Thorofare loop from Deer Creek

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Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
7
Hi everyone. I'm planning a loop leaving by the end of July (just found this site) and would appreciate any advice or thoughts. Route is:

South Fork Shoshone (14.5 miles)
Marston Creek (6.1)
Yellowstone River to Hawk's Rest (possibly via Marston Pass, Soda Creek trails and Woodard Canyon) (23)
Thorofare River (6.9)
Open Creek (6.6)
Silvertip (6.5)
Pass Creek (possibly over to N Fork Butte Creek) (7.7 or 7.1)
Butte Creek (8.4 or 5.6)
(possible Woody Creek add on) (+3.6)
Deer Creek (7)

Some questions I'm working on are:
- Mileage #s are from Natural Atlas, but might be inaccurate (probably low) judging from the USFS ARCGIS database. Anyone know where to get reliable mileage?
- Maps at a hiker scale don't seem available so I'm printing from Caltopo. Anyone know if there are preprinted maps at 1:50000 scale or better (besides the USGS quads)?
- USFS says no trail maintenance has been done for a while so I'm wondering if anyone knows about trail conditions, esp. deadfall prevalence.
- Bears and food. I usually hang (properly). Anyone know if there are sections without adequate trees?
- Route. From Marston Pass it looks like the higher route (Buffalo Plateau) is above treeline so would need to be crossed in one day if hanging food. I don't suppose there's anywhere up there food can be stored safely?
- Route. The N Fork Butte Creek Trail is shorter than down Pass Creek, but I can't tell if it's more of a route than a trail. Any experience?
- Route. Does Woody Creek offer anything particularly notable?

Thanks in advance for any responses!
 

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Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
7
Hi everyone. I'm planning a loop leaving by the end of July (just found this site) and would appreciate any advice or thoughts. Route is:

South Fork Shoshone (14.5 miles)
Marston Creek (6.1)
Yellowstone River to Hawk's Rest (possibly via Marston Pass, Soda Creek trails and Woodard Canyon) (23)
Thorofare River (6.9)
Open Creek (6.6)
Silvertip (6.5)
Pass Creek (possibly over to N Fork Butte Creek) (7.7 or 7.1)
Butte Creek (8.4 or 5.6)
(possible Woody Creek add on) (+3.6)
Deer Creek (7)

Some questions I'm working on are:
- Mileage #s are from Natural Atlas, but might be inaccurate (probably low) judging from the USFS ARCGIS database. Anyone know where to get reliable mileage?
- Maps at a hiker scale don't seem available so I'm printing from Caltopo. Anyone know if there are preprinted maps at 1:50000 scale or better (besides the USGS quads)?
- USFS says no trail maintenance has been done for a while so I'm wondering if anyone knows about trail conditions, esp. deadfall prevalence.
- Bears and food. I usually hang (properly). Anyone know if there are sections without adequate trees?
- Route. From Marston Pass it looks like the higher route (Buffalo Plateau) is above treeline so would need to be crossed in one day if hanging food. I don't suppose there's anywhere up there food can be stored safely?
- Route. The N Fork Butte Creek Trail is shorter than down Pass Creek, but I can't tell if it's more of a route than a trail. Any experience?
- Route. Does Woody Creek offer anything particularly notable?

Thanks in advance for any responses!
Forgot to say that I plan to see the views from Younts Peak weather and bears permitting!
 

Kmatjhwy

Wilderness Wanderer
Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
382
Boulder Backpacker, Hi There! Welcome to the forum. It looks like you have a very wonderful trip planned. Good For You!!!! Now will try to help you out. As for your questions, here is some info ....

- Now as for my mileages, I would calculate by just measuring on the map and estimates. There is a good Falcon Book out on this area that might be of help. It is now though some years old.

- As for the trail maintenance in this area, it has never been a high priority by the USFS because it is not front country where most tourists go. But be sure if backpacking the trails will still be passable and with a lack of maintenance, it will give you a more wild experience in my opinion. Both the Bridger Teton and the Shoshone Forests have a few crews in the summer maintaining the trails. But big parts of the country are hardly touched by anyone it seems and it is very easy to get away from the masses.

