Hiking and Backpacking around the Yellowstone Region

camping, yellowstone national parkA backpacking trip into the wilds of Yellowstone can be the experience of a lifetime. Yellowstone National Park, encompassing 2.2 million acres, is one of America's premier wilderness areas. Most of the park is backcountry and managed as wilderness. For diehard outdoor enthusiasts, the only way to experience the park is to camp it. To live in the land is the best way to explore its incredible variety of flora and fauna, its steaming geysers and bubbling thermal mud pots, spectacular lakes and river canyons, extraordinary vistas.

Over 1,100 miles of trails are available for hiking. However, there are dangers inherent in hiking in the wilderness: unpredictable wildlife, changing weather conditions, remote thermal areas, cold water lakes, turbulent streams, and rugged mountains with loose, "rotten" rock. Hiking in the Yellowstone wilderness means experiencing the land on its terms. If you choose to go hiking or camping and enjoy the natural wonders of Yellowstone, there is no guarantee of your safety. Be prepared for any situation. Carefully read all backcountry guidelines and regulations.

Backpackers Yellowstone National ParkA few ideas for backpacking destinations might include: The Black Canyon of the Yellowstone trail begins at the Hellroaring Creek trailhead 3.5 miles west of Tower Junction and ends 18.5 miles later in Gardiner. This one has it all—beautiful campsites, mountain vistas, outstanding fishing, and wildlife. A 28-mile trek around Lake Shoshone begins and ends at the DeLacy Creek trailhead east of Old Faithful. In between, it's an unsurpassed glimpse at the park's "other" giant alpine jewel. Lake walks, mild topography, a couple of fords, and the optional side-trip to Lewis Lake are all highlights. One of the park's classic overnights leads out to the shores of Heart Lake from the South Road, past thermal features on Witch Creek and Factory Hill to the excellent campsites on the foot of Mount Sheridan. A side-trip to the summit is a must. A 70-mile adventure along the Thorofare and South Boundary trails is pretty close to the ultimate American wilderness experience. Cross the Continental Divide, glimpse the south shores of Lake Yellowstone, and visit the point farthest away from any road in the continental United States. An elevation profile of the 40-mile Gallatin Skyline Trail looks like an EKG's description of cardiac arrest. A seven-day trip across Electric Peak, the Gallatin Divide, and others might indeed give you heart palpitations, but alpine views of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are likely to stir your soul.

There are numerous trails suitable for day hiking. Begin your hike by stopping at a ranger station or visitor center for information. Trail conditions may change suddenly and unexpectedly. Bear activity, rain or snowstorms, high water, and fires may temporarily close trails. At a minimum, carry water, a raincoat or poncho, a warm hat, insect repellent, sunscreen, and a first aid kit. It is recommended that you hike with another person. No permit is required for day hiking.

Backpacker, Heart Lake, Yellowstone National ParkYellowstone has a designated backcountry campsite system, and a Backcountry Use Permit is required for all overnight stays. Each designated campsite has a maximum limit for the number of people and stock allowed per night. The maximum stay per campsite varies from 1 to 3 nights per trip. Campfires are permitted only in established fire pits. Wood fires are not allowed in some backcountry campsites. A food storage pole is provided at most designated campsites so that food and attractants may be secured from bears. Neither hunting nor firearms are allowed in Yellowstone's backcountry.

Yellowstone Backcountry Use Permits may be obtained only in person and no more than 48 hours in advance of your trip. Permits are available from most ranger stations and visitor centers. In order to obtain the best information on trail conditions, permits should be obtained from the ranger station or visitor center nearest to the area where your trip is to begin. The Backcountry Use Permit is valid only for the itinerary and dates specified. Backcountry travelers must have their permits in possession while in the backcountry.

