Yellowstone and Grand Teton Autumn Tour
September 23 - September 29, 2017
Join professional photographer Zack Clothier on an 7 day, 6 night photo adventure in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons! This fall photo tour has 5 full days allocated for shooting and exploration to take advantage of the beautiful autumn scenery and excellent wildlife opportunities found in these two iconic western parks. This trip has been scheduled to coincide with the peak of the fall color. We'll photograph everything from colorful autumn landscapes, to the abundant wildlife found throughout the parks at this time of the year. Fall is an important season for many animals as they prep for the coming winter. Bears, both grizzly and black, will be actively moving about the landscape seeking out every available food source to help them prepare for hibernation. Fall is also a great time to observe rutting elk, moose, pronghorn, and mule deer. If you've never heard the sound of a bull elk bugling on a chilly autumn morning then you're in for a treat! We will also be on the lookout for the more elusive wildlife such as wolves, pine martens, otters, owls, and other animals that call the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem home.
Zack will serve as your driver, guide and advisor on this adventure. This tour is open to photographers of all skill levels, but a basic understanding of your camera and its settings will make your experience all the more productive and enjoyable, especially during those moments of fleeting light and wildlife action! Though this is primarily a tour rather than a hard core workshop, Zack will be on hand to shoot alongside you and advise you as needed as you photograph the area's great variety of subject matter.
Tour Days and Activities
During our daily excursions in the park, we will take advantage of Zack's experience and knowledge to seek out the best photo opportunities, at the best times, for the widest variety of species and landscape opportunities possible. Our itinerary each day will be determined by the weather, the latest wildlife reports and other factors.
Saturday, September 23: Pick up in Bozeman, Arrival in Yellowstone
Today we'll pick you up via group shuttle and transport you to Yellowstone National Park. Pick up is scheduled for early afternoon, so be sure to arrive in Bozeman either Friday night or Saturday morning.
From Bozeman, we make the hour-and-a-half drive south to Yellowstone National Park. We will arrive in time to check into our hotel before going out for an introductory group dinner and orientation to get acquainted.
Gardiner, 2 nights
Sunday, September 24: Yellowstone
The first portion of this tour is all about Yellowstone. We'll have one full day to explore Yellowstone at the beginning of the trip, primarily looking for autumn wildlife, but we will not pass up any landscape opportunities along the way either. Employing Zack's knowledge of the park, this day will be spent focusing on areas that contain the best chances for wildlife. Depending on activity, this may include the wildlife-rich Lamar Valley, or southern areas of the park, including the expansive Hayden Valley and Lake areas. We may also have a chance to visit the spectacular Beartooth Highway, considered one of North America's most scenic drives. The Beartooths are a great spot for mountain vistas, brilliant foliage displays, and other landscape opportunities. It is also an underrated wildlife area, home to pikas, mountain goats, grizzly bears, moose, marmots, elk, and many other species of wildlife.
Here are just a few of the animals we may encounter during the Autumn tour:
- Black Bear
- Elk (Rutting)
- Grizzly Bear
- Moose (Rutting)
- Great Gray Owl
- American Bison
- Gray Wolf
- Red Fox
- Great Horned Owl
- Mule Deer (Rutting)
- Bighorn Sheep
- Pronghorn (Rutting)
- North American River Otter
- American Pika
- Trumpeter Swan
- Long-tailed Weasel
- American Badger
- Bald Eagle
- Golden Eagle
Monday, September 25: Yellowstone to Grand Tetons
An early morning departure will bring us to the Madison River, where we'll have an excellent chance of photographing big bull elk battling it out for mating rights. After the early morning shoot we will slowly begin heading south towards Grand Teton National Park, passing through Yellowstone's famous geyser basins along the way. After checking in to our lodging in Jackson we'll head back out into the park by mid-afternoon to look for wildlife, followed by a sunset shoot that evening.
Jackson, 3 nights
Tuesday - Wednesday - September 26 - 27: Grand Tetons
We should be arriving in the Tetons as the park's autumn colors are nearing their peak, making for some memorable shoots. We will dedicate early morning to sunrise photography at some of the park's landmark vistas. The rest of each day will be spent looking for wildlife and additional scenery. We'll specifically seek out moose, rutting elk, bears, owls, beavers, otters and more. During the day, we may take a short midday break back in Jackson when the light is harsh and wildlife activity slows, before returning to the park for afternoon and evening photography.
Thursday, September 28: Grand Tetons to Yellowstone
We'll participate in a final sunrise shoot and short wildlife drive in the Tetons before returning north to Yellowstone in late morning. Our arrival back in Yellowstone signals a renewed quest for wildlife, waterfalls, geysers, and autumn color.
Gardiner, 1 night
Friday, September 29: Return to Bozeman
We pack up to depart today, returning to Bozeman by noon for flights home.
- $3295 per person, based on double occupancy
Single Supplement: $455
The 2017 Fall Tour is limited to a maximum of 4 participants. If you are interested in a trip extension or private tour, please contact us.
Tour Prices Include:
- Lodging during the tour
- Transportation from and to Bozeman at the start and end of the trip via group shuttle
- Breakfast and Picnic Lunches, as well as welcome dinner on first night
- Photo Instruction in Yellowstone (if desired) by Zack
- Guides and Drivers
- Park Entrance Fees
- Taxes on all services
Tour Prices DO NOT Include:
- Airfare to/from Bozeman
- Lodging in Bozeman before/after the tour
- Transportation to the park from Bozeman if you miss the shuttle
- Gratuity for Guides and Drivers
- Single supplement fee listed above
- Dinners, except for welcome dinner on first night
- Additional snacks, alcohol and other food not provided with breakfast or lunch
- The itinerary listed above is subject to change, due to unpredictable weather or other factors.
- Many photo opportunities in Yellowstone and the Tetons take place close to the road. However, occasional wildlife sightings and certain landscape opportunities may prompt us to venture off the road. There may be one or two short hikes during the tour as well, which are short (no more than a half mile uphill) but steep. Tour participants should be in reasonable shape and feel comfortable carrying their gear on these short walks.
- A deposit of 25% is due upon booking. Deposits are refundable up to 60 days prior to the start of the tour, minus a $250 administrative fee. Within 60 days, deposits will not be refunded unless your spot is taken by another client and the tour sells out.
- Failure to pay the balance in full will lead us to invite the next person on the waiting list.
- Payments may be made via check or personal Paypal payment. If you wish to use a credit card, please add 2.9% to the total fee. We must wait for checks to clear before considering tour slots reserved or filled.
- We reserve the right to cancel the tour for any reason, including but not limited to a lack of participants. In such a case, the full tour cost listed above will be refunded. However, we are not responsible for any additional expenses incurred.
*Zack Clothier is an authorized permittee of the National Park Service.