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

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Now on what you posted for essential and non-essential. I would leave out the Open Creek Area, pretty forested drainage. And for what you want to see, would leave out the North Fork of the Buffalo. The North Fork of the Buffalo is some ways away from the other areas. Plus the North Fork of the Buffalo burned in a fire in 2012. The Upper parts are highly scenic but burned in this fire in places. Hiking here all along the Continental Divide from near Two Ocean Pass all the way over to hear Yount's Peak is also really nice and super wild with many nice nooks and crannies.

Now Upper Pass Creek is gorgeous with the huge meadows. The Upper Thorofare Creek is nice with it's abundant meadows. The South Fork of the Yellowstone is gorgeous with mountain meadows, forests and cliffs, waterfalls, then the huge alpine basin with Yount's Peak. Near here also is Marston Creek which has a trail going down to the South Fork of the Shoshone which could be a route in coming back out also. The lower parts of the South Fork of the Shoshone is in a canyon near a mile deep with high cliffed peaks on either side. There is some nice meadows up a short ways from where the Marston Creek meets the South Fork of the Shoshone. Also if you get near Yount's Peak, Yount's Peak is an easy climb with a tremendous view! Do highly recommend it!

Some ideas could be to take an outfitter to Hawks Rest. Then go up the Upper Yellowstone and the South Fork to the alpine basin. Then over to the North Fork of the Yellowstone's head basin. Up a nearby subdrainage, thru a mountain notch and down to the Upper Thorofare River, down the Thorofare River, see Hidden Creek if one has the time nearby. Then up Pass Creek or North Fork of By the Creek to Upper Pass Creek and it's meadows, and down Ishawooa Creek.

Now you could do this in reverse with after Yount's Peak, go out via Marston Creek and down the South Fork of the Shoshone also. I have also done trips where I left Turpin Meadows , went to Hawks Rest, up to Yount's Peak, then out to Cody via Pass Creek and Ishawooa Creek. I then resupplied in Cody and went back to Jackson Hole over the mountains. Much Much Much to see in all of this area. Now in only 8 or 9 days do feel you will be barely scratching the surface do think.

It is all up to you. Just some thoughts here. It is some big big country. You could spend a multiple of summers in here like myself with still not seeing everything.

Wishing You The Best!

Thank you so much for all of the information. One thing that seems like a bit of a bummer is that though I'm sure the trip into the Thorofare is beautiful, it seems like the really good stuff doesn't start until you're back in there, which is at least 2 days, or at least 3 days if I'm trying to not tire myself out or have a really unhappy wife! Is that fair to say?
I may have found a way to include Open Creek Meadows IF it's possible to get over the Ishawooa Cone / Petrified Ridge to get down in there and follow Open Creek down into the Thorofare instead of Pass Creek, otherwise Silvertip Creek with a detour into Open Creek is an option as well. But for all I know Pass Creek is every bit as beautiful making going into Open Creek kind of pointless?
 
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scatman

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@Kmatjhwy, tell me about the Dell Creek Drainage, and do you have any information on the Elk Creek Drainage?
 

Kmatjhwy

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Scatman, Now the Dell Creek Drainage I don't know much about. Do know that it is hardly ever visited, except by hunters in the fall. There is a big outfitter hunting camp up in Upper Thorofare Creek. So most likely there is a route created by these hunters up this drsinage. There are some nice meadows up this drainage and one could probably vanish for days back in there. But there is some very serious mountains at it's head with some nice cliffs. There is a subdrainage like Dell Creek off of Mountain Creek with meadows and hardly ever visited except by hunters which comes off of the nearby Trident Plateau.

