Experience Yellowstone in its very most vibrant season. In the mountains, early June is spring, the time when birds are at their peak of song as they court and nest and the hooved mammals bear their young. The peak of Elk calving occurs the second week of June; our trip is timed to ensure seeing the park’s iconic predators: Black and Grizzly Bears, Gray Wolf, Red Fox, Coyote, and Badger.

In early June few places match Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Valley for viewing the dynamics of large predators and their prey. Snow in the high country keeps herds of Elk and Deer in the valleys. Predators—particularly bears and wolves—take advantage of this, often in numbers that create real pressure between species. At the same time, prey species are raising young, which are abundant and a joy to see.

We dial in on wildlife viewing in the dawn and dusk hours, while mid-day we offer excursions to the interior of Yellowstone to explore the geyser basins, Hayden Valley, and the dramatic Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. Our route to and from Bozeman lets us see some of North America’s finest mountain scenery following the Yellowstone River through Paradise Valley. Western birds are active with song throughout our days, busy in the long-daylight hours of their short nesting season.

Tour Highlights

  • Experience the American West with fun meals, grand scenery, and wildlife
  • Begin on the Yellowstone Ecosystem’s west side, where Trumpeter Swan, Sandhill Crane, and Moose are often found at Red Rock Lakes NWR and Harriman State Park
  • Travel up the Madison River where Elk herds congregate with young, a verdant and bird-rich corridor entering the park from West Yellowstone
  • Watch for Osprey and Bald Eagle on nests
  • Enjoy the steam of Yellowstone’s iconic geysers and marvel at myriad, colorful thermal features
  • See the brilliant colors of male Harlequin Duck as they feed in cascading rapids of Hayden Valley
  • Take in the arresting beauty of Yellowstone Falls and the antics of American Dipper nesting nearby
  • Find Mountain Bluebird and Red-naped and Williamson’s Sapsuckers at their nest holes, and possibly Ruffed or Dusky Grouse as they display
  • Watch hundreds of Elk with their calves in the Lamar Valley, spot Mountain Goat and Bighorn Sheep young
  • Witness hunting by the park’s great predators, Black and Grizzly Bears, and coming and going from their den sites, Gray Wolves
  • Watch as Lazuli Bunting throw their heads back in song and Green-tailed Towhee bring food for their young

Trip Itinerary

Itineraries are guidelines; variations in itinerary may occur to account for weather, road conditions, closures, etc. and to maximize your experience.

Day 1: Bozeman/Gardiner, Montana | Northern Gateway to Yellowstone


Please arrive in Bozeman no later than 2:00 PM today; afterwards we drive over a mountain pass to Livingston, and then turn south along the Yellowstone River to the northern gateway of Yellowstone National Park. Our drive is through lush agricultural areas, mainly hay crops grown to feed livestock. This is classic Big Sky scenery. Sometimes we spot raptors, perhaps Sandhill Crane or White-tailed Deer feeding in the meadows. We stop a few places along the way and arrive in time for you to settle into your room with fine views of mountains and the Yellowstone River. Enjoy dinner tonight at a favorite local restaurant.
Accommodations at the Absaroka Motel, Gardiner (D)

Day 2: Wildlife Watching with a Wolf Expert | Lamar Valley


Jumpstart your adventure in Yellowstone by spending time with a real expert, Nathan Varley, also known as the Wolf Tracker. Nathan did his doctoral work on the Yellowstone Wolf Project and has been close to the project ever since, residing in Gardiner. This highly successful program that began in 1995 reaches its 25 year milestone this year. Nathan accompanies us today in the field, with a keen eye for all wildlife but particularly wolves. We stay out for the full day, taking a picnic lunch, and enjoying time at vast herds of elk, possible Mule Deer, Pronghorn, and birds such as American Dipper, Mountain Bluebird, and Lazuli Bunting.

