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New West Experience - Montana and Yellowstone DIY Photo Safaris

New West Experience

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Explore Montana, Yellowstone, and the Northern Rockies with a company that understands.

Few visitors who come to the Northern Rockies and Montana realize how vast the distances are in between destinations, and more importantly that the travel involved- when on the right roads- is some of the most spectacular scenery around. If you really want to experience this area, the only way is to hire a rental car and drive. There are tour-bus options, but unless you like being on 15+ other people's schedule, this really is not a pleasant way to see the area. One needs to slow down, get off the highway, and explore the road less taken. The unique small towns in Montana and the adjacent states will all become memorable experiences. Cresting a mountain pass and overlooking a vista of literally thousands of square miles- without another tourist in sight- is something you will never forget. The silence and serenity of such vastness is why one should come to Montana- and New West Experience is able to provide.

New West Experience is one of the few businesses in Montana that understand the concept of the fly-drive/ self-drive holiday.  Our services are able to provide a complete bespoke Northern Rockies tour for you. We try to emphasize the quality of each experience and minimize the amount of time on the road. Many foreign based companies simply do not have the knowledge of the area to plan a memorable trip. Travel distances too grand for the resulting experience, driving only on major interstates and missing the unique small towns, providing an inadequate/ unsafe vehicle for our driving conditions, etc. We exist to eliminate the risk.

All of our team has either lived or at least traveled extensively outside of the US. As a result, we understand cultural and linguistic differences and what makes this area so very special to non-US natives. To date, we have had guests from UK, Spain, Argentina, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, and China- and we welcome more. Let our experience and knowledge guide you.

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

Cabin fever Montana spring fly-fishing getaway: 5-Days from $1,050 for two.

Spring in Montana is not often thought of as a prime time, but that is only because the locals generally do not speak of this secret. Prior to run-off, which is often difficult to predict but usually commences around mid/ early May, the fish are hungry and there can be some of the best hatches of the year. Early March most rivers typically become consistently fishable with nymphs, San Juan worms, and egg patterns. This time of year can be very productive as most of the fish will be gathered in dense pods in the slower/ deeper sections of river. After some warm days, from mid-March to April the first major hatch occurs- midges. Spectacular days can be had on all major rivers in Southwest Montana. In our opinion, this is the only time of year to fish the Madison as the pressure is comparably non-existant to the rest of the year. Somedays, any little slick spot along the bank or behind a rock will be loaded with fish taking midge clusters off of the surface. When the hatch doesn't happen, streamer fishing can be fantastic (especially on the Yellowstone) and standard winter nymph rigs also effective. Mid-April until run-off we will start to see regular baetis hatches and then right before run-off and into run-off the legendary Mother's Day caddis hatch- when millions of caddis literally blanket the surface.

This time of year is by no means a guaranteed slam; but some of the best days of the year are certainly had during pre-runoff fishing. The best part of it all is you will only be sharing the water with very few other dedicated anglers.

Recommended 4-nights 5-day, Spring fishing itinerary for 2.

Day 1. Arrive Bozeman. A member of NWE will meet you at the airport and escort you to your rental Subaru Outback and then back to the office to go over any last minute itinerary plans/ adjustments and any rental gear. Depending on the arrival time, there will likely be enough time to fish the East Gallatin, West Gallatin, or Lower Madison. Overnight in Bozeman ($40 - $200/ night).

Day 2. Guided fishing. Your guide will pick you up at the hotel or will meet at prearranged location for a full-days guided fishing on whatever river is fishing best at the time. Could be the Yellowstone, Madison, Missouri, Beaverhead, etc. This decision will be made last minute completely dependent on the conditions. If conditions are not fishable, the guided day will be rescheduled for a later date. This day will be to not only enjoy Montana and hopefully catch fish, but to also learn how the guides are rigging, where to fish, and what to fish for the current conditions. Overnight again in Bozeman. ($40 - $200/ night).

Day 3. Fishing on your own. If the river you fished the guided day was fantastic, then go back. If not, pack your bags and head to the fish. New West Experience will be keeping a 'pulse' on current conditions and will book your accommodations to suit the fishing conditions and your desires. ($40 - $200/ night).

Day 4. Fishing and overnight TBD. Overnight within a half-hour drive to BZN airport. 

Day 5. Fish in the morning or all day on Lower Madison, Yellowstone, or Gallatin depending on flight time. Meet back at NWE office 1.5 hours prior to flight, repack your gear, and a NWE representative will drop you off at the airport.

Prices from $1,050 - $1,700 including rental vehicle, concierge services, guided fishing day, and accommodations. Does not include fishing license, food, fuel, tips, or drinks.

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.

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.

Copyright New West Experience, 2012. All rights reserved.

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