In a country with no shortage of spectacular landscapes, Yellowstone still manages to stand out. It's famous for being America's first national park, and visitors who have taken a Yellowstone tour know exactly why President Theodore Roosevelt was so convinced that it needed to be protected and preserved.
While it's a quintessential summer vacation destination for American families, the great secret of Yellowstone is that it is a great year-round destination, even - or perhaps particularly - in winter.
Nature is at its most dramatic in Yellowstone, which is located in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, but when you add the visual starkness of winter weather, the scenery is somehow enhanced beyond its usual appearance. And, for intrepid travelers, there's added appeal to a winter Yellowstone tour, in that the number of visitors drops dramatically, making it feel as though you have the park to yourself.
A winter trip does require a bit of extra preparation and planning. However, in the hands of a professional Yellowstone tour operator, the concerns of dealing with winter conditions are no inconvenience. Tauck's winter Yellowstone tour takes you deep into the park, with all activities and accommodations pre-arranged, so that you can simply enjoy the majesty of the park.
Each season in Yellowstone has its own unique appeal, from spring's wildflower blooms to fall's bright palette of leaves, but these are some things you shouldn't miss in winter on a Yellowstone tour:
*Wildlife viewing. Winter can be a prime opportunity to see the park's bounty of wildlife. Tauck's snowcoach tours take you out into the wilderness to view bison herds, and you might also spot elk, bighorn sheep, gray wolves, moose and more. A presentation by a naturalist helps you understand the behaviors and lifestyles of Yellowstone's winter wildlife residents.
*Active adventures. It might be cold outside, but the best way to beat it - and connect with Yellowstone's unspoiled beauty - is to get out and play in it. Take an excursion on cross-country skis, snowshoes or with a little extra power from a snowmobile, and you'll be able to have a one-on-one experience with nature in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Winter activities on Tauck's winter Yellowstone tour itineraries are available (some at additional cost).
*Winter's artistry. From the snow-dappled mountains to the sharp outlines of the bare trees, winter enhances the beauty of Yellowstone in a unique, dramatic way. The shimmer of snow, whether in an open field or moving through a forest of old-growth trees, adds an air of magic to any outing. The cold also provides limited-time natural wonders, like waterfalls that temporarily freeze into sculptural ice bridges.
*Geothermal wonders. In Yellowstone, there are hot spots, even in the heart of winter. Visit geysers like Old Faithful for a memorable show of geothermal power, or the Fountain Paint Pots, which exude colorful pools of liquefied rock. Location is everything on Tauck's Yellowstone tour, and your accommodations put you in the heart of the wintertime wonders of geothermal heat.
A Yellowstone tour is a memorable experience at any time of year, but visiting when the crowds are away and the landscape is at its most dramatic could be the trip of a lifetime.