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New West Experience - Birding in Montana

New West Experience

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Winter is one of the best times of the year to explore Yellowstone National Park- especially as a wildlife photographer/ enthusiast. Crowd numbers are very low and most of the wildlife is seeking shelter in the lower elevation valleys. This is a prime time of year to witness bison breaking through snow drifts, wolves feeding on carcasses, or the iconic coyote or fox pouncing on a mouse under the snow. Only the northeastern corner of the Park is open to road traffic in the winter. This road to Cooke City traverses the Lamar Valley, one of the prime spotting area for wolves and wildlife in the Park. The Southeast Geyser Basin area is only open to over-snow travel- snowmobile (guided only), snowcoach, or by your own two feet. The geothermal colors against a white backdrop are truly a sight to behold. 

Recommended 6-day, 7-night itinerary:

Day 1. Arrive Bozeman, a representative from NWE will meet you at the airport and escort you to the office in your rental Subaru Outback. At the office, we will go over map details, off-the-beaten path photo opportunities, and last minute changes to itinerary due to weather conditions. Overnight at Chico Hot Springs, just outside of Yellowstone National Park in the Paradise Valley. 

Day 2 - 3. Explore the Lamar Valley and surrounding areas, overnighting at Chico or in Gardiner.

Day 4. After a morning of shooting, head back towards Bozeman and then down to West Yellowstone. This is a very beautiful drive along the Gallatin River Canyon and offers photo opportunities for scenic, elk, big horn sheep, and moose. Overnight in West Yellowstone.

Day 5. Snowcoach into the Yellowstone Geyser Basin. Overnight West Yellowstone.

Day 6. Return to Bozeman via Quake Lake, Henrys Lake, Ennis, and the Madison Valley. Stop for a soak in Norris Hot Springs, overnight in Bozeman.

Day 7. Depart.

Package price $550 includes rental vehicle and concierge services. Accommodations range from $500 - $900 based on double occupancy. West Yellowstone guided snowcoach tours, from $100 per person. Total price vehicle, tour, and accommodation from $625 per person.

 

Experience the best of Montana and the birth of a season. 

Spring in Montana symbolized the birth of the next generation. The transition from a dull winter brown to a resplendent green studded with countless wildflowers is a sight to behold. Mid-May through June are the prime months to witness this explosive growth. The mountains are still snow-capped, the rivers often gorged with impressive run-off, and the abundant wildlife have or are bearing young. Yellowstone Park, in particular the Lamar Valley, can be a fantastic place to behold this regeneration of life. Although this is the wettest time of year in Montana, it is also the greenest and the blue sky looming over endless fields of wildflowers will make a shower or two worthwhile.

7-Day Recommended itinerary for two: $1,350 - $1,950 depending on desired accommodations.

Day 1. Arrive Bozeman. A New West representative will meet you at the airport and escort you in your rental Subaru Outback to the office. We will then go over maps, itinerary changes due to weather and add adjustments accordingly. Depending on arrival time, visit historic downtown Bozeman and/ or the Museum of the Rockies. Overnight at the historic Silver Forest Inn, located in the Bridger Mountains just 15-miles outside of town. Overnight, breakfast, and pack lunch included.

Day 2. After breakfast at the Inn, head south towards Livingston, Montana via the scenic Jackson Creek Road. Via backroads, head towards McLeod and the Boulder River Valley. Witness the stunning "Land Bridge" in full spate. Return to Big Timber and continue on interstate 90 for approximately 40-miles. Exit towards Absarokee on one of the prettiest pastoral roads imaginable. Enjoy the sights of the Beartooth mountains and abundant roadside wildlife, dinner and overnight in Red Lodge (not included, price range $70 - $160 for accommodations).

Day 3. The Beartooth Highway. Enjoy the day exploring the numerous vistas and hiking opportunities on what Charles Kuralt has deemed the most beautiful road in America. Overnight in Cook or Silver City (not included, price range $80 - $170/ night).

Day 4. The Lamar Valley. Buffalo, elk, big horn sheep, grizzly bears, and wolves abound in this extensive valley creating one of the premier large mammal wildlife viewing opportunities in the world. Finish the day having a soak in the natural hot springs of the Boiling River and overnight in Gardiner ($90 - $200) or at Chico Hot Springs ($80 - $200) just outside of the Park.

