Lower and Midway Geyser Basins plus Buffalo Meadows - Yellowstone National Park - June 26, 2016

scatman

Member
.
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
1,587
After dropping my son off t Island Park for the summer, my daughter and I along with @McGimpkins and his wife Susannah began a four day backpacking loop through Lower Geyser Basin, a portion of Midway Geyser Basin with a day hike to Buffalo Meadows thrown in for good measure. This trip was designed to be a relatively easy trip with the total mileage of the loop approximately ten miles in length and the terrain nearly flat throughout, though the day hike to Buffalo Meadows would be a bit more challenging.

Buff.jpg
Map of our trip. the pink line is day 1, the green is day 2, the red is day 3 (day hike to Buffalo Meadows) and the blue line represents day 4.


Katie and I arrived at the Fountain Flats Drive Trailhead at 6:00 pm and proceeded to get all of our gear together. McGimkins had hiked in earlier and had already set up camp at campsite 0G1 which is located on Sentinel Creek. 0G1 is located only one mile away from the trailhead and it took us about 25 minutes to reach camp. Along the way, we saw Ojo Caliente (hot spring), crossed the Firehole River and spotted two bull bison just south of the trail. Once at camp, we noticed that the bear pole was down so we were forced to hang our food from a tree instead. While setting up our tents, none other than @Joey himself showed up. He had been staying at the Little Firehole Meadows campsite 0D2 last night and would spend the next two nights with us which is always a welcomed treat.

02.jpg
The Firehole River

03.jpg
Katie crossing a foot bridge (Fairy Creek)

05.jpg

signpost for campsite 0G1

06.jpg
The one and only.

After setting up our tents and eating dinner, Katie and I took a short hike out Steep and Flat Cone Geysers. We didn't spend a lot of time at them because it was getting dark. We also got to see a couple coyotes crossing Sentinel Meadows before our short hike. The coyotes would end up yipping throughout the night. Also, we had a lone bull bison just to the southwest of our campsite that kept us company throughout the night.

On our second day, we made our way to Queen's Laundry and the Queen;s Laundry Bath House which I believe the Park touts as the oldest structure in Yellowstone. It was a bath house back in the 1800's and has two sections to the log structure. I'm not sure if thermal water was diverted to it or if warm water was carried from the hot springs to the bath house.

07.jpg
View from our campsite on our second day - looking west.

11.jpg
On our way to Queen's Laundry

12.jpg
Steep Cone

13.jpg
Drainage of thermal pool in Queen's Laundry

14.jpg
The old bath house

16.jpg
Katie at the bath house


15.jpg

Thermal area at Queen's Laundry

17.jpg
Unnamed pond for @Artemus on the way to campsite 0D4

18.jpg

Lupines along the trail

After leaving Queen's Laundry, we made our way towards campsite 0D4 which is located in the Midway Geyser Basin. There were many thermal features along the trail which gave us an opportunity to take some pictures. In the distance we could make out the northern peak of Twin Buttes. Our campsite would be located just east of these peaks. We arrived at 0D4 to find that there was not much shade available to us but we were able to find a small group of trees south of the bear pole and set up our tents.

19.jpg
Northern peak of the Twin Buttes

20.jpg
Trail junction sign

21.jpg
Hot Spring along our route

22.jpg
Hot Spring

23.jpg
Signpost for campsite 0D4

24.jpg

The amenities of the camping life.

28.jpg

Food area at campsite 0D4

25.jpg
Finding time for a journal entry

While this site might have been exposed, it made up for it in wildlife. We had two bison that called this campsite home. They would graze up to and around our tent sites for the two days we stayed there. On our second morning, we had an elk herd pass through camp at around 5:50 in the morning and on day four there was a bull elk to the north of us. We also were thrilled to see blue herons and sandhill cranes along with more coyotes. Another plus to this site was the tremendous view of Fairy Falls to the south.

29.jpg

A group of elk checking out our tents

30.jpg

Early morning fog along the meadows

31.jpg

Fairy Falls from our campsite

On day three, Katie and I would be heading to Buffalo Meadows while Joey would leave our group for more adventures on his own. McGimpkins and Susannah decided to explore Fairy Falls and Imperial Geyser for the day.