We return in the afternoon, and if you wish, enjoy time to look around the small mountain town of Gardiner with its tempting shops. Dinner tonight is at another favorite local restaurant.
Accommodations at the Absaroka Motel, Gardiner (B,L,D)

Day 3: Swan Lake Flats | Norris Geyser Basin | Old Faithful Geyser Basin


Today we mix it up a bit and head into the interior of the park. Swan Lake Flats has several ponds that attract Sandhill Crane and various species of waterfowl at this time of year. On a walk to explore thermal features at Norris Geyser Basin, we are among mixed conifer trees, a good place to spot Red or possibly White-winged Crossbill, Pine Grosbeak, and Pine Siskin. We then follow a lush river corridor past Madison Junction, heading to Old Faithful with its iconic lodge and thermal features. Elk graze in the meadows, Canada Geese lounge on the shores, and Bald Eagle may be present and fishing. A boardwalk trail winds through geysers, fumaroles, mud pots, and colorful hot springs en route down to Morning Glory Pool, passing many of the major thermal features for which the park is known. Bison seem attracted to the basin at this time of year; watching their calves is a delight. The Firehole River is a good place to watch for dippers, Barrow’s Goldeneye, and even River Otter.

We enjoy a picnic lunch, time for an ice-cream at one of the park stores, and return to Gardiner for dinner.
Accommodations at the Absaroka Motel, Gardiner (B,L,D)

Day 4: Lamar Valley, Yellowstone | Dunraven Pass | Hayden Valley


The second part of our week is based out of Yellowstone’s Northeast entrance, with two full days to survey abundant wildlife of the Lamar Valley in search of wolves, Black and Grizzly Bears, and all of the hoofed mammal species upon which they prey. At no time is the drama more intense—snow on the mountains keeps the large herds down in the valley during their most vulnerable time: during the birth of calves. The predators search the sagebrush flats, new-leafing aspen groves, and sheltered pine and Douglas Fir forests for their prime targets, Elk, as well as other prey.

We should have close looks at Bison, Mule Deer, Bighorn Sheep, Elk, and Pronghorn, all of which should have young. We hope to see wolf activity as well: hunting, traveling, and possibly feeding young. We review the entire history of wolf reintroduction, and by using a spotting scope at the edge of the road, we also hope to observe both Black and Grizzly Bears in great detail at a safe distance.

Slough Creek and the cottonwood-lined Yellowstone River corridor give us good birding sites for riparian species, Williamson’s and Red-naped Sapsuckers, and a variety of western warblers.

One afternoon we venture over Dunraven Pass to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone with its dramatic Upper and Lower Falls, a scenic highlight for many. En route we may see active Peregrine Falcon or Osprey at their nest sites, fascinating to watch from above as they are found in the canyon below us. Bison herds with calves often create “road blocks” in Hayden Valley beyond the falls, much to viewers’ delight. In the vast open hills of Hayden Valley, we may see Coyote, Northern Harrier, and possibly bright male Harlequin Ducks at LeHardy Rapids.

Dinners are in Cooke City or nearby Silver Gate where several good restaurants vie for our attention. Lunches are picnic or perhaps we visit the log-cabin dining room at Tower Falls.
Accommodations at the Alpine Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 5: Beartooth Pass | Top of the World!


Today we mix it up again and head to higher elevations, weather permitting. After breakfast and scanning for hummingbirds at a local resident’s feeders, we head off for an extraordinary drive; one Charles Kuralt has called the most scenic in North America. Even in June we may have walls of plowed snow near the upper reaches. If we can tear our eyes away from the stunning views of both the Beartooth and Absaroka Mountain ranges, we’re likely to see montane and alpine species such as Black- and Gray-crowned Rosy Finches, American Pipit, Horned Lark, Northern Goshawk, Yellow-bellied Marmot, Pika, and other species. Clark’s Nutcracker and a herd of Rocky Mountain Goat frequent the rest stop at Rock Creek.

We descend through lush forests broken by meadows and with luck we may spot a Moose and her calf. The pointed peaks of Pilot and Index mark our arrival back to the mountain town of Cooke City where we dine tonight.
Accommodations at the Alpine Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 6: Birding the Northeast Entrance | Lamar Valley | Mammoth Hot Springs


This morning we enjoy birding around the tall trees and underlying willows at Silver Gate. We also visit the studio of famed wildlife photographers Dan and Cindy Hartman where birds use feeders and natural perches to reach them. We have a leisurely breakfast, pack up our gear, and make our way back through Lamar Valley.
We should make it to Mammoth Hot Springs for lunch and birding in the chokecherry thickets behind the lodge, and at the nearby 45th Parallel parking area.

