Essential Yellowstone

Essential Yellowstone

$1,965 per person, double occupancy
$2,875 per person, single occupancy
Number of days: 4
Program Start Dates:
June 3, 17
July 1, 15, 29
August 12, 26
Meals Included?:
Breakfast and Lunch
Institute Staff
Program Type:
Lodging & Learning
Seminar Type:
Program Subject:

The Essential Yellowstone Lodging & Learning package is a four-day experience designed for those who want an introduction to the park's most popular attractions. You will stay 4 nights at the Canyon Lodge located near the breathtaking Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Each day, you will be led by a Yellowstone Forever field educator who handles all the logistics while providing quality educational interpretation of the area. We will spend a day exploring each of Yellowstone's most popular features, including geyser gazing at Old Faithful, exploring beautiful Yellowstone Lake, discussing the colorful Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and wildlife watching on Yellowstone's Northern Range.

Each day the group will venture out with a Yellowstone Forever educator to learn about and explore a region of the park, while incorporating short, scenic hikes throughout the program. We’ll leave early to beat the crowds and increase the odds of seeing charismatic megafauna that are most active at dawn.

Most sightings of wildlife occur at a distance; the field educator will provide high-powered spotting scopes and binoculars for group use. However, participants are encouraged to bring additional scopes and binoculars if they have them.

Why choose a Lodging & Learning Program?

These award-winning Lodging & Learning packages are developed through a partnership with Yellowstone National Park Lodges and Yellowstone Forever. These packages combine the best lodging locations with an exceptional immersive field education experience. Here’s why this package stands out:

  • Yellowstone Forever is Yellowstone National Park’s official nonprofit education and fundraising partner. Yellowstone Forever’s mission is to protect, preserve, and enhance Yellowstone National Park through education and philanthropy. To learn more about Yellowstone Forever, visit our website,
  • Support Yellowstone National Park. Proceeds collected by Yellowstone Forever educational programs are used to preserve Yellowstone National Park and provide more opportunities for people to experience its magic.
  • Yellowstone Forever Field Educators are formally trained. The Yellowstone Institute has been providing in-depth educational programs in Yellowstone for over 40 years. Yellowstone Forever field educators are among the best experts in Yellowstone. Educational staff are passionate professionals with significant training who are dedicating their careers to this vital work. They live in the Yellowstone ecosystem, they work and train alongside park researchers and educators, and thus can provide accurate and exciting behind the scenes perspectives on the park’s natural and cultural history. They know where to go and when, and they handle all the details to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.
  • Small group size. Lodging & Learning programs have a max capacity of 13. The program capacity size allows participants to enjoy camaraderie with fellow participants and receive more attention in a small group setting. It allows the educator to take an inquiry-based approach to learning and tailoring the experience to the group’s specific interests.
  • Essential equipment provided. Yellowstone Forever provides high-quality scoping equipment to bring distant wildlife into crisp, clear view. Educators are at a minimum Wilderness First Aid and CPR certified. They carry a first aid kit and handheld radio during all outings and provide bear spray to participants if hiking in bear country. Additionally, they incorporate teaching aids such as skulls, tracks, pelts, books, I-Pads with videos, and test equipment such as temperature guns for thermal features.
  • Incredible in-park lodging. All lodging in this package is in the park, within short walking distance from popular features and spectacular scenery. This minimizes drive time during daily outings and allows more time to enjoy the park’s features at a relaxing pace. It also allows more time in the evenings, after daily outings, to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.


"I don't know how it could have been better! Abbey was engaging, informative, a wealth of knowledge, interesting, able to explain things in layman's terms so I could understand. She pivoted well when weather required it. She also took an interest in what we were interested in, and followed up with us along the way making sure our needs were met. It was a terrific experience!" - Jan, MI

"This was our first visit to YNP, so seeing everything that we were able to was so magnificent! We can't wait to return!" - Glenn & Alyce, CA

"Sam was a great storyteller and made things come alive - my family learned a lot from him! His enthusiasm for wildlife was contagious. He not only took us on trails that we wouldn't have gone on by ourselves, but also gave us an appreciation for Yellowstone that we wouldn't have had without him. Kudos to Sam for helping us fulfill our list of animal viewing as well!" - Philip, MI

"Everything was awesome!" - Melody, SC

Download Program Information:

Essential Yellowstone Itinerary


  • Be prepared to hike up to 1 mile per day, comfortably, through relatively flat terrain on maintained trails.
  • Be prepared to hike up to 3 miles per day, comfortably, with elevation gains up to 600 feet. Some off-trail hiking possible.
  • Be prepared to hike up to 5 miles per day, comfortably, with occasional elevation gains up to 1000 feet in undulating terrain.
  • Be prepared to hike up to 8 miles per day, at a brisk pace, comfortably, with climbs up to 1500 feet on dirt trails. Loose rocks, uneven footing, and off-trail hiking are possible. Good coordination is recommended.
  • Be prepared for brisk aerobic, destination-oriented hiking up to 12 miles a day. You should be physically conditioned to do these hikes comfortably. Elevation changes up to 2000 feet on dirt trails or off-trail. Loose rock, uneven footing, steep hillside traverses, and stream crossings are possible. Good coordination is required.


  • Leisurely hikes up to 1 mile per day through relatively flat terrain on maintained or snow-packed trails.
  • Hikes on snow-packed trails, or snowshoe or ski trips, up to 3 miles per day with climbs up to 250 feet.
  • Brisk hiking, snowshoeing, or skiing up to 5 miles per day with climbs up to 500 feet, including some trail-breaking in snow.
  • Brisk aerobic snowshoeing or skiing up to 8 miles per day with climbs up to 1000 feet; or steep, rugged, off-trail skiing or snowshoeing—including breaking trail in variable snow conditions.
  • Brisk aerobic snowshoeing or skiing up to 12 miles per day with climbs up to 1500 feet; or steep, rugged, off-trail skiing or snowshoeing—including breaking trail in variable snow conditions.