Advance Reservations for Backcountry Campsites

Heart Lake Patrol Cabin, Yellowstone National ParkAlthough Yellowstone Backcountry Use Permits must be obtained in person no more than 48 hours in advance, backcountry campsites may be reserved in advance. Requests for reservations must be submitted by mail or in person. They cannot be made over the phone or by fax. Reservations are booked on a first come, first served basis. A confirmation notice, not a permit, is given or mailed to the camper. This confirmation notice must then be converted to the actual permit not more than 48 hours in advance of the first camping date. Details are provided on the confirmation notice. The reservation fee is $ 20.00 regardless of the number of nights out or the number of people involved. The fee is not refundable. Forms for making an advance reservation are available to download online at: Backcountry Trip Planner, or by writing to:

Backcountry Office
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190 Or call: 307-344-2160.

Permits and Reservations Made Less Than 48 Hours in Advance

Because only a portion of the approximately 300 backcountry campsites are available for advance reservations, you may choose to wait until you arrive in the park to reserve your site(s) and obtain your permit. The $ 20.00 fee applies only to reservations made more than 48 hours in advance of the start of your trip.

Where to Get Your Permit

During the summer season (June - August), permits are available 7 days a week between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the following locations:

Mt Sheridan from Heart Lake, Yellowstone National ParkBechler Ranger Station

Canyon Visitor Center

Grant Village Visitor Center

Bridge Bay Ranger Station

Mammoth Visitor Center

Old Faithful Ranger Station

South Entrance Ranger Station

Tower Ranger Station

West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center

In addition, permits may sometimes be obtained from rangers on duty at the East Entrance. However, these rangers have other duties and may not be available to provide assistance at all times.

During the spring, fall, and winter seasons, ranger stations and visitor centers do not have set hours. To obtain a Backcountry Use Permit during these seasons, check the office hours posted at the nearest ranger station or visitor center. Several commercial businesses are permitted to offer guided overnight (Backpacking) trips into Yellowstone's backcountry. These businesses would obtain the Backcountry Use Permits for trips that they provide. Safety in Bear Country

Yellowstone Grizzly BearHiking and camping restrictions are occasionally in effect as a result of bear activity. Never camp in an area that has obvious evidence of bear activity such as digging, tracks, or scat. Odors attract bears, so avoid carrying or cooking odorous foods. Keep a clean camp; do not cook or store food in your tent. All food, garbage, or other odorous items used for preparing or cooking food must be secured from bears. Most backcountry campsites have food poles from which all food, cooking gear, and scented articles must be suspended when not being used. Treat all odorous products such as soap, deodorant, or other toiletries in the same manner as food. Do not leave packs containing food unattended, even for a few minutes. Allowing a bear to obtain human food even once often results in the bear becoming aggressive about obtaining such food in the future. Aggressive bears present a threat to human safety and eventually must be destroyed or removed from the park. Please obey the law and do not allow bears or other wildlife to obtain human food.

Sleep a minimum of 100 yards from where you hang, cook, and eat your food. Keep your sleeping gear clean and free of food odor. Don't sleep in the same clothes worn while cooking and eating; hang clothing worn while cooking and eating in plastic bags.

Considering bears' highly developed sense of smell, it may seem logical that they could be attracted to odors associated with menstruation. Studies on this subject are few and inconclusive. If a woman chooses to hike or camp in bear country during menstruation, a basic precaution should be to wear internal tampons, not external pads. Used tampons should be double-bagged in a zip-lock type bag and stored the same as garbage.

Charging Grizzly Bear, Yellowstone National ParkIf you are involved in a conflict with a bear, regardless of how minor, report it to a park ranger as soon as possible. Another's safety may depend on it. Exceptional combinations of food, shelter, and space draw grizzlies to some parts of Yellowstone more than others. In these Bear Management Areas, human access is restricted to reduce impacts on the bears and their habitat. Ask at ranger stations or visitor centers for more information.

How to minimize the dangers associated with a bear encounter.

Handling Refuse in Yellowstone

All refuse must be carried out of the Yellowstone backcountry. Human waste must be buried 6 to 8 inches (15 - 20 centimeters) below the ground and a minimum of 100 feet (30 meters) from a watercourse. Wastewater should be disposed of at least 100 feet (30 meters) from a watercourse or campsite. Do not pollute lakes, ponds, rivers, or streams by washing yourself, clothing, or dishes in them.

