Rutting bison, bugling elk, energetic wolf pups, ravenous bears, dramatic yellow and orange colours and migratory flocks of birds all make Autumn (or Fall) in Yellowstone a very special time of year. This is the rutting season for two of North Americas most impressive herbivores, the huge elk and the iconic bison. The high pitched bulges of the elk can be heard echoing through the valleys and forests of Yellowstone and to watch these huge stags do battle over mating rites is a sight you will never forget. This tour will take in the rutting bison and elk as well as spending time to try and spot the years wolf pups who will be coming up to hunting age and increasing the pack numbers which helps to fend off hungry grizzly bears from their well deserved kills. It is at this time of the year that bears (both grizzly and black) are fattening up in preparation for the long winter hibernation.
Watch the spectacular elk rut
Hike Yellowstones backwaters
Guided by a Yellowstone Ecologist
Search out grizzlies & black bears
Visit Old Faithful & Grand Canyon
Explore all of Yellowstone
American Black Bear
Tour Dates: 9/9/2020 – 15/9/2020
Duration: 6 nights
Type / Focus: American Mammals
Bozeman / Yellowstone National Park
Depending on the time of arrival into Bozeman, you will either be transferred direct to the gateway town of Gardiner just on the northern border of Yellowstone National Park, or if you arrive late you will be taken to your accommodation in Bozeman for the first night. Whatever time you do arrive you will be met by your local expert guide and be transferred to your accommodation, level – 3* hotel (Bozeman Comfort Inn / Best Western Gardiner), in a private vehicle and after settling in you will have your welcome to Yellowstone evening meal.
Yellowstone National Park
If you have spent the first night in Bozeman you will be transferred early after breakfast to Gardiner and after settling in you will be taken straight into Yellowstone and if you have spent the first night in Gardiner already you will get a couple of hours extra inside Yellowstone. But regardless of the time you arrive at the north gate of the park you will be in for a treat. The mornings are very special in Yellowstone. The cold mornings leave pillars of stream rising high from the many geothermal features especially the magnificent Mammoth Hot Springs which you will see shortly after enter the park from the north entrance. Morning is a very active time for the rutting male elk, during the rut they spend the vast majority of their time fighting other males and chasing females into their harems that they barely sleep or eat and can lose a huge amount of body weight as a result. During the morning they spend time advertising their status with very loud high pitched bugles and try to find any of their females who have strayed away during the night. It is also a great time to try and see wolves as they look to try and find a struggling elk that may make an easy meal. All of the roads will be open in Autumn so you could be exploring any part of the park today, we usually start in the north of the park though and head towards the Lamar Valley. Here large herds of bison are found and the huge males jostle for mating rites with others, the clouds of dust flying into the air as the males wrestle using their huge heads. Throughout today and during the rest of your stay in Yellowstone you will be escorted through the park by an expert in Yellowstone ecology (he actually lectures at the University of Montana on Yellowstone Ecology); this means that you will be in great hands when it comes to finding, watching and understanding the different species and behaviours that you will see. We also have some tricks up our sleeves when it come to finding wolves and other wildlife as our guide (Dr. Steve Braun) is personal friends with many of the scientists working in Yellowstone and so we have a network of people throughout the park so that we can get a heads up on where animals have been recently seen. So that we can make the most of the time in the field we will bring packed breakfasts and lunches with us so we can stay in Yellowstone until evening, when you will return to your accommodation, level – 3* hotel (Best Western Gardiner), for your evening meal.