Over dinner we celebrate our grand adventure in style!
Accommodations at the Alpine Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 7: Departures from Bozeman


Enjoy optional early birding on the grounds of our hotel, and then breakfast at a local Cooke City favorite before packing up to head to Bozeman (about 3 hour drive) and flights out. (B)

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Red Fox kits by Wes Larson

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Group at LeHardy Rapids by Hugh Simmons

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Western Tanager by Wes Larson

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Grizzly Bear by Wes Larson

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Group by Hugh Simmons

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Harlequin Ducks by Wes Larson

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Mammoth Hot Springs

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    White Pelican by Hugh Simmons

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Scope by Hugh Simmons

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Wolves by Wes Larson

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Elk by Wes Larson

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Old Faithful

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Pika by Wes Larson

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Grand Canyon of Yellowstone (Lower Falls)

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Norris Geyser Basin

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Bison calf by Wes Larson

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Coyote with Raven by Wes Larson

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Coyote by Wes Larson

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Scenic by Robert Scamman

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Group Birding by Robert Scamman

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Red Fox kits by Wes Larson

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Bison by Wes Larson

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Ermine with lunch by Wes Larson

  • Birding Yellowstone, Birding North America, Bird watching Yellowstone, Wyoming, Nature Tour, Naturalist Journeys, Wildlife Tour, Wildlife Photography, Ecotourism, Specialty Birds, Birding Hotspot, Yellowstone National Park

    Grizzly Bear and cubs by Wes Larson

Cost of the Journey

The cost of the journey is per person based on occupancy: $TBD, from Bozeman, MT.

This cost includes: Accommodations for 6 nights, all meals as specified in the itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner), airport welcome and transfer, land transportation during the journey, professional guide services, park and other entrance fees, and miscellaneous program expenses.

This cost does NOT include: Round-trip airfare to and from Bozeman, items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone, drinks from the bar, and gratuities for luggage handling or personal services.

Browse below for trip reports and species lists from past versions of this and other tours from this destination.

Montana

Yellowstone

  • Wes Larson

    Wes Larson is a wildlife biologist who specializes in some of the most beloved and threatened species around the world. His primary research has been on polar, black, grizzly and sloth bears, but he has been lucky enough to work on conservation projects with myriad other species, including Golden Eagle, African Wild Dog, Green Sea Turtle, Elephant Seal, Spotted Eagle Ray, Burrowing and Flammulated Owl, American Kestrel, Temminck’s Ground Pangolin, and American Alligator. Wes also has a passion for wildlife conservation education, and hosted the Mission Wild series for CNN’s Great Big Story, and regularly shares his travels and field work with his large social media following. He credits his love for wild things and bears to an upbringing in Montana, where the forests and mountains are a last refuge for his favorite species, the Grizzly Bear of the Rocky Mountains. Wes’s passion for all things wild is infectious and the only thing he loves more than seeing wildlife in its natural habitat is sharing those experiences with other people.

    Other trips with Wes Larson

Map for Yellowstone: Birds, Bears & Wildlife

Essential Information +

This information is important for being prepared for your journey; we want you to have Read more

This information is important for being prepared for your journey; we want you to have the best experience possible. If you only read one section, this one is key!

Ahead of Your Tour

  • Please talk with your doctor about general health needs. It is a good idea to consult with your doctor about general vaccinations recommended for travel.
  • Please plan to make air travel plans only after the minimum group size has been met. We will send you a confirmation email as soon as the trip has been confirmed. After you make travel reservations, please send a copy of your travel itinerary to the Naturalist Journeys office at clientservices@naturalistjourneys.com.
  • Travel insurance in case of serious medical emergency is recommended. Full health coverage and repatriation is available through Allianz Travel Insurance.
  • Soft sided luggage/duffel bags are easiest for packing the vans. Remember to pack essential medications in your carry-on luggage, as well as one day of clothing and optics in case of luggage delay.

Health Information

We will share a copy of your health and emergency contact information with your guide. This information will be kept confidential but is very important in case of a medical emergency. In addition to bringing any prescription medications with you, we recommend that you have a copy of the prescriptions in case of loss.

Pace of the Tour & What to Expect

You will receive a Schedule-at-a-Glance and list of hotels (our eContact List) a few weeks before your departure. This will serve as an outline for each day and alert you to any recent changes made in the schedule or to our hotels, if needed.