General Safety Concerns

Should you drink the water? Intestinal infections from drinking untreated water are increasingly common. Animal and/or human wastes may pollute Waters. When possible, carry a supply of water from a domestic source. If you drink water from lakes and streams, bring it to a boil to reduce the chance of infection. Don't take chances in Yellowstone’s backcountry thermal areas. Scalding water underlies thin, breakable crusts; pools are near or above boiling temperatures. Each year, visitors traveling off trail have been seriously burned, and people have died from the scalding water. No swimming or bathing is allowed in thermal pools.

Removing, defacing or destroying any plant, animal, or mineral is prohibited. Leave historical and archeological items in place.

Yellowstone Wolves

 

Below are some trail description, some are in Yellowstone others are around Yellowstone's gateway communities

A few of our hiking and riding trails
hikers Alaska Basin Grand Teton Mountain Range Teton Crest Trail Jedidiah Smith Wilderness
Sunrise Lake is nestled in the north end of Alaska Basin on the Teton Crest Trail, the tip of the Grand Teton can be seen just over the ridge.

The horseback riding and hiking in our very special neck of the woods here in the Yellowstone Grand Teton region is a very special experience. Few places have our diversity of trail choices. Yellowstone provides many otherworld hiking and riding opportunities, the Grand Teton’s canyon trails beneath its towering granite monoliths provide scenery you can read about but can’t believe until you experience it. The remoteness of the Gros Ventre, Wind, Big Hole, Wyoming, Centennial, and Snake River mountain Ranges are treasures in their own right. If you horseback ride or hike to get to where the remote fishing is good, you have chosen the perfect destination.

In the Greater Yellowstone Region, anything can happen horseback riding or hiking. Wildlife sightings are the norm, moose, elk, deer, and bison are a daily occurrence if you are lucky you might see a wolf, mountain sheep, or bear. Extreme weather can be expected any time. A clear sunny day can quickly become stormy, bringing lightning, hail and sometimes snow. Hypothermia can befall you any time of the year if your are unprepared. Daytime summer temperatures range between 70 to 90 degrees. June can be cool and rainy, and high water during spring runoff can become hazards in stream crossings. The peak hiking and horseback riding summer months, July and August tend to be drier and better choices for the fair weather horseback rider or hiker.

Hiking and horseback riding in the Greater Yellowstone Region offers such a great array of trails choices are difficult, but it’s tough to go wrong. Mountaineering stores and saddle shops provide information, maps and books to help you stay informed. Consult authorities for current conditions and wildlife sightings before venturing into the backcountry. The more informed you are, the more comfortable your trip into the mountains will be.

Packstring horseback rider Heart Lake Yellowstone
A pack string heading out of Heart Lake Basin, you can see Heart Lake and the Absoraka Mountains off in the distance
Goodwin Lake Trail(Jackson Hole) • The Goodwin Lake Trail is one of those cheater hike/rides that start by driving your car to about the 8,000-foot elevation effortlessly expediting your buns to the high country (my favorite kind). This trip is popular for its proximity to the town of Jackson and Grand Teton National Park; it’s relatively short length and ample sensory rewards.

Heart Lake Trail • (Yellowstone Park) •Tucked away on the east side of Mount Sheridan in southern Yellowstone, just over the continental divide from Yellowstone Lake is one of the most pristine areas of Yellowstone National Park, the Heart Lake drainage. In this region only a network of trails, primitive campgrounds and a picturesque log cabin ranger station are the only sign left by man, a remarkable fete in this day and age when you consider that the Heart Lake is one of more popular hikes for day hikers and backpackers; 40% of all of Yellowstone’s backcountry overnight trips are to Heart Lake.

