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Named to "50 Trips of a Lifetime" in 2012! Nature’s “close-up” in the American West The heart of Yellowstone beats with nature... furred, feathered, smoldering and sculpted... in moving tableaus wild and wondrous. Head 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 three-night stay next to Old Faithful... on geology walks to bubbling hot springs... on a whitewater rafting trip and interpretive hikes in Grand Teton National Park... and during a visit to a working ranch where the West really comes alive...
Day 1: Arrive Jackson, Wyoming
Tour begins: 6:30 PM at The Wort Hotel. We’ll meet you at Jackson Hole Airport for an included transfer to The Wort Hotel, starting point for your American safari. We invite you to join us for a welcome reception and dinner at your historic hotel in downtown Jackson, rich in Wild West lore.
Day 2: Whitewater rafting, then riding with the cowboys at Snake River Ranch
Embark on 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 on your own in Jackson, channel your inner cowboy for an afternoon at Snake River Ranch, a working cattle ranch run by the same family since the 1920s. Billy Crystal immortalized his dreams of becoming a real cowboy in City Slickers, when he and his greenhorn friends challenged their comfort zones during a cattle drive. Now it’s your turn... as you saddle up for a ride with seasoned ranch hands through the pastures of this 3,000+ acre ranch, learning about - and experiencing - a day in the life of a real American cowboy. If horseback riding is not for you, travel like a pioneer on a horse-drawn wagon; either way you’ll get an unforgettable feel for what it takes to work, live... and play... out here! We’ve planned for some rollicking cowboy entertainment for you at the ranch before retuning to The Wort Hotel for time at leisure and dinner on your own tonight.
Day 3: Biking in the Tetons and on to Yellowstone National Park
A leisurely, guided bike ride across the spectacular valley floor is a perfect introduction to the history and scenic splendor of the Grand Tetons region; watch for bison, pronghorn and other wildlife. Then drive from Jackson to Yellowstone National Park for a naturally inspiring stay in the heart of a thermal wonderland. Walking and hiking are must-do activities, so get set for zoomed-in outdoor adventures inside America’s first national park. First up today is a short geology walk at West Thumb Geyser to take in the sights, smells and sounds of this amazing place. 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 snow-tipped 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. Arrive at your accommodations at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, just steps from Old Faithful Geyser, for a three-night stay; have dinner tonight next door at the Old Faithful Inn, a true historic landmark built of lodgepole pine in 1904.
Meals: B, D
Day 4: Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon
The break of day in Yellowstone is eye-opening, especially on an early two-mile morning hike around the Lower Geyser Basin, one of the park’s top-three places for the greatest concentration of geysers; so much of experiencing Yellowstone requires a close-up look at the wild world, and today’s hikes will do just that. Breakfast waits back at the lodge, before we head outside again to see scenery that surprises with dramatic intensity, including the Fountain Paint Pots. Travel to Madison Junction en route to the Canyon Village, where you’ll stop for a picnic lunch in the Wapiti picnic area. Later, explore Uncle Tom’s Viewpoint, Artist Point and the Red Line Trail. Continue on to Yellowstone Lake and drive through Hayden Valley, looking for bison, bears, wolves and other resident, often furtive, wildlife. Discussions about conservation, ecology and wildlife en route enrich your explorations. 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; our hike will reveal the immensity of the canyon and the river below. Dine tonight at leisure in the Snow Lodge.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 5: A day in Yellowstone - rocks, bears, wolves and man
Meet nature on her terms today, embarking on a wildlife safari promising a peek into the world of local residents - namely bears and wolves. Your 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 plodded on through the trails moments before you do! Learn about the habits and habitats of Yellowstone’s bears and wolves on our drive into the Yellowstone wilderness. Enjoy a picnic lunch and stops to view Tower Falls and Yellowstone Caldera before arriving back at your lodge. Later, a Yellowstone historian shares sobering statistics about the interaction between wolves, grizzlies and men and their modern conveyances.
Meals: B, L
Day 6: Grand Teton National Park
Yellowstone looms large in your memory as we 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 in view of the Culturious. Explore Jenny Lake, the “Three Sisters” and Mount Moran; continue on to the Murie Center for an engaging discussion on wildlife conservation. Your late afternoon arrival at Jackson Lake Lodge allows you to take in the views of the Tetons at dusk, from the 60-foot picture windows in the upper lobby!
Meals: B, L, D
Day 7: A day in Grand Teton National Park
The entire day 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. Join us this evening for a farewell cocktail reception and dinner as one of Tauck's most popular Grand Teton / Yellowstone vacations ends. Join us this evening for a farewell cocktail reception and dinner.
Meals: B, D
Day 8: Journey home
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.
Hike the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, visit to a ranch with horseback riding, bike ride in the Tetons, whitewater rafting adventure down the Snake River, wildlife safari, nature lectures
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