User Tag List

123 Last

Results 1 to 10 of 31

  1. #1
    Senior Member ExAstrisSpes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    MBTI
    ENFJ
    Posts
    341

    Default Yellowstone Backcountry?

    I'm thinking about spending a week in Yellowstone this year (late June/early July); I was wondering if anyone has done any backcountry hiking? Most of the hikes I've found are 2-3 days. I'd like to do Lamar Valley (wake up early to see the wolves!), and some of the stuff in the southern end of the park sound interesting (Shoshone Lake).

    Any recommendations? Tips? Good campsites? I want to stay primarily in the backcountry, as I think those campsites are easier to get (and less crowded!).

  2. #2
    Senior Member ScorpioINTP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    6-5
    Posts
    347

    Default

    I spent 4 weeks out west last summer. 4-5 days in Yellowstone. I recommend the tower campground if you are ok without modern facilities. Its quiet and very convenient. The park is huge and if you do driving to see any of it its 20-40 mi loops (its like a figure 8). Some campgrounds were closed when I went (south ones). Tower has nice big lots for tents, quiet, and is walking distance to the general store and some good day hikes, but more importantly is close to driving things. If you are like me, I just went to other campgrounds whenever I needed a shower and used their facilities. Those campgrounds will be louder and more crowded.

    Tower is on the North side, close to Lamar valley and a short drive to the Mammoth springs area (this is a nice area too...less secluded and more arid..less trees). Its sunny..warm..kind of a microclimate, where the other areas got more precipitation and lower temps. Bison/deer roam around the roads/hotels Right across the river there is a town (Gardner MT) with shops, restaurants and general store, kayaking/rafting excursions etc. I think this area had some good 1-2 day backcountry hikes to some of the peaks from from the campsite. I was alone and wasn't prepared for that, but I'm sure you can do that from Tower too up the lamar valley and its also near 4 waterfalls and the Yellowstone Canyon.

    Old faithful is the tourist trap of Yellowstone. Some cool stuff to see, but I just spent a few hrs there...some of that was charging my laptop in the lodge lobby.

    If you go to the Tetons, there are good campgrounds there too. It rained and was low overcast, so I stayed only one night since it was a two week wait for clear skies. Consensus is Jenny Lake is the best place to stay, but you gotta get there seriously early. I stayed on the north end of Tetons...private tent sites and walk to the shore of the lake...nice view...restaurants and stuff there if you need it. Nothing to complain about, but I've read raving reviews of Jenny Lake.

    Recommendations: Bring warm clothes and rain gear. Weather changes fast and there is snow in places year round pretty much. Nights are cold. Bring a good camera and extra batteries/flash cards (or laptop to upload the photos). I'm sure you know the basics (matches/flashlight/hammer/knife/water etc). There is plenty of wildlife to see just pulling off the roads. Some people spend all their time trying to see one thing or another, but if you miss one, don't worry you will see more.

    There is a hike along the east road where you get to walk up to the fire lookout. You can see it from the main road and it must have a great view. I think its a 4-6 hr round trip. I kinda went on a whim and didn't plan one day to the next. I normally plan most stuff in advance, but I just packed my car and headed west wherever the road took me. I'm not sure I have ever done a more breathtaking drive. I have some pictures on my website to give you an idea. Its less than a 2 hr drive each way to the peak from tower (and they had road delays due to contruction in cooke city). You pass through Cooke city, which has some accomodations, restaurants etc. There is another place you might want to investigate hiking/camping. Its called Top of the world. I passed it and looked like a great place to stay (and off the beaten path...scenery easily rivals yellowstone, if not surpasses it). Be sure to check weather/road info before you go anywhere to be sure there are no road closures due to snow.

    The drive from Cody, WY is nice too and there is a Dam you can tour. Where will you fly into? Cody? Jackson? other? I want to go back. I'm jealous.
    It's a long drive from yellowstone 8-9hrs I think, but if you love hiking and backcountry you need to go to Glacier National Park in MT. Amazing trails and scenery! It's worthy of its own trip.


    http://www.2112photography.net/nationalparks
    some photos of places

    http://seekingthewesternpassage.blogspot.com/ I did a crappy blog too about my trip.
    Type 6w5 sp/so/sx I think..I have not fully explored this and just discovered it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ExAstrisSpes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    MBTI
    ENFJ
    Posts
    341

    Default

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and sharing your blog!

    I went to college in Montana, so I'm familiar with the summer weather idiosyncrasies (I've also driven up to Kalispell, and you're right that Glacier would be fun to do!). I plan to fly into Bozeman, rent a car, and then drop in through Gardiner. I'll have to look into Tower campground!

    I was planning on taking more backcountry hikes and stay at backcountry campsites to avoid the crowds. I have a map from their website, and I have one book, but I was thinking about getting "Exploring the Yellowstone Backcountry" by Orville Bach. It's supposed to be really good with regard to backcountry trails.

    Was it easy to get a campsite? They don't start handing out backcountry campsite reservations until April (although if you send in the application before that you get randomized with the other early applicants), and it seems quite a few campsites on Xterra are already booked through when I want to go.

