The ultimate expression of the American West, the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and the Beartooth offer such spectacular scenery and personal connections to nature that the afterglow will illuminate your memory for life. We will, of course, see thousands of butterflies of exceptional beauty and rarity, many of them restricted in range to the northern Rocky Mountains. The quality of the landscapes, the vibrancy of the flower-filled meadows, and the thrilling experiences with mammals such as bison, moose and pronghorn antelopes will provide unusual dimensions to this trip.
Day 1. Friday. The tour begins this evening at the Jackson airport. Night in Jackson Hole.
Day 2. Saturday. Today we will drive into the Tetons, butterflying in mountain meadows and evergreen forests. Black-and-white Clodius Pa
rnassians may be coursing over the meadows while Mariposa and Lilac-bordered Coppers move in smaller circles. In the past we have been fortunate to see a number of hard to find Pelidne Sulphurs here. Hayden's Ringlets, a northern Rocky Mountain specialty, may be common. Western Whites and Purplish Fritillaries may be flying and Anise Swallowtails hilltopping. If water is flowing, we may see Zerene, Great Basin, Hydaspe and Mormon Fritillaries at mudpuddles cheek-to-palp with a variety of blues, such as Dotted, Silvery and Northern Blues. Moving higher on the mountain, we may find Sooty Hairstreaks and Callippe Fritillaries. Night in Jackson Hole.
Day 3. Sunday. This morning we take a tram ride to a mountain top over 10,000 ft. Here we will search (with measured pace) for Melissa Arctics as they hilltop on rocky prominences, Mead's Sulphurs and easily overlooked Shasta Blues. We'll check the blues carefully because Arctic Blues are here as well. In the high meadows we should find red-spotted Phoebus Parnassians, a conterpoint to the Clodius Parnassians of lower elevations. Depending upon timing, we may spend the afternoon in the lowlands, searching for Ruddy and Edith's Coppers and Sonoran Skippers among the bison and Golden and Bald Eagles.
Night in Jackson Hole.
Day 4 Monday. Today we will drive north into fabled Yellowstone National Park, keeping our eyes peeled for moose, elk and bison in addition to butterflies such as Queen Alexandra's Sulphurs and Blue Coppers. Yellowstone probably has the highest concentration of wild large mammals of any place in the United States. Night in Yellowstone.
Day 5 Tuesday. The Beartooth Highway has been justly called the most beautiful highway in the United States by Charles Kuralt. We will drive northeast, out of Yellowstone, curling onto the sinuous Beartooth Highway past Cooke City. Although the spectacular scenery is reason enough to be here, we hope to find such special butterflies as Bog and Relict Fritillaries and Colorado and Theano Alpines hidden among the patches of melting snow. White-veined Arctics are possible while Magdalena Alpines are a hoped-for long-shot. Here we have our best chance to spot beautiful and rarely seen Gillett's Checkerspots. Night in Red Lodge.
Day 6. Wednesday. Retracing our steps along the Beartooth, we will search for species we missed yesterday. Night in Yellowstone.
Day 7. Thursday. Depending upon our butterflying progress so far, we will either spend the morning in Yellowstone, driving to Jackson Hole in the afternoon or drive to Jackson Hole in the morning, butterflying most of the day in the Jackson Hole area. Night in Jackson Hole.
Day 8. Friday. The west side of the Tetons harbors different fauna than does the east side. This morning we will drive west into Idaho, then curve back northeast into a lush canyon in the Tetons. We hope to find Woodland Skippers, Sylvan Hairstreaks, Green Commas and Sagebrush Checkerspots. An uncharted population of European Skippers is here as well! Night in Jackson Hole.
Day 9. Saturday. Trip ends this morning at the Jackson Hole Airport
Leader will be Jeffrey Glassberg, president of the North American Butterfly Association and author of Butterflies through Binoculars: the West and of A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of Mexico and Central America.
Other Considerations. Participants on this trip will spend a fair amount of time at high elevations, from 7,000 to somewhat over 10,000 ft.
Cost of the trip is TBD/person from Jackson Hole. Cost includes double-based accommodations, all meals (except, because of staggered arrival times, dinner the first night), soft drinks, ground transportation, airport transfers, tour leader fees and entrance fees. Not included are: alcoholic beverages, laundry services, and other items of a personal nature. Single supplement is TBD.
Click Reservations for a Reservation Form.
The Beartooth Highway
Sunstreak Tours home page Tour Calendar Tours by Region
Wyoming: Tetons, Yellowstone and the Beartooth