Thorofare mid september 2018

e_lail

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Dec 28, 2017
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I have followed this site and used the information gained from it's members for quite a while. I am looking to do a thorofare trip starting around September 10th 2018 with 3 of my friends. I have came up with two routes. First route is to start at the heart lake trail head, cut east on the trail creek trail, cut south on thorofare, then west over big game ridge and out at the south entrance. I did a similar trip 7 or 8 years ago starting at nine mile trailhead, going south following yellowstone river, turning west over big game ridge and out heart lake, but i have never done the trail creek portion following arms of yellowstone lake. The second route i thought about would be: start at heart lake, cut east on trail creek trail, cut south on thorofare, then go south into the teton wilderness at hawk's rest, over two ocean pass, through soda fork meadows and out at turpin meadows. I know several members of this forum are very familiar with this area. The questions i have are: with hunting season about to start ramping up in the teton wilderness, will the outfitters and packhorses be jammed into this area sep 10th-20th or so? It's always a balance between solitude and feeling like you are out in the wilds with no one around and sharing the wilderness, but i don't think i would like being behind a calvary of pack horses. i know it can snow anytime, but would that be a major worry this late in the season? do you prefer this section of the teton wilderness over south boundary trail of yellowstone (mariposa lake, big game ridge, snake river)? if I do the teton wilderness section instead of south boundary trail of yellowstone, would it be better to start at turpin meadows and end at heart lake or is one direction about the same as other? Thanks for your help.
 

Absarokanaut

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We had some heavier mountain snows in September 2017. Believe horse outfitters aided several hikers.

I've seen hundreds of elk on Big Game Ridge. Decent fishing in Mariposa years ago.

I would expect a lot of pack trains but not "constant."

Have you considered the Brooks Lake or Angles Trailheads?
 

Kmatjhwy

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Sep 23, 2016
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Now you are thinking of a trip to the Thorofare in Mid September of this next year. Good for you! Now will try ti help you out on your questions. Just to mention this, this is big country with all kinds of options for trips and loop hikes available. It comes down to just what do you want to see and experience. It is all up to you. You could also go out via the Pacific Creek Drainage, or swing east at the Thorofare River and go out to the South Fork of the Shoshone near Cody via Deer or Ishawooa Creek Drainages, go up to Younts Peak - across the Buffalo Plateau - and out at Brooks Lake. Many possibilities. But this time of year in mid September, you could see anything from sunny and warm weather to snow and cold. Now that Two Ocean Plateau - Fox Park - Big Game Ridge - and headwaters of the Snake River is really really nice country and hard to beat with especially at this time of year. Personally have been all over this area from May to October so here trying to help you out.

Now on to your questions .....

I know it can snow anytime, but would that be a major worry at this late in the season?

Now I have been back here in the Thorofare in the fall as late as late October. And it was both snow and sun. Generally this is indeed something to consider. Generally we can and usual do have some really nice Indian summers here in NW Wyoming in the fall. But there is just something about this time of year in mid to late September it seems. It seems as if in most years there is some storm which passes thru the area with bringing some of the first snow and cold to the area. This past fall was horrendous it seemed. It seems as if in most years when the Aspens turn, a storm comes thru and drops some snow on the peaks. But before this it is generally sunny, nice, and warm. But you have to consider the what if's at this time of year. As for myself, I would go for it. But I am not you and I live here in Wyoming with being used to the snow and cold. But also in this country, have seen snow every month of the summer thru the years at some point. But on the other hand, the aspens are golden, the fall colors, and the Elk are bugling. Have been in places behind Yellowstone Lake in the wilds where the elk bugled all night straight - really nice!

With hunting season about to start in the Teton Wilderness, will the outfitters and packhorses be jammed into this area the 10th to 20th or so?

Now the hunting seasons back in the Thorofare are Sept. 1st for Bow and Arrow and Muzzleloaders. Then Sept 15th for rifle. Now for the regular rifle season,it used to start on the 10th but they pushed it back a bit by my understanding to this 15th date.. Most of the outfitters back in here set up their hunting camps at the end of August, especially if they have some bow hunters in there camp. The low point for them is uaually a month earlier in Mid August between summer and the fall hunting season. Now days in the Teton Wilderness, there just isn't the huge numbers of hunters that their once where. By this I mean the private hunters, This info comes from various outfitters and forest service rangers thru the years. Onetime a outfitter said that the outfitting industry was now 40% down. There will be people on the trail if you do out via Two Ocean Pass and the Soda Fork Meadows to Turpin Meadows. But it should be nice. But it could be really nice and all by your lonesome if over Two Ocean Plateau and the Big Game Ridge. As for myself personally, I prefer to go into the back parts of Yellowstone Park at this precise time of year instead of going thru the Teton Wilderness. I personally am not a hunter. There are some places in the backcountry of Yellowstone.

Do you prefer this section of the Teton Wilderness over the South Boundary of Yellowstone?

Now I love it all!!! The Soda Fork meadows is one of my most favorite spots back in here. It is all about the season. Generally when going into this country, I hang out at the Soda Fork Meadows in the spring and early summer. Then the Thorofare. Then the High Country in the middle if the summer. Afterwards in the fall time of year, in the Southeast Part of Yellowstone. One can not do that country much in the spring because of the snow, snowmelt, and regulations, and such. There is many many a place I love to hang out in the SE part of the park at precisely this time of year. And when I get my hiking permit, it is like 3 or so weeks long. It is all nice just depends on which month it is - spring,summer, or fall. Mariposa Lake, Two Ocean Plateau, Fox Park and the head of the Snake River, Big Game Ridge, and Boundary Meadows are really nice also. I call the meadows near where Coulter Creek meets the Snake River Boundary Meadows and have been here often at this fall time of year. It is all nice. Just what do you want and prefer?

Would it be better to start at Turpin Meadows and end at Heart Lake or is one direction the same as the other?

Now it is all what you want to see and experience??? I have started hiking trips at this time of year for this whole country at the South Entrance or the Nine Mile Trailhead or out of Cody, etc. I have been on about every trail in this whole area and each has it's own scenery and what it uniquely offers. But am not a hunter so generally again I avoid the main trails in the Teton Wild. for the back parts of Yell NP at this time of year. Now each direction and trailhead is different. There are some publications out there on this area ... it is still winter. Do some research and think what do you want to experience? The whole area of SE Yellowstone NP, the Teton Wild., the Washakie Wild., and nearby surrounding country is over 2,000,000 acres of some of the most wildest country left in the lower 48 states. One thing ... if you go ... Enjoy It Bigtime!!!

If any further question feel free to contact me. I will be more then happy to help you out.

Wishing You the Best!
 
Last edited:

e_lail

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Dec 28, 2017
Messages
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I have not looked at either the Brooks Lake or the Angles trailheads. I will check those out and see if they will fit within the constraints of our trip. I am looking at doing a 9 day trip with not much more than 10 miles a day while getting back up into the thorofare section. From previous posts I have read, the turpin meadows route looked very appealing because it was only 30 miles or so from the trailhead to hawks rest on up into the yellowstone national park section of the thorofare, and the pictures of the area i've seen on this site are gorgeous. Thanks for your reply. i'll check out those other trailheads.
 

Kmatjhwy

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Sep 23, 2016
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E_lail, now you said above that you are thinking of doing a 9 to 10 day trip and of doing near 10 miles a day. This is very doable in this country. All of this country is nice! As for the Thorofare, it will generally take near 3 days or so into the area and then 3 or so days to get back out. I would seriously recommend, if even going out via the South Boundary direction, in the Thorofare, to do a dayhike at least down to nearby Hawks Rest and Bridger Lake. It isn't that far down and one could spend the day in here seeing it all. I see trip reports where people turn and just go over the South Boundary trail direction and never see Hawks Rest or Bridger Lake nearby. But getting out from Hawks Rest is not bad. I have made it in two days from Hawks Rest to Turpin Meadows before also.

Again Wishing You the Best!
 

e_lail

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Dec 28, 2017
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Thank you so much Kmatjhwy for such a detailed and informative response! i will think over all that you said to try and plan a wonderful trip. I live in NC and I only get out west once a year or so, so i always try to make the best out of the time i have. The GYE is a special place!
 

e_lail

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Dec 28, 2017
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I really appreciate all the help. I believe I am going to go in at heart lake, take the trail creek trail to Yellowstone river, cut south on the thorofare trail down to hawk's rest and bridger lake. Then go west past falcon creek, mink creek to fox creek and onto south boundary trail. Go over big game ridge and follow the south boundary trail to harebell creek, snake river, and out the south entrance.
 

MVS

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Feb 17, 2015
Messages
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i know it can snow anytime, but would that be a major worry this late in the season?
A few years ago I was in Yellowstone on September 18 and there was a snowstorm heavy enough to close down the whole park between Old Faithful and Grant Village for almost 24 hours.
 

e_lail

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Dec 28, 2017
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Thanks for the heads up MVS. I'll make sure to follow the weather reports when I arrive and stay flexible. And also come prepared for snow.
 

LarryBoy

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Nothing that should make you rethink your trio, but griz will be up in the higher elevations to eat army cutworms at that time of year. Just keep your eyes pealed.
 

e_lail

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Dec 28, 2017
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Thanks LarryBoy! We will be sure to carry bear spray and store our food properly.
 

Kmatjhwy

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Sep 23, 2016
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Now E_lail, I have personally been hiking here in this NW Wyoming country for years. It has been great!!! I have seen many a Grizzly. And I have had many a close encounter with a Grizzly. But in my opinion ,if one keeps alert with knowing what is around them when hiking, takes care of their food and keeps a clean camp, and uses their head .... one should have no problems with the Grizzlies. In what I have experienced, many of the bears do not want that close encounter with you just like you don't want a close encounter with them. Now knowing what is happening around you at all times, goes a long ways to staying fit and healthy with being safe from the bear kind in my opinion.
 

e_lail

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Dec 28, 2017
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Kmatjhwy I have only encountered a few Grizzly bears and almost every time they have been several hundred yards away. The one time I encountered one closer at about 40 yards, I was on a treelined rise and he was below me in the open and he didn't even seem to notice my group and ambled on away. I never have had any trouble in my campsites at night in the backcountry with hanging my food or using a bear barrel (although i know there is always a chance of an animal coming into camp). I have found those practices of being bear aware and proper food storage in Grizzly country that you mentioned to be good practices to keep yourself out of a bad situation.
 

Norma Jean

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Joined
Sep 26, 2018
Messages
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E_lail, now you said above that you are thinking of doing a 9 to 10 day trip and of doing near 10 miles a day. This is very doable in this country. All of this country is nice! As for the Thorofare, it will generally take near 3 days or so into the area and then 3 or so days to get back out. I would seriously recommend, if even going out via the South Boundary direction, in the Thorofare, to do a dayhike at least down to nearby Hawks Rest and Bridger Lake. It isn't that far down and one could spend the day in here seeing it all. I see trip reports where people turn and just go over the South Boundary trail direction and never see Hawks Rest or Bridger Lake nearby. But getting out from Hawks Rest is not bad. I have made it in two days from Hawks Rest to Turpin Meadows before also.

Again Wishing You the Best![/QUOTE
Hello Kmat! I am new to the forum and see that you are a wealth of knowledge regarding the Teton Wilderness area starting from Turpin. I've got a million questions for you!! Is there another way I can email? Thank you! Norma Jean
 

Venchka

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Aug 6, 2015
Messages
330
Did this trip happen?
If so, what was your itinerary? How was the hike?
Thanks!
Wayne
 

sagebrush

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Joined
Dec 2, 2018
Messages
3
I really appreciate all the help. I believe I am going to go in at heart lake, take the trail creek trail to Yellowstone river, cut south on the thorofare trail down to hawk's rest and bridger lake. Then go west past falcon creek, mink creek to fox creek and onto south boundary trail. Go over big game ridge and follow the south boundary trail to harebell creek, snake river, and out the south entrance.

Please let us know if the trip materialized and how it all turned out. Can't handle the anticipation much longer! :)
 
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