Southern Absaroka Loop (Teton Wilderness) - August 2021

TheMountainRabbit

"Because it's there."
.
Joined
Feb 15, 2020
Messages
125
I'd been looking forward to this trip for quite a while and it was great to finally get out there and do it. The goal was primarily just to get a good look at a large portion of the Teton Wilderness and spend time in a variety of environments/elevations - it was an excellent trip in that regard. We took it easier the first couple days - primarily following the CDT - before leaving the trail to ascend Yellowstone Point, get to the Continental Divide, and follow that back to Brooks Lake. I had planned to climb Younts Peak, but unfortunately we made the decision on Day 4 to cut the mileage short so my brother could rest (he was having trouble keeping food down and the calorie deficit was really hurting him) and that necessitated removing that detour from the trip. (I'm planning to take a long weekend early-ish in the season next year to get up there - hopefully w/ some snow still on the ground, if anyone is interested in joining.)

We knew going in that smoke was going to hamper views, but it was still pretty spectacular once we got up to 10k'. And we had amazing weather otherwise. Bugs were mostly gone, except in the lowest portions. We had a few cool animal encounters - watched a river otter catching/eating fish, a few long-tailed weasels, a very young porcupine, marmots, and lots of mule deer - but no bears, moose, or elk. Lots of bear signs to be found though. so I'm sure a few of them saw us.

Day 1: Brooks Lake to South Buffalo Fork (10.62mi)
The Brooks Lake TH area is pretty spectacular right from the parking lot, but the trails are really beaten up by the fairly high horse traffic. It was a pretty straightforward hiking day; we ran into a few southbound CDT hikers that seemed grateful for the sun - the GYE had seen a few straight days of rain just before we hit the trail.
20210822_125726.jpg

20210822_153446.jpg

20210823_073400.jpg


Day 2: South Buffalo Fork to North Fork Meadows (13.83mi)
This was another fairly straightforward day of following the CDT along trails heavily trafficked by horses, but the weather was fantastic and we only saw one or two other people all day. It did strike me yet again how terrible a route the CDT takes through the GYE when compared to almost any other options, but I guess it's (kind of) the most direct route near the Divide itself.

Some early overnight rain had millions upon millions of small springtails gathering in the collected water along the trail. It was fascinating to see these masses of life all along the trail - they almost looked like oil slicks in the distance.
20210823_084635.jpg

We took a short break at a small USFS ranger cabin near Nowlin Meadows.
20210823_131442.jpg

20210823_171113.jpg

20210823_171939.jpg

20210823_172035.jpg

20210823_195507.jpg


Day 3: North Fork Meadows to Yellowstone Point (13.23mi)
Day 3 would follow the CDT to the Parting of the Waters on Two Ocean Pass which had been on my GYE "bucket list" for a while and was pretty neat - a nice place for lunch anyway. Then we headed north along Atlantic Creek towards the national park, but left the trail before reaching the Yellowstone River to climb Yellowstone Point.

If you look extremely closely you can see our river otter friend in this picture, but I didn't even know he was there yet - I was just taking a picture of the waterfall.
20210824_105001.jpg

Zoomed in photo. A little hard to make out, but he's eating a freshly-caught fish. We sat and watched him fish for half an hour or so.
20210824_105054.jpg

Right before getting to Two Ocean Pass we walked through an area of seemingly very high beaver activity - lots of well-kept dams, numerous chewed trees, and fresh slides. No beavers in sight though.
1631573376182.jpeg

20210824_113915.jpg

20210824_120513.jpg
Looking out to Yellowstone Point from the trail. Unfortunately this was one of the smokiest days of our trip, which limited some of the still expansive views.
20210824_143059.jpg

The "path" up Yellowstone Point was quite a slog with quite a few sections that consisted of climbing uphill over/under downed trees. The occasional clearings were quite a relief though the grade was quite steep all the way up.
20210824_155638.jpg