After wishing Joey a safe trip out, we took off for Buffalo Meadows. Along our route, we stopped at Imperial Geyser before making our way up the ridge. The Lupines and Sulfur Buckwheat were in full bloom along our way which made our hike even more enjoyable. After climbing up to the top of the ridge that looks down on Midway Geyser Basin, the trail proceeds mostly through burn and new growth. Around the 5.5 mile mark of our journey, it was time to do some serious bushwhacking through the burn to get to Buffalo Meadows.

33.jpg

Stepping logs across meadow in Midway Geyser Basin

34.jpg

Imperial Geyser

35.jpg

Marmot on a log

36.jpg

View back down the valley

39.jpg

A little higher up

38.jpg

Sulfur Buckwheat along the trail

40.jpg

The break off point to begin hiking through the burn

I told my daughter that this was going to be tough. We had a 1.5 miles to reach the meadows with a stop at an unnamed pond just beyond the halfway point to look forward to. I don't think she quite understood though. It took us nearly two hours to go the 1.5 miles. The stretch just before the pond was the worst of it with extremely thick new growth to contend with. We were a couple of happy campers when we arrived at the meadows in one piece.

41.jpg

Aargh!

42.jpg

Lone burned snag, 28 years old. I love it!

43.jpg

On break about a half mile in. Katie is sitting on some pitchstone

44.jpg

Dad, I think I've had enough of this

45.jpg

Nasty stretch before reaching the pond

46.jpg

Where is that pond? :mad:

47.jpg

The unnamed pond covered in lily pads. I decided to call it Jabb Pond for @Joey , @Artemus , @Bob and @Ben who were there in spirit.

48.jpg

I stood up on some downfall to get the first glimpse of Buffalo Meadows

49.jpg

Looking back on what we had just hiked through

50.jpg

Buffalo Meadows

The meadows were large and peaceful. We stayed for about an hour while we ate our lunch, refilled our water bottles and just enjoyed the stillness. After we were done eating, we made our way down the unnamed stream that eventually flows into the Little Firehole Meadows, before heading back east towards the trail. Fortunately this route was a little more enjoyable that the route in - only partial burn and downfall. :)

52.jpg

Unnamed stream that flows through Buffalo Meadows

53.jpg

We made it

55.jpg

Back on the trail

The trip back to camp was uneventful for the most part but we did have to outrun an afternoon thunderstorm that hit about one minute before we reached our tent.

56.jpg

View down the valley in the afternoon

60.jpg

One of the guardians of our campsite

62.jpg

A rainbow after the storm

On our last day, we completed the loop while taking in Fairy Falls and Goose Lake and we got to see yet another coyote.

67.jpg

The Firehole River

68.jpg

Goose Lake

Overall, I enjoyed all the wildlife encounters except the mosquitoes. The weather was on the hot side the last two days and the route is exposed. I think this loop would be a good beginner's backpacking trip in Yellowstone to get ones feet wet so to speak though I think September would be a better time of year to pull it off.

70.jpg

The end!
 
Last edited:

Artemus

I walk
.
Joined
Jun 25, 2012
Messages
4,384
Great! You sure know how to love you some Yellowstone!

Wish I was there, except for that burn, except for that new growth. Trademark scatman and now scatwoman and scatgirl.

Be safe out there next week on that huge day hike and your even huger backpack!
 
Last edited:

scatman

Member
.
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
1,587
Looks like perfect weather. Love the rainbow photograph. Great report Hugh.

