Yellowstone National Park in Winter: Wildlife and Landscapes
January 23 – 30, 2025
Yellowstone National Park is the world’s oldest and most picturesque National Park. It is home to a vast number of unique hydrothermal wonders and contains 67 species of mammals and hundreds of species of birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles.
Winter in Yellowstone means fewer crowds, cold temperatures, steaming geyser basins, and closed roads. But that’s OK! We travel by private snow coach through this quiet, pristine wilderness with only six guests and one pro from Muench Workshops. You’ll always be able to get out of our vehicle quickly and efficiently when seconds count. Sometimes we even shoot from inside our vehicle, where you always have your own window seat. You will have plenty of room for yourself, plus your winter and photo gear.
Our photo targets are many! We spend time with groups of bison and sometimes a single bison. Each day, the winter conditions can change the look and behavior of these giant mammals, and you will learn to shoot “snowy” bison, “frosty” bison, and even “frozen” bison. Other mammals may include moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, pronghorn, and elk. There are also predators in the park. Coyotes are usually found and photographed well, as is the red fox. Somewhat more difficult to find and capture on camera, and requiring a bit of luck, are Yellowstone’s wolves, bobcats, and the tiny long-tailed weasel. We hope to photograph otters, ducks, swans, and other birds in the rivers.
We have many favorite locations to photograph, but we’re always looking for interesting compositions in great light. We’ll also seek out sweeping vistas and smaller, more intimate scenes. We’ll have access to thermal features, travertine terraces, geysers, mud pots, hot springs, and fumaroles. We can shoot long exposures of moving water, clouds, and steam.
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced shooter, we’re there with you every step of the way. We’ll help you with technical settings, composition, and shooting techniques to get the best exposure in challenging environments. We’ll ensure you get sharp shots of the wildlife, both fast and slow movers. And we can work on advanced techniques like motion blur, panoramas, image blending, and focus stacking. We’ll have our signature image reviews and post-processing sessions when our schedule allows.
Everything is all-inclusive, including your ride from Bozeman airport to the park. We will work hard, and you should expect each day to be filled with photography.
Muench Workshops is an Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service.
About the wildlife: This workshop offers significant opportunities for photographing wildlife, and while we do our best to maximize our wildlife encounters—based on past experiences, local knowledge, and the current conditions—we need to impress upon you that the wildlife really is wild and that we don’t control it.
This itinerary is subject to change due to weather, local conditions, and other factors.
January 23, 2025: You should arrive at Bozeman airport no later than 1:00 PM today. We will pick you up at the airport and transfer you to our hotel in Gardiner. We’ll photograph some wildlife and landscapes around Gardiner in the late afternoon. After dinner, we have an introductory meeting to review conditions, wildlife reports, and shooting preparation. Overnight in Gardiner.
January 24–25, 2025: These days we will explore Lamar Valley and its surroundings for wildlife, driving between Gardiner and Cooke City to our favorite spots. We’ll also plan sunrise shoots in Lamar Valley and Mammoth Hot Springs.
January 26–28, 2025: Leave early on our private snow coach from Mammoth Hot Springs on our way to Old Faithful Snow Lodge, where we’ll spend two nights. We’ll spend the day traveling through the park, looking for landscapes and wildlife. We’ve chartered our private snow coach for three full days of wildlife and landscape photography within the park.
We’ll have plenty of time to visit Old Faithful Basin, West Thumb Geyser Basin, Biscuit Basin, Grand Prismatic Spring, and many more. We’ll also be looking for bobcats, elk, bison, fox, coyote, and more.
January 28, 2025: Our third full day on the snow coach. Late this day, we’ll arrive back in Mammoth, where our cars are waiting for us. A short drive back to Gardiner and our hotel. Dinner and overnight in Gardiner.
January 29, 2025: One more day in Lamar Valley, photographing wildlife and stopping at different photo opportunities. Lunch in Cooke City. Travel from Cooke City back to Mammoth/Gardiner via Lamar Valley. Overnight in Gardiner.
January 30, 2025: Breakfast and then we’ll drive you to Bozeman airport. Flights home can be scheduled for after 1:00 PM.
Moderate: Walks in snow of up to one mile with modest elevation gains at 7000′ to 8,000′ altitude. The temperatures can be very cold.
Arrive Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN), Bozeman, Montana before 1 PM on January 23, 2025. Flights out can be made after 1:00 PM on January 30, 2025. Air travel delays are common. Please arrive early, possibly even the day prior, so you don’t miss any of the workshop.
What to Bring
Please see our page How To Prepare For Your Workshop. We will send you a detailed information document 90 days before your workshop. This document will include specifics of where and when to meet, gear and clothing recommendations, and more.
- Double occupancy lodging. Single available for $1,000 supplement.
- All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop.
- All permits and park fees.
- All transportation during the workshop.
- Tips for crew, drivers, and local guides.
- Photographic guiding and instruction from 2 pros.
- Image reviews and post-processing instruction.
- Adventure, fun, inspiration, and a great time!
- Travel to and from Bozeman, Montana.
- Unscheduled airport transfers.
- Passport and visa fees (if applicable).
- Any meals or accommodations before or after the workshop dates.
- Items of a personal nature.
- Alcoholic Beverages.
- Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended).
- Anything else specifically not listed as included.
- Single rooming available for $1,000 supplement.
“I've been on over twenty workshops with various groups and leaders and this was the best by far. Muench is top notch. The whole experience was awesome. Starting with the ease of signing up and the prompt response to questions. As the trip approached the communication and tips for preparing were very helpful. The Muench organization's focus is in providing a great experience for the participant. I highly recommend them and the whole Muench organization. I'll be back for more. ”
“The Yellowstone workshop went far and beyond my expectations. I just wanted to see Yellowstone for the first time and being only a part-time photographer, I wanted to capture some of what I saw. Not only did that occur, but I learned so much from our instructors that I will take this with me moving forward. The photo reviews in the evening were the best part of the trip for me. I learned so much on this trip and now understand the tools available to me to make for better photos down the road. ”