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Winter In Yellowstone Trip Report

For a year that could have been a giant disappointment due to lighter-than-usual snowfall, this year’s trip to Yellowstone turned out to be absolutely magical. Yellowstone never disappoints, regardless of the time of year but winter is my favorite season to visit the park, that’s largely due to the fact that I’m a fan of high-key photography and not a fan of crowds, a win win all around. I had the extreme pleasure of leading a group of six women photographers who helped to make this experience so memorable.


We were based in Gardiner, convenient to the north entrance, and this is where we spent our first day. Having arrived in Bozeman the day before, we drove to Gardiner in the morning and had a solid half day to explore.  After visiting some of the thermal features of Mammoth Hot Springs we found some Big Horn Sheep to photograph, they are so photogenic.

The next few days were spent on the northern range where we had no shortage of wildlife to photograph.  We spent some time with coyotes, a bull moose, elk and pronghorn. Yes, snow was a little light in this area of the park but it made for some unique photos.  Bald Eagles consistently showed up and even a couple Golden Eagles perched in a distant tree, a little too far even for my Nikon Z 600 mm PF, but it was a thrill to see these stunning birds through a scope.  We were very fortunate to capture the iconic photos that one would expect when visiting Yellowstone In Winter.  Such as a Red Fox in the snow.

And what’s a trip to Yellowstone in winter without a hoar frost on a Bison photo?

We had two full days in the interior of the park on a Snow Coach where we found plenty of snow and the most incredible wildlife experience I think any of us have ever had.  We were made all too aware that we had just missed the Wapiti Lake Wolf Pack that had taken down a Bison a few days before. So, we had all made peace with the fact that we would not be getting the wolf photos that were flooding our social media pages.  I think that would have been hard for me to watch anyway, but still, wolves at a relatively close range is on every wildlife photographers wish list.  Little did we know that we would be getting that and much more.  As we rolled along in our snow coach two black wolves emerged in front of us.  We quietly exited the vehicle and watched as one began rolling around in the snow, a behavior that reminded me of my dog when experiencing the first snow of the year.


The best part of all is that for a few minutes we were all alone with these wolves in the stillness of the forest.  What happened next truly took the entire group’s breath away.  The wolves began howling, soon we heard responses coming from wolves in the distance.  I’ve heard wolves howl before but this was special.  The way the sound reverberated through the silence of the valley was like a haunting symphony, the kind that gives you chills and a tear to the eye.  It was a symphony meant just for us.

Sometimes nature delivers something to you that makes you feel connected to every living being around you, there is so much peace and comfort in that.  Soon the wolves moved on and so did we.

Yellowstone in winter is full of surprises.  Next year Women In Wildlife Photography will be adding another vehicle to allow for more participants in this popular tour and also the benefit of another expert guide.

Join us for Women In Wonderland 2025!   



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