Yellowstone in the winter is simply an amazing experience. I’ve just returned from a six day tour of the park with two excellent photographers from England; the trip was everything that I’d hoped it would be. We started by taking a snowcoach from West Yellowstone to Old Faithful, following the Madison River. The coach stopped for every wildlife photo opportunity, which included three locations of Bald Eagles, Trumpeter Swans, Elk and Bison. After two more stops at Fountain Paint Pot and Black Sand Basin for some landscape shots, we arrived at the Snow Lodge at Old Faithful. Yellowstone in the winter is, in a word, peaceful. It was a completely different experience watching Old Faithful erupt in the company of six other people as opposed to the crowds of hundreds during the summer.
After travelling to the North Entrance of the park to our lodging in the historic Mammoth hotel, we began to explore the Lamar Valley. With the roads clear and absent of traffic, we were able to drive slowly to search for wildlife. Like many others who visit the park in the winter, wolves were what we wanted to see. Although we observed wolves everyday through the spotting scope, none came close enough for good photography. It was still a real thrill listening to their howls and calls across the open spaces of the valley.
Some of the parks other wildlife were much more cooperative. My clients were able to get some outstanding images of Coyotes every day, as well as Bighorn Sheep, Bull Elk, Bison and Bull Moose. The weather couldn’t have been better, sunny skies and great light with some rather mild temperatures. The stars are bright over Yellowstone, allowing for some fantastic night photography.
I have another tour scheduled for February with two clients from this past August. The excitement is already building to return to the incredible experience of Yellowstone in the winter.