Day 5. Chico/ Gardiner through the Yellowstone Geyser Basin. Heading south through Yellowstone, witness the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, the wildlife resplendent Hayden Valley, Yellowstone Lake, Fishing Bridge, Old Faithful, and the Geyser Basin. Overnight in West Yellowstone ($70 - $200).

Day 6. Head west into the Centennial Valley. Spend the day viewing the countless migratory birds, particularly swans, in the Red Rock Lake Wildlife Refuge or enjoy your own playing on your pristine high mountain lakes. In the late afternoon, head north via Henrys and Quake Lake, overnight in the small town of Ennis, perhaps if you have enough time, sneek over to Norris Hot Springs for an evening soak- or if you have an early departure flight return to Bozeman.

Day 7. Depending on departure time, head to Virginia and Nevada City to witness a perfectly preserved western mining town or head straight to the airport.

 

Pricing: Rental car with touring package, concierge/ planning services, and overnight at Silver Forest Inn; $850. Additional accommodations, depending on your budgetary wishes $500 - $1,100, full camping package $300.

Rental cars with superior service for Big Sky, Yellowstone, and Bozeman BZN

New West Experience is partnered with Phasmid Rentals, a superior off-airport rental car agency providing four wheel drive rental vehicles ideally suited for Montana adventures. New West is able to book Phasmid cars directly, and is able to incorporate discounted rates into all of our packages. Phasmid provides rental cars for Bozeman Gallatin Field airport, BZN.

Through New West and Phasmid we are able to offer two types of vehicles in two different classes. Chevrolet Suburbans (Big) and Subaru Outbacks (not-so-big). New ones, or slightly used ones. All of Phasmid's rental vehicles are impeccably maintained, immaculate, and contain Montana emergency kits (first aid kits, breakdown kits, tools, etc.)- all of the things that you likely carry in your own vehicle that no other rental company provides.

Prices vary depending on availability and time of year, but generally speaking Phasmid is less expensive than the Big Box companies at the airport- and always provides superior service.

+  Subaru Outback "Roadwarriors" (pre-loved ones) around $50/ day

+  2010-12 Subaru Outbacks around $75/ day

+  Older style Chevrolet Suburbans (2003-2007) around $85/ day

+  Newer Chevrolet Suburbans (2009-12) around $120/ day

Some of the benefits that we have found with Phasmid Rentals:

+  No nickle-and-dime treatment. They do not sell you anything you do not need, and treat customers like people and not numbers

+  Guests never have to wait in line. Phasmid picks up all guests at the baggage claim at BZN, and shuttles them back to office (1.5 miles away) in their rental car

+  Unlimited mileage, no-charge for additional drivers, and 24-hour roadside assistance always included

Visit the Phasmid Rentals website, or call New West to arrange a far superior rental car experience.

The unique wildlife, topography, and geology of Montana offer a photographers paradise. New West is able to assist your itinerary planning whether you are professional or amateur. We know the off the beaten path spots, current conditions, and have the passion as well to ensure that you take home that perfect shot.

New West specializes in DIY photo safaris. Although we know and recommend a few specific companies that specialize in guided photography tours, we have found that with a little advice and an adventurous spirit a photographer can get the chance at the shot that few others have. We share our passion for getting off-the-beaten path with others- an attribute that few other tour companies are willing to do.

Our services for DIY photo safaris revolve around each individuals desire and taste. Prefer scenic shots, old barns, Yellowstone geo,thermals, small rural towns, working ranch life, wildlife, or birds? We can get you there like none other.

At New West Experience we understand the difficulty of arranging small group trips. From getting the group to decide where to stay, when to travel, and the worst- collecting money from people, we are here to make it as painless as possible. New West is able to do everything from arranging your accommodations, planning your itineraries, arranging guided trips, providing rentals cars and gear, to collecting payments from everyone,  to even making sure the fridge is stocked upon your arrival. 

Let us deal with the hassle so that you can enjoy your time together as friends in the mountains, on the snow, or on the water; whatever your desires may be. Boy's trips, girl's trips, family trips- we have got you covered.

Without  doubt, one of the most beautiful places on earth (and we have looked everywhere!)

