Yellowstone Lake - 2 Week Canoe Trip - Summer 2019

scatman

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After receiving my permit yesterday from the Backcountry Office in Yellowstone for my canoe trip this summer, I sat down last night and started looking at what the paddle trip looked like and here is what I came up with. My daughter and I will be starting at Grant Village by West Thumb and finishing up fourteen days later at Sedge Bay, located on the northeast side of the lake. Along our route, we will be staying two nights at some campsites with day hikes planned on the second day at the site. They moved some campsites on us from what we had originally asked for, so that increased our paddle mileage for a couple days and made really short paddle days on our itinerary too. Oh well, that is the luck of the draw I guess.

Our day hikes will include:
1. From campsite 7L2 to the east side of Delusion Lake
2. Meadows on the west side of Flat Mountain Arm
3. From campsite 7L9 to a couple of ponds on the north side of Flat Mountain
4. From campsite 5L5 to Alder Lake
5. From campsite 6A3 to Chipmunk Creek along Two Ocean Plateau
6. From campsite 5E3 to the top of Langford Cairn to get a good view of the Yellowstone River Delta and a look south into the Thorofare. @Artemus, I'll knock the cairn over for you when I get to the top. :)

Canoe_Trip_07_28_19.jpg
Our paddling days are color coded along the shore of the lake with the day hikes to various locations colored in brown. Campsites are in yellow.

After completing the canoe trip, we are planning to do a twenty mile day hike the next day, along the Mary Mountain Trail. We will be starting on the northeast side of Hayden Valley at the Mary Mountain Trailhead, stopping for lunch at Mary Lake (the halfway point), then heading west and out at the Nez Perce Trailhead in Lower Geyser Basin. I might take my daughter a little ways up the old trail to Cygnet Lakes if we have time.

Mary_Mountain_Trail.jpg
The blue line represents the Mary Mountain Trail, the red one represents the old trail north to Cygnet Lakes.

Anything I'm overlooking?
 
@scatman The canoe trip looks like a blast. She'll remember it forever, no doubt.

I hiked the Mary Mtn Trail a couple summers ago with my brother-in-law. I am in good shape and he is in really good shape. I am a 2.5+ mph hiker and there's no way I could have headed up to Cygnet Lakes and completed the Mary Mtn Trail in a day. We started around 730 am and finished with a couple hours or so of daylight left, but we were whipped. Hiked it in July. It was a long day. Having said all that, I do understand that I am not the legendary @scatman so take it for what it's worth.

We stopped for (and were forced to stop by) bison several times on the prairie part of the trip. A few of these stops caused us to divert off the trail. The stops and diversions added at least an hour to the hike. After one diversion, we lost the trail but since we were in the prairie, we just hoofed it west to the thermal area. Once we were over the pass, we were fairly heads-down hiking to the Nez Perce TH. It is a great hike and well worth it.
 
Looks great, but you could kill two birds with one stone - combine hiking AND canoeing - by simply getting off the lake at the SE Arm, portaging the canoe on the Thorofare, then portaging on up Eagle Pass (climb the peak while there, highest in the park and never before climbed by canoe) and on out at Eagle Campground. It would be an epic trip, and I bet something no one's ever done before. You could record it on social media as you go. I'd be happy to meet you there as a shuttle. :wavespin:
 
@scatman The canoe trip looks like a blast. She'll remember it forever, no doubt.

I hiked the Mary Mtn Trail a couple summers ago with my brother-in-law. I am in good shape and he is in really good shape. I am a 2.5+ mph hiker and there's no way I could have headed up to Cygnet Lakes and completed the Mary Mtn Trail in a day. We started around 730 am and finished with a couple hours or so of daylight left, but we were whipped. Hiked it in July. It was a long day. Having said all that, I do understand that I am not the legendary @scatman so take it for what it's worth.

We stopped for (and were forced to stop by) bison several times on the prairie part of the trip. A few of these stops caused us to divert off the trail. The stops and diversions added at least an hour to the hike. After one diversion, we lost the trail but since we were in the prairie, we just hoofed it west to the thermal area. Once we were over the pass, we were fairly heads-down hiking to the Nez Perce TH. It is a great hike and well worth it.

I'm not sure I hike at a 2.5 mph when I'm taking pictures along the way - certainly not anymore. I've done the Mary Mountain Trail twice before though, but that was 22 and 12 years ago now. I got an earlier start than you did tough. I'm on the trail between 5-5:30 am, that way I can knock out a good portion of it before it heats up and maybe increase my chances of seeing wildlife in Hayden Valley. I have, more recently, done the Trout Creek approach to Mary Lake and up to Cygnet Lakes on the old trail (twice) and Trout Creek to Mary Lake to Beach Lake and out at West Thumb on the old Plateau Trail (once). This will be my 6th time to Mary Lake. The place I've visited the most in the Yellowstone backcountry. Who would have thought that 22 years ago when I saw the lake for the first time - certainly not me.