Our journeys are set up to follow the rhythm of nature. Our focus is on birding and nature; we offer full, well-planned field days and often get up early for that magical time around dawn. We generally follow the published itinerary, but we stay flexible to the weather, wildlife opportunities and the interests of the group. Your guide will keep you apprised of the next day’s schedule at each evening meal, noting what to bring and what to prepare for. Questions and/or concerns are welcome.

The pace of our Naturalist Journeys tours is moderate; to fully participate you should be able to get in and out of vehicles several times a day, and walk 1-3 miles over uneven terrain. It is important to participate with a flexible attitude as adjustments may be made in our schedule to make the most of our time in the field or for other purposes at your guide's discretion. We are not a “listing” bird company that drills down on target species, but at times we do wait for those special species unique to the places we visit. During the day, we take time to stop for photos and for educational opportunities to learn about conservation projects, landscapes, and geology. We appreciate other taxa as well as birds, with mammals often the biggest draw but plants and butterflies are also very popular. Our clients often lend their own expertise to the mix.  

We like to make meals a fun and memorable part of the experience, too. Breakfasts are often at hotels, and we carry snacks, fruit, and water in the vans each day. Lunches are a mix of picnics in the field (weather dependent) and a chance to dine with locals at small cafes and restaurants. For dinner, we pride ourselves in our homework to keep up with the best choices for dining, choosing restaurants with atmosphere that specialize in local foods. On occasion we keep dinner simple to go back out in the field for sunset wildlife viewing or night walks. In some remote locations, our choices are limited. If you are tired, room service for dinner may be an option you can choose.

Food & Drink

We carry water and juices/cold drinks in the cooler each day, and sodas if people like them. Please also plan on bringing and filling your water bottle for hiking each day. We try to use as few plastics as possible!

Packing, Clothing & Laundry

Soft sided luggage/duffel bags are easiest for packing the vans. Please pack essential medications in your carry-on luggage, as well as one day of clothing and optics in case of luggage delay.

Dress is informal and is casual even at restaurants. Layering is a great way to stay comfortable. Protective clothing is essential, whether it be from sun, rain, cold, insects, or vegetation. You need closed toe shoes, and wear comfortable walking shoes with good tread. Hiking boots with good support for hiking and on rocky terrain can work well.

Spending Money

Many people ask how much to plan to bring as spending money. Part of that depends on how much you want to shop. Most shops will take VISA and MasterCard or American Express. Typical items people purchase include local souvenirs and T-shirts, caps, and natural history books.  You may want to bring cash for drinks with dinner (if available) or smaller local purchases.

Gratuities

Expect the normal tipping protocol to apply for hotel maids and bar service. If at the end of the tour, you would like to show your appreciation to your guides, tipping is entirely appropriate but at your discretion. We hope that you will be pleased with all professional services. Gratuities for group meals are included. For your birding tour guide, we suggest $10-$15 per day per guest. Note that if there is more than one guide, this amount can be split among them.

Cell Phones & Internet Service

Wi-Fi and cell phone service are available in most US destinations, although there are some exceptions in remote locations. Wi-Fi is generally provided in all hotels, lodges, and restaurants you visit, at least in public areas. Please refrain from taking or making cell phone calls in the vehicles when traveling with other passengers unless it appears to be an emergency as this disrupts other guests – please plan cell phone calls on your own time.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted in any vehicle or in any situation where the group is participating in an activity together, such as a vehicle excursion or a guided walk. Please respect all designated smoking areas at hotels and restaurants.

Transportation

For this tour, your guides will drive travelers in either full-size or mini-vans or a combination of those two. We ask all attendees to please rotate your seating, so you ride with different drivers and alternate between front and back seats.

Photo Release & Sharing

We take many group photos and will share photos with the group. And after your tour, we will organize a chance to share photos via Dropbox or Google Photos. Please note that this is our policy and if you prefer to be excluded, we need to know ahead of your tour.

By registering for this tour, you agree to grant to Naturalist Journeys and its authorized representatives permission to record photos and/or video of your participation in the tour. You further agree that any or all of the material photographed may be used, in any form, as part of any future publications, brochures, or other printed materials used to promote Naturalist Journeys, and further that such use shall be without payment of fees, royalties, special credit or other compensation.

Questions?