Thanks Vegan. The weather was nice, but a bit too hot for my liking. The last twp days were in the mid eighties with little shade for me to escape to. I'm hoping the trip that I leave on tomorrow is slightly cooler or else I'm afraid people will be visiting my grave site in the backcountry! :D

I broke in my new pack, the Osprey Xenith 105 on this trip. It preformed to my liking I guess. It certainly has plenty of space. I was intending to break in a new pair of Lowa boots too but at the last minute decided against it. I'm going to see it my old Zamberlan boots can make the 10 day trek. Cross your fingers for me.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
J Scrambles in the Lower Colorado River Corridor AZ/NV; Dec. 11-14, 2020 Hiking & Camping 1
Devin Ashby The Lower Gulch - Escalante (Seeking info on the route) Trip Planning 14
RyanP Lower Death Hollow next week (late May/early June), miscellaneous questions Trip Planning 16
Stephanie B Sixteen Room Ruin and Lower Butler Wash Hiking & Camping 15
Boognish Lower Death Hollow Narrows April 2018 Backpacking 17
fossana Sheep Bridge/Lower JEM trail (Virgin, UT) Conservation Project General Discussion 5
T Dark canyon - lower blm portion with pack goats?? Canyoneering 2
pstm13 Texas Pass Cirque of Towers Lower Wind River Range August 2018 Trip Planning 7
Ross West Canyon quicksand (a/one want to go lower West/Face/Labyrinth August? Trip Planning 3
Strawsome Lower Death Hollow at it's finest Backpacking 3
DiscGo Lower Watermaiden [Video] Hiking & Camping 5
RyanP Lower Death Hollow, mid-April Trip Planning 8
Outdoors24 Overnight in Lower Spring Canyon Backpacking 5
Ravialdo Lower Muley Twist water situation? Trip Planning 13
Udink Lower Horseshoe Canyon Hiking & Camping 0
Kullaberg63 Lower Dirty Devil Backpacking 7
Jackson Lower Red Castle Lake Backpacking 4
BJett Lower Escalante Trifecta - Davis Gulch to Fiftymile Creek Backpacking 8
BJett Lower Escalante Trifecta - Willow Gulch to Davis Gulch Backpacking 14
mattvogt7 Lower Escalante Packraft Loop Backpacking 12
Jackson Lower Spring Canyon in Winter Backpacking 14
Nick Floating lower Cataract into Glen Canyon Trip Planning 2
mattvogt7 Lower Cataract Canyon Loop Backpacking 16
Parma Lower Salmon River - Hammer Creek to Heller Bar On The Water 7
lostlandscapes Lower Red Castle Lake -- 6/13/15 Backpacking 19
IntrepidXJ The Lower San Juan River On The Water 8
IntrepidXJ Lower Grand Gulch Backpacking 5
toejam Lower Sisquoc Loop Backpacking 7
ram Crash Site/Lower Hades Canyon 2-15-15 Canyoneering 1
LarryBoy Water Sources in Lower Grand Gulch Trip Planning 14
Ben wind river range, elkhart park to lower jean lake Backpacking 13
Dave December in Lower Muley Twist Backpacking 20
Udink Lower Price River Hiking & Camping 8
westerner54 Lower Grand Gulch, Below the Narrows Backpacking 3
IntrepidXJ Lower Calf Creek Falls Hiking & Camping 5
Scott Chandler Chimney Rock-Lower Spring Canyon, Cap Reef NP Hiking & Camping 6
Nick Lower Black Box Trip Planning 0
BJett Lower Big Creek - Great Smoky Mountains National Park On The Water 2
Nick Lower Bells Canyon Hiking & Camping 3
Udink Lower San Rafael Hiking & Camping 4
Bill Lower Brimstone Gulch - Escalante Hiking & Camping 11
Cody Halls Creek Loop via Lower Muley and Red Slide Backpacking 16
slc_dan Lower-Lower Muley Twist 4/12/2013 Backpacking 14
Nick Lower Muley Twist vs. Upper Muley Twist Trip Planning 19
slc_dan Lower Salt Creek/Paul Bunyan's Potty Backpacking 11
Dave Lower South Desert, Capitol Reef Trip Planning 0
Artemus Lower Muley Twist in Capitol Reef Backpacking 22
lostlandscapes Lower Black Box TR -- Video Edition Canyoneering 4
Nick Lower Black Box, San Rafael Swell Canyoneering 15
gnwatts Invite Lower Black Box on Friday/Saturday? Meet Up (Members Only) 74

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top