Greater Yellowstone Lodge-Based
Tour our First National Park
Discover the many natural wonders that make Paradise Valley and Yellowstone a world-renowned treasure. Endless geysers, thermal pools, mountains, lakes and canyons stretching on to the horizon. You will visit memorable places such as the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Midway Geyser Basin, and Old Faithful. Bring your camera as bison, elk, and other wildlife abound! You will be staying in a beautiful lodge in Paradise Valley just outside the park. It features sweeping views, comfortable rooms, and a pool for relaxing in the evening.
For standard meeting places and times, see Dates & Fees tab.
DAY 1: The trip starts at Erik’s Ranch in Paradise Valley near Livingston, MT just outside Yellowstone National Park. Settle into your rooms and get to know your trip mates over supper while sharing expectations for the upcoming days.
DAY 2: After a hearty breakfast, take off for a whistle stop tour of Yellowstone. Get acquainted with some of Yellowstone’s geothermal activity at the Midway Geyser Basin. Take in the vibrant colors of Grand Prismatic Spring and other hot springs in the area. Choose a short hiking option for the afternoon that could include Fairy Falls, Mystic Falls, or Old Faithful! Yellowstone is great in it's immensity so we will spend significant time driving to all of these spectacular destinations.
DAY 3: Wake to freshly baked goodies and spend an adventure filled day seeing more of Paradise Valley. Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem offer a multitude of beautiful landscapes and activities. Take the day to explore the area on horseback or by raft on the Yellowstone River. End the day relaxing by the pool.
DAY 4: Drive back into Yellowstone National Park for another day of sight seeing in America's First National Park. Start at Mammoth Hot Springs to see the astonishing mineral deposits of the Mammoth Terraces. Loop your way around to the "Grand Canyon" of Yellowstone where there are breathtaking views of the upper and lower falls. Make sure to keep a lookout for wildlife along the way – this area is famous for bison and elk.
DAY 5: Your trip officially ends after a final breakfast at the lodge. Perhaps take a quick tour of the grounds and breathe in the crisp Montana air before bidding farewell to your group mates.
Travel, Terrain, Etc...
TERRAIN/ROUTE CHOICES: Yellowstone National Park has a wide variety of terrain and ecosystems, ranging from near-desert at the north entrance to sub-alpine meadows and forests. Lodge pole pines cover 60% of the park while burn areas from the 1988 fire feature new growth and colorful wildflowers. Yellowstone National Park offers a wide range of hiking options from very easy to difficult.
TYPE OF TRAVEL: The group will travel from site to site in the WI van. Part of what makes Yellowstone extraordinary is it's sheer immensity and diversity. In order to observe it's many facets we will spend significant time driving to the park and from site to site. The views are gorgeous the whole way through.
WEATHER: Due to high elevations, temperatures in the summer months fluctuate from 25 to 90 F. It is usually quite sunny and warm, but be prepared for everything, including a rain shower or two.
YOUR GROUP: The group size ranges from 8 to 12 participants, plus 2 or more Wilderness Inquiry staff. Each group consists of people of various ages, backgrounds and abilities, including people with disabilities. Our trips are cooperative in nature. WI staff will assist you in whatever areas you need, however most people pitch in where they can.
ACCOMMODATIONS: We will stay at Erik's Ranch just outside of Livingston, MT in Paradise Valley. The lodge features comfortable rooms, sweeping views of the valley, a pool, and other amenities.
MEALS: Enjoy preparing meals together using fresh, healthy ingredients for bountiful dishes. Rise to the smell of freshly brewed coffee to enjoy with your breakfast. Each morning we will pack picnic lunches with hearty snacks before heading off to explore. In the evening, we’ll prepare our dinner and dessert together. If you have special dietary restrictions be sure to list them on your registration.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: Wilderness Inquiry will provide all group equipment. You will need to provide your personal gear as outlined in the packing list. If you are new to outdoor activities, you do not need to spend a lot of money. Wilderness Inquiry can usually arrange for you to borrow most items.A note about the itinerary: Our trips are real adventures in the outdoors. While we'll make every effort to follow the itinerary listed here, elements may change due to weather or reasons beyond our control.
