Backpacking in Yellowstone

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What have you backpacked in Yellowstone? I was thinking about hitting it last year didn't make it. Gotta admit, the bears kinda freak me out. :eek:
Nick, I've only hiked in the backcountry of the park to date. We usually car camp at Canyon or Grant or stay in West.. I've been pretty much all over the park though including the trails that the people were mauled on. Wapiti Lake and Mary Mountain trails. My favorite destination to date is to Riddle Lake very pretty with views of Mt. Sheridan and the always present threat of stumbling upon a bear.

I love hikes with views and there is an abundance of them up there. It's not hard to get away from the road warriors as I call them. My avatar is Trout Lake a short hike but pretty and a chance to see otters and spawning cutthroat. When I do go on that backpacking trip I will probably hit up the Thorofare Trail in the south. Start on the east side of Yellowstone lake and come out through Heart Lake. Of course there are restrictions on certain areas at certain times of the year because of bear management usually until mid July. I have been there every year since 93' and still haven't stayed in the backcountry. What a shame on me.
 
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I goofed on the attachments hope this works. Riddle Lake.
Yellowstone 2010\' 003.jpg
Yellowstone 2010\' 005.jpg
Yellowstone 2010\' 008.jpg
 

HomerJ

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What have you backpacked in Yellowstone? I was thinking about hitting it last year didn't make it. Gotta admit, the bears kinda freak me out. :eek:
I thought I'd through my 2 cents in on my experiences in Jellystone.

I've backpacked Yellowstone twice. The first trip was into Shoshone Lake around the 24th of July. The plan was to camp at the lake for 2 nights and then head over to the Upper Firehole River and stay two nights and then out, making a "U" (had two cars so we should shuttle cars). We ended up abandoning our plans after battling the worst mosquitoes I've seen, times 10, and left after two nights.

The 2nd trip was to the area we were going to go to in July, Upper Firehole River. We went the 3rd week of Oct and the weather was absolutely perfect, and best of all, NO MOSQUITOES!!!!! It was SO much nicer, but the fishing sucked.... Really small fish and not too many of them.

As for car camping, I have spent nights at Grants Village, Indian Creek, and Tower. Tower is my favorite and then Indian Creek. We only camped at Grants Village so we could pick up our backpacking permits the day before. Grants does have paid hot showers, but are on a timer. By far the best showers in the park are at Canyon! Unlimited time and nice facilities!!!

My favorite area of Yellowstone is the Northern end, but a lot of that is due to less people than the Old Faithful and Canyon areas...

Let me know if you go and I can give you a few spots to see!
 

HomerJ

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Oh, and as far are the Bears in Yellowstone. I pack bear spray. They make 2 sizes (maybe more), I got me the big one! :naughty: We saw lots of bear signs (bear scat, torn bark on trees, over turned logs, etc.) on the trail from Delacy Creek TH to Shoshone lake and along the lake. The only time I worried a little was when nature called in the middle of the night....

The campground hosts tell everyone about the "resident bear" in the area and he was last spotted a few days ago, but there hasn't been a problem, just be careful. Maybe it's the skeptic in me as I have heard this EVERY TIME I have camped in Yellowstone. I think they are being extra cautious so the stupid campers will pay attention. I'm not saying there isn't bears, because there certainly are and you need to be wise, just don't let there spill scare you off!
 
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Oh, and as far are the Bears in Yellowstone. I pack bear spray. They make 2 sizes (maybe more), I got me the big one! :naughty: We saw lots of bear signs (bear scat, torn bark on trees, over turned logs, etc.) on the trail from Delacy Creek TH to Shoshone lake and along the lake. The only time I worried a little was when nature called in the middle of the night....

The campground hosts tell everyone about the "resident bear" in the area and he was last spotted a few days ago, but there hasn't been a problem, just be careful. Maybe it's the skeptic in me as I have heard this EVERY TIME I have camped in Yellowstone. I think they are being extra cautious so the stupid campers will pay attention. I'm not saying there isn't bears, because there certainly are and you need to be wise, just don't let there spill scare you off!

I agree Canyon showers are the bomb! I've never stayed at the non reservation campgrounds though. i guess I just don't want to take the chance of them being full. Have you been into Shoshone through the Dogs Head Trail loop? it's about 11 miles round trip and has way less mosquitoes, but half the trail is burned and can be wicked hot at midday. I like the Slough Creek trail in the north. My bucket list includes Specimen Ridge in the future.
 

Nick

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So wait, there are showers in backpacking camps? Since I know nothing about any of this, can you guys tell me the #1 spot I should focus in on if I were to plan a Yellowstone backpacking trip this year.
 

HomerJ

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I've never stayed at the non reservation campgrounds though. i guess I just don't want to take the chance of them being full.
We usually go the 1 or 2 week after labor day. If you get there early enough in the day you are usually still ok to find a campsite. Watch out for when they close though, we got to Indian Creek and were planning on staying there for 3 nights, but they were closing the campsite after our 2nd night, so the morning of the last day we got up and booked it over to Tower to grab one of the last spots. We were lucky as people kept driving through looking for a campsite.