Cascade Canyon  Hurricane Pass Jedidiah Smith Wilderness Grand Teton National Park
Looking down into Cascade Creek Drainage and Grand Teton National Park from Hurricane Pass on the Teton Crest Trail

The Teton Crest Trail • (Grand Teton National Park) The Teton Crest Trail can be done many different ways; the full route is 39 miles, from Teton Pass on Highway 22 to String Lake in Grand Teton National Park, just north of Jenny Lake. Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail takes about three days but this hike is no place to rush if you can budget the time. Ambitious backpackers or horseback riders can extend the trip to seventy-five mile trek along the entire crest of the Teton Mountains with some creative trail daisy chaining. Much of the Teton Crest Trail cuts a serpentine path through Grand Teton National Park and the adjacent Jedediah Smith Wilderness, rarely dipping below 8,000 feet. This rugged mountain environment’s jagged spires, alpine meadows, glaciers, lakes and vistas provide a challenging trip with limitless and rewarding sections for off trail exploration.

Lake Solitude Jackson Hole Wyoming Grand Teton National Park
Lake Solitude and the Grand Teton from 10 miles up Cascade Creek Trail in Grand Teton National Park.

Cascade and Paintbrush Canyon Loop Trail • (Grand Teton National Park) • The Paintbrush Divide trail makes up the first part of a great loop hike that carries you across the Divide (10,720 feet), passing Lake Solitude as it winds back down to the Cascade Canyon. It's best to go up the Paintbrush Canyon first because it allows for turning around quicker if ice/snow at the divide is a problem. Also, its steeper which is more pleasant to go up than down, and gets the hard part over with while you are still fresh. A snowfield makes the trail a bit tricky as you cross the divide until early August. After August is easily traversed without the need of an ice axe, trekking poles are always useful on extreme day hikes and make the small snow excursions even easier.

Palisades Creek Canyon • (Swan Valley Idaho) • Palisades Creek Trail is located about 50 miles southeast of Idaho Falls and about 60 miles west of Jackson Hole WY in Swan Valley Idaho, The four mile hike up to lower Palisades Lake or the 6.2 mile hike to Upper Palisades Lake provide some of the best mountain views in the Swan Valley region. Palisades Creek Trail is well maintained and can be used only by hikers, backpackers or horses. If you choose to hike up to Upper Palisades Lake, 2 miles above Lower Palisades Lake you have to leave Palisades Creek trail and turn up Waterfall Canyon and it is just a short distance up Waterfall Canyon.

Table Mountain Grand Teton Mountains Jedidiah Smith Wilderness
The Grand Teton peaks of Table Mountain east of Driggs Idaho.

Table Mountain Trail • (Teton Valley Idaho - Driggs) • Table Mountain is a must do hike not to be missed in the Tetons. The top of Table Mountain offers the best vantage point in the Tetons for close-up views of the massive west face of the Grand, upper reaches of Cascade Canyon, and the U-shaped glacial valleys and canyons on the west side of the Tetons. This hike is widely regarded as one of the most outstanding in the entire region and it bears the signature of the essence of the Grand Tetons.

Big Elk Creek Trail • (Swan Valley Idaho) • Big Elk Creek is a gorgeous stream that flows down a big pristine canyon that is free of motor vehicles and livestock grazing. The canyon includes many avalanche chutes and rugged mountains. It has an easy trail leading up a broad, open, and scenic canyon. The Trail from campground goes north along Big Elk Creek, and heads for miles into the heart of the Snake River mountain range. The high alpine meadows have exceptional flower displays during the summer months. Excellent views are everywhere you look throughout the Big Elk Creek backcountry. Black bear are relatively common, elk and moose are abundant, there is a population of mountain goats that cling to the many cliffs of the Big Elk Creek drainage. The peregrine falcon has been restored to the cliffs of the Snake River Range also.

Swift Creek Trail (Jackson Hole - Bonduraunt) • I found nothing swift about Swift Creek trail Oh! except the creek, the trail starts out in Granite Creek Valley beneath the grandeur of this special mountain valley's towering sentinels. You climb imperceptibly through sagebrush and wildflower meadows interspersed with groves of conifers and aspen. When you draw up close to the creek you start ascending through forest and small meadows and for a while lose the views of the mountains. Here the terrain flattens out for a bit and you cross the creek, the trail breaks north to reveal the mountains once again, North Cliff Wall on the left and Corner Peak to the right. A trail through the meadow to the right provides trail access to MacLeod Lake high up on Corner Peak. Then up a little farther you see it, God accidentally misplaced one of Yosemite’s water falls halfway up this canyon. What a pleasant surprise.