Please contact Naturalist Journeys by email at clientservices@naturalistjourneys.com or telephone our office: (520) 558-1146 or toll free: (866) 900-1146 if you have any questions. Many thanks for traveling with us and we hope you enjoy your journey.

 

Packing List +

Please pack light! Soft luggage is much easier for us to pack than a more rigid Read more

Please pack light!

Soft luggage is much easier for us to pack than a more rigid hard sided piece, so if you have the choice, please use your soft luggage. Be sure to have your name and address on the inside of the bag, as well as on the luggage tag on the handle. It is our hope that you can pack in one checked suitcase that does not exceed 45 pounds. Be sure to pack your personal medication, airline tickets, passport, binoculars, camera, and other essential items in your carry-on bag. You will want a day pack for field trips, so this is an ideal carry-on. Please reconfirm your airline’s baggage weight and size restrictions about a week or so before departure.

Dress is comfortable and informal throughout the trip. Dressing in layers is the best way to be comfortable. Lightweight long sleeve shirts and long pants make ideal field clothing as they are more protective from sun and vegetation. But if you like to wear them, by all means bring some shorts. Also, choose clothing you don’t mind getting dirty or muddy and things that are comfortable and easy.

Note on clothing colors and insect repellent: We recommend muted colors of tan, brown, khaki, grey or green, as they are spotted less easily than white or bright colors, though camouflage clothing is not recommended. It is possible to purchase field clothing permeated with insect repellent such as the Craghoppers Insect Shield collection. Another approach is to purchase Permethrin spray (online or from REI) to treat your field clothing and socks before your departure.

Clothing & Gear

  • Lightweight long pants or jeans, (2 to 3 pairs)
  • Lightweight long-sleeved shirts such as a turtleneck or sport shirt (4 to 5)
  • T-shirts or equivalent (for layering)
  • Personal underclothing and sleepwear
  • Socks (light to medium weight and easy to wash and dry)
  • A medium-weight raincoat or poncho (great if this doubles as windbreaker)
  • Rain pants /wind pants
  • Comfortable walking shoes (such as sneakers)
  • Light-to-medium weight hiking boots (GOOD TREAD IS ESSENTIAL!)
  • If hiking, Teva type sandals for stream crossings are handy. Sandals in general are nice for travel days
  • Medium-weight jacket (fleece is ideal, but a sweater or heavy sweatshirt will do. Make sure you can layer it with your windbreaker)
  • Hat with broad brim
  • Hat for warmth, lightweight gloves – early morning wildlife viewing can be cold!
  • Comfortable clothes for evening (a cleaner version of your field clothes or a skirt, etc.)
  • Bathing suit (optional; some lodgings might have spa facilities)

Equipment & Miscellaneous

  • E- ticket confirmation & identification
  • Passport for our international travelers
  • Toiletries
  • Binoculars
  • Camera and extra batteries, film, lens cleaning supplies, and your instruction manual (optional)
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Daypack or fanny pack for carrying your field gear, adequate to hold your lunch if hiking
  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen/lip balm
  • Sunglasses
  • Insect Repellent
  • Small flashlight with fresh batteries
  • Alarm clock, or use your cell phone
  • Notebook or journal and pen (optional)
  • Field guides (optional)
  • Umbrella (optional; during occasional rain, this allows you to keep using binoculars)
  • Hiking sticks (optional, if you would like extra support)
  • Spotting scope and tripod (optional – guide will have this)
  • Earplugs (optional; hotel noise may bother you)
  • Rechargeable power bank (optional)

 

WE DO NOT RECOMMEND TRAVELING WITH PRECIOUS OR VALUABLE JEWELRY – don’t tempt anyone and don’t bring things you’d regret losing - your mind will be at ease!

Medical & First Aid Items

  • Personal medications
  • Motion sickness preventatives if likely to be needed on bus, van, etc.
  • Personal first aid kit and medications for general ailments (including band-aids, moleskin, etc. for blisters)
  • Copies of prescriptions for vital medications and eyeglasses, as well as any medical alerts
  • Insurance information and vaccination records
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses or contacts
  • Small tube of hand sanitizer

 

Suggested Reading List +

There are many titles of interest for Yellowstone and the wolf reintroduction project there; the Read more

There are many titles of interest for Yellowstone and the wolf reintroduction project there; the following are a few that we have enjoyed that can get you started. 