Have you been into Shoshone through the Dogs Head Trail loop? it's about 11 miles round trip and has way less mosquitoes, but half the trail is burned and can be wicked hot at midday. I like the Slough Creek trail in the north. My bucket list includes Specimen Ridge in the future.
I've only been into Shoshone from Delacy Creek and Kepler Cascades. The mosquitoes were the worst around the lake. We couldn't wait for the breeze each evening around 7pm, it was the only time we got any relief from those damn skeeters!
Slough Creek and Pebble Creek are on my list along with getting out the BearTooths. I'd love to backpack them some day!
 

HomerJ

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So wait, there are showers in backpacking camps? Since I know nothing about any of this, can you guys tell me the #1 spot I should focus in on if I were to plan a Yellowstone backpacking trip this year.
No showers in the back country and only 1/2 (give or take) of the "car camping" campgrounds have showers.
The key to the back country is camping somewhat close to some geysers/hot springs. The Park rules are, if the hot spring/geyser has mixed with a natural water source (river, stream, lake) you can get in it! At the Shoshone Geyser basin there is a place where a geyser runs down into Shoshone Creek and some people have placed rock in the creek to block out some the cold stream and make the water OH SO NICE, especially after being in the back country a few days!!!

CORRECTION: This was the end of Sept, NOT Oct like I posted earlier...

Here is the spot! Most of the hot water is coming out of the crack just below the blue backpack in the photo!
Shoshone.jpg
 

Yvonne

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what a great thread. I want to spend a little bit more time in Yellowstone next year, so I will follow this thread regularly.
I would love to do Electric Peak and Observation Peak, maybe some of the longer day hikes.
I'm not sure what time of year to choose, I've only been in early August and it was horrible. To many people.
So I need to pick a different time with most of the trails open.
 
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So wait, there are showers in backpacking camps? Since I know nothing about any of this, can you guys tell me the #1 spot I should focus in on if I were to plan a Yellowstone backpacking trip this year.
I'm with HomerJ I think Shoshone Geyser Basin would be a good one to explore. Sometimes there are scout groups in the area though they canoe in from Lewis Lake. If I had a few days I'd go into Heart Lake or somewhere north west towards Mt. Holmes. Pebble Creek is one I would like to explore as well. This might help. http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/upload/bctripplanner_2010Mar.pdf
 
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what a great thread. I want to spend a little bit more time in Yellowstone next year, so I will follow this thread regularly.
I would love to do Electric Peak and Observation Peak, maybe some of the longer day hikes.
I'm not sure what time of year to choose, I've only been in early August and it was horrible. To many people.
So I need to pick a different time with most of the trails open.
In September the crowds start dropping off fast. I really haven't had a problem with people though. I usually go in july or August. Most people that visit Yellowstone, something like 95%, drive the loop and never get of the side of the road or boardwalks. Some trails are busier than others but most receive limited use. I've been on alot of trails and the most people I've seen on a trail at any one time was 4. The only exception would be the short trails to waterfalls, geysers or other significant sites. The Mt. Washburn trail is a very busy trail!
 
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We usually go the 1 or 2 week after labor day. If you get there early enough in the day you are usually still ok to find a campsite. Watch out for when they close though, we got to Indian Creek and were planning on staying there for 3 nights, but they were closing the campsite after our 2nd night, so the morning of the last day we got up and booked it over to Tower to grab one of the last spots. We were lucky as people kept driving through looking for a campsite.


I've only been into Shoshone from Delacy Creek and Kepler Cascades. The mosquitoes were the worst around the lake. We couldn't wait for the breeze each evening around 7pm, it was the only time we got any relief from those damn skeeters!
Slough Creek and Pebble Creek are on my list along with getting out the BearTooths. I'd love to backpack them some day!
Another place I would like to get into would be the Pitchstone Plateau/Bechler Region. Union Falls is supposed to be one of the better waterfalls in the park there are also a ton of other waterfalls in this area.
 

Yvonne

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In September the crowds start dropping off fast. I really haven't had a problem with people though. I usually go in july or August. Most people that visit Yellowstone, something like 95%, drive the loop and never get of the side of the road or boardwalks. Some trails are busier than others but most receive limited use. I've been on alot of trails and the most people I've seen on a trail at any one time was 4. The only exception would be the short trails to waterfalls, geysers or other significant sites. The Mt. Washburn trail is a very busy trail!

unfortunately September is off limit!! I have to go during summer, June to August, because the semester starts usually the last week of August.
So I guess, next time I'll pick a few of the less crowded areas like the two hikes I mentioned earlier.
What about the Bechler area? I would love to see Bechler Falls. That one is on my bucket list for quite a while and would be a great addition for my waterfalls pics
 
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unfortunately September is off limit!! I have to go during summer, June to August, because the semester starts usually the last week of August.
So I guess, next time I'll pick a few of the less crowded areas like the two hikes I mentioned earlier.
What about the Bechler area? I would love to see Bechler Falls. That one is on my bucket list for quite a while and would be a great addition for my waterfalls pics
Electric Peak and Bechler are two of the areas that I have not been into yet. :( I do know that Bechler is covered in snow until Late June mid July sometimes. I'm am sure you won't see many people near Electric Peak that is a pretty long day hike from what i've read. Observation Peak you might need a permit cause it looks like it skirts the Washburn bear management area.
 

