Fall Wolf and Elk Discovery

Fall Wolf and Elk Discovery

$1,199 per person, double occupancy
$1,595 per person, single occupancy
Start dates: Sept. 20, Sept. 21, Sept. 27, Sept. 28, Oct. 4
Mammoth Hot Springs
Meals Included?:
Breakfast and Lunch
Institute Staff
Audience Type:
Program Type:
Lodging & Learning
Program Subject:
Conservation, Wildlife

The Fall Wolf & Elk Discovery Lodging & Learning package is designed for those who want to focus on observing wolves, elk, and other charismatic animals in the wild while learning about their fascinating behavior and complex habitat. The package is offered by Yellowstone National Park Lodges, covering lodging arrangements and meals, with Yellowstone Forever providing educational programming.

Each morning your naturalist instructor will drive you to locations where the most recent wolf and elk activity has been reported. If we encounter other wildlife species along the way, you’ll learn the role they play in the ecosystem in relation to wolves, elk, and more. Early afternoons will be spent exploring the animals’ habitats on short hikes in search of tracks and sign. Your naturalist instructor will facilitate informative discussions about current research and management of these amazing species. Every late afternoon you’ll return to Mammoth Hot Springs, home to the most exciting elk rut in the park. You’ll have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the eerie sound of bull elk bugling from the surrounding hills.

All lodging is based at Yellowstone National Park Lodges’ Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.

Available Program Start Dates:

  • Sept. 13
  • Sept. 14
  • Sept. 20
  • Sept. 21
  • Sept. 27
  • Sept. 28
  • Oct. 4

Program Highlights

  • Three full days searching and observing wildlife in Lamar Valley, along Yellowstone’s northern range and elsewhere in the park
  • Opportunities to engage with National Park Service biologists and researchers in the field
  • In-depth focus on wildlife biology, ecology, and behavior
  • Thought-provoking discussions related to the most recent research findings and management issues

Why Choose a Lodging & Learning Package?

Our award-winning Lodging & Learning packages are developed through a partnership with Yellowstone National Park Lodges. 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. Our mission is to partner with Yellowstone National Park to create opportunities for all people to experience, enhance, and preserve Yellowstone forever.
  • You’ll help preserve Yellowstone. Proceeds collected by Yellowstone Forever for this package are used to preserve Yellowstone National Park and provide more opportunities for people to experience its magic.
  • Our naturalist instructors are world class. The Yellowstone Institute has been providing in-depth educational programs in Yellowstone for over 40 years. Our naturalist instructors are among the best expert field educators in Yellowstone. They’re professionals with academic credentials who are dedicating their careers to this vital work. They live in the Yellowstone ecosystem, they work alongside park researchers, and thus can provide accurate and exciting “behind the scenes” perspectives on the park’s history, management, geology, flora, and fauna. They know where to go and when, and they’ll handle all the details to make your experience is as enjoyable as possible.
  • Small group size. This program has a max capacity of 9 participants (up to 12 same family). You’ll enjoy camaraderie with fellow participants and receive a lot more attention in this small group package. It allows your naturalist guide to take an inquiry-based approach to learning, tailoring the experience to your specific interests.
  • We provide the essential equipment. Your instructor will provide high-quality digiscoping equipment to bring distant wildlife into crisp, clear view. We also provide snowshoes or safe travel over snow and ice on daily hikes. Our guides are Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder certified. They carry a first aid kit and handheld radio during all hikes, and provide bear spray if hiking in bear country. They will incorporate teaching aids such as skulls, tracks, pelts, books, i-Pads with videos, and test equipment such as temperature guns for thermal features.
  • You can’t beat in-park lodging. All lodging in this package is located 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.

Download Program Information:

Fall Wolf and Elk Discovery Course Letter

We are continually updating and refining our COVID-19 mitigation measures to ensure the health and safety our guests, staff and volunteers. Read our COVID-19 guidelines for program participants.


  • 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.