It looks like some bear had made quite the meal out of a good sized termite nest.
20210824_154204.jpg

Even with the significant smoky haze, the view from Yellowstone Point was phenomenal. I'd love to get out there again on a clear day at some point.
20210824_162947.jpg

We found that the best view was about two-thirds of the way up the ridge, but we still had a pretty good climb afterwards to get to any decent camping. (My brother was really feeling the calorie deficit at this point.)
EDIT_20210824_163008.jpg

Looking at what would turn out to be the crux of the ascent - ended up finding a descent route, but climbed it sans packs and hauled them up separately.
20210824_164838.jpg
20210824_170624.jpg

Looking back at Yellowstone Point from near our camp for the evening.
20210824_182027.jpg


Day 4: Yellowstone Point to Upper Senecio Creek (3.48mi)
This day became a short mileage day out of necessity - it was at this point that I realized my brother was really struggling. After another pretty gnarly uphill bushwhack we came to an absolutely beautiful spot high up Senecio Creek and decided to just call it a day and let him recover a bit. It turned out to be the right call, though I was disappointed that it would mean cutting our route a bit short of Younts Peak. But regardless, it was a beautiful day and a wonderful spot to hang out and get some quality time with my brother.
20210825_084259.jpg
20210825_095624.jpg

20210825_155223.jpg

20210825_175415.jpg


Day 5: Upper Senecio Creek to Upper Lost Creek (14.63mi)
After our day of relaxation, we were ready to get up on the Continental Divide. Again smoke would hamper views a bit, but basically from here to the trailhead on Day 7 was just spectacular regardless.
20210826_082251.jpg

20210826_090021.jpg

View of Tri-County Lake - Park, Fremont, and Teton being the namesake three counties.
20210826_095242.jpg

20210826_100228.jpg

20210826_140123.jpg

Ferry Lake
20210826_160451.jpg

20210826_164000.jpg

From just before Marston Pass we would diverge from the original plan and head up to and then south along the Divide. Originally we would have went north to Younts first, but after cutting short Day 4 and given my brother's condition at this point this was the right call.
20210826_175521.jpg


Day 6: Upper Lost Creek to Perry N Boday Lake (12.11mi)
The morning of Day 6 brought us the coldest temperatures we'd seen yet - enough that I was eager to get moving and warm up a bit. This entire section was stunning and brought us by Wall Mountain and around Crescent Mountain - I'd have liked to go up/over Crescent, but will save that for the next trip out here.
20210827_081053.jpg

Looking out towards Buffalo Plateau.
20210827_082242.jpg

20210827_092103.jpg

We found an enormous piece of petrified wood - we could trace it clearly up the hillside via smaller fragments to a sheer cliff. I did a little poking around for another large piece it could have separated from, but didn't have any luck.
20210827_101438.jpg

My brother taking a quick power nap at a crest in the Divide.
20210827_113145.jpg

20210827_124610.jpg

20210827_125803.jpg


20210827_130401.jpg

20210827_140041.jpg


Day 7: Perry N Boday Lake to Brooks Lake (9.43mi)
Even more than usual, my brother was eager for the post-trail meal today - after struggling to keep anything down the whole trip he was optimistic about some "real" food. (Turns out he was right thankfully.) The morning brought the first threatening clouds since our first night, but didn't end up dropping any rain - on us at least.
20210828_072934.jpg

20210828_080003.jpg

As we got closer to Brooks Lake, there were some pretty well-used unofficial trails running along the Divide and eventually down to Bonneville Pass.
20210828_093510.jpg

20210828_103034.jpg

20210828_123255.jpg

We would end our trip with a short road walk through the campgrounds and day-use areas surrounding Brooks Lake before ending up back at my truck.

Overall, it was a fantastic trip and we are already discussing plans for next year. (Though hopefully my brother can figure out his nutrition situation...) I know I plan on getting back out there at least once for some unfinished business on Younts Peak, though that one may be solo.

Now to start packing for my Winds trip next week.
 