- There is usually some trees close by in most of this country for one to hang one's food, even near Marston Pass. But I have come to Trust the Grizzlies more then people for they never stab one in the back. Do think it might be safer these days back in these wilds then in a major city. At least the Bears have Common Sense.

- Now don't worry about your route on the Buffalo Plateau and finding places to hang one's food, there are trees groves and places here one can use with no problem. Now Yes there is a trail down N Fork of Butte Creek and Nice also. Upper North Fork of Butte Creek is Gorgeous! Woody Creek is nice and is up on the mountains rather then along the creeks / rivers down below. All this country is nice.

You have several route segments and will comment on each one following. Hope it helps you out.
 

Kmatjhwy

Wilderness Wanderer
Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
382
Now here is some advice on your various route segments.

- South Fork Shoshone

Great Country. Dramatic scenery here in the lower South Fork Shoshone. Here the canyon in the lower parts are near 5,000 feet deep. On either side are near 12,000 foot peaks with the South Fork of the Shoshone below. The peaks are Needle Mountain on one side and Bruin Peak on the other. In going up there will be some places where one can camp near Needle Creek, then other areas as one progresses up the drainage. A short ways beyond the turn off for going up Marston Creek, is beautiful Bliss Creek Meadows which I would should be a must see in my opinion. Some nice camping here at the Bliss Creek Meadows Area.

- Marston Creek

Investigate to go up with nice meadows. Nearby will be big Wall Mountain. One can camp up near Marston Pass at the top, some trees are nearby also.

- Yellowstone River

One nice very dramatic route is over to the huge alpine basin at the head of the South Fork of the Yellowstone with Awesome Younts Peak right here, then down the Yellowstone drainage to Hawks Rest. It is all served by a good trail. The upper part might be like a route more in places. Some trees are a short ways down the South Fork which makes for good camping. Yount's Peak is a easy walkup via it's West slope. Yount's Peak is a Cutworm Moth site so be on the lookout for Grizzlies in the area. Onetime I saw 12 Grizzlies in one day here on the slopes of Younts Peak. Great Superb Country!!!! One could spend days and weeks in the area. The nearby North Fork of The Yellowstone is also sooo Awesome!!!! If going this route going down the infant Yellowstone is a great bike and route. In my opinion going down Woodard Canyon is nice but missed the dramatic country near Younts Peak. Also the drainage of the South Fork of the Yellowstone is very highly scenic.The trail can be nothing more then a route in places .... But Superb Scenery and Country! Going down the Yellowstone is one beautiful wild wild drainage. Some nice meadows near where Castle Creek comes in which makes for good camping also. This is Extremely Great Grizzly Country! Excellent Wild Wild Country as country should be!

- Hawks Rest and the Thorofare

Great place to rest up and hike around. It is an easy dayhike over to the Thorofare River in the Park. There is a spring with Great Water near the Hawks Rest Patrol Cabin. Bridger Lake is nearby. One could spend days or weeks here as I have.

To Be Continued In Following Posts
 
Last edited:

Kmatjhwy

Wilderness Wanderer
Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
382
Now to be continued ....

- Thorofare River

Nice hiking and good wild country. Good fishing if one is so inclined. Easy hiking. No problem in finding good csmpsites.

- Open Creek and Silvertip Creek

The lower parts are more wooded. The upper area is like a huge box canyon with high peaks all around. The upper end is highly scenic. I love it up in here. In the upper area is the turn off for Silvertip Creek which is Superb. There is a very dramatic waterfall here and some wonderful open and highly scenic meadows. Good Camping in the area. Easy Hiking. The trail over Petrified Ridge with from Silvertip Creek to Pass Creek is easy with Awesome views up on top.

