YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, August 30, 2013 — When autumn comes to Yellowstone National Park, the wildlife become frisky, the air turns crisp and active-minded adults go out and play. And if the beauty of the park and antics of its permanent inhabitants aren’t enough reason to plan a fall vacation in Yellowstone, concessioner Xanterra Parks & Resorts offers several more.
“Yellowstone is a playground for grownups — without the swing sets,” said Rick Hoeninghausen, director of sales and marketing for Xanterra Parks & Resorts in Yellowstone National Park. “This is the time of year when we see active, engaged adults seeking a variety of rich experiences. It is prime-time for wildlife watching, hiking and simply enjoying the beauty of a celebrated park that is gearing up for the winter ahead.”
Hoeninghausen urges travelers thinking about a fall-season visit to act fast. “There are still rooms and campsites available in the park, but they are going fast,” said Hoeninghausen,. “Now is the time to book lodge rooms, especially if travelers are seeking specific lodges or room types.”
Hoeninghausen cited these reasons to visit Yellowstone National Park in the fall:
Have a whole lodge to yourself (almost). Roosevelt Rendezvous is a four-night Lodging & Learning Program offered three times in September. Situated in the heart of prime wildlife habitat in Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite park region, Roosevelt Lodge stays open for a special post-season adventure so that up to 52 enthusiastic park-lovers can have the lodge to themselves. During this partnership between Xanterra and the non-profit Yellowstone Association Institute (YAI), participants go on small-group field expeditions to search for wolves, learn about geothermal features, take day hikes and simply enjoy the scenery. By night the group convenes in the main lodge dining room for buffet-style dinners and entertaining evening programs. The rate is $759 per adult based on double occupancy plus taxes, fees and gratuities. Roosevelt Rendezvous includes four nights at Roosevelt Lodge, in-park transportation, all breakfasts, lunches and dinners, one welcome gift per adult and expert instruction provided by YAI naturalist guides.
Find a lodge room. Yellowstone’s nine in-park lodges close for the season on a staggered schedule, and many of the lodges have room availability in the days leading up to the seasonal closures. Even the most sought-after lodges such as Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Old Faithful Inn have some availability then. The Yellowstone National Park Lodges website features a real-time online reservations tool that allows potential travelers to check lodge-by-lodge availability for certain dates. For room reservations book online or call (1) 307-344-7311 or toll free (1) 866-GEYSERLAND (1-866-439-7375).
Find romance. Xanterra offers the five-night Yellowstone Couples Adventure package until Oct. 5. During this Saturday-through-Wednesday program, participants travel the park in historic Yellow Buses with roll-back tops. Guides lead participants on a daily adventure with a different Yellowstone theme every day. For example, Sunday is “Glorious Geysers” day, when couples explore the area surrounding Old Faithful. Guides plan itineraries based on predicted times of geyser eruptions. On “Grand Adventure” day, participants explore the park’s east-side features such as Yellowstone Lake and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The package includes lodging in Old Faithful Inn, some meals, one welcome gift per adult, guides, in-park transportation and baggage handling. This package is $1,779 per person based on double occupancy plus taxes, fees and gratuities.
Watch the wildlife. Fall is mating season for elk and other wildlife, so visitors are often treated to the sights and sounds of the wildlife dating game. Rutting season in Yellowstone is entertaining to both watch and hear. “Every fall, I can count on phone calls being interrupted by the bugling of vocal elk outside my window,” said Hoeninghausen, whose office is in the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. “Callers often think it is some sort of alarm.” Along with elk antics, visitors can watch for bears, wolves, eagles, bison and other wildlife in other parts of the park. Xanterra offers numerous tours that focus on wildlife watching. For example, Evening Wildlife Encounters offered daily are four-hour, 15-minute tours in historic Yellow Buses that explore the park’s wildlife-rich Northern during one of the best times of the day for viewing wildlife. The tour is $61 per adult.
Bike the Old Faithful region. Another popular fall activity is bicycling in the Old Faithful Geyser area. Old Faithful Snow Lodge offers bicycle rentals for $8 per hour, $25 for a half day and $35 for a full day. The shop also offers accessories such as helmets and hip packs.
Take a hike. The park’s hundreds of miles of hiking trails offer visitors a chance to see the park from many different perspectives, and with fewer fall-season visitors, there are fewer people on the trails this time of year. Xanterra’s website lists information about several favorite hikes. In addition, park visitor centers offer trail maps and hiking information.
Channel your inner Ansel Adams. Fall is a favorite time for photographers. The half-day Picture Perfect Photo Safari departs early in the morning daily from Lake Yellowstone Hotel and the Old Faithful Inn. The Lake Yellowstone Hotel tour explores the northern shore of Yellowstone Lake, Hayden Valley and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, while the Old Faithful Inn tour explores thermal features and scenic areas from the Firehole River to the Madison River. Like all Xanterra tours, stops along the way vary from day to day depending on wildlife sightings and other conditions. Photographer-guides lead these small-group tours and share information about photo hot spots and tips for capturing the best images of Yellowstone. The tours are $90 for adults. Continental breakfast is included.
Complete details about accommodations, restaurants, tours and activities in Yellowstone National Park can be made by visiting www.YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com or calling (1) 307-344-7311 or toll free (1) 866-GEYSERLAND (1-866-439-7375).