An October Backpack into Yellowstone's Cascade Corner

Joey

walking somewhere
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This is a 6 day backpacking trip I did earlier this month. I started from the East side of Shoshone Lake, hiked down the Bechler Canyon, visited Mr. Bubbles, Dunanda Falls, Union Falls, and made my way out the South Boundary Trail to the South Entrance of Yellowstone NP.

You may need to click on 1080HD for watching videos in order to get a much better stream.


On October 4th, I drove up to Yellowstone from Jackson , hoping to start my trip that Saturday. The weather forecast was perfect for the next week. I wasn't able to get my planned first nights campsite, so I decide to start my trip the next day. I spent the afternoon driving up through Haden Valley, and then driving east towards the Park's East Entrance. Just around sunset, I saw a grizzly bear relaxing in a meadow just east of the Nine Mile Trailhead. As I was watching him, another dark figure emerged from the trees. At first I though it was another bear, but then it barked, and I realized it was a black wolf. The wolf stared at the grizzly for maybe a minute, before disappearing back into the trees. The grizzly didn't seem to have a care in the world. After a while he sat up and walked right towards where the wolf had disappeared.


I got back in my van, and started driving east again. Less than a minute later, I spotted the black wolf running through another small meadow, accompanied by several other wolves. The wolves disappeared back into the trees. I sat there for a few minutes trying to find them in the woods, when I was treated to one of the coolest sounds in nature. The wolves started howling, and continued doing so for the next hour. I drove around a few times trying to spot them, but never did. Eventually I just sat down on a rock, and listened to them howl in the dark. So awesome! Finally, the howling faded away, and I drove back to the Shoshone Lake/ Dogshead Trailhead near Lewis Lake. I slept in my van at the trailhead.

Turn your volume up to hear the wolves

Sunday was day one of my backpacking trip. I took a while organizing my pack, before hitting the trail around 11am. I had about 12 miles to hike for the day. I hiked the dogshead trail to Shoshone Lake, which is mostly through woods and some fire burn. Around 1pm I reached the lake, where I easily crossed the Lewis Channel.

Shoshone Lake near the Lewis Channel


Meadows along Shoshone Lake


In late spring/ early summer, this crossing is above the waste. But this late in the year it was below my knees. I brought neoprene socks for my river crossings, but this was the only place I used them. The water temperature wasn't that cold. I passed 3 teenagers fishing here, the only people I saw for the day.


An old photo of me crossing the Lewis Channel in early June.

Next I headed up onto the ridge along the south side of the lake, and over to Moose Creek. There aren't many views of the lake along this route, except for one spot where I rounded an inlet surrounded by meadows.



The colors this time of year are amazing. The browns, reds, gold's, yellows, oranges, and all their shades. It was so awesome, and the entire trip was like this. I dropped down to Moose Creek, where I had a short crossing, and then continued up the drainage another few miles. The second campsite up the creek (8M2) is one of my personal favorites. This is the only campsite along the Shoshone Lake loop that allows fires, and the Moose Creek Meadows are beautiful (you don't really see them from the trail). But I wasn't camping there this time, and continued up the trail, climbing a few hundred feet up a ridge, and dropping down to Shoshone Lake. It was around 5:30pm, and the lake was calm and beautiful. My campsite 8T1 was right there.


Moose Creek

The tent pad is near a small cascade, and not far from the food pole. I set up my tent there, and decided to eat down by the lakeshore. There are lots of flat spots along the shoreline, and I should have set my tent up there. But it was too late in the day to make a move. I watched a lone elk graze in the meadows, and then retired to bed.

My tent with a small cascade behind it.


Looking down the shoreline of Shoshone Lake, with the moon rising above.



Day 2 was another late start. The sun didn't rise above everything until after 8am. Clouds covered the sky, but burned off quickly (this seemed to happen every morning). I was slow to get out of my sleeping bag, finally hitting the trail around 11am. I headed around the lake, first passing though beautiful meadows, before reaching the Shoshone Geyser Basin.

Meadows along the Shoshone Lake Trail.



Thermal pools in the Shoshone Geyser Basin


This geyser basin is super cool, and worth exploring. It looked beautiful today with blue skies and cool fall air. I didn't spend much time here though, since I got off to such a late start.


After the basin, I reached the Shoshone Creek Meadows trail, and headed up the creek away from the lake. I passed 2 backpackers, and chatted with them for a long time. These were the only people I saw for the day.


Hiking along the Shoshone Creek

Shoshone Creek Meadows

Soon I reached the Bechler River Trail, and headed south, climbing several hundred feet up to Douglas Knob. The campsite on the meadows by the knob is beautiful, especially this time of year. Douglas Knob was dusted with snow, and the brown meadows almost got me to end my day there. I decided to push on, and followed a bunch of black bear tracks as I crossed the meadow before dropping into Bechler Canyon.