- Pass Creek and Area

Upper Pass Creek is Gorgeous and highly scenic. Easy dayhike up to Ishawooa Pass. In going out I prefer Ishawooa Creek then Deer Creek - not as steep. There is an easy pass in going over to North Fork of Butte Creek which offers good views. The high ridge to the east of Pass Creek is a nice climb - wild wild country. My closest Grizzly Bear encounter occurred on this ridge. The wildlife in top was everything everywhere. Great Country on this ridge top. Upper Pass Creek is Gorgeous in the summer with it's huge meadows, nice mountain scenery, and the flowers covering the area. Love in here.

- North Fork Butte Creek

There is some very scenic meadows here in The upper part of the drainage..Do think the area is seldom visited, highly scenic, and wild. The trail is lightly used it seems but just right in my opinion.in going down the trail crosses and decreases the creek. Nice Area.

- Upper Thorofare River Area

Now even though this area was not on your route. The Upper Thorofare River / Creek Area is highly highly scenic! Huge awesome meadows, the nearby mountains, and everything. And seldom any people. One can go up the drainage to near Thorofare Mountain and with connections to the Young Peak area. One could spend days and days in here away from it all. Can go up on the mountain ridge to the East, the Absaroka Crest .... Good Wild Country!!!

- Butte Creek and Deer Creek

Easy hiking up Butte Creek. Some nice meadows in the upper reaches with good camping. Deer Creek Pass offers a nice view down the Thorofare River /Creek drsinage.. Deer Creek is not my favorite drainage for frequently used by horse parties and steep. Many a time thru the years have gone down Deer Creek instead. But takes only One day from top to bottom. A scenic gorge is along the route. There is a camping place near the trailhead at the bottom.

Hope this helps you out. Wish I was back in that good Country right now. You will have a marvelous trip. Wishing You The Best!!!!
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
7
Now to be continued ....

- Thorofare River

Nice hiking and good wild country. Good fishing if one is so inclined. Easy hiking. No problem in finding good csmpsites.

- Open Creek and Silvertip Creek

The lower parts are more wooded. The upper area is like a huge box canyon with high peaks all around. The upper end is highly scenic. I love it up in here. In the upper area is the turn off for Silvertip Creek which is Superb. There is a very dramatic waterfall here and some wonderful open and highly scenic meadows. Good Camping in the area. Easy Hiking. The trail over Petrified Ridge with from Silvertip Creek to Pass Creek is easy with Awesome views up on top.

- Pass Creek and Area

Upper Pass Creek is Gorgeous and highly scenic. Easy dayhike up to Ishawooa Pass. In going out I prefer Ishawooa Creek then Deer Creek - not as steep. There is an easy pass in going over to North Fork of Butte Creek which offers good views. The high ridge to the east of Pass Creek is a nice climb - wild wild country. My closest Grizzly Bear encounter occurred on this ridge. The wildlife in top was everything everywhere. Great Country on this ridge top. Upper Pass Creek is Gorgeous in the summer with it's huge meadows, nice mountain scenery, and the flowers covering the area. Love in here.

- North Fork Butte Creek

There is some very scenic meadows here in The upper part of the drainage..Do think the area is seldom visited, highly scenic, and wild. The trail is lightly used it seems but just right in my opinion.in going down the trail crosses and decreases the creek. Nice Area.

- Upper Thorofare River Area

Now even though this area was not on your route. The Upper Thorofare River / Creek Area is highly highly scenic! Huge awesome meadows, the nearby mountains, and everything. And seldom any people. One can go up the drainage to near Thorofare Mountain and with connections to the Young Peak area. One could spend days and days in here away from it all. Can go up on the mountain ridge to the East, the Absaroka Crest .... Good Wild Country!!!

- Butte Creek and Deer Creek

Easy hiking up Butte Creek. Some nice meadows in the upper reaches with good camping. Deer Creek Pass offers a nice view down the Thorofare River /Creek drsinage.. Deer Creek is not my favorite drainage for frequently used by horse parties and steep. Many a time thru the years have gone down Deer Creek instead. But takes only One day from top to bottom. A scenic gorge is along the route. There is a camping place near the trailhead at the bottom.