I'm not planning on going very far up the old Cygnet Lakes Trail, maybe a quarter mile if that. The stretch between just off Mary Lake and what I refer to as the Cross Meadow is such a wonderful forest hike. It is a favorite stretch of mine in the Park and worth doing if you are ever back in that area again. Once you start heading up the hill towards Cygnet Lakes after the meadow, the burn starts to take over.

Cygnet_Lakes_Trail.jpg
The little blue dot on the right hand side, on the Mary Mountain Trail, is where the Trout Creek Trail joins the Mary Mountain Trail

You make a good point on the bison, though 12 years ago, I snuck through the herd instead of going around it. :sneaky:
 
this looks an amazing trip. Can't wait for the trip report as Mary Mountain is also on my bucket list for this year to do as a nice long day hike

Thanks @Yvonne. You'll love the Mary Mountain Trail though personally, I like the Trout Creek approach to Mary Lake better.

Hopefully the Park Service will get back to me on our Grebe Lake trip next week. :thumbsup:
 
Looks great, but you could kill two birds with one stone - combine hiking AND canoeing - by simply getting off the lake at the SE Arm, portaging the canoe on the Thorofare, then portaging on up Eagle Pass (climb the peak while there, highest in the park and never before climbed by canoe) and on out at Eagle Campground. It would be an epic trip, and I bet something no one's ever done before. You could record it on social media as you go. I'd be happy to meet you there as a shuttle. :wavespin:

Sounds like this just might kill me @Rockskipper. I'm not a strapping young lad anymore you know. :moses: :) A wee lass like yourself would have no problem though. :twothumbs:

I do think you should find the time to join us on the Mary Mountain hike since you are in the area to begin with. :twothumbs:
 
Not too bad if you make your daughter carry the canoe. But I'm leaving here in early May, back to Colorado, but then back north, so maybe...if I don't have to carry anything.
 
Not too bad if you make your daughter carry the canoe. But I'm leaving here in early May, back to Colorado, but then back north, so maybe...if I don't have to carry anything.

Deal! I'll carry your food and water for you. All you need to bring is a hiking stick and a pork chop tied around your neck so the bears tend to head your way instead of mine. :D
 
I'm not sure I hike at a 2.5 mph when I'm taking pictures along the way - certainly not anymore. I've done the Mary Mountain Trail twice before though, but that was 22 and 12 years ago now. I got an earlier start than you did tough. I'm on the trail between 5-5:30 am, that way I can knock out a good portion of it before it heats up and maybe increase my chances of seeing wildlife in Hayden Valley. I have, more recently, done the Trout Creek approach to Mary Lake and up to Cygnet Lakes on the old trail (twice) and Trout Creek to Mary Lake to Beach Lake and out at West Thumb on the old Plateau Trail (once). This will be my 6th time to Mary Lake. The place I've visited the most in the Yellowstone backcountry. Who would have thought that 22 years ago when I saw the lake for the first time - certainly not me.

I'm not planning on going very far up the old Cygnet Lakes Trail, maybe a quarter mile if that. The stretch between just off Mary Lake and what I refer to as the Cross Meadow is such a wonderful forest hike. It is a favorite stretch of mine in the Park and worth doing if you are ever back in that area again. Once you start heading up the hill towards Cygnet Lakes after the meadow, the burn starts to take over.

View attachment 77090
The little blue dot on the right hand side, on the Mary Mountain Trail, is where the Trout Creek Trail joins the Mary Mountain Trail

You make a good point on the bison, though 12 years ago, I snuck through the herd instead of going around it. :sneaky:

I had no idea you had so much time on that trail. Do carry on (said with a British accent).
 
Thanks @Yvonne. You'll love the Mary Mountain Trail though personally, I like the Trout Creek approach to Mary Lake better.

Hopefully the Park Service will get back to me on our Grebe Lake trip next week. :thumbsup:

thanks

I had to skip Mary Mountain trail last September as it was closed due to grizzly activity.
And as a fan of long distance day hikes, this is for sure one of the hikes I want to do so badly.

And fingers crossed for Grebe Lake. Many of the parks are still catching up with the load of requests due to the shutdown and other priorities that had to come first
 
Congratulations on your permit! I’ve gotten 5 of the 6 I requested, and am waiting for the 6th. If I can help with a shuttle, let me know. Pringles
 
Deal! I'll carry your food and water for you. All you need to bring is a hiking stick and a pork chop tied around your neck so the bears tend to head your way instead of mine. :D

Pork chop? I thought bacon grease worked best.
 
wow @scatman this looks like an awesome adventure!! I am looking forward to the extensive trip report & photos!!
 
Congratulations on your permit! I’ve gotten 5 of the 6 I requested, and am waiting for the 6th. If I can help with a shuttle, let me know. Pringles

Where are you heading in the Park this spring/summer/fall for your six trips @Pringles? I'm still waiting for 1 permit request to Grebe Lake in September.
 
wow @scatman this looks like an awesome adventure!! I am looking forward to the extensive trip report & photos!!

I was hoping that you would be joining us for a couple of days with your canoe. :) I'm planning on taking lots of photos, and I'll see if I can get my daughter to take a lot too.
 
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