Little Greys River Trail Alpine Wyoming
Little Greys River Trail access Greyback Ridge, Pickle Pass, Roosevelt Meadows Cliff Creek and the Upper Hoback River Drainage.

Little Greys River Trail • (Star Valley Wyoming - Alpine) The trail begins near the end of Little Greys River Road #10047. The trailhead’s beginning elevation is 6,950 feet and is at the edge of a giant meadow valley and the river has already radically changed character it is now in a spring rush down a steep canyon. This trail accesses the scenic Wyoming Range and it connects to the Wyoming Range National Recreation Trail #048 and the Cliff Creek Trail #137. It has an elevation gain of 2,310 feet. The trail climbs steadily through forest interspersed with meadow with regular jogs over to the mountain edge for views of the Little Greys River hundreds of feet below.

Bear Creek Trail • (Swan Valley Idaho) • Bear Creek is an idyllic mountain stream that meanders through an equally serene alpine valley on the southwest side of Palisades Reservoir in Swan Valley Idaho. The trail is an easy one even for novice hikers and the danger spots for horses are few. Unlike the creeks on the Snake River Range side of Palisades Reservoir the creeks of the Caribou Range seem more open not that they are but the southern slopes of the mountains are largely open meadow and lends itself to a more open feeling.

Shoal Falls Trail • (Jackson Hole) • The Shoal Falls trail begins in the scenic alpine wonderland of Granite Creek a good home base to explore this amazing area. From the Swift Creek/Shoal Falls trailhead hike or ride up the sagebrush and wildflower meadow until the trail splits, look for a wooden sign that says "Shoal Falls". Follow an old two–track road for the first 1⁄2 mile. The trail then turns to the south and angles up a forested hillside and you climb a series of switchbacks that periodically reveal views of Granite Creek Valley below and the grandeur of Open Door Mountain.

Alaska Basin of the Teton Crest Trail
Alaska Basin of the Teton Crest Trail. South Teton Canyon Trail is a tough one to beat.

South Teton Canyon Trail • (Teton Valley - Driggs) • From the trailhead at South Teton Creek you enter the trail in a forested area right by the creek by you soon break out into open meadow terrain that compliments the surroundings groves of conifer and aspen all dwarfed by the cliff bands and peaks of this gorgeous glacial valley. The hiking is easy and in spring and early summer there are numerous waterfalls. South Teton Creek Trail is in the Jedediah Smith Wilderness and so all access is by foot or by horseback.

Darby Creek  Waterfall just below  were it comes out of Darby Wind Cave
The South Darby Wind Cave is full of beautiful surprises.

South Darby Creek - Wind Cave Trail • (Teton Valley - Driggs) • Darby Canyon Trail is one of several access points for the Teton Crest Trail but it is better known for The Darby Wind Cave which is the major draw to this popular Teton Valley hike that takes you into the heart of the Jedidiah Smith Wilderness.

The Trailhead for south Fork of Darby Canyon is at 7,069 feet, the first few miles of the climb up Darby Canyon winds steeply through meadows and forest as it quickly gains elevation. Intermittent waterfalls splash down the canyon rim in early summer add to the hiking experience. After about 2.5 miles the trail for the Darby Wind Cave forks off to the right.

Granite Highline Trail • (Jackson Hol) • The Granite Highline Trail is often overlooked due to Jackson Hole’s embarrassment of nature’s riches. It is a beautiful high elevation trek up through the boreal forest of Cache Creek and across the sub-alpine regions of the Horse Creek Drainage and Granite Creek Drainage. A rugged, variable-length day hike, or a 2-day hike featuring access to several high peaks the trail is about 15 miles long. After the initial climb on either side the trail remains remarkably level for most of its length. Much of this trail is in open meadow with groves of aspen and conifer here and there and much of the trail is in the shadow of the Granite peaks above.