Top Picks

Merlin App. A phone-based birding app from Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology. You can download it here.

Field Guide to the Birds of North America

General Reading

Yellowstone, A Visitor’s Companion

A Guide to Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Fodor’s Compass American Guides: Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

Yellowstone, The Official Guide

A Week in Yellowstone's Thorofare: A Journey Through the Remotest Place
Yellowstone: A Journey Through America's Wild Heart

Yellowstone Treasures: The Traveler’s Companion to the National Park

Field Guides

National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocky Mountain States

Nature Guide to Yellowstone National Park

Sibley Guide to Birds

Birds of Yellowstone: A Practical Habitat Guide to the Birds of Yellowstone National Park--and Where to Find Them

Birds of Montana
Finding the Birds of Jackson Hole: A Bird Finding Guide

Field Guide to Hawks of North America
Birds of Wyoming: Field Guide

Wildlife & Nature

Yellowstone’s Birds: Diversity and Abundance in the World’s First National Park

Sagebrush Country: A Wildflower Sanctuary

Plants of Yellowstone and Grand Teton

A Field Guide to Butterflies of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Butterflies of Grand Teton & Yellowstone National Parks

Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America

Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West

Peterson Field Guide to Mammals of North America

Wolf Titles

Yellowstone Wolves: Science and Discovery in the World’s First National Park

The Alpha Wolves of Yellowstone 4 book series:

The Rise of Wolf 8, The Reign of Wolf 21, The Redemption of Wolf 302, and The Alpha Female Wolf

Yellowstone Wolves in the Wild

A Society of Wolves

DVD: Wolves – A Legend Returns to Yellowstone

Bears & Mammals of Yellowstone

Yellowstone Bears in the Wild

Track of the Grizzly

A Field Guide to Mammal Tracking in North America

Natural History

Roadside Geology of Yellowstone Country

The Return of the Wolf to Yellowstone

Mule Deer Country

History & Culture

Roadside History of Yellowstone Travel Guide

Before Yellowstone: Native American Archaeology in the National Park

Empire of Shadows: The Epic Story of Yellowstone

Memoir/Non-Fiction

Yellowstone has Teeth: A Memoir of Living in Yellowstone

Wild Rescues: A Paramedic’s Extreme Adventures in Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Teton

Your guide will also have a selection of reference books and materials to share. As an Amazon Associate, Naturalist Journeys earns from qualifying purchases, and may get commissions for purchases made through links on this page at no added cost to you.

 

Useful Links +

Learn more about your destination at these external websites, carefully researched for you. Read more

General

Bozeman, Montana

Museum of the Rockies

Nature, Wildlife & Biology

Yellowstone’s Gray Wolf

Wildlife of Yellowstone

Birds of Yellowstone

Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Grizzly Bear Recovery Program – Grizzly Bear Biology

Conservation, Parks & Reserves

National Park Service – Yellowstone

Yellowstone Forever Non-Profit – Protect, Preserve and Enhance Yellowstone

National Park Services Yellowstone National Park App

NOTE: Be sure to download the app before you arrive in Yellowstone as cell service and Wi-Fi are limited in the park

Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Reserve

Harriman State Park, Idaho

Hayden Valley

Grand Teton National Park

Geology & Geography

US Geological Society – Geology and History of Yellowstone

Geography Overview

NPS Geodiversity Atlas – Yellowstone

Old Faithful

Thermal Geyser Basins of Yellowstone

History & Culture

PBS Brief History of Yellowstone National Park

Historic and Associated Tribes of Yellowstone

Helpful Travel Websites

Arrival: Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN)

Departure: Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) 

Homeland Security Real ID Act

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

ATM Locator

Time and Date


Photo credits: Banners: Grizzly Bear (Wes Larson), Long-billed Curlew (Hugh Simmons), Mountain Bluebird (Wes Larson), Rocky Mountain Goat (Hugh Simmons), Pronghorn (Hugh Simmons), Norris Geyser Basin (Hugh Simmons) Thumbnails: Great Gray Owl (Greg Smith), Calliope Hummingbird (Wes Larson), Black Bear (Wes Larson), Western Tanager, Red-tailed Hawk (Hugh Simmons), Red Fox kits (Wes Larson), Badger (Wes Larson), Wilson’s Warbler (Wes Larson)

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