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Yellowstone and the Rocky Mountains in Winter

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Experience the wildlife of three major US national parks in winter.

13 days Sold out

2023 Tour code: YLW23

About the tour

With adventures in some of America's best-loved nature reserves, including Yellowstone and Glacier National Park, discover the wild open spaces of the mountainous west states in winter - when most visitors stay home and snow drives majestic animals to the valley floor.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London and Chicago

Meeting at London Heathrow, we board our flight to Chicago. On arrival, we meet our American-based Tour Manager and transfer to our hotel. Afterwards, there's free time to settle in and start sightseeing in the Windy City.

Day 2 - Guided tour of Chicago

The capital of Illinois and set on the sea-like shores of vast Lake Michigan, we explore Chicago with our guide, touring the city's main landmarks. Getting a unique local insight, we learn about Chicago's fascinating past, including the dry and lawless years of the 1920s, when the city was run by Al Capone, as well as seeing its more modern history, including Millennium Park and Michigan Avenue - home to the mercurial Cloud Gate sculpture. In the afternoon, we head to the station to board Amtrak's Empire Builder service for our overnight rail journey to Montana.

Day 3 - Whitefish

After a comfortable night on board, the route our train takes passes beside the shimmering lakes of Minnesota, across rolling Bison country and into the mountainous landscapes of Montana. Finally, we reach the Rocky Mountain resort of Whitefish, checking into our hotel on the edge of Glacier National Park for two nights.

Day 4 - Glacier National Park

We enjoy our first experience of Montana's picturesque landscapes as we explore Glacier National Park. This protected nature reserve is home to sweeping valleys buried under thick snow and towering mountains capped in white, making for truly tranquil surroundings. We begin our tour in West Glacier, driving along the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Lake McDonald Lodge. Along the way, our guide recounts interesting facts and stories about the park, pointing out any wildlife, such as elk, bighorn sheep or even elusive the lynx as they escape the bitter cold of the surrounding mountains, that may cross our path.

Day 5 - Yellowstone

A coach delivers us to the winter wonderland of Yellowstone, where we stay just on the outskirts of the park. With jaw-dropping scenery stretching as far as the eye can see, the United States' first National Park offers a visual feast for the eyes. Filled with stunning lakes, rivers, canyons and mountains, as well as wonderful wildlife and geothermal features - the result of the park being located above a dormant supervolcano.

Day 6 - Yellowstone National Park by Snowcoach

We tour Yellowstone's Upper Loop by snowcoach. A panoramic postcard of natural beauty, this area of Yellowstone delivers landscapes of jaw-dropping waterfalls and hot springs, with plenty of viewpoints from which to admire the winter scenery laid out below. Among the highlights of our day are Tower Falls, Lake Butte Overlook, Mammoth Hot Springs and the Hayden Valley - a mecca for the park's animals.

Day 7 - Yellowstone's Lower Loop

Our day is dedicated to Yellowstone's Lower Loop, where the Old Faithful geyser, an incredible fountain of boiling water named after its predictable eruptions, puts on a show every hour or so. Re-boarding our snowcoach, this area of the park is also a prime spot for wildlife sightings, which are even more frequent in winter. As cold weather encourages non-hibernating creatures down from the mountains, the blanket of white snow covering the valley floor makes it even easier to spy grey wolves, elk, bald eagles and much more.

Day 8 - Jackson

Leaving Yellowstone behind, we drive to Jackson, a quaint town set against a backdrop of the Teton Range in the state of Wyoming. Known as cowboy country, Jackson lies in the heart of the Jackson Hole Valley and delivers outstandingly scenic vistas of evergreen trees descending from misty mountain ranges, opalescent geothermal pools and jagged, snow-capped peaks. We stay here for two nights in order to make the most of nearby Grand Teton National Park.

Day 9 - Grand Teton

We soak in the solitude of snaking rivers and dense snowfields, which may play host to grazing herds of roaming bison, their thick coats decorated with icicles. During winter, Grand Teton's roads remain shut to vehicles due to the impassable roads. So, from the comfort of our heated coach, our guide teaches us all about the park's history and how to spot and track its various inhabitants. There'll be plenty of stops along the way too, especially if we spy a pack of wolves or a bald eagle circling above.

Day 10 - Salt Lake City

We transfer to Salt Lake City in Utah, our base for the last two nights of our holiday. A guided tour introduces us to this unusual destination, as we uncover sights such as Temple Square, a 10-acre complex of gardens and historic buildings centred around the almost fairy-tale spires of a Mormon cathedral. We also visit Lion House, the old pioneer home of Brigham Young, Utah's first governor, the founder of Salt Lake City and a former leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Day 11 - Heber Valley Railroad

We enjoy a memorable heritage rail experience with a journey along the 100-year-old Heber Valley Railroad. Known locally as the Heber Creeper, our steam-hauled train snakes through Povo Canyon for 16 miles, showcasing the best of Utah's natural attractions. We meander past sprawling farmland on our way to the breathtaking Heber Valley and Wasatch Mountains, around the beautiful Deer Creek Reservoir and alongside the majestic Provo River to Vivian Park.

Day 12 - Salt Lake City to London

We transfer to the airport for our overnight flight back to the UK.

Day 13 - London

We arrive at London Heathrow and our holiday comes to an end.

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Visa requirements
Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Hampton Inn Chicago Magnificent Mile, Chicago

Hampton Inn Chicago Magnificent Mile, Chicago

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Gray Wolf Inn and Suites, West Yellowstone

Gray Wolf Inn and Suites, West Yellowstone

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Rustic Inn Creekside Resort & Spa, Jackson

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Grouse Mountain Lodge, Whitefish

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Train

Amtrak Trains

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Yellowstone and the Rocky Mountains in Winter

Experience the wildlife of three major US national parks in winter.

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Lynne Broadley
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