Now as for The Elk Fork. Have been eyeing this drainage for yearsss, for a possible wintering area. It seems this drainage in the lower parts does not get much snow in the winter. The campground near the road and at the trailhead stays open year round. In the olden days the Indians would winter in the Cody area. The trail crosses and recrosses the creek. There is some really magnificent areas that can be accessed from this trail including the whole Rampart and the Barron Creek Areas. Also the Cabin Creek Area off of the Elk Fork has a trail that one can take up to be near some alpine basins near Fortress Mountain. The lower parts are more wooded down along the river with quite a few cottonwoods, then sagebrush mountainsides with some nice nice rock formations in places. But high up in the drainage, can get up to the Absaroka Crest. Have for years wanted to get up to the head basin at the head of Barron Creek. The lower parts of this drainage would be great for wildlife in the winter. Wildlife also winters in these areas at the base of the mountains outside of Cody.

Hope this helps.
 
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Scatman, Now the Dell Creek Drainage I don't know much about. Do know that it is hardly ever visited, except by hunters in the fall. There is a big outfitter hunting camp up in Upper Thorofare Creek. So most likely there is a route created by these hunters up this drsinage. There are some nice meadows up this drainage and one could probably vanish for days back in there. But there is some very serious mountains at it's head with some nice cliffs. There is a subdrainage like Dell Creek off of Mountain Creek with meadows and hardly ever visited except by hunters which comes off of the nearby Trident Plateau.

Now as for The Elk Fork. Have been eyeing this drainage for yearsss, for a possible wintering area. It seems this drainage in the lower parts does not get much snow in the winter. The campground near the road and at the trailhead stays open year round. In the olden days the Indians would winter in the Cody area. The trail crosses and recrosses the creek. There is some really magnificent areas that can be accessed from this trail including the whole Rampart and the Barron Creek Areas. Also the Cabin Creek Area off of the Elk Fork has a trail that one can take up to be near some alpine basins near Fortress Mountain. The lower parts are more wooded down along the river with quite a few cottonwoods, then sagebrush mountainsides with some nice nice rock formations in places. But high up in the drainage, can get up to the Absaroka Crest. Have for years wanted to get up to the head basin at the head of Barron Creek. The lower parts of this drainage would be great for wildlife in the winter. Wildlife also winters in these areas at the base of the mountains outside of Cody.

Hope this helps.
 
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Forest Dweller, Now sounds nice! You will Absolutely Love It! Now off the top of my head, to really see and experience the area, maybe a couple of weeks. This is with averaging 8 miles a day. Maybe it could be done in a shorter time period, but one doesn't want to rush things either.

Now if doing the loop, there is a bunch of very scenic areas right nearby off the beaten path. One is the upper huge and gorgeous meadows in Hidden Creek. The upper area of Thorofare Creek is gorgeous also with lots of nearby offtrail hiked possible to some very nice isolated locations. And the area around Yount's Peak, here one could spend days in the area. Lots of Bears near Yount's Peak. Plus the Whole Thorofare -Upper Yellowstone River area also. As for myself, my reply for the loop with seeing all the little nooks and crannies in the area, maybe all summer. And even spending all summer in the area, one would not see it all.

Now in August of 2007 climbed to the top of Thunder Mountain. It was Great! Someone came with me on this trip. We accessed the peak from the Hidden Creek side and descended down to the North Fork of the Yellowstone. I found a huge Bighorn Sheep Ram Skull on top which I packed out and still have.

Now I myself am thinking again be back in this country next summer. There is tons of excellent wild country all around in here where one could stay for days and weeks enjoying life. Wishing You The Best!

Is it easy to travel in a straight line in the Thorofare? For example, coming from Marston Pass, going through North Fork Yellowstone, climbing Thunder Mountain I think and dropping into Hidden Creek area...and then doing a clockwise loop up the Thorofare Creek and climbing back over to North Fork Yellowstone and Marston Pass....Or if coming from Ishawooa Creek, after coming through Spruce Meadow, a way to get around Ishawooa Cone to go directly to the upper part of Open Creek rather than going over Ishawooa Pass and down Silvertip Creek and then up Open Creek? I've never done this so I don't know what to expect of if it's possible.

I'm just wondering how much I'll have to go around things and how easy it will be just to go in the exact direction I want to go, even if it means up and over passes or mountains with no trails on them.

Oh, and I know it's a detour but I understand Castle Creek area is pretty impressive....and I have seen a National Geographic picture of a rather large herd of elk up on Thorofare Plateau...would be cool to get up there too!

Still not sure if we will have one car at Turpin Meadows and one car at Ishawooa Creek trailhead or if we'll only have one car and have to see as much as possible coming in and out from the same direction, even if we try to do a loop of sorts when back in there to try to see and experience as much as possible.

Thanks again for all of the tips and advice.
 
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Kmatjhwy

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Now do think that you might need to sit down and look at a map with studying really where you want to go with the amount of time you have and at only like 8 or so miles per day. This is some big wilderness country and it takes some days to get around in this country. And usually from the closest trailheads, it still takes a serious hiker two or three days to just get back into this country one way that you are talking about. All of these areas ... Hawks Rest, Hidden Creek, Castle Creek, Thorofare Plateau, Thunder Mountain, Headwaters of the Yellowstone is all easily a three day hike or more just to get into these places oneway.

Now for myself I would do a three week plus trip from Turpin Meadows to Cody where I would resupply, then do a return trip which would last over three weeks plus. Only in this way did I really see and experience this country. The special thing on these long trips is that I could get to a back secret spot and stay for some days really experiencing it all and dayhiking around and about. There is much country here and hard to rush thru on foot. Those on horses can do much more, but those on foot are limited so the reason why I say to really experience this country ... One needs the time to do so. This is one reason this country is still so wild, the distances involved help to keep out the rift raft so to speak.

Consider the distances ...

Turpin Meadows to Hawks Rest ... At least 30 miles One way
Isawhooa Creek .... At least 15 miles plus on way - Two days at 8 miles a day
Upper Yellowstone ... Hawks Rest to Yount's Peak - 2 To 3 days at 8 miles a day
South Fork Shoshone To Marston Fork ...2 To 3 days
Hawks Rest to Upper Thorofare Creek headwaters ... 2 to 3 days

This is all at around 8 miles a day.

Now consider SE Yellowstone Park, Teton Wilderness, Washakie Wilderness, adjacent wildlands is together over 2,000,000 acres in size or the same size as Yellowstone Park itself. It takes times To fully see the area. Then put all of the wild country here in NW Wyoming and adjacent Montana in the Greater Yellowstone area together ... This takes a lifetime To fully see it in my opinion.

You are mentioning many areas in here. Do think you will not be able to see it all. Think you need to sit down, look at a map, and realistically think of what you want to see and what you can realistically do on your time and mileage per day. Myself am planning on getting back in here next summer, living with the land, and staying all summer hopefully. Hope this helps.. Wishing You The Best!
 
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Now do think that you might need to sit down and look at a map with studying really where you want to go with the amount of time you have and at only like 8 or so miles per day. This is some big wilderness country and it takes some days to get around in this country. And usually from the closest trailheads, it still takes a serious hiker two or three days to just get back into this country one way that you are talking about. All of these areas ... Hawks Rest, Hidden Creek, Castle Creek, Thorofare Plateau, Thunder Mountain, Headwaters of the Yellowstone is all easily a three day hike or more just to get into these places oneway.

Now for myself I would do a three week plus trip from Turpin Meadows to Cody where I would resupply, then do a return trip which would last over three weeks plus. Only in this way did I really see and experience this country. The special thing on these long trips is that I could get to a back secret spot and stay for some days really experiencing it all and dayhiking around and about. There is much country here and hard to rush thru on foot. Those on horses can do much more, but those on foot are limited so the reason why I say to really experience this country ... One needs the time to do so. This is one reason this country is still so wild, the distances involved help to keep out the rift raft so to speak.

Consider the distances ...

Turpin Meadows to Hawks Rest ... At least 30 miles One way
Isawhooa Creek .... At least 15 miles plus on way - Two days at 8 miles a day
Upper Yellowstone ... Hawks Rest to Yount's Peak - 2 To 3 days at 8 miles a day
South Fork Shoshone To Marston Fork ...2 To 3 days
Hawks Rest to Upper Thorofare Creek headwaters ... 2 to 3 days

This is all at around 8 miles a day.

Now consider SE Yellowstone Park, Teton Wilderness, Washakie Wilderness, adjacent wildlands is together over 2,000,000 acres in size or the same size as Yellowstone Park itself. It takes times To fully see the area. Then put all of the wild country here in NW Wyoming and adjacent Montana in the Greater Yellowstone area together ... This takes a lifetime To fully see it in my opinion.

You are mentioning many areas in here. Do think you will not be able to see it all. Think you need to sit down, look at a map, and realistically think of what you want to see and what you can realistically do on your time and mileage per day. Myself am planning on getting back in here next summer, living with the land, and staying all summer hopefully. Hope this helps.. Wishing You The Best!

You're right, I'll have to study maps and prioritize - I won't be able to see it all.

The only area I'd be really interested in within many miles of Turpin Meadows would be the upper meadows in the North Buffalo Fork, so maybe you are right, better off coming in from Ishawooa Creek would get me in to the general area sooner and allow me to see a few things back in there before I had to turn back.

Can I ask you how you carried food for 3 weeks? I think 9 or 10 days for my wife and I will be challenging.

Also, what is your preferred method of keeping bears away from your food?

In upstate New York I'd have to look for a good branch high up on a hardwood tree. and hang it from that in a stuff sack.

There are bear proof containers but again, getting all that food in one or two.

People seem to be trusting these ursacks more these days but I have no experience with them.

I'd like to learn the method of hanging mid air between 2 pine trees.

Thanks again.
 

Kmatjhwy

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Now you asked on how I would carry enough food for three weeks. Well, first of all I would never carry a stove or fuel. Then would load my packing food with noncookable food like nuts, raisins, beef jerky, oatmeal, etc. Also some macaroni and cheese with a small pot which would cook over a small fire. Then in the wilds would ration my food out and try not to over eat. Plus also I know the edible and medicinal plants.

Then in my hiking I would thru the years press my limits. If I had gone for one week then would press for two, then press for three weeks. After awhile it became that I had done multiple three week trips between resupplies and this became normal. I had started out plenty of times from the trailhead with a huge overweight backpack, but survived. Always started out taking it a just one step at a time. The longest trip ever was one between resupplies that lasted for 36 days. I was crying at the end for did not not want to go out and became so connected to everything. Had to go out and go back to work for it was now fall and such.

Now have eight of those bear food containers. I will use them come spring with filling them with food and caching them in the wilds someplace. Then I can just go back to them rather coming back to town for a resupply. I have used them multiple multiple times in the past on hikes also.

In the wilds there is usually a good hanging branch somewhere nearby and no need to worry. Have personally come to trust the bears more then people these days. It seems many of the bears are just as afraid of you as you are of them it seems in my opinion.It

Hope this helps. Wishing You The Best!
 
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Now you asked on how I would carry enough food for three weeks. Well, first of all I would never carry a stove or fuel. Then would load my packing food with noncookable food like nuts, raisins, beef jerky, oatmeal, etc. Also some macaroni and cheese with a small pot which would cook over a small fire. Then in the wilds would ration my food out and try not to over eat. Plus also I know the edible and medicinal plants.

Then in my hiking I would thru the years press my limits. If I had gone for one week then would press for two, then press for three weeks. After awhile it became that I had done multiple three week trips between resupplies and this became normal. I had started out plenty of times from the trailhead with a huge overweight backpack, but survived. Always started out taking it a just one step at a time. The longest trip ever was one between resupplies that lasted for 36 days. I was crying at the end for did not not want to go out and became so connected to everything. Had to go out and go back to work for it was now fall and such.

Now have eight of those bear food containers. I will use them come spring with filling them with food and caching them in the wilds someplace. Then I can just go back to them rather coming back to town for a resupply. I have used them multiple multiple times in the past on hikes also.

In the wilds there is usually a good hanging branch somewhere nearby and no need to worry. Have personally come to trust the bears more then people these days. It seems many of the bears are just as afraid of you as you are of them it seems in my opinion.It

Hope this helps. Wishing You The Best!

It's so impressive that you can get that many days worth of food packed in your backpack...I recently struggled packing everything I felt I needed for a one week trip with my wife in our 2 pretty large packs. I MUST solve this so I can do this planned trip.

Can I ask you how you prevent getting sunburn out there? I think I'll hate putting lotion on my face day after day...I like feeling pretty clean, even when I'm in the backcountry roughing it. That means I also struggle with finding the right amount of clothes to bring because a shirt can get pretty funky pretty fast.

Also, do you worry about rattlesnakes?

What would you consider vitals in a first aid kit?
 

Kmatjhwy

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Forest Dweller, it took time getting things right in my hiking. But no I never take or use lotion. I usually don't have problems with sunburn. Now how much being outside everyday will your body naturally tan and get used to being in the sun. It is when you are cooped up inside all the time and suddenly get out in the sun in my opinion is when one will have problens. Never never carry suntan lotion and never have problems. Yes I will get grungy when our there, but am by myself and that is a part of it. But I can bath in the streams and wash my clothes in the streams also on a off day when not hiking.

As for Rattlesnskes, no rattlesnakes in the Thorofare or the high mountains. And even in the deserts or canyons hiking don't worry about rattkesnakes. Have only seen a few in my life down in Texas or some canyon.

Also don't carry much of a first aid kit. Do know the edible and the medicinal plants which do use in my hiking. Like onetime in the deep wilds cured myself of Guardia by using the plant Yarrow. In my hiking I drink straight from the streams and about never have any problems. I usually watch where I get my water though. This onetime got Giardia, ate a bunch and a bunch of Yarrow, and after some hours was back to normal. Watching yourself and keeping track which is around you goes along way in preventing harm. Now do consider your greatest asset is what is between your ears, so use it in my opinion. Consider that everything the Native Indigenous inhabitants needed was on the land, so if you know those old ways, what is their to be afraid of, also along with our Creator's help and protection.

Hope this helps. Wishing You The Best!
 
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Hope this helps. Wishing You The Best!

You've been very informative and a lot of help.

With pretty heavy packs, seems like a tough 2 days into Silvertip Creek area, huh? And even if you wanted it to be 3 days would probably be difficult due to lack of camping spots as you get closer to Ishawooa Pass? Is that fair to say? That you pretty much have to commit getting over in 2 days...or is there good camping spots in the area that seems to be known as Spruce Meadows, just before Ishawoa Pass?

I wonder if I would find the 2 days deep into the North Buffalo Fork not only easier but more beautiful? But then my goal would be to get to the North Fork Yellowstone from there and that might be one very tough day or 2 less difficult days...but I'm not sure I'd want to use 2 valuable days getting from A (North Buffalo Fork) to B (North Fork Yellowstone)....not sure I'd like the area in between as much. (I tend to prefer the lower elevation greener stuff)

Also, that area around Ferry Lake and Marston Pass seems pretty high elevation...How would one avoid thunderstorms if they are passing through if they were covering the terrain from North Buffalo Fork>Ferry Lake>Continental Divide>Marston Pass>North Fork Yellowstone?

I've got a big backpack and time-wise I could probably be back in there for as much as 11 days...but the trick for me, having done quite a few backpacking trips but very few anywhere near this duration, would be to bring the essentials, figure out what the non essentials are, trying to bring some of the non negotiable luxuries, and keeping my pack weight down enough for it not to feel like a slog or death march, and making sure it all fits inside!
 
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marmot_boi

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With pretty heavy packs, seems like a tough 2 days into Silvertip Creek area, huh? And even if you wanted it to be 3 days would probably be difficult due to lack of camping spots as you get closer to Ishawooa Pass? Is that fair to say? That you pretty much have to commit getting over in 2 days...or is there good camping spots in the area that seems to be known as Spruce Meadows, just before Ishawoa Pass?
I'm no expert but I would say camping options likely get better along the Ishawooa Pass trail as you get closer to the pass. Spruce Meadow probably has good camping.
 

Kmatjhwy

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Now Forest Dweller, there are several places where one can camp when going up Ishawooa Creek. One is like a third to half way up the trail. It is a good site next to the trail after one crosses a small side stream have camped there before. And Yes one can camp at little Spruce Meadows and I personally have done this before also.

Now the Upper North Fork of the Buffalo was burned in a fire back in the late summer of 2012. But the alpine head basin is gorgeous. Going from there to the headwaters of the Yellowstone is an easy trek.The Continental Divide here is rolling and easily accessible in spots with offering dramatic views. There are some nice back basins in here along the Divide and offtrail which are really gorgeous and isolated. There is some alpine trees in places affording protection if some stormy weather comes about. Also the Continental Divide section between the North Fork of the Buffalo and the Two Ocean Pass Area is gorgeous also with being rolling and completely offtrail. It being offtrail, it is super wild with Bears, Eagles, herds of Elk and everything around with also gorgeous views. Have been here on top of Jay Peak at the head of the North Fork of the Buffalo several times. Great views here! Have had some real close encounters to Grizzlies in the head basin of the North Fork of the Buffalo!

This could probably be done in your length of time ... Going up the North Buffalo Fork to the Upper end, over to the headwaters of the Yellowstone, over to the North Yellowstone Fork, over to the head of Thorofare Creek, then down upper Thorofare Creek and up Pass Creek, with coming out Ishawooa Creek. But it is up to you.

Every spring when I would go in, there would be a half a dozen items that would find out that I didn't need and would cache them with my bear food containers with bringing them out later.

Wishing You The Best!
 
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This could probably be done in your length of time ... Going up the North Buffalo Fork to the Upper end, over to the headwaters of the Yellowstone, over to the North Yellowstone Fork, over to the head of Thorofare Creek, then down upper Thorofare Creek and up Pass Creek, with coming out Ishawooa Creek. But it is up to you.

I like this idea a lot.

But if we don't have a second car I wouldn't mind doing this trip, but instead of going up Pass Creek and out Ishawooa Creek, continuing counter-clockwise around Thunder Mountain and Thorofare Plateau to Bridger Lake and then back up Marston Pass via the Yellowstone River...returning to Turpin Meadows through the Soda Fork. Would have to count up the days that would be needed...and it would be a shame to not do the 2 day detour into Hidden Creek meadows!

Thanks for your help.

EDIT!

Looking at the map I am reminded that perhaps as many as 2 days could be shaved off of this trip by doing this loop going down and returning via Woodard Canyon....be nice to know how bad the required ford of the Yellowstone going in and returning from Woodard Canyon would be in August...book I have says it can be a dangerous ford.

Is the ford or the actual hiking in the canyon exceptionally risky?
 
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Kmatjhwy

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In August the Ford of the Yellowstone at the base of Woodard Canyon is doable. Just take your time. But as for Woodard Canyon, it is a steep drainage with several thousand feet in just a few miles. Woodard Canyon was hard hit by the pine and spruce beetles some years ago. The Upper bowl of Woodard Canyon is gorgeous. There is the trail over the top at the end at the pass with Ferry Lake on the other side. One can go thru the bowl also and can go over to the North Fork of the Buffalo which have done several times in the past.
 
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In August the Ford of the Yellowstone at the base of Woodard Canyon is doable. Just take your time. But as for Woodard Canyon, it is a steep drainage with several thousand feet in just a few miles. Woodard Canyon was hard hit by the pine and spruce beetles some years ago. The Upper bowl of Woodard Canyon is gorgeous. There is the trail over the top at the end at the pass with Ferry Lake on the other side. One can go thru the bowl also and can go over to the North Fork of the Buffalo which have done several times in the past.

Looking at maps and dreaming and planning!

Starting at Ishawooa...

Day 1) Ishawooa to Lapalli Creek / Spruce Meadow
Day 2) Lapalli Creek / Spruce Meadow to Pass Creek
Day 3 Pass Creek to Hidden Creek
Day 4) Hidden Creek to Upper Thorofare Creek
Day 5) Upper Thorofare Creek to confluence of Throfare Creek and Open Creek
Day 6) confluence of Throfare Creek and Open Creek to Upper Open Creek
Day 7) Upper Open Creek to Silvertip Creek
Day 8) Silvertip Creek to Spruce Meadow (Ishawooa Creek)
Day 9 Spruce Meadow to car (Ishawooa)

Kmatjhwy, Would you consider this a moderate or strenuous undertaking? Seems doable with perhaps 8 to 10 mile days.

Another idea....

Day 1) Turpin Meadows to North Buffalo Fork turnoff trail
Day 2) North Buffalo Fork turnoff trail to Upper North Buffalo Fork
Day 3) Upper North Buffalo Fork to Ferry Lake..ish!
Day 4) Ferry Lake..ish! to North Fork Yellowstone
Day 5) North Fork Yellowstone to Thorofare Creek
Day 6) Thorofare Creek to Bridger Lake (or almost Bridger Lake!)
Day 7) Bridger Lake (or almost Bridger Lake!) to South Fork Yellowstone (perhaps near Woodard Canyon trail)
Day 8) South Fork Yellowstone to Younts Peak area of South Fork Yellowstone
Day 9) Younts Peak area of South Fork Yellowstone to eastern Soda Fork area north of Smokehouse Mountain
Day 10) eastern Soda Fork area north of Smokehouse Mountain to Turpin Meadow

If I'm not mistaken these seem like reasonable distances per day for the average backpacker. If you feel like any of these days would be too strenuous please let me know. (if you don't mind and get a chance)

I could also probably cut 2 days off by going up Woodard Canyon....Something about this section has me a bit concerned...How difficult / dangerous would you say it is compared to the rest of it?
 
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Kmatjhwy

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Now Forest Dweller, looks like a couple of good itineraries you have there. Now some comments on them.

Itinerary One

This looks good. Now you have two days going up Ishawooa Creek to Pass Creek, this is reasonable and it can be done in two days. The climb up to the Pass from Spruce Meadows is not difficult and then a short descent down to Upper Pass Creek.

Now in going to Hidden Creek. You could add a day between 3 and 4 days. Let me explain. The trail over to Hidden Creek is hard to find where it breaks off from the main trail last I was there. But it is a good trail all the way up to the Outfitter camp in Hidden Creek. But an alternative here is to camp right on Thorofare Creek here. There is a good campsite right here on this place. Then could camp here and spend an extra day dayhiking up Hidden Creek to the wonderful upper meadows. I have done this myself. Also the creek in late summer is not too bad in crossing here. Also Upper Thorofare Creek is not too far from here.

It would only take a half of a day from upper Open Creek to the meadows in upper Silvertip Creek. Silvertip Meadows is gorgeous. Could also go on to Upper Pass Creek in that also. Then long hike out Ishawooa but it can be done in the time.

Itinerary Two

Looks Good but several big days in here. Day one to the North Buffalo Fork turnoff. This would be a big day of around 12 miles or so and some uphill hiking. But doable. If make it here, there is a nice campsite here down near the North Buffalo Fork below the trail. Nice campsite. Have used it plenty of times before. Also the Upper North Buffalo Fork and the Soda Fork of the Buffalo was burned in a fire in 2012. It would be an easy hike from the Upper North Fork to Ferry Lake and area. There is a good campsite with a bear box at the outlet of Ferry Lake. A tip ... In leaving the North Fork of the Buffalo, it is really easy in going over to the head of the Soda Fork over a low ridge here. In the upper basin is a sort of a easy walk up natural ramp to the top of the low ridge, to on the very left side near the mountainside, a route over to the head of the Soda Fork. Have used this way before. And easy hiking from Ferry Lake to the head of the Yellowstone.

Now if you only make it to the head of the South Fork of the Yellowstone from Ferry Lake, no problem. One could still easily make it over to Thorofare Creek from there. Beautiful Country but watch for Bears. Head of the Thorofare Creek To Bridger Lake, a long journey doable. At Bridger Lake the best camping is not at the lake but over close to the bridge and cabin in some sites on the edge of the trees and the meadows not far from the river. Can be buggy at the lake. There is Great Water coming from a spring near the Hawks Rest Cabin here.

Now you give yourself two days from Bridger Lake to the Upper South Fork of the Yellowstone ... This is what it would usually take me ... Two days. Right where the Woodard Canyon Trail turns off is a lovely little meadow. Have camped on the lower end and side of this meadow before. One day from Bridger Lake to there and the next up to the Upper end of the South Fork of the Yellowstone. The trail up the South Fork can get faint in spots. The head basin of the South Fork is huge and awesome.

Now easily can be done going from the head of the South Fork to the Upper Soda Fork. One could easily get to Crater Lake. Crater Lake though has no outlet. The supposed outlet is at big spring a further two miles down the trail.. You could add a day in here in that on Day 10, going down to the Soda Fork Meadows for your final camp. Then on the morning of Day 11, just less then a half of a day down to Turpin Meadows. It is an easy hike going out from The Soda Fork Meadows to Turpin Meadows. Here at the Soda Fork Meadows is an excellent campsite at a bench right above the meadows on the West side which have camped at often. There is a creek nearby for water. And an easy hike out from there.

But good two itineraries ... It is all up to you and what you want. Go For It!

Wishing You The Best!
 
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Now easily can be done going from the head of the South Fork to the Upper Soda Fork. One could easily get to Crater Lake. Crater Lake though has no outlet. The supposed outlet is at big spring a further two miles down the trail.. You could add a day in here in that on Day 10, going down to the Soda Fork Meadows for your final camp. Then on the morning of Day 11, just less then a half of a day down to Turpin Meadows. It is an easy hike going out from The Soda Fork Meadows to Turpin Meadows. Here at the Soda Fork Meadows is an excellent campsite at a bench right above the meadows on the West side which have camped at often. There is a creek nearby for water. And an easy hike out from there.

Thank you for all your input, I really appreciate it.

Everything was clear except for this final part. Could I not get out from South Fork Yellowstone to Turpin Meadows in 2 days? Would it be difficult to get beyond Crater Lake and drop down into lower ground and meadows in the Soda Fork to camp that final night? Or do you just like the idea of camping at Crater Lake and extending the trip a bit more?
 

Kmatjhwy

Wilderness Wanderer
Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
536
Now you very well might be able to get beyond Crater Lake. And you could maybe make it out in two days of good hiking. But these are just options in the Soda Fork, it will be up to you. There is a great campsite near the Big Springs area on the map, which is two miles or so from Crater Lake. Now from the South Fork to Big Springs is a good hiking day in itself. Now from the South Fork to the Soda Fork Meadows itself would be a huge big day. Now the Soda Fork Drainage was also burned in the fires of 2012. Yes there are also some meadows in the Soda Fork below Big Springs which you might make also. Have camped there. But plenty of places to camp wherever you might make it to.

Now mentioned the Soda Fork Meadows for have often camped here in the past. And the main part of the meadows where the two forks come together is a lovely spot. And the bench campsite is a wonderful campsite overlooking the meadows and looking up the drainage. Thought it might be a good spot for one last night in the wilds, relaxing here enjoying the area. Then hiking out easily the next morning. When am personally hiking in the area, this is what I do, the last night is at these Soda Fork Meadows enjoying it all.

It is all up to you. Enjoy!
 
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