Yellowstone Backpacking

The Yellowstone backcountry includes some of the most uniquely beautiful wild landscapes on Earth. Here is your chance to experience the real Yellowstone, a magnificent wilderness teeming with life and unbelievable thermal features! From wolf and bear to vast herds of elk to spectacular wildflower-filled meadows and expansive forests beneath snow-covered mountains, the Yellowstone hiking backcountry is second to none. Yellowstone backpacking means diversity. The Park has an amazing variety of landscapes, and because each trip visits a different area of the Park, each guided Yellowstone backpacking trip is a unique adventure, like no other. And because large protected national forest wilderness areas border much of the park, Yellowstone’s backcountry includes some of our most remote wildlands in the U.S. south of Alaska.

Our Guided Backpacking Treks

All of our Yellowstone treks are either in Montana, Wyoming or both. In addition to Yellowstone National Park, we also offer exciting Wyoming Backpacking treks in high mountain wilderness areas adjacent to the park, including top hiking destinations like the Grand Tetons, Absarokas, Wind Rivers and Gros Ventres, plus a variety of Montana backpacking treks, including the rugged Beartooths just Northeast of the Park. In spring and fall we also offer a variety of treks in the amazing Utah Canyon country, which is just as beautiful while being less crowded and a great alternative to Grand Canyon hikes.

Big Wild Adventures has been the leading Yellowstone backpacking guide service for over 3 decades. Nobody knows backpacking in Yellowstone better than we do. Big Wild owners Howie and Marilyn don’t just live next to Yellowstone, but they’ve lived, worked, hiked and played in and around Yellowstone since the early 1970’s. Their home/ office is just six miles from the Park. And, we have been a licensed Yellowstone backpacking guide/outfitter for over 35 years. Don’t settle for second best! Sign on now…

Please note that sometimes our Yellowstone National Park backpacking trips fill up, and we take trip reservations on a first-come, first-served basis. So don’t miss out!

To reserve your space, call 406-848-7000. We can’t wait to explore the wilds with you!


Northern Yellowstone Wildlife And Wildflower Extravaganza

Montana/Wyoming $1,900 (inclusive*) • June 15-20, 2015

Trip at a glance: This trip is rated as moderate and its base is in Gardiner, Montana. The varied scenery of this trip is absolutely wonderful as we will adventure through a green paradise of forest, meadows, sagebrush and endless spring wildflowers. We vary this route from year to year, primarily depending on the condition of the late-spring snow-pack in the higher terrain. Depending on conditions, some of the areas we typically visit include the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Hellroaring Creek, Coyote Creek and the Buffalo Plateau. We often see a lot of wildlife on this trip as it is in the spring when the critters haven’t yet moved to the still snow-covered alpine summer ranges. It really is true wilderness as soon as we leave the trailhead! View more trip details >>

North Yellowstone Backpacking Tours Yellowstone River - Hiking Trips


Yellowstone’s Lamar River Backcountry
(Great Yellowstone Guided Hikes)

Wyoming $1,750 (inclusive*) • June 30-July 4, 2015

Trip at a glance: This trip is rated as moderate and its base is Gardiner, Montana. We will explore our way through the Lamar River backcountry in Yellowstone. This river has cut beautiful valleys through the mountains and plateaus. Sometimes called “North America’s Serengeti”, the area we backpack through is usually great for viewing wildlife. Bison, elk, pronghorn, mule deer and bear are just some of the animals you may see on this trip. This is also the area where wolves were introduced to Yellowstone in 1995. If we are lucky, we may even see or hear one! These Yellowstone backpacking tours will take you to the headwaters of the Lamar, cross an Absaroka Mountain pass, and end near Yellowstone Lake. The landscape includes meadows saturated with wildflowers, extensive forest, rocky towering peaks, and crystal clear cold streams that contain an abundance of fish. View full trip details >>

Resting Backpacker on Guided Backpacking Trip in Yellowstone Pelican Valley Yellowstone Backcountry Trips


Central Yellowstone Wild Off-trail Trek

Wyoming $1,850 (inclusive*) • July 27-August 1, 2015

Trip at a glance: This trip is rated as strenuous and its base is Gardiner, Montana. What makes this off-trail trek fairly strenuous? The off-trail portion! This is great because we get to be far away from virtually all other humans. This trek adventures in central Yellowstone, just east of Canyon Village and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Central Yellowstone gradually rises up toward the Mirror Plateau, a landscape that some view as the wildest of Yellowstone. Scenery of this trip includes a lot of old growth lodgepole pine, lovely meadows, lakes, cool streams and thermal features. Wildlife in this area is abundant including bison, grizzly and other wildlife species. This is a great Yellowstone backpacking trip if you’re seeking to get in touch with the wilder side of nature, and yourself! View full trip details >>

