Essence of Winter

Yellowstone National Park

February 5 - 13, 2022
Cost: $6,900
Leader: Tom Murphy
Group Size: 8
Days: 9

Safari Overview

Capture images of snowy Old Faithful geyser, ice-covered bison alongside thermal pools, foxes, coyotes, and perhaps wolves with professional wildlife photographer, Tom Murphy. Step carefully around delicate, chalky mineral terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs and discover multihued steaming pools and bubbling mud pots in the Geyser Basins. Witness small crystals and flakes form into “geyser rain” as Old Faithful erupts. Track elk, pronghorn, and red fox amidst a snowy and steamy landscape. Listen for the echoing howls of a pack of gray wolves haunting the stillness of Lamar Valley. Delve into the heart of Yellowstone National Park to create your own photographic stories of winter survival that leave your audience speechless.


  • Learn about animal behavior and Yellowstone from local expert and photographer, Tom Murphy.
  • Observe Yellowstone’s famous wildlife – bison, elk, gray wolf, and more.
  • Photograph spouting Old Faithful geyser and other fascinating geologic features.
  • Study photographic composition and technique in this hands-on photography workshop.
  • Maximize wildlife viewing opportunities with ample stops and detours while traveling via private bus and snowcoach.

Itinerary Updated: April 2020

Print Trip
Date Description Lodge Meals
Feb 5 Arrive in Bozeman, Montana, USA. Hampton Inn, Bozeman
Feb 6–7 Meet Tom and follow the Yellowstone River south into the park. Explore Mammoth Hot Springs and wildlife-rich Lamar Valley. Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, Yellowstone National Park B, L, D
Feb 8 Explore Hayden Valley by private snowcoach en route to central Yellowstone to photograph winter scenes and wildlife. Old Faithful Snow Lodge, Yellowstone National Park B, L, D
Feb 9–10 Capture images of wildlife and thermal features while exploring the geyser basins by foot and private snowcoach. Old Faithful Snow Lodge, Yellowstone National Park B, L, D
Feb 11 Morning walk among the geysers, then return to Mammoth Hot Springs by snowcoach, alongside dramatic cliffs and geyser basins. Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, Yellowstone National Park B, L, D
Feb 12 Revisit Lamar Valley. Enjoy a farewell dinner, and then return to Bozeman. Hampton Inn, Bozeman B, L, D
Feb 13 Depart for home. B

Our Trip Leaders

Tom Murphy

Tom has offered custom photographic tours and seminars for nearly 30 years, specializing in engaging locations such as Yellowstone National Park, Antarctica, and Africa. He travels and photographs extensively throughout Yellowstone and has hiked thousands of miles and skied on hundreds of extended overnight trips in the backcountry. Much of his work in Yellowstone was highlighted in a popular PBS Nature series program, Christmas in Yellowstone, and several of his own books. His passion and talent is photographing wildlife in their environment to tell the story of life and survival. He is a popular teacher, known for his easy-going attitude, helpful demeanor, and one-on-one style of instruction.

Detailed Itinerary

A glimpse into our journey

Arrive in Bozeman, Montana

Feb 5

Arrive in Bozeman, Montana for an overnight stay.

Meet Tom and explore northern Yellowstone

Feb 6–7

© Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris

Meet Tom Murphy in Bozeman to embark on this special photographic journey. Drive south along the Yellowstone River into northern Yellowstone National Park. Discover the wild countryside where bighorn sheep, elk, pronghorn, bison, and coyotes roam. Use Tom’s familiarity of animal behavior to capture outstanding wildlife images. Take in the distinct smells and sounds of Mammoth Hot Springs where colorful mineral terraces are as spectacular as the wildlife. Explore the wildlife-rich Lamar Valley, the best place to see gray wolves as well as bison, elk, and a host of smaller mammals and birds.

Explore Hayden Valley into central Yellowstone

Feb 8

Snow coach in Yellowstone National Park.

Travel south from Mammoth Hot Springs to central Yellowstone by private snowcoach, passing Yellowstone Lake and exploring beautiful Hayden Valley. Work on perfecting photographic technique while composing images of bison, pronghorn, elk, and other wildlife in different park habitats and pristine winter landscapes.

Central Yellowstone National Park

Feb 9–10

Photographers line up in anticipation of the geyser eruption
© Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris

Explore the Old Faithful area on foot by way of the extensive boardwalk system. Observe eruptions of Old Faithful geyser and discover other fascinating thermal features. The wildlife at the heart of Yellowstone is magnificent, creating striking photo opportunities amidst the contrasting backdrop of steaming pools and snow-blanketed terrain. Spend a full day exploring the Upper and Lower Geyser Basin by private snowcoach. Search for ideal winter scenes and wildlife to observe and photograph, and delight in bubbling mud pots, smoky fumaroles, and thermal pools of rainbow hues. Capture early-morning images of geysers illuminated by the rising sun, weather permitting.

Ride by snowcoach to Mammoth Hot Springs

Feb 11

Bison enjoying the thermal pools
© Tom Murphy

Spend your last morning in central Yellowstone walking among the geysers, then return to Mammoth Hot Springs by snowcoach, stopping along the way to photograph wildlife and Yellowstone’s intriguing topography.

Lamar Valley and return to Bozeman

Feb 12

Red fox pouncing
© Tom Murphy

Return to Lamar Valley for more wildlife viewing. In addition to wolves and larger mammals, search for coyote, red fox, river otter, bald eagle, as well as trumpeter swan, bufflehead, and other waterfowl. Visit Tom’s hometown of Livingston for dinner together before returning to Bozeman.

Depart for home

Feb 13

Fly home from Bozeman.


Travel to Yellowstone and capture images of snowy Old Faithful geyser, ice-covered bison, fox, coyotes, and perhaps wolves.

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Cost & Payments

Costs (in US$)

Type Cost Per Person
Trip Cost, double occupancy $6,900
Single Supplement $2,245

Costs are per person, double occupancy, not including airfare, singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.

We reserve the right to charge for cost increases that occur between when we set trip prices and the date of travel, for example, changes due to the cost of lodging and transportation. If you are a single traveler and you desire, we will find a roommate for you. If we cannot find you

Payment Schedule

Payment Due Date Amount Per Person
Deposit Due now to reserve your space $500
Second March 3, 2021 $1,000
Final September 30, 2021 Remaining balance

Payments are due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space. For reservations made after a due date, all past payments will be due with registration. By sending your initial deposit, you agree to accept our payment schedule and cancellation policy as a contract. If payments are still outstanding two weeks after the due date, your space may be forfeited.


Until the Final Payment due date, deposits are refundable except for a cancellation fee of $150 per person, which can be applied toward another trip if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable. No refunds are given after the Final Payment due date.


  • All leaders, transport, park entry fees, and permits for all activities unless described as optional.
  • Privately chartered snowcoach in Yellowstone National Park on February 8 and February 10.
  • Accommodations for the nights of February 5 through February 12.
  • Meals from breakfast on February 6 through breakfast on February 13.
  • Non-alcoholic beverages during meals.
  • Gratuities for snowcoach drivers and meal service.
  • Gratuities to porters at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Old Faithful Snow Lodge in Yellowstone National Park.
  • Trip Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc.

Not Included

  • All airfare, airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees.
  • Transfers between the Hampton Inn and Bozeman Airport, but the hotel has a free shuttle available subject to hours of operation.
  • We can arrange extra hotel nights for an extra cost.
  • Gratuities to luggage porters at hotels outside the park.
  • Emergency medical and evacuation insurance and trip cancellation insurance. For more information see travel insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic beverages, items not on the regular menu, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Reservation Form.


Daytime temperatures are usually around 0°F (-20°C) but may reach up to the 20s°F (-5°C). Subzero overnight temperatures are common. Warm winds will occasionally push daytime temperatures into the 40s°F (5 to 10°C), causing significant melting of the snowpack at lower elevations, but cold snaps may drive temperatures much lower. Snow is a good possibility.

Fitness Level

You should be comfortable walking with and carrying your gear or standing for several hours at a time. The group usually covers distances under one mile at a slow pace and may occasionally walk short distances in snow.


Airfare is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you. Please let us know if you are arriving earlier or staying later as we are happy to assist you with any extra overnights that you might want to arrange.

Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive in Bozeman, Montana (BZN) by the night of February 5. Depart from Bozeman anytime on February 13.





Travel in a private 15-passenger bus between Bozeman and Mammoth Hot Springs then in a snowcoach deep in Yellowstone National Park. For maximum flexibility, we charter a private snowcoach on two days.


  • Non-smoking policy: We have a strict non-smoking policy. Smoking is not permitted at any time or any place during our trips.
  • Maximum time in nature: We try to spend as much time in nature as possible, sometimes resulting in long days, but giving you a more in-depth experience.
  • Itinerary route: The itinerary route, stops and plans are subject to change by unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, such as weather or road conditions.
  • Additional forms: For some of our trips, you may be asked to fill out additional forms (e.g., medical questionnaire).
  • Medical conditions and travel risks: Travel to remote places is exciting, but it is important to understand and accept the risks, both medical and logistical. Minor medical problems can usually be treated, but because we are often far from medical facilities, there can be no expectation for immediate medical treatment or evacuation, even in cases of trauma. Anyone with health problems needing close medical supervision should not consider going on this trip. Bring enough medication for the duration of the trip for any chronic medical needs since pharmacies are usually not available. When you send your deposit and signed Reservation Form, you certify to us that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions that would create a risk for yourself or for other trip participants.
  • Use of drones/UAVs on trips: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), AKA drones, are not suitable for use on most Cheesemans’ Ecology trips due to logistical constraints and in many cases, local and national laws or regulations. In some cases, such as on our polar voyages, we operate under environmental regulations that ban the use of recreational drones. Do not bring a drone on a trip without contacting us first.