Island Park Trail Targhee Peak Targhee Creek Trail
Targhee Creek Trail provides access to the mountains north of Island Park Idaho that stradle the Idaho Montana border.

Targhee Creek Trail • (Island Park) • Targhee Creek Trail I must say was a pleasant surprise, I have driven by the mouth of the canyon many times and never gave it a thought, as it is unimpressive from the drivers seat at 55 miles per hour on Highway 20. The Targhee Creek Trail starts in a mixture of meadow and conifer and aspen forest at about 7,000 foot elevation but you soon leave the aspens behind and the first three miles are an easy meander along a pretty canyon bottom of open meadow and conifer woods. Targhee Creek in August doesn’t have much volume to it but I would bet that it hosts some fishy surprises in it for the angler wishing to fish a tributary to legendary anglers nirvana Henrys Lake.

Turquoise Lake Gros Ventre Wilderness Jackson Hole WY
Turquoise Lake is a remote getaway deep into the Gros Ventre Wilderness.

Turquoise Lake (Jackson Hole) • Turquoise Lake is an alpine gem in the middle of the Gros Ventre Wilderness and there are many ways to get there but the most expeditious one is via the Goodwin Lake Trail. This access facilitates a 2,000-foot elevation head start over most others by virtue of its 8,000-foot trailhead. This trip reveals the heart of the Gros Venture Wilderness, the peaks of West Crystal to the east, the peaks of Packsaddle Pass and Antoinette Peak can be seen far to the southeast, to the south is Gros Peak and to the south of it you see Pinnacle Peak. There is an impressive escarpment going off the north side of Gros Peak that seems to speak of millions of years of geological history.

Moose Lake (Teton Valley - Victor) • Moose Creek Trail starts just east of Victor Idaho, it is one of the starting points for the Teton Crest Trail that leads into the heart of the Grand Teton Mountain Range. The Grand Teton’s, Moose Creek Trail, is entirely within the Jedediah Smith Wilderness in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest................... Above Moose Falls you enter some wide open terrain that treats you to the glacial nature of Moose Creek Canyon, and here the trail splits, here you can continue to the right along the Teton Crest Trail to Grand Teton National Park, a short distance away or turn to the left to continue to Moose Lake.

Phillips Pass Trail (Jackson Hole - Wilson) Phillips Pass Trail is one of those cheater trails I like so well. It starts about three quarters of the way to the top of Teton Pass west of Wilson Wyoming, so the trail starts at about 8,000 feet elevation. Starting at 8,000 feet you are already into the beauty of the high country so not only do you get t skip the climb, you also skip the pretty, but vista challenged, boreal forest canyon bottoms most mountain trails start at. Phillips Pass Trail is one of the access points and is actually part of the Teton Crest Trail

Cliff Creek Falls
Cliff Creek Falls cascades down a red rock cliff of the Wyoming Range.

Cliff Creek Falls - (Bonduant WY) • After a few miles the canyon starts to narrow and the mostly non descript slopes start sporting crowns of beautiful red ochre cliff faces that wouldn’t be out of place in southern Utah, but are a pleasant surprise here in the Teton Region of Wyoming......................The first waterfall you see is a lesser one on a fork of Cliff Creek but when you see it look to the left, and the larger Cliff Creek Falls is on the larger fork of the Creek. The trail splits here, and trail #3137 goes to the left taking you a short distance to the falls and beyond. Upon reaching Cliff Falls (base elevation 8,000 feet) you are treated to a cascading waterfall that tumbles 68 feet down into a red rock basin. A spot right at the bottom is perfect for a morning shower for those who camp here.

A peak in the North Willow Creek Drainage
A peak in the North Willow Creek Drainage

North Willow Creek Trail (Star Valley) • The first couple of miles there are several creek crossings but as you climb the trail veers away from the creek. There are parts of the trail that is really rocky and parts that are steep stretches of clay that could easily turn to a dangerous slime, on horseback, in a rainstorm. ATVer’s use the lower section but there was no evidence of them in the higher elevations. About halfway you get into the sub alpine terrain which provides better views of the surrounding peaks and the canyon below.