Wapiti Lake in Yellowstone Upper Broad Creek


Northwest Yellowstone’s Gorgeous Gallatin Range

Montana/Wyoming, 2 Departures: July 19-24, 2015: $1,900 (moderate)
and THE MELLOW GALLATINS July 13-17, 2015 $1,750 (easy)  (prices inclusive*)

Trip at a glance: This trip is rated as moderate (easy for the mellow version) and its base is Bozeman, Montana. These trips adventure around in the far northwest corner of Yellowstone. This corner is a mountainous wilderness of towering peaks, open vistas, lush woods, beautiful verdant meadows, cold lakes, and crystal clear mountain streams. These Yellowstone backcountry trips are just breathtakingly beautiful. Wildlife habitat is excellent and we may see elk, deer, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and maybe even a black bear or grizzly bear. Trail gradients are moderate despite traversing mountainous terrain. We have a number of specific routes to choose from and depending on the route we take, some of the place names we may travel to include Specimen Creek, High Lake, Sportsman’s Lake, Electric Pass, Bighorn Peak, Crescent Lake, Black Butte Creek and more. View full trip details >>

Electric Peak Dailey Pass Gal


Northeast Yellowstone’s Mellow Mountain Magic

Wyoming/Montana $1,750 (inclusive*) • August 3-7, 2015

Trip at a glance: This trip is rated as moderately easy and its base is Gardiner, Montana. We spend our time during this trip in the mountainous northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park. It is a great way to experience a beautiful high mountain and valley area on a mellow trail with only a few modest hills.  Wildlife  includes wolves, bear, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, moose and more. We almost always see some large mammals. The scenery along this hike includes high towering peaks, woods, meadows and cool streams. Summer wildflowers are always in stock. Whoever you are, even if you are a beginner or an old fart, you will enjoy exploring the stunning wilderness on this relatively easy trek. View full trip details >>

Baronette Peak Upper Pebble


Southwest Yellowstone’s Bechler Waterfall Wonderland

Wyoming, 2 Departures:  August 10-15 2015: $1,900  and   September 6-12 2015: $1,950    (prices inclusive*)

Trip at a glance: This trip is rated as moderate and its base is Bozeman, Montana. This trekking adventure has it all: huge meadows, old-growth forests, big rivers, breathtaking mountain views, pine and spruce-covered plateaus, hot springs, the largest wilderness lake in the continuous U.S, and the greatest variety of large waterfalls that you have ever seen! Summer trips include warm weather and lots of wildflowers. By early fall, the mosquitoes are gone, morning frost is typical and fall colors are unbelievably vibrant. The hike is relatively gentle and the trails are well-maintained. There is even a mid-trip opportunity to soak and cleanse in one of the best backcountry hot springs on this planet! Come and join us on this Yellowstone backpacking adventure! View full trip details >>

Shoshone Geyser Basin Iris Falls


Southern Yellowstone’s Late Summer Magic

Wyoming $1,750 (inclusive*) • August 24-28, 2015

Trip at a glance: This trip is rated as moderate and its base is Gardiner, Montana. If you are looking for a variety of beauty, this trip has it all. You will trek through a land of large meadows, wilderness rivers, blue lakes, towering mountains, plateaus, thermal features and open forests of lodgepole pine. Most of the mosquitoes are gone by this time, there may be a tingle of frost in the air and bull elk are just beginning to bugle. Some of the wildlife you may see on this Yellowstone backpacking trip includes wolves, bears, moose, sandhill cranes and more. We usually get to take a dip in the hot springs as well. This is wild Yellowstone at its best! View full trip details >>

Heart Lake, Mt Basin Creek

Please click on photos to enlarge.

*All trip prices include equipment (backpack, day-pack, tent, sleeping bag and pad, cup/bowl/spoon), food and cooking (3 meals/day plus snacks), cooking gear, trip planning, comprehensive safety instruction, all user/permit fees, transportation from town to and from the trailheads, and our professional guide/naturalist staff. There is a $250 discount if you bring your own equipment. Be sure to review our Yellowstone backpacking gear checklist prior to embarking.

Learn More About Big Wild

Annual Trip Calendar

Scheduled Yellowstone Park Trips

At the links below, we’ve listed details about our Yellowstone hiking and backpacking trips plus other treks in Wyoming & Montana. When backpacking in Yellowstone Park with us, you will be in either Wyoming, Montana or both.

Yellowstone Backpacking

Broad Creek, in Yellowstone National Park

List prices include our complete gear package and there is a $250 discount if you bring your own (see Canoeing ListBackpacking List, and/or
Questionnaire for details). Also, we offer a $250 discount for the second trip in a calendar year. Scheduled trips are for persons ages 14 and over. Exceptions to the age requirement will be made by us on a case-by-case basis.