Douglas Knob in the distance, surrounded by meadows. Campsite 9D3 is in the trees to the right.


Black bear tracks along the trail


I hurried up my pace, and reached my campsite (9D1) near Mr. Bubbles just as the sun dropped behind the ridge. I quickly set up my tent, hung my food, and set out for the hot springs, maybe a half mile from camp.


Mr. Bubbles is a hot springs pool right next to the Ferris Fork creek that you can sit in. The pool has been damned up, it has hot water bubbling up from the center of the pool, and also has a small hot water stream pouring into it. There are a few other neat thermal hot springs in the area. I got there at dark, and had the place all to myself (in the summer, this is a popular place for backpackers and boy scouts). The water in the pool was definitely hotter than it was earlier this summer. As I sat in the pool, a full moon slowly rose above me. I stayed at the pool for another 30 minutes, before heading back to camp in the dark. This day was roughly 11 miles.

Thermal activity along the creek at campsite 9D1, near the Three River Junction.


Thermal activity near Mr. Bubbles.


Mr. Bubbles


Me at Mr. Bubbles at dark, with the full moon rising above me.

I slept in again on day 3. I had planned to go to Mr. Bubbles again that morning, but I just didn't have time. The short October days definitely made this trip seem rushed. I set off down the canyon around 11am, enjoying all the amazing water falls, cascades, and thermal activity along the trail. I forded the Bechler River twice, and passed a lone hiker near Iris Falls. The only person I saw for the day. I headed on down into the Bechler Meadows, making one more crossing of the river.

Here is a video with several of the waterfalls and river crossings in Bechler Canyon:


The Bechler River


Bechler Canyon


Black bear track




Waterfalls along the Bechler River


Iris Falls



Colonnade Falls



The trail

The meadows were quite a bit muddier than earlier this summer, which is odd considering how much rain there was in August. But they were beautiful. I managed to get bit by a mosquito, somehow still alive, along with lots of spiders.


The Bechler Meadows



The Bechler River with the Teton Range in the distance


The backside of the Teton Range, The Grand Teton visible to the far right.

I headed up the Boundary Creek Trail, and stayed at campsite 9A2. This is the campsite right before the Dunanda Falls campsite (which was booked. My guess is this is the most used backcountry campsite in Yellowstone). From the trail this campsite looks boring, but it actually is wonderful once you reach it. It sits along a meadow, and has a swimming hole in the stream (deep enough to jump into) right by the food pole. Someone had chopped up a bunch of firewood, and I had a fire for the first time this trip. I set up camp in the meadow, and slept through the lunar eclipse.


The creek along campsite 9A2


A full moon rising above my tent


Firewood for the night


My camp the next morning, along the meadows


Day 4 I actually got up early. I left camp set up around 8am, and headed up to Dunanda Falls, maybe a mile away. I had the place all to myself. It was too chilly for me to get close to the falls, but I did get into one of the hot water pools. There are a few hot spring pools you can sit in along the creek below the falls. The falls shoot off a cold mist of water, and on a hot day its pleasant to feel this as you sit in hot water. This is a pretty charming place.


Dunanda Falls viewed from the overlook


Looking out over the small valley around Boundary Creek, Dunanda Falls out of sight to the bottom right.


Me at Dunanda Falls



After a while, I headed back to camp, packed up, and headed back through the Bechler Meadows towards Union Falls. This morning had been the coldest of the trip, but It warmed up quickly, and was quite hot as I slugged across the muddy meadows. I passed a lone fisherman, the only person for the day. I crossed the Bechler River one more time at the rocky crossing. It was wide, but not very deep.



The Bechler River

A few miles later I reached Mountain Ash Creek, where I crossed on a downed tree. This spot was beautiful, and I sat there for a while, just soaking it all in. Eventually I reached the Union Falls Trail, where I saw lots of wolf tracks along the hike in to my campsite. Campsite 9U4 is a great wooded site right along the creek. It was late when I arrived, but I managed to have a nice fire before going to bed.


Mountain Ash Creek

My camp at campsite 9U4


Mountain Ash Creek along campsite 9U4



Day 5 was originally suppose to be a long day, as I planned to hike up the Pitchstone Plateau. But I decided to take a different route. First though, I hiked up to Union Falls, and then went swimming in the Scout Pool.




