2018 Yellowstone Winter Photo Tour with Zack Clothier

February 3 - 9, 2018

Yellowstone in winter
Explore Yellowstone's remote interior in winter!
Yellowstone is an extraordinary place, but perhaps even more so in the wintertime. The diversity of both wildlife and landscapes make this a premier destination for nature photographers. When deep snows and icy temps grip the region, many of the park's animals migrate out of the backcountry and into the lower elevation areas, where it is warmer and more hospitable. The never-ending steam from geysers and other geothermal areas fills the atmosphere with plumes of white clouds, creating a stark contrast against the snowy landscape, and turning the trees into ghostly statues in this ethereal world of wonder. Under this thick blanket of snow, the heart of Yellowstone beats loudly, and the landscape is teeming with the incredible sights and sounds of nature. Bison trudge through the deep snowpack, moose and elk browse in glistening meadows, coyotes and foxes dive head first into the snow looking for rodents, wolves trot across wide open valleys, bald eagles and bobcats patrol the river's edge, looking for their next meal. During Yellowstone's infamous winters, it's all about survival for these animals.

Of the 5 full days of photography allotted for this adventure, we will spend three of those days traveling by snow coach into the heart of Yellowstone, through some of the most productive areas in the park for winter wildlife. Here we will have countless opportunities for scenic snowscapes, "ghost trees", steaming geysers, frozen waterfalls, and numerous species of wildlife, including red foxes, bison, bald eagles, river otters, trumpeter swans, elk, coyotes, and possibly even bobcats. The remaining portion of our time will be spent canvasing the wildlife-rich Northern Range, where we will have our best chance to photograph wolves, moose, bighorn sheep, foxes, and plenty of snowy landscapes.

Join Zack on this incredible journey into one of the most wondrous places on earth, Yellowstone in winter, and experience the magic for yourself!

Some of the highlights of this tour include:

  • Three days spent in the vast interior of the park, via a specially chartered snow coach. Snow coaches are comfortable four-wheel drive track-converted vehicles.
  • Opportunities for both wildlife and landscape photography in one of the world's most sought-out destinations.
  • Opportunities to explore the geyser basins by foot.
  • 2 full days will be spent in the wildlife-rich Northern Range, where we will have the best opportunity to photograph wolves, moose, bighorn sheep, among other species.
  • See and photograph Yellowstone with a local, experienced guide.
  • Group size is limited to 4 participants for a more personalized experience.

To get an idea of some of the wildlife we might see during the trip, check out the photo gallery. If you would like to inquire about a customized tour or extension, read more here.

Reserve Your Spot!

Tour Dates and Activities

Saturday, February 3 (Day 1): Pick up in Bozeman, Arrival in Yellowstone
Today we'll pick you up via group shuttle and transport you to Yellowstone National Park. Pick up is scheduled for early afternoon, so be sure to arrive in Bozeman either Thursday night or Friday morning.

Red fox
Red foxes are among the many winter species we'll seek out.
From Bozeman, we make the hour-and-a-half drive south through the scenic Paradise Valley to Gardiner, Montana, and Yellowstone National Park. Our arrival will give us an opportunity to check into our lodging before gathering for a group dinner and orientation.

Gardiner, 3 Nights

Sunday, February 4 & Monday, February 5 (Days 2 & 3): Yellowstone's Northern Range
The beginning of the trip is all about the Northern Range and the famed Lamar Valley, where there will be numerous wildlife and scenic landscape photo opportunities, including a visit to the terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs. For this portion of the trip we will be based out of Gardiner in the park's north corner. Our excursions will take us all along the Northern Range, between the north and northeast entrances, considered to be one of the best areas of the park to photograph wolves, moose, bison, elk, otters, bighorn sheep, foxes, ermines, eagles, and other wildlife.

