Thorofare Trip - September 2023


New Member
Mar 9, 2021
Finally fulfilling a lifelong dream and making it out to the Thorofare this year. We’ll be heading out in mid September, should be some elk bugling and some early fall colors happening by then. Hope to get lucky and dodge some early fall weather, but ya never know.

Got lucky with the lottery and landed a bunch of great sites, but always eager for advice!

There will be four of us on this trip, setting up a shuttle and starting at Nine Mile TH, then coming out at the South Boundary TH.

Day 1 - Hike in roughly 6 miles and camp at 5E9 along the lakeshore.

Day 2 - Hike around 11 miles to the beginning of the Thorofare and camp at 5E1.

Day 3 - Go another 10 miles into the Thorofare to camp at 6D1, hear it’s a great place to get pulled out of your tent by a bear.

Day 4 - Hike another 7.5 miles or so and camp at 6T2, possibly take a side trip to visit the Thorofare Patrol Cabin.

Day 5 - Backtrack roughly 4 miles to camp at 6Y6. Not ideal but really, really wanted this site and this was the best way to make it work. Thinking this could be a good day for a side trip to Bridger Lake?

Day 6 - Big day, hike up to Mariposa Lake and then down to camp at 6M7. Roughly 16 miles with a nice climb. Figure there is always the option, though not ideal, to bail early and camp at one of the couple sites before this if absolutely necessary.

Day 7 - Another tough day with a climb up Big Game Ridge, around 14.5 miles to 8C2 along the Snake.

Day 8 - Hike out to our car at South Boundary, right around 9 miles out.

Any thoughts or advice to share? Incredibly excited, Yellowstone has always been a special place for me. I worked in the the park back in 21, and have had the dream of reaching the Thorofare for the better part of a decade now.
I'll be there in August, lottery luck permitting of course. My time slot to draw sites isn't until April 20th though, so I'm a bit nervous. If this old body of mine has to go 15 - 20 miles with a heavy pack my first day, I'll perish. Not a bad place to call your final resting place though. :D

I'll be heading up Thorofare Creek to the headwaters on my trip, then out through the Teton Wilderness. I need to see the grizzlies feeding on army cutworm moths one last time.

I did your route about thirty years ago, and it's a good one. I saw more sign of grizzlies on Big Game Ridge than anywhere else.

If you do make it to Bridger Lake, take some time and checkout the Hawk's Rest Patrol Cabin. And while there, be sure and get a drink from the spring there. Some of the best water I've ever tasted flowing from that spring.
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'Tis the season to be jealous of all the cool plan others are making... :)

Not sure you'll have time, but Brimstone Basin is a cool spot that's tough to access outside of trip like this.

I'd echo @scatman's suggestion to visit the Hawk's Rest Patrol Cabin on Day 5 if you're feeling up to it.

One thing to be mindful of in mid-September is that hunting season will be occurring just outside the park - this means gut piles and grizzlies. September could also mean snow on Big Game Ridge (it did for us!). Beautiful time of year for this trip though - and should be lots of bugling elk throughout.
Yes looks like some cool plans and at a good time of year. Now was first back in that country in 1982. It is still wild as ever back in that country with plenty of room to get lost in on purpose. I live in the now so see what happens. This next summer maybe back in this country just enjoying life or back up to Alaska. Hard call to make! In September yes there will be hunting going on outside the park. But it seems sometimes the hunting is not like it once was years ago. Still the Grizzlies and Wolves will be around. And in this country snow actually is never that far away. Have seen it snow at times even in the middle of summer. So much country and places even trailess here in the Greater South Absaroka Wildland Area. In my opinion anytime one is able and blessed to experience this good country ... one fares well and really well! Yes if one is near the Thorofare River, do check out the Hawks Rest Patrol Cabin. Many good good places back in here all over. One could spend their whole lives in the area and not not see it all. Have many many many good memories of being back in these wilds. It seems as if it is just the same today as then like it should be ... all wild and nice! To you and everyone who gets back in here this next summer green season ... Do Enjoy!

Wishing Evryone the Best!