Last edited:

Jackson

I like to go outside.
.
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
2,636
(I'm planning to take a long weekend early-ish in the season next year to get up there - hopefully w/ some snow still on the ground, if anyone is interested in joining.)
ME. Been dying to get back to that part of the Teton Wilderness.

Great report from such an incredible area. Sorry your brother wasn't doing so well. So it was just the food? Not elevation or anything? He was still putting in some solid mileage in spite of it all, so props to him. Thanks for taking the time to write this up. I'm wishing I was there right now.
 

scoags

Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2017
Messages
79
Awesome trip! I might have seen your vehicle at Brooks Lk if you have the BCP bumper sticker. I've also had to pass on Younts a couple times. Boy does that spot have a magnetism or what? I'm intersted in getting up there next year! Keep us all in the loop if you'd like.

I'm curious about that spot above Senecio. I know a place near the bottom which is a very nice camp spot, but I am happy to see you found another nice spot.

Thanks for the write up, and congrats on getting to Parting of the Waters. Such a cool spot.
 

TheMountainRabbit

"Because it's there."
.
Joined
Feb 15, 2020
Messages
125
ME. Been dying to get back to that part of the Teton Wilderness.
I'll give you a shout when I'm putting together my calendar next year and see if you're still interested/available.

Sorry your brother wasn't doing so well. So it was just the food? Not elevation or anything? He was still putting in some solid mileage in spite of it all, so props to him.
I'm sure the elevation didn't help, but he didn't seem to be suffering in that regard otherwise. He had the same issue - to a lesser extent - last year on our Mirror Plateau trip. I've honestly never seen anything like it, but he's resolved to figure it out before next year.
 

TheMountainRabbit

"Because it's there."
.
Joined
Feb 15, 2020
Messages
125
Awesome trip! I might have seen your vehicle at Brooks Lk if you have the BCP bumper sticker. I've also had to pass on Younts a couple times. Boy does that spot have a magnetism or what? I'm intersted in getting up there next year! Keep us all in the loop if you'd like.
You probably did then. I've got the cairn sticker on my back window. Like @Jackson, I'll give you a nudge and see if you're interested/available when I put that trip on the calendar.

I'm curious about that spot above Senecio. I know a place near the bottom which is a very nice camp spot, but I am happy to see you found another nice spot.
It was pretty fantastic - I imagine the "easiest" way to get there is directly from the Divide. Obviously getting there the way we did (via Yellowstone Point) is doable, but a pretty serious bushwhack. Based purely on appearances, I imagine the bushwhack straight up Senecio to get there wouldn't be very pleasant.
 

Georgia Yankee

Member
.
Joined
Aug 23, 2016
Messages
43
Love that Teton Wilderness! Thanks for the trip report. I had heard of people climbing up to Yellowstone Point but had never looked at the route. Yikes! But what a view!

I realize armchair diagnoses can be annoying so take this or leave it but MY brother had a similar problem--he just couldn't eat on strenuous trips. For him it turned out to be a matter of hydration. He upped his fluid intake and his appetite significantly improved.
 

norwegianxplorer

Norwegian Xplorer
Joined
Apr 1, 2018
Messages
80
I'd been looking forward to this trip for quite a while and it was great to finally get out there and do it. The goal was primarily just to get a good look at a large portion of the Teton Wilderness and spend time in a variety of environments/elevations - it was an excellent trip in that regard. We took it easier the first couple days - primarily following the CDT - before leaving the trail to ascend Yellowstone Point, get to the Continental Divide, and follow that back to Brooks Lake. I had planned to climb Younts Peak, but unfortunately we made the decision on Day 4 to cut the mileage short so my brother could rest (he was having trouble keeping food down and the calorie deficit was really hurting him) and that necessitated removing that detour from the trip. (I'm planning to take a long weekend early-ish in the season next year to get up there - hopefully w/ some snow still on the ground, if anyone is interested in joining.)