Yellowstone bobcat
The interior gives us a chance to seek the rare Yellowstone bobcat!
Tuesday, February 6 (Day 4): Interior Bound; Geyser Basins, Madison River
Our first full day in Yellowstone is dedicated to exploration of the park's interior using a privately-chartered, track-converted snow coach. We will wake up early in order to meet our snow coach driver who will lead us deep into the snowy interior of the park. On the way south we will keep an eye out for wildlife, and will also stop at some of the geyser basins and other thermal areas along the way. There should be some excellent landscape photo opportunities as well, with hot, steaming thermals providing great contrast against the snowy surroundings. The late afternoon/evening will be spent canvasing the Madison River corridor, looking for bobcats, trumpeter swans, coyotes, and other wildlife commonly spotted along this scenic stretch.

West Yellowstone, 2 Nights

Bison in winter
We'll photograph both wildlife and landscapes in this beautiful park!
Wednesday, February 7 (Day 5): Lower, Midway, and Upper Geyser Basin, & Old Faithful
Today we will leave early to photograph the Lower and Midway Geyser Basins and Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in the United States. After our morning shoot we will head further south to explore the Upper Geyser Basin and Old Faithful area by foot. If the temperatures are cold enough, this area also gives us the best chance of photographing bison covered in hoarfrost. Late afternoon will be spent working the scenic Madison River corridor for bobcats and other wildlife.

Thursday, February 8 (Day 6): Hayden Valley, Canyon
Our destination for today will be the Hayden Valley, where we will tour the vast and snowy landscape first thing in the morning. We will be primarily looking for wildlife on this day, although we will not pass up any good landscape opportunities either. Our chances for photographing "mousing" red foxes and coyotes will be very good here. Other animals such as bison, river otters, trumpeter swans, and beavers are also fairly common in the area. As we slowly make our way back to Gardiner we will stop to photograph Lower Falls and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Gardiner, 1 Night

Friday, February 9 (Day 7): Return to Bozeman
We pack up to leave today, returning to Bozeman by late morning for flights home.

Tour Prices

  • $3495 per person based on double occupancy (shared room)
Single Supplement Fee: Add $250pp

A 25% deposit is required to reserve your place. This tour is limited to 4 participants.

Reserve Your Spot!

Tour Prices Include:

  • Lodging during the tour
  • Transportation from and to Bozeman at the start and end of the trip via group shuttle
  • Continental Breakfast and Boxed Lunches, as well as welcome dinner on first night
  • Guides and Drivers
  • Snow Coach Fees
  • Park Entrance Fees
  • Taxes on all services

Tour Prices DO NOT Include:

  • Airfare to/from Bozeman
  • Lodging in Bozeman before/after the tour
  • Transportation to the park from Bozeman if you miss the shuttle
  • Gratuity for Guides and Drivers
  • Single supplement fee listed above
  • Dinners, except for welcome dinner on first night
  • Additional snacks, alcohol and other food not provided with breakfast or lunch

Please Note:

  • The itinerary listed above is subject to change, due to unpredictable weather or other factors.
  • The majority of our park exploration during the winter tour takes place in a vehicle. Many photo opportunities in Yellowstone take place close to the road. However, during our visit to thermal areas, we will be exploring on foot using the boardwalks and trails. Tour participants should feel comfortable carrying their photo gear on these short walks.
  • Deposits are refundable up to 61 days prior to the start of the tour, minus a $250 administrative fee. Within 61 days, deposits will not be refunded unless your spot is taken by another client and the tour sells out.
  • Your balance is due 60 days prior to the start of the tour. Failure to pay the balance in full will lead us to invite the next person on the waiting list.
  • Payments may be made via check or personal Paypal payment. If you wish to use a credit card, please add 2.9% to the total fee. We must wait for checks to clear before considering tour slots reserved or filled.
  • We reserve the right to cancel the tour for any reason, including but not limited to a lack of participants. In such a case, your full deposit will be refunded. However, we are not responsible for any additional expenses incurred.