Hope this helps you out. Wish I was back in that good Country right now. You will have a marvelous trip. Wishing You The Best!!!!
Thank you very much! I'm excited to see it finally after working in Yellowstone 35 years ago I've been dreaming about this trip.
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
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Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
1,987
Thank you. I talked with the ranger office and wildlife biologist about it. Fortunately the person made it out and it didn't involve food.
Some minor misreporting going in there, the attack actually occured just north of the saddle that separates Butte Creek and the North Fork of Butte Creek, on the excellent elk trail that winds through the cliffs.
 

Kmatjhwy

Wilderness Wanderer
Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
382
Now my closest bear encounter happened in 2006 not far from this area up on top of the ridge that separates Pass Creek from Lapelli Creek. Still as for myself I trust Grizzlies more then people these days. How many people have become like tyrants and want to order me around in the slightest details. Grizzlies generally will leave you alone if we leave them alone in what I Have experienced. One Grizzly encounter happens and it is front page news. But how many car accidents and deaths as a result happen daily and still people speed down the highway without any concerns. Let me be in Grizzly Country with my camp surrounded by bears, but please keep me out of the freaking cities and their masses of insane people these days. In My Opinion!
 

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scoags

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Joined
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Messages
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as always @Kmatjhwy has excellent information. I'd just add that Marston was burned a while back, but when i was there last fall they had done maintenance, and the trail was clear. South fork is a narrow trail, and bears use it so its good to be a little cautious there cause its basically a one way street in many places. As others mentioned, getting from the NF Yellowstone into the Thorofare is pretty straightforward, and the pass you go through is quite spectacular with good camping and water.

Upper pass creek is awesome. Lots of camping up there once you get out of the lower narrow part of the creek.
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
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Joined
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Messages
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Now my closest bear encounter happened in 2006 not far from this area up on top of the ridge that separates Pass Creek from Lapelli Creek. Still as for myself I trust Grizzlies more then people these days. How many people have become like tyrants and want to order me around in the slightest details. Grizzlies generally will leave you alone if we leave them alone in what I Have experienced. One Grizzly encounter happens and it is front page news. But how many car accidents and deaths as a result happen daily and still people speed down the highway without any concerns. Let me be in Grizzly Country with my camp surrounded by bears, but please keep me out of the freaking cities and their masses of insane people these days. In My Opinion!
Love everything about this post, but I've recently met a really pissed off grizzly and a bunch of really wonderful humans, so I'm on Team Biped right about now :)
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
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Messages
2,002
Love everything about this post, but I've recently met a really pissed off grizzly and a bunch of really wonderful humans, so I'm on Team Biped right about now :)
Well now you've got us all curious! What happened??

You really went from 0 to 100 on bear sightings and encounters over the last year or two.
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
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Joined
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Messages
1,987
Well now you've got us all curious! What happened??

You really went from 0 to 100 on bear sightings and encounters over the last year or two.
Surprise encounter, griz knocked me down, I played dead, he skedaddled. I got him in the eye with my pole, which may have convinced him it wasn't worth pressing attack once I was no longer a threat. Bandaged myself up, hiked out Deer Creek tr, caught a ride to the ER with a good samaritan. Couple of deep claw gashes and 37 stitches. Other than carrying a backpack or hard manual labor, I'm pretty much good. Alive by the grace of God.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Surprise encounter, griz knocked me down, I played dead, he skedaddled. I got him in the eye with my pole, which may have convinced him it wasn't worth pressing attack once I was no longer a threat. Bandaged myself up, hiked out Deer Creek tr, caught a ride to the ER with a good samaritan. Couple of deep claw gashes and 37 stitches. Other than carrying a backpack or hard manual labor, I'm pretty much good. Alive by the grace of God.
Whew...scary I'm sure. Happy you're going to be fine.
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
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Joined
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Messages
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Surprise encounter, griz knocked me down, I played dead, he skedaddled. I got him in the eye with my pole, which may have convinced him it wasn't worth pressing attack once I was no longer a threat. Bandaged myself up, hiked out Deer Creek tr, caught a ride to the ER with a good samaritan. Couple of deep claw gashes and 37 stitches. Other than carrying a backpack or hard manual labor, I'm pretty much good. Alive by the grace of God.
This made me audibly exclaim a few expletives. Was yours the attack being discussed above??

So, so great it turned out ok. Wow. I can't even imagine. Sounds like you managed to do it by the book even in the heat of it. Very glad you're ok, man!!
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
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Joined
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Messages
1,987
This made me audibly exclaim a few expletives. Was yours the attack being discussed above??

So, so great it turned out ok. Wow. I can't even imagine. Sounds like you managed to do it by the book even in the heat of it. Very glad you're ok, man!!
Dont want to derail Boulder B's thread too badly but yeah it was me. I'll probably write about it in more detail at some point in the future when I have cogent thoughts about it and lessons learned.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
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Now to be continued ....

- Thorofare River

Nice hiking and good wild country. Good fishing if one is so inclined. Easy hiking. No problem in finding good csmpsites.

- Open Creek and Silvertip Creek

The lower parts are more wooded. The upper area is like a huge box canyon with high peaks all around. The upper end is highly scenic. I love it up in here. In the upper area is the turn off for Silvertip Creek which is Superb. There is a very dramatic waterfall here and some wonderful open and highly scenic meadows. Good Camping in the area. Easy Hiking. The trail over Petrified Ridge with from Silvertip Creek to Pass Creek is easy with Awesome views up on top.

- Pass Creek and Area

Upper Pass Creek is Gorgeous and highly scenic. Easy dayhike up to Ishawooa Pass. In going out I prefer Ishawooa Creek then Deer Creek - not as steep. There is an easy pass in going over to North Fork of Butte Creek which offers good views. The high ridge to the east of Pass Creek is a nice climb - wild wild country. My closest Grizzly Bear encounter occurred on this ridge. The wildlife in top was everything everywhere. Great Country on this ridge top. Upper Pass Creek is Gorgeous in the summer with it's huge meadows, nice mountain scenery, and the flowers covering the area. Love in here.

- North Fork Butte Creek

There is some very scenic meadows here in The upper part of the drainage..Do think the area is seldom visited, highly scenic, and wild. The trail is lightly used it seems but just right in my opinion.in going down the trail crosses and decreases the creek. Nice Area.

- Upper Thorofare River Area

Now even though this area was not on your route. The Upper Thorofare River / Creek Area is highly highly scenic! Huge awesome meadows, the nearby mountains, and everything. And seldom any people. One can go up the drainage to near Thorofare Mountain and with connections to the Young Peak area. One could spend days and days in here away from it all. Can go up on the mountain ridge to the East, the Absaroka Crest .... Good Wild Country!!!

- Butte Creek and Deer Creek

Easy hiking up Butte Creek. Some nice meadows in the upper reaches with good camping. Deer Creek Pass offers a nice view down the Thorofare River /Creek drsinage.. Deer Creek is not my favorite drainage for frequently used by horse parties and steep. Many a time thru the years have gone down Deer Creek instead. But takes only One day from top to bottom. A scenic gorge is along the route. There is a camping place near the trailhead at the bottom.

Hope this helps you out. Wish I was back in that good Country right now. You will have a marvelous trip. Wishing You The Best!!!!
Hi again, I'd prefer Ishawooa over Deer Creek, but assume there's too little traffic on the road to be able to hitch between Cabin Creek and Ishawooa reliably. Am I wrong? Thanks
 

Kmatjhwy

Wilderness Wanderer
Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
382
Now Yes there is but little traffic on that road. Deer Creek is okay if coming down in my opinion and it Can be done in oneday. But really steep climb if going up. In going up Ishawooa is more gentle, both up and down. It is all up to you.
 

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