Yellowstone National Park
Over the next 3 full days you be taken all over the stunning park in search of wildlife and to see some of the exceptional and unique natural wonders in Yellowstone. The aspen and cottonwood trees are in full autumnal colours and they make an incredible backdrop as flocks of birds leave for the south to avoid the incoming winter in Yellowstone. It is certainly the most photogenic season to visit as the large crowds of summer has dispersed and the wilderness begins to reclaim the land. During the autumn both the grizzlies and American black bears are busy piling on the pounds in preparation for hibernation. Everything is fair game for the bears, from berries and roots to squirrels and wolf kills so we will be very careful when leaving the roads and boardwalks and enter the forests, valleys and hike the numerous river systems here. Hiking is probably the best way to experience Yellowstone and it is certainly the best way to see some of the smaller animals such as uinta ground squirrels, bobcats, red foxes, martens, chipmunks, red squirrels and jack rabbits. It is also a great way to enjoy some of the 330 plus species of birds that are recorded from here. At this time of year many of the species of heading south to warmer climates but it is still possible to see some of the resident species such as chickadees, great grey owls, golden eagles and bald eagles as well as Townsends solitaires and Stellers jays. Other animals that we will try and spot at various locations around the park and include bighorn sheep, pronghorns, mule deer, badgers, wolves, coyotes, red fox and we are always on the look out for one of the most elusive of North Americas mammals the cougar. It is not only this amazing range of species that makes Yellowstone one of the best places in the world to safari, but the stunning scenery just sets this national park (the oldest in the world) aside from any other. But no trip to Yellowstone would be complete without visiting some of the many geothermal features here. There are well over 10,000 geothermal features and all the different features can be seen here. We will visit great examples of each one, for geysers we will of course visit the famous Old Faithful Geyser Basin and catch the couple of eruptions here before looking into the stunning Morning Glory Hotspring. We will also visit the very peculiar and mesmeric Paint Pots. This is one of the best examples of mud pots in the world and fumaroles will be represented by the brilliant Roaring Mountain. Also within these three days of exploring the park you will pay a visit to the spectacular Lower Falls where the Yellowstone River cascades 100ft into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Whilst spending time around the Yellowstone River and the Gibbon River it is worth while keeping your eyes open for the tell tale signs of river otters and beavers, at the vast Yellowstone Lake we will look for trumpeter swans and other waterfowl that stay here all year around. Like the first day we will bring a packed breakfast and lunch with us into the park and so we can spend much longer out here before returning to the accommodation, level – 3* hotel (Best Western Gardiner) for your evening meal.
Today is your last day inside the park and we will try and find any animals which may have so far eluded us or maybe visit the magnificent and unusual Mammoth Hot Springs to see the stunning travertine terraces if you have not already be taken here. Then after lunch you will be taken back towards Bozeman and after arriving at the accommodation, level – 3* (Bozeman Comfort Inn) and then onto a local restaurant for your farewell meal.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the Bozeman airport in time to catch your return flight home.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.
The weather in Yellowstone during autumn (fall) is still getting colder again winter begins to close in. The daily temperatures are between 5-20 degrees C; and the nights can get well below freezing. There is a good chance of there being some rain at this time of year and the first snows of winter are not uncommon in late September.
Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). There will be an amount of bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day. We have our own private vehicle to be driven by a local guide for transfers and taxis when needed.
All our excursions including guided walks, back water hiking and park entrance fees are also included.
We recommend you bring along your own binoculars or spotting scope as well as appropriate clothing; which should be a very warm clothes, such as a down jacket or Parker, fleece, woolly hat, pair of gloves, scarf and long trousers, thermal underwear and other cold weather gear can be useful. Comfortable, waterproof walking shoes are a must. Any medication, books or other items of a personal nature is of course up to you to bring along. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera.
We provide a wolf ID chart which includes pack structures and maps of their territories; this is produced by Dr. James Halfpenny and is supplied by us free of charge. As is our comprehensive species list of all the vertebrates present in the areas we are visiting as well as some of the best field guides and reference books for the areas we are visiting. There is a pair of binoculars per guest as well as a group spotting scope. Camera Traps will also be used to try and capture hard to see wildlife in the dead of night and wildlife scanners etc are used when needed.
Nearly everything is included in this tour. The only things not included are international flights, travel insurance (contact us for more information one what is required from your insurance policy), any food bought outside of the three main meals, drinks outside of any offered with the meals and the bottled water provided each day and any items of a personal nature such as souvenirs and tips. Any applicable departure taxes and not included (but maybe included in the cost of your flights). Please check before departure.
As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport
We recommend United, DELTA, Continental Airlines and US Airways as good airlines for flights to Bozeman (Yellowstone). One of the best websites to search for the best fares for these flights is www.odopo.co.uk; who are IATA accredited this is a link direct to their site. Please check our terms and conditions regarding booking flights.
Please contact us for more information about flights and we can provide you with a link direct to the flights from another supplier; in which case you only have to enter the passenger information and payment details. By using the above link you will leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for the content on the site.
All UK passport holders are not required to have a visa for USA but you are required to have a visa waiver form. This can be obtained at the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation and their website (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/) these are essential and cost USD $14, (be aware that this link leaves our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for information on the site).
There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to visit the USA. Please consult your GP about your individual requirements for visiting the USA as soon as you have decided on this trip.
Woosnam family, Herts
Alison Deakin & Freya Davison - County Durham