The ranger patrol cabin near Union Falls


Union Falls



Waterfalls


The Scout Pool (or Ouzel Pool)


I explored the area a bit, then headed back to camp where I ate lunch and packed up. It was almost 2pm when I started hiking south. I stayed on the Mountain Ash Trail, which climbs several hundred feet up a ridge, and stayed up on the ridge a few miles before dropping down to Falls River. This was another wide but shallow crossing.

Looking back at the Bechler area from Mountain Ash Creek Trail.


Wolf tracks, which were common between Union Falls and the Falls River


I think these are wolf tracks, although they look different.


Mountain Ash Creek Trail

The Falls River

After crossing, I headed east along the South Boundary Trail. I reached the trailhead at the west end of Grassy Lake Reservoir. Instead of continuing along the boundary trail, I went outside the southern boundary of Yellowstone NP, and hiked the Grassy lake Road 1.7 miles to the eastern side, where I made camp along the lakeshore. As I set up camp, a good sized black bear lumber along the opposite shore. He rounded the lake, coming over to my side, before disappearing into the woods. Thankfully he never messed with my camp.

Grassy Lake Road


A black bear across Grassy Lake




A few different views from my camp along Grassy Lake

Day 6 was the final day of my trip. I needed to meet @scatman and friends at 2pm in the Teton Wilderness for another backpacking trip, so I started hiking by 8am. From the road, I hiked up the Beulah Lake trail, where I reached the South Boundary Trail. I wasn't sure what to expect from this trail, since I don't think it gets maintained anymore. But it was pretty easy, and I only crossed 2 downed trees. I passed South Boundary Lake, which was a typical Yellowstone Lake, and crossed a few small creeks in a open drainage. I passed through a few more beautiful meadows, before reaching the South Entrance.

Looking back at Grassy Lake as I climbed up to the South Boundary Trail





The South Boundary Trail


South Boundary Lake






More views from hiking along the South Boundary Trail

I reached the South Entrance of Yellowstone around 12:30pm. Hitchhiking in Yellowstone in usually easy, and I wasn't too worried about it. But I never considered it being October, and not to many people are here. Almost all of the lodges and stores are closed for the season, so no employees are driving around. I hiked up about a mile into the park, and no one picked me up. I sat at Moose Falls for a while, and decided to go back to the South Entrance Ranger Station. The ranger let me use a piece of paper, and I made a sign that said Lewis Lake. I then sat down right past the entrance booth, holding my sign up. More people seemed to look at me that were coming the other way.


After a while, a really nice Spanish fellow named Pepe picked me up. He was visiting with his daughter for her 10th birthday. They dropped me off at my vehicle, and I quickly headed south. I reached the Arizona Creek Trailhead in the Teton Wilderness around 4:15pm. My group had already started hiking. Although I knew the trip went up Arizona Creek, I never really looked at the trips details, so I wasn't really sure where they were going to camp. I also couldn't find my Teton Wilderness map. I quickly threw some extra food in my pack, then headed up Arizona Creek. I wasn't sure if I would even find the guys, not to mention that it was late in the day, and both hunters and lots of grizzlies use this area heavily right now. Eventually, I reached Bailey's Meadows around sunset, and could see 3 tents across the way.


You can read @scatman 's trip report about the rest of that trip here:

http://backcountrypost.com/forum/th...ookout-teton-wilderness-october-10-2014.3753/

We spent one night at Bailey's meadows, and 2 nights at Brown's Meadows. We hiked up to Huckleberry Fire Lookout Tower in the snow, before backtracking back down Arizona Creek Trail the last day. Here are a few videos of that trip:



And finally this last video from our camp in snow for my 2 super cool nephews back in Florida, Kash and Koop!


The end. Thanks for reading!

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Absarokanaut

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A truly awesome report. I love the Cascade Corner, haven't been back since 2008 though aside from a Beulah Lake hike in 2012. Was awesome to see Dunanda running pretty well this time of year. Many thanks for sharing man.
 

Vegan.Hiker

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Wow that was awesome to read. Props for taking the time to document so much of your trip with photos and videos. Only thing missing was an interview with Pepe! I would have had a hard time leaving Mr. Bubbles. Just how hot was the water?
 

Tye Dye Twins

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Sep 30, 2014
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Freaking epic!! Thanks for "taking us along" with you.
 

scatman

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Great write-up! I liked the shots of the inlet to Shoshone Lake, of course the bear tracks (looks like there might be a cub tagging along), the one you labeled "waterfalls" (is that above Union Falls or Ouzel Pool?), and the one of South Boundary Lake. I had hoped to hike to it from the north on the Pitchstone trip but mosquitoes at Herring Lake turned me back. :( Did you notice if there were any good campsites near the lake south of the Park boundary? What did Tanager Lake look like along the boundary?
 

