The heart of Yellowstone beats with nature’s gems... furred, feathered, smoldering and sculpted... in moving tableaus wild and wondrous.
Venture into the wilderness with naturalists passionate about the landscapes you’ll explore – and the grizzlies, wolves and elk you’ll encounter. The excitement heats up during a stay next to Old Faithful... on geology walks to bubbling geothermal wonders... on a whitewater rafting trip and interpretive hikes in Grand Teton National Park... and during visits to museums and ranches where the West really comes alive on Tauck's Yellowstone American Safari Vacation.
Arrive Jackson, Wyoming
Tour begins: 6:00 PM, The Wort Hotel. We’ll meet you at Jackson Hole Airport for an included transfer to The Wort Hotel, starting point for your Tetons and Yellowstone vacation. We invite you to join us for a welcome reception and dinner at your historic hotel in downtown Jackson, rich in Wild West lore.
Snake River rafting & a taste of ranch life
Embark on a float trip or a thrilling whitewater rafting trip* on the Snake River this morning, learning more about the sights you’ll see with your naturalist guide. Then, after lunch at your hotel, channel your inner cowboy for an afternoon at Snake River Ranch, a working cattle ranch run by the same family since the 1920s. Take a walking tour through the working parts of this 3,000+ acre ranch, learning what the life of a real American cowboy is all about. Afterwards, enjoy leisure time and dinner in one of the many restaurants Jackson has to offer, all within a short walk from the Wort Hotel.
Welcome to Yellowstone
After breakfast, drive from Jackson to Yellowstone National Park for a naturally inspiring stay in the heart of a thermal wonderland, entering through the South Entrance and continuing to Grant Village and along the western shore of Yellowstone Lake. Walking and hiking are must-do activities on Yellowstone vacations, so get set for zoomed-in outdoor adventures inside America’s first national park. Following lunch at the historic Lake Hotel, you can stretch your legs alongside the tranquil lake before heading out to behold the otherworldly sights and smells of the park’s geothermal wonders. Continue exploring through the beautiful Hayden Valley, and arrive late afternoon at the historic (and recently renovated) Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel for a two-night inside-the-park stay; have dinner at your leisure at the hotel this evening.
Bears, wolves & man in the Lamar Valley
Meet nature on her terms today as you discover more of Yellowstone's wonders firsthand. Depart your hotel this morning and head east through the Blacktail Deer Plateau and the Tower Junction area. Next, you'll embark on a wildlife safari in Yellowstone's Lamar Valley and the Northern Range; keep a keen lookout for a peek into the world of local residents – namely bears and wolves. A naturalist guide serves as your safari tracker as you hunt for signs of elk and charismatic carnivores – we’re talking grizzlies and gray wolves here – who may have only recently crossed the path. After a midday stop in the isolated village of Cooke City, visit with Dan Hartman, a local wildlife photographer at his log cabin in the woods – learning about his craft and the complexities of getting ‘the shot’. Then continue your drive back through the Yellowstone wilderness, learning about the habits and habitats of the park’s residents, before heading back to your hotel; have dinner at your leisure at the hotel tonight.
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
So much of experiencing Yellowstone National Park requires a close-up look at the wild world, and you'll do a lot of that today. Lesser known than its world-famous rival of a similar name, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is one for the record books – and photo album! The best way to appreciate its grandeur and diversity is on foot. Your hike along its trails this morning will reveal the immensity of the canyon and the river below as you stop at various viewpoints, taking you to the brink of the Upper Falls; discussions about conservation, ecology and wildlife enrich your explorations. Journey next to Uncle Tom’s Viewpoint, where you'll walk to Artist Point. After a picnic lunch, continue your travels along the Firehole River to the Fountain Paint Pot, then on to famous Old Faithful Geyser and the Upper Geyser Basin, arriving at Old Faithful Snow Lodge for a two-night stay. Dine tonight at your leisure in the Snow Lodge... to cap a perfect day in Yellowstone.
Yellowstone's geysers & time at leisure
Wild and wonderful, Yellowstone is all about nature at her most passionate. She smolders with hot springs, steaming geysers, fumaroles and gurgling mud pots. She’s dressed in majestic mountains, lodgepole forests, trout-spawning streams, rushing waterfalls, green rivers, yawning canyons and rocks exquisitely sculpted with an imaginative hand. She challenges with trails and thrills with animals, like bison, bears and wolves. Today begins with a morning walk with a naturalist guide among the marvels of the Lower Geyser Basin to take in the sights, smells and sounds of this amazing area. From then on, the rest of your day is free to explore the nation's first national park – and the embodiment of "America's Best Idea" – as you wish. You may want to make it a point to watch Old Faithful erupt (like clockwork), or listen to a presentation by a park ranger. After a talk by a historian early this evening, have dinner tonight next door to your lodge at the Old Faithful Inn, a true historic landmark built of lodgepole pine in 1904.
On to Grand Teton National Park & Biking
Memories of Yellowstone loom large as you leave it behind for a journey south to Grand Teton National Park, a showcase of picture-perfect snow-covered mountains the way you might have imagined they would look. The youngest mountain range in the Rockies, the Tetons tower above Jackson Hole with craggy peaks, rugged canyons and glacial lakes... undulating valleys, carpeted by sagebrush, cottonwood and aspens... rivers and ponds that provide homes for beaver, coyotes, moose, swans, eagles and more... and flat floors that invite bison and pronghorn to hoof it. Explore Jenny Lake, the “Three Sisters” and Mount Moran. After lunch, a leisurely, guided bicycle ride along the new Teton Mountain Trail increases your appreciation of the history and scenic splendor of Grand Teton National Park; watch for bison, pronghorn and other wildlife as you marvel at the grandeur around you. Arriving late afternoon at Jackson Lake Lodge allows you to take in vistas of the Tetons at dusk, from the 60-foot picture windows in the upper lobby... and the views you'll enjoy during dinner at the Lodge are pretty spectacular, too!
A Day In the Tetons
The entire morning is yours to enjoy as you wish in Grand Teton National Park; there are lots of optional activites (including hiking, fly fishing, horseback riding and more) to engage in at additional cost, or you may want to simply relax by the pool. This afternoon, join your Tauck Director for a visit to a site that figures in the history of the conservation movement in the US. Join us this evening for a farewell cocktail reception and dinner at the Jackson Lake Lodge as one of Tauck's most popular trips draws to a close.
Tour ends: Jackson. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from the Jackson Lake Lodge to Jackson Hole Airport for your flight home. You should allow a minimum of two hours for flight check-in.