Winter is here and Yellowstone National Park has some exciting new adventures designed to introduce you to its snowy magic.
New this winter are all-day photography tours of the Old Faithful area departing the Snow Lodge on Tuesdays and Fridays and of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone departing the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Both excursions are led by guides who are well-versed in the park and are skilled photographers knowledgeable about camera equipment, lighting, framing and the best times of day to photograph park features and wildlife. Rates for each photography adventure are $288 per adult and $144 per child. Both the Old Faithful Winter Photography Adventure and the Grand Canyon Winter Photography Adventure depart hotels at 7:15 a.m. and return approximately 5:30 p.m.
The Madison Wildlife Excursion departs the Old Faithful Snow Lodge on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 12:45 p.m. and returns approximately 5:30 p.m. Traveling in a historic Bombardier snowcoach, participants search out various species of mammals and birds along a seven-mile corridor that parallels the Madison River west of Madison Junction. Rates for this tour are $80 per adult and $40 per child.
Two new skier shuttles are offered this winter. The Indian Creek Skier Shuttle is a full-day adventure that departs the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 9:15 a.m. for the Indian Creek cross country ski trails. The guide remains in the area during the day with the snowcoach departing Indian Creek at 3 p.m. and arriving back at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel between 3:30 and 4 p.m. Experienced skiers in excellent physical condition also have the option of riding this shuttle one or both ways, as there is a ski trail that connects Mammoth Hot Springs Village and Indian Creek. Rates each way are $20 per adult and $10 per child.
Participants in the Lone Star Excursion follow the Firehole River on skis or snowshoes on a five-mile round-trip adventure to Lone Star Geyser south of Old Faithful. The tree-lined trail is flat and offers great views of the Firehole River and meadows. An interpretive guide skis between groups offering commentary and answering questions. A drink and snack are included at the end of the day. This excursion departs the Old Faithful Snow Lodge on Sundays at 11:45 a.m. and returns approximately 5 p.m. Rates are $53 per adult and $26.50 per child.
Earlier this year Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the operator of Yellowstone National Park Lodges, restaurants and park activities, also announced a new shuttle departing Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel daily at 9:15 a.m. and arriving at the Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport at 11:15 a.m. The shuttle returns to the airport to pick up arrivals for a 1:45 p.m. departure back to the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in Yellowstone. Rates are $51.50, plus taxes and fees, each way for riders age three years and up.
With the exception of the road from Gardiner, Mont. to Cooke City, Mont. via Mammoth Hot Springs, transportation within the park is limited to snowmobiles and enclosed heated snowcoaches during the winter. Snowcoach transportation is available daily to a variety of park locations. Xanterra also offers a wide range of half- and full-day snowcoach, ski and snowshoe tours and ski and snowshoe rentals as well as expert instruction and other services.
These new offerings coincide with the park’s winter season marked by the opening of Old Faithful Snow Lodge Dec. 18, 2013 and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel which opened Dec. 20. The lodges provide the only wintertime accommodations within the park. Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel will close for the season March 3, 2014, and Old Faithful Snow Lodge will close March 2, 2014.
Ready to go?
During the winter, Xanterra also offers packages that help visitors focus on their interests. These packages include “Lodging & Learning” packages held in partnership with the Yellowstone Association Institute (YAI), self-guided winter “Getaway Packages” and a guided snowmobile “Adventure Package” as well as lodging and transportation options for those who want to explore the park on their own.
Packages as well as individual components such as accommodations, in-park transportation, tours and the airport shuttle service can be booked by calling (1) 307-344-7311 or toll-free 866-GEYSERLAND (866-439-7375) or by submitting the secure online reservation request form found on the website. Complete details about “Lodging & Learning” packages as well as winter “Getaway” and “Adventure” packages, accommodations, restaurants and activities in Yellowstone can be found by calling (1) 307-344-7311 or toll-free 866-GEYSERLAND (866-439-7375), or visiting the web site www.YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com.
[Photography courtesy Xanterra Parks and Resorts.]
About Ellen Barone: Consumer travel journalist Ellen Barone is the founder and publisher of TravelUpdatesbyEllenBarone.com and YourLifeIsATrip.com. She’s currently at work on her first book - I COULD LIVE HERE. Click here to learn more or stay connected on Twitter at,Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn.