roosevelt Junction, where we'll ski and snowshoe along the Yellowstone River to Tower Falls. We will enjoy a packed lunch in the Tower Falls area. When flowing, the water plunges more than 130 feet from Tower Creek into the Yellowstone River. In the winter, the Falls are even more spectacular, as the water is frozen into a cascading tower of ice. We will return on the trail we took to Tower Falls.
During the van ride back from Roosevelt Junction, be on the lookout for local wildlife. We may not be surrounded by geothermal features, but we will enjoy broad vistas with the potential to see elk, deer, coyotes or even bison.
After returning to the hotel, you'll have time to relax. We conclude the day—and our week in Yellowstone—with a
special farewell dinner at the hotel.
Day 6 - Depart for home
The land portion of your tour concludes after breakfast this
morning. Bid farewell to your Trip Leaders before departing by shuttle to
VBT has made arrangements for a shuttle from Yellowstone
back to Bozeman at 9:00 am. The shuttle will make a stop at the airport,
arriving at approximately 11:00 am, followed by a stop in downtown Bozeman
around 11:30 am.
If you drove to the start of the tour, you may depart the
Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel after breakfast.