Unspoiled natural scenery, unique small towns and individuals, crystal clear lakes and rivers, and abundant wildlife is what Montana is about. At New West Experience, our goal is to share our spectacular surroundings and our love for this state and area.

Bozeman, Montana is your starting point with New West Experience. Offering the best airport in the state (BZN), and only a short jaunt from Yellowstone National Park, your options for outdoor exploration and adventures are seemingly limitless from here. New West  Experience excels in do-it-yourself exploration; whether your goals are fly-fishing, scenic driving, or simply relaxing in beautiful surroundings we are able to assist you in the perfect Montana vacation.

We are passionate about everything outdoors ourselves, and with our own personal experiences we are able to assist the visitor in having a trip of a lifetime.

Driving from Destination A to Destination B is much more than just time in the car when you are in Montana. Unique small towns abound, all surrounded by stunning landscape and incomparable wildlife. Scenic driving in Montana is major part of the Experience out here. Distances are grand and seemingly each bend in the road will reveal a vista more beautiful then the last.

We get this. One of our favourite things to do ourselves is to hop in the car, pick a direction and drive. One will never be let down with monotony in Montana, and many of the best sites and experiences you will have will happen in the car. This being said, if you want to see Montana you have to drive. There is simply no good public transportation. Our partner, Phasmid Rentals, is able to provide rental vehicles and touring gear for your Montana road trip. Combined with New West's planning services we are able to get you the road trip of a lifetime.

Whether you enjoy the Beartooth Highway, Yellowstone Park, the unique small towns, or the endless gravel roads we are able to get you there and back- in style.

Because your vacation time is valuable.

New West Experience exists to ensure that your Montana, Yellowstone, and Northern Rockies vacation is efficient, effective, and maintains value. We understand that time is often more important than money, and therefore are able to assist in every aspect of your experience from the moment you step off of the airplane until you depart. From our independently owned rental car agency, to our recommended overnight accommodations, to our trusted partners New West will eliminate the risk allowing you the ultimate Montana and Yellowstone Experience.

New West Experience

Fly-fishing in Montana and Yellowstone National Park is certainly on any serious angler's bucket list. Wild trout abound in our seemingly endless waterways, coupled with liberal water access laws, offer the angler unparalleled opportunities. New West Experience is able to assist anglers interested in staying at elite fly fishing specific lodges, booking daily guided trips through our network of experienced professionals, or in the planning of do-it-yourself fly fishing adventures.

New West Experience owner, Will Casella, has spent over 10-years working at elite fly fishing lodges around the world- and has come back to live in Montana for one main reason- the fishing is that good. There are of course the classic rivers; the Madison, Big Hole, Big Horn, Beaverhead, Jefferson, Yellowstone, Missouri, and the Gallatin that produce memorable days. However, more often than not, the best angling days and Montana experience come from the not so famous rivers and lakes- the places nobody is willing to talk about- and that is where New West will get you. 

At New West, we all fish, and we keep a finger on the pulse of what is going on around the state. Although there are likely more wild trout in the state of Montana than pretty much anywhere else in the world, they can still be moody especially on the larger more famous waterways. We have found that the best way to fish Montana is to be flexible and mobile. Rather than staying at a lodge and getting locked into a waterway for your stay, we encourage anglers to move to where the fish are eating.

The main difference when planning a trip with New West versus many of the outfitters or a lodges is that we truly emphasize quality of experience. If a bumper-to-bumper float trip down the Madison drifting indicator rigs is what you want- we are not the company for you. If enjoying spectacular scenery in the company of good friends (or alone), and maybe catching a fish or two is what you seek- then we can help you out.

Go with the right professionals.

Guided activities and guides are abundant in Montana and Yellowstone. Most are good, few are exceptional. Reduce your risk of getting a bum and wasting your money, and let New West Experience utilize our extensive network of trusted professionals. We understand that a guided trip isn't just about catching fish, going on a horseback ride, or rafting down a river. To us, is about the total Experience. Enjoying stunning natural surroundings enhanced by the services of a true professional. A professional who understands the ecology and history of the area. A professional who is intelligent and a pleasure to be around. A professional who will likely become a long-lasting friend and will create an unforgettable day.

Let New West take the burden and risk out of booking your guided adventures.

Copyright New West Experience, 2012. All rights reserved.

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