Favorite Yellowstone Gallatin Mtn Area Campsite? Looking at WD5, WE7 and that area

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uvagohoos

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Mar 31, 2020
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Will those be open July 15th and on? I am shooting for a 3-4 nighter in that area so any recommendations on routes would be much appreciated!
 

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Outdoor_Fool

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That's a beautiful and rugged area of the park. It will likely be open if melt off continues as it has or increases. Of course, that depends...
The nearest SNOTEL site in that area with similar aspect and elevation is Carrot Basin, just a few miles SW in the Madisons. The Carrot Basin site has lost 24" in the last 30 days (from 76" to 52") so in another nearly 2 months, the rest should be gone. Track the SNOTEL site between now and then.

There are 3 trailheads in that area. Dailey Creek is the best as far as a less steep climb to the Skyrim Trail, but Specimen Creek isn't too bad for the most part. If I were planning the trip, I would start at the Dailey Creek TH, head up to the Skyrim Trail, traverse south to Shelf Lake via Bighorn Peak, and depending on how I was feeling, either exit out Specimen Creek, continue along the ridge past Sheep Mtn, or drop down Specimen Creek to the trail that takes you by Crescent Lake then to High Lake. From there, it's down the East Fk Specimen Creek, and either exit out there, or head over to Fan Creek and exit there.

I have no idea of your fitness or at what elevation you reside, but this could be a comfortable 20 - 35-mile, 3-4 nighter, or a death march. If it seems easy for you, then you can extend it by heading over to the upper Gallatin River, or even to Sportsman's Lake and back. Either way, it's a short hitchhike back to the car.
Of course, you have to have all this figured out before grabbing your permit, so good luck either way. Go Hokies! :)
 

uvagohoos

Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2020
Messages
10
That's a beautiful and rugged area of the park. It will likely be open if melt off continues as it has or increases. Of course, that depends...
The nearest SNOTEL site in that area with similar aspect and elevation is Carrot Basin, just a few miles SW in the Madisons. The Carrot Basin site has lost 24" in the last 30 days (from 76" to 52") so in another nearly 2 months, the rest should be gone. Track the SNOTEL site between now and then.

There are 3 trailheads in that area. Dailey Creek is the best as far as a less steep climb to the Skyrim Trail, but Specimen Creek isn't too bad for the most part. If I were planning the trip, I would start at the Dailey Creek TH, head up to the Skyrim Trail, traverse south to Shelf Lake via Bighorn Peak, and depending on how I was feeling, either exit out Specimen Creek, continue along the ridge past Sheep Mtn, or drop down Specimen Creek to the trail that takes you by Crescent Lake then to High Lake. From there, it's down the East Fk Specimen Creek, and either exit out there, or head over to Fan Creek and exit there.

I have no idea of your fitness or at what elevation you reside, but this could be a comfortable 20 - 35-mile, 3-4 nighter, or a death march. If it seems easy for you, then you can extend it by heading over to the upper Gallatin River, or even to Sportsman's Lake and back. Either way, it's a short hitchhike back to the car.
Of course, you have to have all this figured out before grabbing your permit, so good luck either way. Go Hokies! :)
Thanks for the quick reply and helpful snowpack context. It seems like a great area of the park and a good way to get up high and get some great views. This is my Glacier back up plan I think as Yellowstone seems to be further along in reopening. We all work for an outdoor travel company so are up for a challenge and could do up to 45-50 miles. If you have any other campsites you like or other yellowstone treks, I'm all ears. I will map out your recommendations and play around with it so thanks! go hoos
 

scoags

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Jan 8, 2017
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That's a beautiful and rugged area of the park...
Of course, you have to have all this figured out before grabbing your permit, so good luck either way. Go Hokies! :)
I've also been interested in that area and was looking at the route you described, thanks for outlining it. It looks like it might be possible to camp outside the park in the Gallatin. Perhaps SW of shelf lake and a little bit below high lake near the cabin on the map. I've never been to the area so I dont know if that would be feasible, and it would only be two nights, but an option if permits wouldn't come through. Of course camping IN the park is also part of the allure for many.
 

Outdoor_Fool

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I've also been interested in that area and was looking at the route you described, thanks for outlining it. It looks like it might be possible to camp outside the park in the Gallatin. Perhaps SW of shelf lake and a little bit below high lake near the cabin on the map. I've never been to the area so I dont know if that would be feasible, and it would only be two nights, but an option if permits wouldn't come through. Of course camping IN the park is also part of the allure for many.
Camping outside the Park is definitely a viable option, especially by High Lake. The ridges are super exposed so if you were camped on the ridge west of Shelf Lake, even in the trees, you might receive a whipping if a storm came through. The nice thing for both those spots is the ability to drop to the lakes, cook, and then head up to set up camp without having to haul a lot of water for cooking.

Talking about it really makes me miss this area.
 

Outdoor_Fool

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Joined
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Thanks for the quick reply and helpful snowpack context. It seems like a great area of the park and a good way to get up high and get some great views. This is my Glacier back up plan I think as Yellowstone seems to be further along in reopening. We all work for an outdoor travel company so are up for a challenge and could do up to 45-50 miles. If you have any other campsites you like or other yellowstone treks, I'm all ears. I will map out your recommendations and play around with it so thanks! go hoos
Another option in that area is to start at Fawn Pass TH, head over Fawn Pass to Glen Creek, then head upstream Glen Creek and loop back via Gardner River, over Electric Pass (as some call it, southwest of Electric Peak), head to Sportsman's Lake, then west to N Fk Fan Creek, then SW back to Fawn Pass TH. It's about 45 miles for the loop. I completed this loop a few years ago but started at Glen Creek TH rather than Fawn Pass TH. It's a great trip.

Hard to go wrong in that area.
 

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