Ounce

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I have done Bechler a long, long time ago starting at the Bechler Ranger Station. I believe you have to get permits but the hiking is super easy. We made it to a campground near the base of Bechler Falls near the mouth of the canyon and stayed a night or two. Lots of fun and there are plenty of Hot springs feeding into different rivers and creeks to soak in.
 

Yvonne

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I have done Bechler a long, long time ago starting at the Bechler Ranger Station. I believe you have to get permits but the hiking is super easy. We made it to a campground near the base of Bechler Falls near the mouth of the canyon and stayed a night or two. Lots of fun and there are plenty of Hot springs feeding into different rivers and creeks to soak in.


that's exactly what I wanted to hear. :twothumbs:
And obtaining a permit is okay, as long as I can get one as a walk in. :)
What about bears in the backcountry and regulations? Especially with bear canisters.
Can I rent them somewhere in the park or at the backcountry office? I only have the food bag, but in many areas they require the closed canisters. How about Yellowstone, where can I find something about the policies?
 

HomerJ

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In September the crowds start dropping off fast. I really haven't had a problem with people though. I usually go in july or August. Most people that visit Yellowstone, something like 95%, drive the loop and never get of the side of the road or boardwalks. Some trails are busier than others but most receive limited use. I've been on alot of trails and the most people I've seen on a trail at any one time was 4. The only exception would be the short trails to waterfalls, geysers or other significant sites. The Mt. Washburn trail is a very busy trail!
This has been my expirence as well.
unfortunately September is off limit!! I have to go during summer, June to August, because the semester starts usually the last week of August.
So I guess, next time I'll pick a few of the less crowded areas like the two hikes I mentioned earlier.
What about the Bechler area? I would love to see Bechler Falls. That one is on my bucket list for quite a while and would be a great addition for my waterfalls pics
Bechler area has many waterfalls, this is an area I would love to explore as I love waterfalls! My co-worker went in many years ago in the spring and he was wading through water from ankle deep to mid thigh through Bechler Meadows.
If I had a few days I'd go into Heart Lake or somewhere north west towards Mt. Holmes. Pebble Creek is one I would like to explore as well. This might help. http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/upload/bctripplanner_2010Mar.pdf
I’ve heard Heart Lake is a good area, but never been. Good job posting this pdf Yellowstone 1. We used this for a lot of the information we needed when we backpacked it. I also recommend the hiking map by Earthwalk Press. I like this map because it includes the areas that were burned during the fire of ’88 (see the yellow and orange.
Here is what a section of the map looks like:
Yellowstone map.JPG
 

Yvonne

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Bechler area has many waterfalls, this is an area I would love to explore as I love waterfalls!

Welcome to the club!! ;)
I'm a waterfall lover as well and luckily there are more than 200 different in Western new York.
But sooner or later I will extend my waterfall quests to different areas and Yellowstone and the Bechler area seems to be perfect for it.
I see at least a dozen of waterfalls in that map. :twothumbs:

My co-worker went in many years ago in the spring and he was wading through water from ankle deep to mid thigh through Bechler Meadows.

no snow? Just water?
Water will be okay, you just need to be prepared for it.
I do a lot of wading to approach some of our waterfalls, and especially in cold weather it can be really bad.
 

HomerJ

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that's exactly what I wanted to hear. :twothumbs:
And obtaining a permit is okay, as long as I can get one as a walk in. :)
What about bears in the backcountry and regulations? Especially with bear canisters.
Can I rent them somewhere in the park or at the backcountry office? I only have the food bag, but in many areas they require the closed canisters. How about Yellowstone, where can I find something about the policies?

I've never used a canister so I don't know about them. I haven't heard of any area in Yellowstone that requires a food canister. I did a quick search on their website and didn't find anything. Each campsite has a pole strung up high above between two trees where you hang your food and pack. I actually liked having that pole, it's much easier to get a rope over than a tree branch!
 

HomerJ

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Welcome to the club!! ;)
I'm a waterfall lover as well and luckily there are more than 200 different in Western new York.
But sooner or later I will extend my waterfall quests to different areas and Yellowstone and the Bechler area seems to be perfect for it.
I see at least a dozen of waterfalls in that map. :twothumbs:



no snow? Just water?
Water will be okay, you just need to be prepared for it.
I do a lot of wading to approach some of our waterfalls, and especially in cold weather it can be really bad.

New York! Oh man, I am jealous of you! Your state has some of the best waterfalls, especially in the fall!!!

He didn't mention anything about snow. I'm not sure what time of year it was other than "spring". The past few years, especially last year, there would have been snow there in June, probably into July as it didn't stop snowing until mid June!
 
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