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New West Experience - Birding in Montana

New West Experience

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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.

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.

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.

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 time is valuable. 

New West Experience understands your time in Montana should be spent enjoying Montana- and not doing the dirty work. Our Concierge Services are able to assist in a variety of different ways to ensure your vacation time is spent on the mountain or in the rivers versus at the store or doing dishes. We utilize our extensive network trusted service providers, and will always stand behind the quality of services provided by our professionals. If you are unhappy with provided services New West will resolve the problem to your satisfaction.

Examples of concierge services:

+  Advance wine and liquor purchasing. We work with the premier store in Montana and are able to arrange your order to either be waiting in your rental car on arrival, at your accommodations, or for store pick-up.

+  Advance food purchasing. Show up to a full fridge, or have the groceries packed in your rental car.

+  On-site personal chef.

+  On-site massage.

+  House cleaning/ laundry services.

+  Errands and delivery.

+  Just about any task you can think of- we are here to help.

Fees for our services vary per task, please inquire for specific pricing.

From elite guest ranches to local bed and breakfasts- we know the right places to stay.

Play hard in the outdoors during the day, relax in comfortable surrounds at night. But where are the right places to stay? Montana and the Yellowstone area offer a wide variety of overnight accommodations from basic, inexpensive locally owned motels to elite guest ranches. The location and quality of this multitude of options also varies tremendously.

At New West, we are all about unique, locally owned overnight accommodations as this is truly the best way to Experience the real Montana. There are few places we have every traveled globally that offer such a welcoming atmosphere as seems to be consistently offered throughout the state and region. With this being said, some of the overnight options are better than others- and we try hard to visit them all so that our experience and recommendations can be passed on to you. 

There are of course numerous chain hotels available in most areas of the state, and most operate or exceed their chain's standards. The Holiday Inn in Bozeman is fantastic, but it could be a Holiday Inn anywhere in the world. New West is able to recommend and book the other options; like the small, historic Inn at the base of a ski mountain surrounded by a half-million acres of National Forest- for the same price or less as the Holiday Inn. We strive to provide our clients with clean, comfortable, and unique overnight accommodations- located in the right part of town to make the most of your stay. 

We do not limit ourselves (or our guests) to budgetary restraints. If you want to stay at the finest guest ranch in Montana- we have been there and know which rooms have the best view. If you are just looking for a bed to crash on, we know the best value and cleanest places around. 

NWE also works with numerous vacation rental management companies, bed and breakfasts, and guest houses all offering truly unique Montana experiences.

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

Montana and Yellowstone National park are perfect locations for the serious birder. Just outside of Bozeman, experience one of the largest raptor migrations in the world. Witness droves of migratory waterfowl in the fall, or a bald eagle scooping a cutthroat trout out of a recently thawed lake in the spring. New West is here to help point you in the right direction.

There are numerous excellent resources for providing formalized birding tours in the area ranging from Montana Audubon to small, private companies/ individuals. Although we are happy to recommend and organize formalized trips, we also encourage our guests to simply get outside with their binos and enjoy. Montana boasts incredible concentrations of raptors and migratories- all set with a backdrop second to none.

 

Yellowstone National Park consists of hundreds of miles of well-paved roads with ample opportunities to view wildlife from the countless roadside pull-offs. However, the best way to view the abundant wildlife, whether in the Park or not, is to get off the beaten path. New West Experience is able to provide you local insight on where to go and when to experience our abundant wildlife in their natural settings.

Montana is unique in that the amount of accessible public land is incomparable in the lower 48 United States. Countless state and national parks comprise over 27-million acres of publicly accessible areas. Wildlife viewing opportunities for large mammals are simply unparalleled. Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park offer prime viewing opportunities. A simple drive through either park will most likely reveal mule deer, fox, coyotes, badger, white tailed deer, elk, antelope, big horn sheep, mountain goats, and bison. One also stands a very chance of seeing black bears, grizzlies, and wolves.

Whether you come to Montana and Yellowstone National Park to specifically view wildlife, or if viewing our native macro-mammals is simply an added bonus, New West is able to assist in going to the right places at the right times.

 

Copyright New West Experience, 2012. All rights reserved.

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