Yellowstone Alumni Trip

A Cornerstone University tradition.

Students from Cornerstone University have been traveling to Yellowstone National Park nearly every year since the early 1980's as a part of the course Ecology and Management of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

The 2015 Yellowstone alumni trip is your chance to experience one of the richest displays of God's glorious creation with a diverse group of people who are deeply committed to reflecting his glory.

June 14 - 20, 2015

Experience the beauty and awe of Yellowstone National Park:

  • Exploring Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley for Signs of Wolves and Grizzly Bears
  • Hiking the Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Mystic Falls, and Ferry Falls
  • Looking for Our Favorite Wildflowers: Elephant's Head, Shooting Stars, and Dwarf Monkey Flower
  • On the Lookout for the Elusive Harlequin Duck at LeHardy Rapids
  • Hiking Mount Washburn and Avalanche Peak

The experience will include a day trip to the Tetons and a day trip to the 1959 Yellowstone Earthquake area. You can choose between two levels of physical challenge for each day hike. Sleep well each night at Canyon Lodge & Cabins and Old Faithful Lodge Cabins, with breakfast and dinner at restaurants in the park.

Trip Cost

The total cost of the trip largely depends upon travel expenses and your lodging choices; this is not a fundraising event. Each participant should arrange a flight to Billings, Montana or meet in Red Lodge, Montana. Lodging choices range from $69 to $250 or more per night for up to 2 adults. The estimated cost for "standard" single occupancy lodging, meals, and park fees is $850 (just add transportation and optional expenses).


Please complete the Interest Form if you are thinking about participating and would like more information. Complete the Registration Form to reserve your spot on the Yellowstone Alumni Trip.

Deposit at the lodge due by May 1, 2015.

Sample Itinerary

*The exact itinerary will be determined by a combination of weather, physical fitness of the group, and personal preferences.

Day One

  • Leave Red Lodge, Montana
  • Journey Over the Bear Tooth Pass
  • Search for Grizzlies and Wolves in the Lamar Valley
  • Hike Tower Falls

Day Five

  • Hike Ferry Falls
  • Swim in the Firehole River
  • Explore the Earthquake Area of 1958
  • Beaver Creek Cabins

Day Two

  • Hike the Rims of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
  • Search for Wildlife in the Evening at Hayden Valley

Day Six

  • Explore Teton National Park & Teton Village
  • Hike Hidden Falls

Day Three

  • Hike Mount Washburn or Explore Mammoth Hot Springs

Day Seven

  • Travel Home or to the Billings, Bontana Airport

Day Four

  • Travel to Old Faithful
  • Hike Mystic Falls

Trip Leaders


Professor Ray "Gator" Gates

Gator has been a professor of biology at Cornerstone University since 1978. He has been leading student trips to Yellowstone National Park since 1979. In addition to being honored as the Professor of the Year (1989, 2002, 2011), Gator was inducted into the Faculty Hall of Honor in 2013. He and his wife of over thirty years are proud parents of three "Gatoraids."




Bill Lee

Bill is a 1988 graduate of Cornerstone University. While at CU, he was a biology major and served as a lab instructor for the General Biology and Botany labs. He has been a part of four Ecology of Yellowstone trips and one Ecology of the Grand Canyon class. Bill currently serves as the Vice President of Market Development for RESCOM Environmental Corp. He resides in Newark, Ohio and is the father of two children.