Chuck the Mauler

Formally known as "kcwins"
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Nice work, Utah. As usual the video work was nice too. Between you and scatman I have seen more of Jellystone than I could have ever imagined even if I had spent the last 15 years in the back country there rather than GTNP. Don't you need to get to work? Thanks brother.
 

Joey

walking somewhere
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Apr 1, 2014
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878
A truly awesome report. I love the Cascade Corner, haven't been back since 2008 though aside from a Beulah Lake hike in 2012. Was awesome to see Dunanda running pretty well this time of year. Many thanks for sharing man.
Thanks John. I'm in Jackson a few more weeks. Perhaps we can go get a beer one night? I'm heading off to Yellowstone tomorrow for a long weekend, but will be in town during the weekdays the next several weeks. I'm usually at Eleanor's, but have no problem venturing down to the Silver Dollar :)
 

Joey

walking somewhere
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Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
Wow that was awesome to read. Props for taking the time to document so much of your trip with photos and videos. Only thing missing was an interview with Pepe! I would have had a hard time leaving Mr. Bubbles. Just how hot was the water?
That's a great idea, next time I hitchhike, I'm going to interview the driver on camera. He was a super nice guy, taking his daughter horse packing for a few nights to celebrate her birthday.

The water in Mr. Bubbles varies. It seemed much hotter this time than previously. I'm not sure if that had anything to do with time of day, or being alone. The small stream flowing into the pool is hot water, too hot to stand in. And the water bubbling up from the center of the pool (Mr. Bubbles) is very hot. But the rest of the water is cool/cold. You can just find your most ideal spot in the pool. For the most part the entire pool is comfortably warm.
 

Joey

walking somewhere
Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
Great write-up! I liked the shots of the inlet to Shoshone Lake, of course the bear tracks (looks like there might be a cub tagging along), the one you labeled "waterfalls" (is that above Union Falls or Ouzel Pool?), and the one of South Boundary Lake. I had hoped to hike to it from the north on the Pitchstone trip but mosquitoes at Herring Lake turned me back. :( Did you notice if there were any good campsites near the lake south of the Park boundary? What did Tanager Lake look like along the boundary?
Well I don't want to get myself in trouble answering that, even if we were verbally given permission. ;)

There are places to camp near South Boundary Lake. A nice meadow exists to the east of it, and there are also a few places to camp south of the trail in open woods. I specifically looked since I originally thought I would camp there the night before. Its worth camping there on a future trip, and exploring the rest of the lakes in the area.

I didn't see Tanager Lake, but the meadows were beautiful around it. Pretty large meadows.
 

Joey

walking somewhere
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Apr 1, 2014
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878
Nice work, Utah. As usual the video work was nice too. Between you and scatman I have seen more of Jellystone than I could have ever imagined even if I had spent the last 15 years in the back country there rather than GTNP. Don't you need to get to work? Thanks brother.
Thanks Chuck! I'm slowly working my way into the video editing. Kind of hard to do working with a P.O.S laptop, sitting outside the library in my van in 20 degree weather. It only going to get better though.

I'm still waiting on dates for Glacier next year? And yeah this job working stuff sucks! Only a few more weeks of it though. And I keep pondering another trip up to Ortenburger this year. I think its doable in one day from the Idaho side. If only the weather holds out a few more weeks......
 

McGimpkins

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Sep 22, 2014
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No bear encounters like Scatman? I've got several beers in SLC with your name on them, however you haven't showed up to claim them...
 

Absarokanaut

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Thanks John. I'm in Jackson a few more weeks. Perhaps we can go get a beer one night? I'm heading off to Yellowstone tomorrow for a long weekend, but will be in town during the weekdays the next several weeks. I'm usually at Eleanor's, but have no problem venturing down to the Silver Dollar :)
I'd be psyched most anytime, and I could go over to E's. Working Skinny skis tomorrow and Sat & Sunday. Might try and hike Austin Peak Friday.
 

Joey

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Apr 1, 2014
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878
No bear encounters like Scatman? I've got several beers in SLC with your name on them, however you haven't showed up to claim them...
Don't you worry, I'll be showing up around the time that Russian Imperial Stout is done fermenting and kegged!
 

Joey

walking somewhere
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Apr 1, 2014
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878
I'd be psyched most anytime, and I could go over to E's. Working Skinny skis tomorrow and Sat & Sunday. Might try and hike Austin Peak Friday.
Cool, any day works this next week. I'll send you a message this Sunday.
 

Bob

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Mar 3, 2013
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Did that trip a few years ago, but didn't go to Huckleberry. Always a good trip thru that portion.....
and Behula Lk is a good camp.
 
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