Now that Labor Day has come and gone, it's time to say goodbye to summer and hello to celebrating the great outdoors this fall -- and where better to experience nature at its finest than in a U.S. National Park like Yellowstone, Wyoming or Redwood, California.
Yellowstone National Park (tel. 307/344-5566; www.travelyellowstone.com) and Xanterra Resorts has introduced four fall packages for visitors who want to experience the most colorful season in the world's first national park. First is a must for those seeking the perfect fall foliage photography opportunity -- digital or film. The "Images of Autumn: Photographing Yellowstone in Fall" package (www.naturephotography.us/workshop.yellowfall.htm) will run from October 1 to 7, 2007, with participants learning techniques for photographing the park's wildlife, plant life and thermal features. The six-night workshop offers expert instruction from Diane Kelsay and Bob Harvey of Nature Photography Adventures, four nights at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, two-nights at Old Faithful Snow Lodge, in-park transportation, breakfasts and field lunches daily. This trip is priced at $1,839 plus tax per person based on double occupancy or $2,259 for single occupancy.
Travelers who choose the "Roosevelt Rendezvous" package will have exclusive use of Roosevelt Lodge, which is otherwise closed to the general public for the season. It includes four nights' lodgings in a private cabin with shared bath; expert instruction by Yellowstone Association Institute naturalist/guides and guest speakers; activities like vigorous guided hikes, easy geology strolls or searching for wolves with a wolf biologist; breakfast, lunch and buffet dinner each day; in-park van transportation; and optional evening programs. Roosevelt Rendezvous is designed as a four-day educational experience for up to 52 participants. The program will be offered September 7-11, 11-15 and 15-19. The program is priced at $629 plus tax per person for double occupancy and $755 plus tax for single occupancy. "Autumn in Wonderland" is a three-day package starting September 24, 29 and October 3, 2007. Participants explore the hidden secrets of park-wildlife watching and autumn colors in the Hayden Valley, walking along the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River and touring within the Yellowstone caldera. The package includes four nights at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel; expert instruction, breakfast and box lunch daily; dinner on the last night; in-park bus transportation and optional evening programs. Rates are $619 per person for double occupancy and $837 for single occupancy.
"Fall Wolf & Elk Discovery" is a three-day package beginning September 14, 21 and 28, 2007. Based at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, this package is an in-depth look at Yellowstone's wolves and elk with sunrise trips to look for the animals and hikes in their habitat during the day to learn about their behavior, ecology and conservation. This package includes expert instruction by an Institute wildlife biologist; four nights at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, breakfast and box lunch daily, dinner on the last night, in-park bus transportation and optional evening programs. Rates are $579 per person for double occupancy and $783 for single occupancy.
If you want to discover the area around Yellowstone, the town of Cody in Western Wyoming is the gateway to Yellowstone Country (tel. 800/393-2639; www.yellowstonecountry.org) and offers a wide selection of outdoor activities, family attractions, wildlife and history with a variety of packages valid for the fall season. The "Best of Cody" package is available through the end of September, 2007 and is priced from $187 per night for two adults. It includes overnight accommodations at the historic Irma Hotel (www.irmahotel.com) built by Buffalo Bill and operated by his descendants, the Cody Trolley Tour (www.codytrolleytours.com), admission to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center (www.bbhc.org), reserved seats for the Cody Gunfight and admission to Old Trail Town.
The "Fly Fish Wild West Waters" package will be offered during the month of October by North Fork Anglers (www.northforkanglers.com) and is either a full- or half-day. It includes expert guiding and instruction; transportation to and from the North Fork Anglers; overnight accommodations at one of three Cody hotels; two-day admission to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center; and lunch for full-day or snacks for half-day trips. Rates start at $339 for two adults.
Venture to California's scenic Redwood National and State Parks -- home of the world's tallest trees -- this fall and experience the grandeur of the giant Redwoods with a guided tour from Redwood Adventures Tours (tel. 866/733-9637; www.redwoodadventures.com). The newly launched tour company is an arm of Redwood Parks Lodge Company (tel. 866/733-9637; www.redwoodparkslodge.com), which currently operates Adventures Vacation Village and is building further lodging facilities in the Parks. The company is running five different tour packages within Redwood National and State Parks, ranging from a one-hour Orientation Tour to a six-hour comprehensive and flexible full-day tour designed to provide an intimate look at the unique sites found in the four separate parks within Redwood National and State Parks. Tour packages are priced from $18 per family or group for the Orientation Tour to $135 per person for the full-day tour. Each tour is hosted by a certified Adventure Guide and participants receive an orientation packet, plus on the longer tours, a snack and picnic lunch. As a launch special, Redwood Adventures Tours is offering a two-for- one deal where each group of two will be charged the price of one person, regardless of the number of people in a family or group. Special rates are also available for larger groups or tours.
The Redwood Adventures Vacation Village, located in the middle of Redwood National Park at Elk Meadow near Orick, opened in June this year and is the only in-park accommodation option, apart from a hostel located further north. It features six three-bedroom/two bathroom cabins and is open all year. As an extension of its launch special, Redwood Adventures is currently offering a fall deal with accommodation in a three-bedroom cabin priced at $199 per night for up to eight people. Two of the cabins are dog-friendly so you can feel free to bring your best friend (up to 25 pounds) along for an additional $10 per night.
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