    Were the general stores in the national park pricey? I was thinking we could pack our own food in, and then replenish when we got back to the road.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ScorpioINTP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    6-5
    Posts
    347

    Default

    You're welcome.

    I was there in early June and had no problem getting a campsite. I might have just been lucky? I'd say if you don't find one at first and drive around or swing back by (or talk to campers who might be leaving) and save a spot. I stayed in some remote town in Wyoming about an hr or less from Cody, so I got to Yellowstone before noon and I took my time. It was a few more hrs before I got to tower due to scenery stops and having no idea where I was going. I would say the earlier you can get to any campground the better your odds. Places like Zion NP fill up by 730am-9am at the latest. Tower is only like $12/nt.

    The general stores at the national parks are reasonably priced considering their locations. Gardiner had a small supermarket that I found to be quite cheap. I even got a 6-pack of good beer for $1!. Its a short drive from Mammoth Springs. I stocked up when I was in towns and only went to the general store for coffee in the am and ice cream in the evening. You are probably best to stock up on supplies in Bozeman or somewhere on the way in for the majority of your needs though.

    I would think you would have no problem getting a back country permit, esp if you can plan in advance. Oh and be sure to get a good sleeping bag as you probably know. I learned the hard way in the badlands. Tower is the smallest I think. Maybe 40 sites, if that. The others are quite large. There are lodges/cabins nearby too in Tower area and Mammoth.

    You can get more information and reviews about all this at http://www.tripadvisor.com. That is where I found info for all my trips (even campsites and trails).
    Type 6w5 sp/so/sx I think..I have not fully explored this and just discovered it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ExAstrisSpes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    MBTI
    ENFJ
    Posts
    341

    Default

    I didn't realize Zion was so popular! I used to live in that area and would go on day hikes there; never camping.

    I'll definitely keep Tower as a back-up plan in case my "backpack the backcountry" plan fails. Thanks for the tip!

    When I plan the trip I'll definitely try to figure out what I'll need in advance in order to limit the in-park sundry shopping I need to do. I'm getting so excited!

    Thank you also for the link; I've been having some difficulty finding reviews/recommendations for the backcountry trails. My dad has been pushing Blechler Creek, but I'm not sure if those site will be open when I'll be there.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ScorpioINTP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    6-5
    Posts
    347

    Default

    Yeah I wasn't aware Zion was popular either til I got there and had to camp outside the park for triple the NPS rate and it was like camping in a parking lot for a grateful dead concert, with lots of loud people up late and up early and no privacy. Didn't get much sleep, but got up early enough to find a good camping spot in the park. I nearly skipped Zion, but I am so glad I didn't. I was way better than I expected and I want to go back and explore more. The backcountry parts look amazing. Capital Reef was a nice surprise too.

    There used to be a good hiking guide on here.

    http://www.bootsnall.com/articles/06...e-wyoming.html

    But looks like the site has changed since I last visited...but search around...it looks a bit more commercial now than it was, but I thought there were hike reviews.
    Type 6w5 sp/so/sx I think..I have not fully explored this and just discovered it.

  7. #7
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    MBTI
    iSFj
    Enneagram
    2 sx/so
    Posts
    9,666

    Default

    I wanna go!

  8. #8
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    MBTI
    INtP
    Posts
    2,169

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Giggly View Post
    I wanna go!


    I've only been to Yellowstone once, and it was before the big fire in... what what is... '88 or so? We went in October, which if you're staying in a lodge anyway, is the time to go. No crowds... anywhere. But I don't know if I'd want to try camping then . A friend and I are contemplating doing something like that for our 40th birthdays this summer. Perhaps not Yellowstone, but perhaps .
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #9
    Courage is immortality Valiant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    MBTI
    ENTJ
    Enneagram
    8w7 sx/so
    Socionics
    EIE
    Posts
    3,919

    Default

    Wow! I really want to go to Yellowstone. Too bad it's such a long way from across the pond where i'm at.
    I will go some day, though. It's higher on my list than seeing even Rome or Constantinople (Istanbul).
    Being a Roman Empire freak, I think that communicates fairly well how badly I want to go hiking there :P

    Mightier than the tread of marching armies is the power of an idea whose time has come

  10. #10
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    6,052

    Default

    Wow! Sounds like an awesome trip! I hope to do that sometime.

    I've done solo and family trips in the backcountry/wilderness mountain areas in the Appalachians, but have never been out west.

    I could talk about backpacking, gear, and nature in general for hours, but I'll spare you the "talkative INTP" shock.

    To summarize gear: less is more. But, don't skimp on the basic essentials, which is everything you need to:

    Stay warm (or cool in intense heat)
    Get enough water without getting sick on contaminated water
    Get enough sleep to enjoy your trip and not get hurt from fatigue
    Enough food that you have the energy to enjoy the hike rather than survive it
    Gear and skills to make it back

    If you really enjoy yourself, omit that last one.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO