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Welch Heritage Institute for Lifelong LearningThe Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem:
Through the Eyes of Faith

Explore Cornerstone

Explore God’s Glory in Yellowstone National Park

Join Cornerstone University’s Welch Heritage Institute for Lifelong Learning on an unforgettable weeklong trip to explore the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in September 2022! This transformative experience will open your eyes to new dimensions of God’s creation by exploring the ecosystem of the park—from its geysers to its greenery. Join fellow alumni and lifelong learners on this trip hosted by longtime biology professor Raymond (“Gator”) Gates.

Trip Registration

The anticipated trip dates are Sept. 12-19 (Full); the trip is limited to the first 10 registrants. The general cost of this trip is $750 and does not include lodging, food or travel expenses. Save your space with a $100 nonrefundable deposit by June 1, 2022.

Trip Benefits

Yellowstone National Park sits atop a volcanic hot spot and spans three states—a vast and thriving ecosystem that includes alpine tundra, whitebark pine forests and the geyser basin. Your trip to Yellowstone includes:


Guidance by Professor Gates through various ecosystems in Yellowstone National Park.

Teaching content will highlight the tundra, natural forests and stewardship.


Sightseeing of various locations in the park.


Observing wildlife such as elk, grizzly bear and moose.

We will explore areas where we have increased chances to see mountain goats, pika, big horn sheep, elk, moose, coyotes and grizzly bears.


Check here for recommended flight information, packing list and other important information.

If you have any questions regarding the trip itinerary or other details, contact Raymond Gates at 616.443.6648 or by email at

Tentative Schedule

Day One 4 p.m. Meet at the motel for a two-hour wildlife tour
6:30 p.m. Dinner
Day Two 8:30 a.m. Bear Tooth Highway
9:30 a.m. Rock Creek Vista Point
10:15 a.m. National Forest Service Sign and Shoshone National Forest
10:30 a.m. Alpine Lakes Overlook
11 a.m. Bears’ Tooth Overlook
11:15 a.m. West Summit Overlook
11:45 a.m. Island Lake Campground
Noon Lunch at Sub-Alpine Lake
1 p.m. Top of the World Store
2 p.m. Pilot and Index Overlook
2:20 p.m. Clark’s Fork Overlook
2:30 p.m. Lava Creek Falls
3:15 p.m. Lily Lake Aspen
4:30 p.m. Clark’s Fork Picnic Area
5:30 p.m. Check In: Grizzly Lodge in Silver Gate, Montana (3 nights)
Day Three 8 a.m. Soda Butte Campground
9:30 a.m. Nez Perce Indians
10:30 a.m. Crazy Creek Hike
2 p.m. Optional Activities
6 p.m. Dinner in Cooke City
Day Four 8 a.m. Travel to Yellowstone National Park
9 a.m. Lamar Valley
11 a.m. Buffalo Ranch
11:30 a.m. Short Hike
Noon Petrified Tree
1 p.m. Lunch
3:30 p.m. Trout Lake
5 p.m. Cooke City
8 p.m. Campfire at Grizzly Lodge
Day Five 8 a.m. Depart
8:30 a.m. Lamar Valley
10 a.m. Undine Falls
11 a.m. Mammoth Hot Springs
Noon Lunch
1:30 p.m. Norris Geyser Basin
3 p.m. Canyon Village
6 p.m. Driftwater Resort (3 nights)
Day Six 8 a.m. Travel to Mesa Falls
11 a.m. Sawtell Peak
Noon Lunch
3 p.m. Wolf Discovery Center
4:30 p.m. Earthquake Tour
7 p.m. Dinner at Driftwater Resort
8 p.m. Campfire at Beaver Creek Cabin
Day Seven 8 a.m. Travel to Old Faithful
9:30 a.m. Firehole Falls
10:30 a.m. Fountain Paint Pots
11:30 a.m. Mystic Falls
1:30 p.m. Old Faithful Geyser Basin
7 p.m. Driftwater Resort
Day Eight Leave for Airport


Participants will be required to find their own transportation to Red Lodge, Mont. From there, participants will carpool to the different sites.

In order to plan accordingly for flights, we recommend flying into Billings Logan International Airport in Billings, Mont., to be closer to the Red Lodge, Mont., lodging. We also recommend flying out via the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Bozeman, Mont.

If you decide to stay to see Teton National Park, it is closer to fly out of Jackson Hole International Airport in Jackson Hole, Wyo.


Each participant is responsible to provide their own food and drinks for the trip.

Breakfast and Lunch

Two stops at local grocery stores to buy food. The hotel rooms are equipped with a microwave and a refrigerator.

  • Red Lodge, Mont.: Buy food for the first three days.
  • Cameron, Mont.: Buy food for the latter three days.


There are several restaurants that participants will be able to eat at the meeting place.

Hotel / Lodging

The estimated cost for lodging is approximately $140 to $200 per night. Participants will need to call and reserve their own room(s) at each location with their credit card.

A number of rooms are held at each location under Professor Gates’ name. Rooms range from twin-size to double and queen beds. Nicer lodging is also available near each location if needed.

Participant Fitness

Participants must be able to walk four miles in three hours.

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