When you think that you have reached McDougal Pass, you haven’t, the first saddle drops you into the head of Strawberry Creek where Strawberry Creek Trail merges with North Willow Creek Trail for the final couple of hundred yards to McDougal Pass. It is about a half mile from the Strawberry/N. Willow divide to the Pass.

From the top of McDougal Pass, you look down Bear Creek into the Greys River Drainage--------------------------> More

McDougal Pass
A peak in the North Willow Creek Drainage

Strawberry Creek Trail (Star Valley) • Strawberry Creek Trail is one of the more accessible trails into the rugged and scenic Salt River Range from Star Valley WY. The trail starts at 7200 feet and follows a gorgeous valley 7.5 miles to McDougal Pass where Bear Creek trail begins for a drop into the Greys River Valley. Hikers can take the road to the end but if you are pulling a horse trailer find a turnout before you get into as situation you wished you were not in.

The trail starts in creek bottom boreal forest and a short way up the trail, another trail cuts off to the left, this trail is the Covey Cutoff Trail which is a shorter way to get to the Greys River Drainage. This is not marked so keep right if McDougal Pass is your destination.

From bottom to top there are plenty of open areas to view the surrounding peaks of the Salt River Range. About halfway up you enter the sub-alpine terrain and the forest opens up creating greater viewing opportunities--------------------------> More

Willow Creek Trail (Jackson Hole) • Willow Creek is a major drainage system for the Wyoming Range, the scenery is fantastic and provides prodigious, geographic, flora and fauna viewing and there are many trails you could get lost on. Take a map. The trail is popular with horseback riders, mountain bikers, hikers hunters, and fisherman.

Trout Lake, Yellowstone National Park
Hikers, Trout Lake, Yellowstone National Park

Willow Creek's headwaters begin high in the Wyoming Range on the south end of Jackson Hole. Fisherman may with to trying to outwit the feisty native Cutthroat that make Willow Creek their home. These fish are native, not stocked, so they offer a challenge for the most experienced fly fisherman and an opportunity to advance the skills of the novice. Catch and release only, please. The Jackson Hole One Fly Foundation - National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Conservation Partnership Program is funded a project to improve a degraded area along Willow Creek. --------------------------------------> More

Trout Lake (Yellowstone) • This serene and beautiful lake is accessible via a short hike through the forest. It is a steep 1/2-mile trail through a Douglas fir forest leads to the lake. Trout lake sits in a depression on a high bench above the Soda Butte Creek Canyon south of Cooke City. Formerly known as Fish Lake and Soda Butte Lake this 12-acre gem is a popular backcountry lake for hikers and anglers. --------------> more

 

Some of Greater Yellowstone's mountain ranges
The Gros Ventre Mountains • The Gros Ventre Mountains of western Wyoming is another fine example of western Wyoming’s embarrassment of riches in the natural wonders department. The range is composed of high craggy peaks, glacier scoured valleys, and rolling sagebrush foothills. The Gros Ventre Mountains receives much less visitation than the more well known Grand Teton Range which you can see from much of the Gros Ventre’s northern and western flanks. Views from the high country also include views of the Absaroka Mountains, Wind River Mountains, the Snake River Range and the Wyoming Range. The name Gros Ventre is from the French word for "big belly", and originated from Indian sign language meant to convey the idea of "always hungry". .................. more about
Ranch, Gros Ventre River Range, Winter, Bondurant, wyoming
A cattle ranch of the Gros Ventre Mountains in Bondurant, Wyoming
rafting the Greys River in the Wyoming Range near Alpine Wyoming
Rafters enjoy a float down the Greys River that drains the Wyoming Range
The Wyoming Range • The Wyoming Range runs for about eighty miles in a north-south direction in western Wyoming. These mountains are a mixture of rolling open slopes dotted with sagebrush and aspen groves and forested hills with pines, spruce, and fir trees. Waterfalls plunging over high cliffs are tucked in the remote rugged mountain peaks. Many of the peaks in the range rise to over 10,000 feet the highest is Wyoming Peak at 11,363 feet. These magnificent mountains remain in relative obscurity due to their proximity to the more famous Wind River Mountains and the Grand Tetons; this makes solitude more achievable here. The Wyoming Range is not as rugged or remote as the nearby Wind River Range or Gros Ventre Mountains................... more about
The Snake River Range • The Snake River Range starts at the southern end of the Grand Teton Mountain Range between Jackson Hole Wyoming and Teton Valley Idaho and is part of the Targhee National Forest. The range extends northwest to Victor Idaho, west to Swan Valley Idaho and south to Alpine Wyoming. The Snake River is the eastern boundary back up to the Tetons. This is rugged country, and has plenty of water; glaciers and running water shaped the numerous deep canyons. The lush vegetation will impress the visitor, the land is dynamic and unstable, rockslides and earth flows are common, landslides created both Upper Palisades and Lower Palisades Lakes a couple of jewels of the range. Mount Baird, at 10,042 feet, is the highest point in the Snake River Range. ................... more about
Horseback riding high in the Snake River Range near Swan Valley Idaho
Mountain Goats of the Snake River Range
The Grand Teton at sunset, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Grand Teton sunset
The Grand Tetons • One of the things that sets the eastern view of the Grand Tetons apart from other ranges is there are not any foothills to obstruct the view. The actions of nature’s elements have sculpted a monolith of sharply notched peaks accented by deep U shaped glaciated canyons that are truly a sight to behold. If you think the Grand Tetons is awe inspiring from the valley floor a trip into the center of them will set new benchmarks for beauty for the hard drive in your skull. .................. more about

The Wind River Range • A mountain is the best medicine for a troubled mind. Seldom does man ponder his own insignificance. He thinks he is master of all things. He thinks the world is his without bonds. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Only when he tramps the mountains alone, communing with nature, observing other insignificant creatures about him, to come and go, as he will, does he awaken to his own short-lived presence on earth. — Finis Mitchell, "Wind River Trails" The Wind River Range is a remote hundred plus mile range, stretching through Wyoming along the crest of the Continental Divide. Among the Winds unrelenting height, contain seven of the ten largest glaciers in the Rocky Mountains, as well as more than 2.25 million acres of public land. They are in the southeast section of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest environmentally intact temperate-zone ecosystem in the lower 48 states. .................. more about

Freemont Lake and the Wind River Mountains at Pinedale Wyoming
The Wind River coming out of the Wind River Range at Green River Lake.
Hiker, upper Jade Lake, Absoraka mountains, Breccia cliffs, Dubois Wyoming
Upper Jade Lake hiker, Absaroka Range
The Absaroka Mountain Range • The Absaroka Mountain Range is a sub-range on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains stretching for about 150 miles across the Montana-Wyoming border. A complex range, it takes significant effort to learn all the various groups, sections, and drainages. More specifically a member of the Central Rocky Mountain Chain stretching from Livingston (Montana) to a point east of Dubois Wyoming, it forms the core of the Yellowstone region of the Central Rockies. Some 165 miles in length and 75 miles wide at its widest. It is, depending on how one measures, the largest individual range in the 1200-mile-long Rocky Mountain Chain. The Continental Divide passes through the southwestern corner of the range but not near the crest. The range wraps around the eastern and northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park. The high alpine meadows have prolific wild flower displays in the summer months starting with the balsamroot in early June. Tall perennials such as cow parsnip, penstemon, lupine, monkshood, and western coneflower. These plants grow so tall that they obscure lightly used trails by midsummer. Black bears are relatively common, elk and moose are abundant; there is a population of mountain goats in the much of the middle of the range. It is the home to many trophy mule deer. Grizzly bears, which move in winter from Yellowstone National Park to the nearby lower elevations of the Absaroka Range Wolves, are seen regularly. There are many grizzlies here so use all due caution................... more about

 

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