Thorofare loop (almost) Cabin Creek, Hawk's Rest, Ishawooa Creek 8/11-19

Jul 24, 2020
Hi - First, thanks for the planning help commenters. I ended up starting two weeks later than expected, but two weeks earlier than I usually go. The 85-mile route was up the South Fork of the Shoshone, Marsten Creek, Yellowstone River, Thorofare, Open Creek, Silvertip, Pass Creek to Ishawooa. After driving up I got in a couple miles for a late camp on very dry ground. It must have been a good snow year given all the snow still up high and the creek flows, but not much rain judging by the overall dryness. The hike up the South Fork was nice and being enjoyed by at least three other parties (one said there were more people out than any time in the last 20 years). Seven creek and river crossings, all but one deep enough for Crocs. I had a nice camp at the Shoshone/Marsten confluence and saw both mule and whitetail deer in the morning. Heading up Marsten Creek I saw the first grizzly in a berry patch about 40 yards off the trail. It was a solid climb up to Marsten Pass where the flowers and views were lovely.

I camped below Younts Peak in the first big meadow.

It was a day and half to Hawk's Rest and I camped at Cabin Creek.

A bit after taking this picture I was walking back to camp from my cooking area at dusk when I spotted a large black bear in the berry patch. It headed off toward my cooking area so I was happy to find my food hanging where I left it. The beaver ponds above Hawk's Rest had great birds, including a beautiful pair of Trumpeter Swans. Turns out they're replacing the bridge across the Yellowstone at Hawk's Rest so there was a contractor camp and Forest Service engineer, the only people I'd see from Marsten to the end of the trip. Fortunately the helicopter didn't appear that day. Heading up the Thorofare had been a dream of mine since the '80s when I worked in Yellowstone and the upper sections of the creeks (Open, Silvertip, Pass) were my favorite parts of the trip. Open Creek had the second grizzly sighting, just walking up the trail. I stopped for 30 minutes to give it a good head

Lots of petrified wood has washed down. Below is the meadow at the top of Silvertip Creek. It took until these upper meadows to start seeing a fair amount of animal sign. I think the critters were staying up high due to the dry conditions. Silvertip trail had the only significant amount of wolf tracks and scat. Sorry to miss them this year. Surprisingly little moose sign, but plenty of bighorn sign on the ridges.


My next to last camp in upper Pass Creek, where I saw 3 bull elk and deer.


The hike out Ishawooa was straightforward, if energized by a fresh set of grizzly prints and piles of scat for first several miles. I passed by one established horse camp in the first third of the canyon and there was another obvious campsite about 2/3s of the way down. Other than that, there were a couple of creekside flat areas where camping is feasible. Mine was a couple of miles up from the mouth of the canyon. I made it to the trailhead and caught a ride up to Cabin Creek within a minute! While the critters weren't as plentiful as I'd like, it was great scenery and solitude. The trails were all in good enough shape and followable, although trail junctions weren't all posted. Cheers!


I like to go outside.
May 31, 2015
Love the photos. I get excited every time I see a new trip report from this area. Looks like you had a great trip and covered a whole lot of ground!


Jan 8, 2017
great stuff. was in this area last year and saw a bear right there in marston as well. the berries in there were great. probably a good time to be a bear. thanks for sharing.


Wilderness Wanderer
Sep 23, 2016
Now Thanks for Posting and loved your photos! Also your photos brought back many good memories.


Because I am able.
Dec 31, 2017
Great share! I really love that fuchsia colored flower!
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