We knew going in that smoke was going to hamper views, but it was still pretty spectacular once we got up to 10k'. And we had amazing weather otherwise. Bugs were mostly gone, except in the lowest portions. We had a few cool animal encounters - watched a river otter catching/eating fish, a few long-tailed weasels, a very young porcupine, marmots, and lots of mule deer - but no bears, moose, or elk. Lots of bear signs to be found though. so I'm sure a few of them saw us.

Day 1: Brooks Lake to South Buffalo Fork (10.62mi)
The Brooks Lake TH area is pretty spectacular right from the parking lot, but the trails are really beaten up by the fairly high horse traffic. It was a pretty straightforward hiking day; we ran into a few southbound CDT hikers that seemed grateful for the sun - the GYE had seen a few straight days of rain just before we hit the trail.
View attachment 101576
View attachment 101577
View attachment 101578

Day 2: South Buffalo Fork to North Fork Meadows (13.83mi)
This was another fairly straightforward day of following the CDT along trails heavily trafficked by horses, but the weather was fantastic and we only saw one or two other people all day. It did strike me yet again how terrible a route the CDT takes through the GYE when compared to almost any other options, but I guess it's (kind of) the most direct route near the Divide itself.

Some early overnight rain had millions upon millions of small springtails gathering in the collected water along the trail. It was fascinating to see these masses of life all along the trail - they almost looked like oil slicks in the distance.
View attachment 101579
We took a short break at a small USFS ranger cabin near Nowlin Meadows.
View attachment 101580
View attachment 101581
View attachment 101582
View attachment 101583
View attachment 101584

Day 3: North Fork Meadows to Yellowstone Point (13.23mi)
Day 3 would follow the CDT to the Parting of the Waters on Two Ocean Pass which had been on my GYE "bucket list" for a while and was pretty neat - a nice place for lunch anyway. Then we headed north along Atlantic Creek towards the national park, but left the trail before reaching the Yellowstone River to climb Yellowstone Point.

If you look extremely closely you can see our river otter friend in this picture, but I didn't even know he was there yet - I was just taking a picture of the waterfall.
View attachment 101586
Zoomed in photo. A little hard to make out, but he's eating a freshly-caught fish. We sat and watched him fish for half an hour or so.
View attachment 101589
Right before getting to Two Ocean Pass we walked through an area of seemingly very high beaver activity - lots of well-kept dams, numerous chewed trees, and fresh slides. No beavers in sight though.
View attachment 101588
View attachment 101590
View attachment 101591Looking out to Yellowstone Point from the trail. Unfortunately this was one of the smokiest days of our trip, which limited some of the still expansive views.
View attachment 101592
The "path" up Yellowstone Point was quite a slog with quite a few sections that consisted of climbing uphill over/under downed trees. The occasional clearings were quite a relief though the grade was quite steep all the way up.
View attachment 101593
It looks like some bear had made quite the meal out of a good sized termite nest.
View attachment 101594
Even with the significant smoky haze, the view from Yellowstone Point was phenomenal. I'd love to get out there again on a clear day at some point.
View attachment 101595
We found that the best view was about two-thirds of the way up the ridge, but we still had a pretty good climb afterwards to get to any descent camping. (My brother was really feeling the calorie deficit at this point.)
View attachment 101596
Looking at what would turn out to be the crux of the ascent - ended up finding a descent route, but climbed it sans packs and hauled them up separately.
View attachment 101597View attachment 101598
Looking back at Yellowstone Point from near our camp for the evening.
View attachment 101599

Day 4: Yellowstone Point to Upper Senecio Creek (3.48mi)
This day became a short mileage day out of necessity - it was at this point that I realized my brother was really struggling. After another pretty gnarly uphill bushwhack we came to an absolutely beautiful spot high up Senecio Creek and decided to just call it a day and let him recover a bit. It turned out to be the right call, though I was disappointed that it would mean cutting our route a bit short of Younts Peak. But regardless, it was a beautiful day and a wonderful spot to hang out and get some quality time with my brother.
View attachment 101600View attachment 101601
View attachment 101602
View attachment 101603

