Hiking and Backpacking
around the Yellowstone Region
A 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.
A 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.
Yellowstone 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
Although 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:
Bechler 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
Hiking 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.
If 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.
Below are some trail description, some are in Yellowstone others are around Yellowstone's gateway communities
A few of our hiking and riding trails
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.
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.
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
your trip into the mountains will be.
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
ample sensory rewards.
Lake Trail • (Yellowstone
Park) •Tucked away on the east side
of Mount Sheridan in southern Yellowstone,
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.
into Cascade Creek Drainage and Grand Teton National
Park from Hurricane Pass on the Teton Crest Trail
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
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
and the Grand Teton from 10 miles up Cascade Creek Trail
in Grand Teton National Park.
Loop Trail • (Grand
Teton National Park) • The Paintbrush
Divide trail makes up the first part of a great loop
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
fresh. A snowfield makes the trail a bit tricky
you cross the divide until early August. After
August is easily traversed without the need of an ice
trekking poles are always useful on extreme day
hikes and make the small snow excursions even easier.
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.
The Grand Teton
peaks of Table Mountain east of Driggs Idaho.
Mountain Trail • (Teton
Valley Idaho - Driggs) • Table Mountain
is a must do hike not to be missed in the Tetons. The
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
entire region and it bears the signature of the essence
of the Grand Tetons.
Elk Creek Trail •
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 access Greyback Ridge, Pickle Pass, Roosevelt Meadows
Cliff Creek and the Upper Hoback River Drainage.
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
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.
Creek Trail •
Valley Idaho) • Bear Creek is an idyllic mountain stream
that meanders through an equally serene alpine valley on the
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.
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.
of the Teton Crest Trail. South Teton Canyon Trail
is a tough one to beat.
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 Wind Cave is full of beautiful surprises.
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
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.
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.
Trail provides access to the mountains north of Island
Park Idaho that stradle the Idaho Montana border.
Creek Trail • (Island
• Targhee Creek Trail I must say was a pleasant surprise,
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
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.
Lake is a remote getaway deep into the Gros
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
Lake (Teton Valley - Victor) • Moose
Creek Trail starts just east of Victor Idaho, it is one
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
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.
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
at about 8,000 feet elevation. Starting at 8,000 feet
you are already into the beauty of the high country
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
Creek Falls cascades down a red rock cliff of
the Wyoming Range.
Creek Falls - (Bonduant WY) • After
a few miles the canyon starts to narrow and the mostly
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
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
A peak in
the North Willow Creek Drainage
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
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.
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
A cattle ranch of the Gros Ventre Mountains in Bondurant, Wyoming
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
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
Rafters enjoy a float down the Greys River that drains the Wyoming Range
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
aspen groves and forested hills with pines, spruce, and fir
trees. Waterfalls plunging over high cliffs are tucked in
rugged mountain peaks. Many of the peaks in the range rise
to over 10,000 feet the highest is Wyoming Peak at 11,363
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
Wyoming Range is not as rugged or remote as the nearby Wind
River Range or Gros Ventre Mountains................... more about
Mountain Goats of the Snake River Range
Snake River Range • The Snake River Range starts
at the southern end of the Grand Teton Mountain Range between
and Teton Valley Idaho and is part of the Targhee National
Forest. The range extends northwest to Victor Idaho, west to
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
deep canyons. The lush vegetation will impress the visitor,
the land is dynamic and unstable, rockslides and earth flows
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
Teton sunset from Signal Mountain
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 coming out of the Wind River Range at Green River Lake.
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
Pinnacle Peak of the 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