While winter may bring cold temperatures, snowy days and a resounding stillness to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, it is also undoubtedly one of the most exciting seasons to go on a wildlife safari.
Yellowstone in winter is an extreme, exclusive place. Of the 300 miles of road in the Park, only 50 miles are open to regular vehicles between the months of November to April. A private, full-day winter tour with Yellowstone Safari Co. focuses on this region, the spectacular Northern Range between Mammoth Hot Springs and Cooke City Montana, where some of the best wildlife viewing in North America can be found.
The winter season is arguably the best time for watching the most remarkable of apex predators, the gray wolf. Our naturalists follow wolf pack movements throughout the year and know the best places for an opportunity to observe them in the wild. Oftentimes wolves stay far from people, meaning the use of optics is tantamount to an incredible “close-up” experience. Viewing a pack of wolves hunt, play, feed and fight can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that few people ever imagine or forget! The gray wolves in Yellowstone also contribute to the greater story of conservation in the west, and have become a trademark for the National Park and public lands in this region.
Your exact route and itinerary will be determined by your interests, current wildlife sightings, and current weather and road conditions. Our guides are all highly experienced, with thousands of hours in the field, and will expertly tailor your safari to you and your group.
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is a region steeped in history and wildness, where nature thrives as it did prior to human settlement. On your safari you will have an opportunity to view hundreds if not thousands of large mammals including massive herds of bison and elk, mule deer, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Canines such as coyotes and foxes are possible, as are birds of prey such as gold and bald eagles, hawks and falcons. With the use of our high-quality binoculars and spotting scopes you might be fortunate enough to view all the hallmarks of Rocky Mountain West, surrounded by the immense and beautiful landscape all around you.
Our naturalist guides are highly experienced and enthusiastic and will tailor each trip for guests needs and desires. Whether you are hoping for a glimpse of a wolf, a walk to a frozen waterfall, or time wandering the otherworldly thermal cascades at Mammoth, we are happy to guide you on your journey, all the while providing invaluable interpretation and storytelling. Throughout the day we will provide snacks, hot beverages, a satisfying picnic lunch and every amenity you may need to stay warm and comfortable during your day of adventure.
Professional naturalist guide
Private or small group safari
Souvenir water bottle
Use of spotting scopes and binoculars
National Park entrance fees
All of our guests are picked up (and dropped off) at their lodging location. We pick up in Bozeman, Emigrant, Gardiner, and Mammoth. We’ll confirm your exact pickup time based on the season as well as your exact pickup location. (Open safaris only pick up in Bozeman.)
Please allow your guide an additional 5-10 minutes before and after the scheduled pickup time in case of weather delays or traffic conditions.
Approximate pickup times include:
- 7:00AM Bozeman
- 7:45AM Emigrant / Paradise Valley
- 8:00AM Gardiner
- 8:00AM Mammoth
Our group thoroughly enjoyed our tour! We did the full day Winter Safari Tour through north Yellowstone and it was amazing! Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about the park and wildlife and answered all of our questions! We saw as much of the sites as we could that was open to cars during winter and got to see a lot of the wildlife! It was phenomenal! I would definitely love to go back and visit other areas of Yellowstone.
Safari Tour Gallery
What is your cancellation policy?
We have a 48-hour cancellation policy for all single day wildlife safaris. Cancellations made before the cancellation policy goes into effect will receive a full refund. Cancellations made within 48 hours of departure, and before the day of departure will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations or no-shows on the day of departure will not be refunded. We strongly recommend travel insurance in order to protect you from unforeseen travel interruptions that prevent you from joining us.
What should I bring?
We will step in and out of vehicles during our safari tours so you’ll want to wear comfortable shoes that allow you to walk on uneven surfaces, like gravel, or a boardwalk. Stepping in and out allows us to make the best use of our time in Yellowstone National Park and gives us the best wildlife viewing and photo opportunities. Your guide will have binoculars and spotting scopes for you to use, but do not forget to bring your camera! While Yellowstone has some modern facilities, we are going to be traveling through remote areas of a National Park. Please remember to being any personal items, like medication, that you may need during the day.
What should I wear?
The rocky mountain range can see drastic temperature swings during the day, even in the summer months. Please come prepared! For clothing, synthetic layers are best in our mountain environment. Base layers act as a wicking layer against the body, so we recommend anything from a light weight layer to an expedition weight layer, depending on the season. A mid layer provides warmth, so we recommend a mid weight fleece layer or softshell jacket for the upper body and a pair of travel pants or jeans for the legs. The outer layer provides protection from the elements and serves as a wind/water blocking layer. A waterproof shell for your upper body will keep you dry and therefore, warm. For the legs, we recommend either weatherproof rain or snow pants, depending on the season. You may not need an outer layer during the warm summer months with no rain forecasted, but it is still a good idea to bring it with you. Conditions can change quickly. Your footwear should be comfortable and appropriate for the season. For the summertime, walking shoes or hiking boots are a great choice. Please avoid wearing flip-flops. For winter, snow boots with wool socks will keep your feet warm. For winter, you’ll also want to bring a wool, or fleece, hat, as well as mittens/gloves to keep your hands warm. In the summertime, a light hat with a visor is all you’ll need on your head. In any season, do not forget sunscreen or sunglasses. At high altitude, the sun’s rays are intense, even in winter.
What do others say about this tour?
My husband and I took our kids (11 and 13) on the one day wolf safari. It was one of the best outings we have ever had! Our guide had an incredible eye for spotting animals while driving. He would immediately find a place to stop and set up spotting scopes so that we had amazing views of the wildlife. We saw a pack of 11 wolves frolicking after a meal and were close enough to be able to hear the pack howl. We also saw big horn sheep, elk, pronghorn antelope, 3 foxes, coyotes and were closer to a bison than I would have imagined possible. He was a fount of knowledge and the kids have not stopped talking about all of the cool things we learned about the wildlife and geography of Yellowstone. He brought warm clothes (as ski gear doesn’t keep you warm enough when standing outside the car and watching wolves for 45 minutes), tasty snacks and a yummy lunch. Yellowstone is baseline staggeringly beautiful but we would never have been able to appreciate and see the wildlife close up without Yellowstone Safari.
This was my favorite part of a sister trip to Big Sky Country!
It’s hard to explain just how much I enjoyed this. I love nature, especially as I get older, and our guide made it that much more fun. He is AWESOME POSSUM. We met him in downtown Bozeman where he picked us up in a white SUV. We drove 1.5 hours to Yellowstone and man, during that drive down, he certainly filled it with all kinds of information! Never a dull moment, and trust me – I’M NOT A MORNING PERSON! Alas, he was able to point out so much wildlife and history before we even reached the gates of the park. He had so much enthusiasm, genuine, that it elevated my experience, as well as my sister’s, so very much. With the beauty of Yellowstone, you really can’t go wrong. Having someone like him by your side… takes it to another level that will make this unforgettable!
AMAZING!!! My husband and I went on a day wildlife safari and we could not have been more impressed. Our guide impressed us beyond anything we expected. He was so knowledgeable about everything we saw. We can’t wait to go back and absolutely plan on booking again.