Day 5: Upper Senecio Creek to Upper Lost Creek (14.63mi)
After our day of relaxation, we were ready to get up on the Continental Divide. Again smoke would hamper views a bit, but basically from here to the trailhead on Day 7 was just spectacular regardless.
View attachment 101604
View attachment 101605
View of Tri-County Lake - Park, Fremont, and Teton being the namesake three counties.
View attachment 101606
View attachment 101607
View attachment 101608
Ferry Lake
View attachment 101609
View attachment 101610
From just before Marston Pass we would diverge from the original plan and head up to and then south along the Divide. Originally we would have went north to Younts first, but after cutting short Day 4 and given my brother's condition at this point this was the right call.
View attachment 101611

Day 6: Upper Lost Creek to Perry N Boday Lake (12.11mi)
The morning of Day 6 brought us the coldest temperatures we'd seen yet - enough that I was eager to get moving and warm up a bit. This entire section was stunning and brought us by Wall Mountain and around Crescent Mountain - I'd have liked to go up/over Crescent, but will save that for the next trip out here.
View attachment 101612
Looking out towards Buffalo Plateau.
View attachment 101613
View attachment 101614
We found an enormous piece of petrified wood - we could trace it clearly up the hillside via smaller fragments to a sheer cliff. I did a little poking around for another large piece it could have separated from, but didn't have any luck.
View attachment 101615
My brother taking a quick power nap at a crest in the Divide.
View attachment 101616
View attachment 101617
View attachment 101618

View attachment 101620
View attachment 101621

Day 7: Perry N Boday Lake to Brooks Lake (9.43mi)
Even more than usual, my brother was eager for the post-trail meal today - after struggling to keep anything down the whole trip he was optimistic about some "real" food. (Turns out he was right thankfully.) The morning brought the first threatening clouds since our first night, but didn't end up dropping any rain - on us at least.
View attachment 101623
View attachment 101624
As we got closer to Brooks Lake, there were some pretty well-used unofficial trails running along the Divide and eventually down to Bonneville Pass.
View attachment 101625
View attachment 101626
View attachment 101627
We would end our trip with a short road walk through the campgrounds and day-use areas surrounding Brooks Lake before ending up back at my truck.

Overall, it was a fantastic trip and we are already discussing plans for next year. (Though hopefully my brother can figure out his nutrition situation...) I know I plan on getting back out there at least once for some unfinished business on Younts Peak, though that one may be solo.

Now to start packing for my Winds trip next week.
Amazing, this is one of the favorite areas I have ever backpacked, I was actually just figuring out that route up to Yellowstone Point and along the CD, part of which I have done before, excellent post, thank you!
 

Kmatjhwy

Wilderness Wanderer
Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
570
Mountain Rabbit, Great Trip Report! Wow, now your trip report looks like you had an incredible trip. Happy for you! You also got into some of those rarely visited areas. Good For You! Now did you see any Grizzlies? Loved Your Photos! Thanks for the trip report and photos! How I miss some of those secret spots back in these wilds.

Also what were the exact dates of your trip? By the photos it looks like it always have been ... Wild and Nice!

As for myself, the smoky conditions this summer so turned me off so I went to Alaska instead. And now Southern Utah. Maybe next summer get back into those areas.
 
Last edited:

scatman

Member
.
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
2,042
Thoroughly enjoyed reading your report @TheMountainRabbit. It's just such wonderful country back in there. Sorry to hear about your brother's difficulties, but not summiting Younts gives you a reason to head back to that marvelous place in the future.

Two thumbs up for the river otter sighting and picture.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
kwc Hadley Mountain Fire Tower hike, Southern Adirondacks Hiking & Camping 1
kwc Good Luck Cliffs, Southern Adirondacks Hiking & Camping 0
kwc Sunday Paddling in the Southern Adirondacks On The Water 2
kwc Short jaunt to Broomstick Lake, southern Adirondacks Hiking & Camping 2
Mountain Wanderer Four Lakes Basin in the Southern Cabinet Mountains - Montana Backpacking 12
long4trails Hello from Southern California Noobs: Introduce yourself! 3
kwc How things can change in a month … canoeing in the southern Adirondacks On The Water 2
Nethos Southern Sierras | August 2021 Trip Planning 1
J Moving down to Southern San Rafael Reef Wilderness for two more loop hikes April 13-14 2021 Hiking & Camping 1
TheMountainRabbit Invite Southern GYE, October 8th-11th Meet Up (Members Only) 3
F Stevens Canyon/southern escalate water availability. Trip Planning 16
J Trip first week of April 2021 Southern UT/Anywhere AZ - Death Hollow, Coyote Gulch, or other suggestions? Trip Planning 9
kwc A Frosty Snowshoeing Adventure in the Southern Adirondacks Winter Sports 0
kwc Fall hiking in the southern Adirondacks Hiking & Camping 4
Nethos Southern Utah - Late October & Early November 2020 Trip Planning 16
kwc Murphy Lake, Southern Adirondacks Hiking & Camping 0
kwc Exploring the past in the Southern Adirondacks Everything Else 1
I Greetings from southern AZ Noobs: Introduce yourself! 1
kwc Southern Adirondack Paddling on a HOT Day ... On The Water 0
kwc More Southern Adirondack Hiking Hiking & Camping 5
kwc Southern Adirondack Day Hiking (aka Social Isolation) Hiking & Camping 0
Titans Slick muddy recovery in Southern Utah General Discussion 8
Titans 2020 Road Conditions Southern Utah (& Arizona Strip ) Trip Planning 1
C Guess the Spot: somewhere in Southern Utah General Discussion 4
Hiker Seth Southern Winds tour 8/23/19 - 8/28/19 Backpacking 11
kwc Sunday Snowshoeing in the southern Adirondacks Hiking & Camping 3
10KFly Traveler from Southern Illinois Noobs: Introduce yourself! 1
kwc Short Hike Close to Home June 2018 Southern Adirondacks Hiking & Camping 1
john.maldaner Trail Riding in Jackson Falls (Shawnee Forest of Southern IL) Everything Else 7
N Grand Canyon and southern Utah in late November Trip Planning 3
andyjaggy Southern Utah Quickie Trip Planning 23
J Southern Winds Backpacking 4
Lowro The Southern Winds Backpacking 0
OCArch Suggestion Needed- 4 days in Southern Utah (Escalante?) in Mid-October Trip Planning 11
Jackson Southern Absarokas - Cub Creek and South Buffalo Fork Backpacking 9
scatman The Theodore Solomon's Trail (southern portion), Sierra Nevada - July 6, 2017 Backpacking 14
o2bav8 Southern Utah trip Hiking & Camping 4
S Backpacking Southern Utah with dogs? Trip Planning 1
T Advice Needed for 5 night Backpack route in Southern Utah Trip Planning 2
Devin Ashby Southern Utah Backpacking Loop Help Trip Planning 9
C Recommendations for 4 day Backpacking in Southern Utah with dogs please... Trip Planning 1
K Food storage in Southern Utah General Discussion 5
K Trip to Southern UT Trip Planning 12
cjhaines Southern Utah Backpacking Suggestions Trip Planning 4
BryanG Exploring Southern Utah Trip Planning 15
scatman Antelope Island - The Southern Causeway Hiking & Camping 9
DrNed Southern Utah Backpacking Suggestions Trip Planning 17
Eugene Southern Utah - Suggestions for 3-4 day backpack in October Trip Planning 4
Mountain of Youth Southern Wind Rivers in July - Suggestions Welcome Trip Planning 2
CaptnKidd North End of Lake Powell and Southern Tip of Capitol Reef Hiking & Camping 11

Similar threads

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

Top