Yellowstone National Park is a land of superlatives. Old Faithful geyser and other thermal features. Grizzly bears, bison, and wolves; bighorn sheep, elk, and antelope. Mountains. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. And the magnificent Yellowstone Lake.
The natural wonders of Yellowstone National Park have awed generations of explorers, visitors, scientists, and tourists since the 19th century. Explorers from the earliest expeditions were considered liars or lunatics, their descriptions of the region seemed so fantastic. A national land preservation movement began with the Yellowstone National Park Act of 1872, which created the park to preserve the watershed of the Yellowstone River “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” Yellowstone became the world’s first designated national park.
The geologic features of Yellowstone have attracted visitors from all over the world. Mountain-building processes, including volcanic eruptions, uplift, and faulting, have created mountains, basins, and calderas. Melting glaciers created fast-flowing rivers that carved deep canyons. Yellowstone receives great acclaim for its 10,000 thermal features, including geysers, hot springs, mudpots, and fumaroles. In addition to the geology and breathtaking scenery of the region, Yellowstone visitors experience an abundance of wildlife.
Yellowstone National Park shelters the largest concentration of free-roaming wildlife in the lower 48 states. Herds of bison migrate into the valleys to graze. Powerful and elusive grizzly bears prowl the backcountry. The park provides habitat for over 50 other mammals including: wolves, black bears, mule deer, bighorn sheep, moose, elk, and pronghorn antelope. Nearly 300 species of birds breed or migrate through Yellowstone.
Yellowstone National Park encompasses over 2.2 million acres, a huge region larger than both Delaware and Rhode Island combined. Unlike those states, Yellowstone has relatively few developed areas. Most visitors tend to stay near these developed areas and few people venture from the roads. This is the reason an experience with Wilderness Inquiry will be unique. Although our groups take in some of the more popular attractions, they will also venture away from the roads and trails including a paddle on Yellowstone Lake.
Formed in a volcanic caldera, Yellowstone Lake plunges 390 feet in depth and encompasses 110 miles of shoreline. At about 87,000 acres in size, it ranks as the largest lake in North America above 7,000 feet in elevation. Lake trout and cutthroat trout have the run of the lake, as they’re at the top of the food chain that originates near hot vents on the lake bottom. The warm water from the vents supports bacteria that feed on the released sulfur and forms the base of the food chain. You don’t have to tote a rod and reel to appreciate the world-renowned trout fishing in Yellowstone. Thousands of people every year flock to bridges that pass over crystal clear waters just to view the colorful trout. Fishing Bridge, near the outlet of Yellowstone Lake, provides one popular spot to watch fish.
Yellowstone offers a truly unique wilderness environment. Exploring its backcountry and solitude is just the ticket for fully appreciating its diversity of wildlife and geologic drama.
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Single Room Supplement
You can elect to guarantee a single room for the duration of the trip for $495 during the registration process.
Standard Meeting Places and Times
Start: Erik's Ranch & Holiday Inn Express and Suites Bozeman West at 4:00 PM (local time)
End: Erik's Ranch & Holiday Inn Express and Suites Bozeman West at 10:00 AM (local time)
This trip begins at Erik's Ranch, just outside of Bozeman and Livingston at 4:00pm. The trip will end at 10:00am at the same location. You can take your own transportation to the Ranch or fly into the Bozeman Airport and be picked up by the Wilderness Inquiry van. If flying, we recommend you book your flights to land in Bozeman by 2:00pm on the first day and depart 2:00pm or later on the last day.Want to Ride With Us?
We typically provide transportation for this trip from the following places (make your selection when you register):
- Bozeman Airport FEE: $35 per person