Backpacking in Yellowstone, Montana, Wyoming & More: Best Guided Hikes in the West

Yellowstone BackpackingYellowstone and Beyond: Big Wild Adventures offers fully outfitted guided backpacking in the most beautiful wilderness lands of the American West and Alaska. We offer backpacking tours in Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, Beartooths, Wind Rivers and many other areas in Montana, Wyoming and the desert Southwest, although we are best known for our Yellowstone backpacking trips. We also canoe the remote upper Missouri River in north-central Montana.

We are a family business, owned by Jesse Ford and David Ellis. Big Wild Adventures was founded by Howie Wolke. Howie, along with Marilyn Olsen, ran Big Wild Adventures for 41 years and we cannot thank them enough for their vision and guidance! Our guides are our “extended family”, and all share a deep love of wilderness, including the Yellowstone backcountry, and a commitment to share their knowledge with our clients.

Year 46!

Please note that we do not offer lodge-based day-hikes or vehicle-based road tours. We are a backpacking company. All of our guided hiking/trekking tours are multi-day wilderness adventures, backpacking (or canoeing) in a primitive environment, tent-camping in true wilderness! This means that everyone carries a backpack including tent, sleeping bag and a portion of the group food. We offer a real old-fashioned primitive wilderness experience!

 Guided Yellowstone BackpackingJust show up and leave all of the trip details to us. All advertised trip prices include our complete equipment package plus food (3 meals/day plus snacks), cooking gear, meal preparation, trip planning and taxes/user and entry fees, pre-trip safety instruction, transportation from town to and from trailheads, and the services of our expert guide/naturalist staff.

Once you sign up for a trip and receive confirmation, we guarantee that the trip will run, regardless of the number of folks who have signed up. We will not cancel your vacation plans!

Professional Hiking Guides

Big Wild guides are the best in the business with decades of wilderness leadership; they are not inexperienced young adults. Our guides are trained in wilderness medicine and emergency rescue procedures. They are great naturalists who enjoy sharing their knowledge of each area’s unique flora, fauna and geology; they are also glad to provide any desired instruction in wilderness skills.

Yellowstone Backpacking: Trekking in Paradise

We don’t just live next to Yellowstone National Park, we know the wonders of the expansive Yellowstone backcountry better than anyone! Though most tourists never venture far from their automobiles, our Yellowstone backpacking treks are in true wilderness. In fact, because much of Yellowstone is bordered by large protected national forest Wilderness Areas, Yellowstone’s back- country includes some of our country’s most remote wild lands south of Alaska. And the Yellowstone hiking terrain is so varied that each trip is radically different, a truly unique wild adventure. Join us on one of our guide/naturalist-led Yellowstone trips into the wild back-country of the world’s first national park.

Popular Yellowstone Guided Hikes

In our Yellowstone guided hiking, you will experience the real Yellowstone, including vast herds of elk and bison to wolves and bear in a spectacular land of wildflower-filled meadows and expansive forest beneath snow-covered mountains. Our Yellowstone guided hikes are second to none and include:  Northern Yellowstone Wildlife and Wildflower Extravaganza, The Lamar River Backcountry, Northeast Yellowstone Mellow Magic Mountain, Yellowstone Plateau Wild Off-Trail Trek, Northwest Yellowstone Gallatin Range, Southwest Yellowstone Bechler Waterfall Wonderland, Southern Yellowstone Late Summer Magic and Northern Yellowstone Autumn Splendor.

Unlike some other companies, our prices include entry fees to Yellowstone and all of our trip areas.

Big Wild Adventures has been authorized by the National Park Service for 46 years of Yellowstone backpacking. Our Yellowstone hikes are the best! And in addition to our Yellowstone guided tours, we also explore many other magnificent wild lands (including Montana backpacking and backpacking in Wyoming guided tours) throughout the American West and Alaska. If you wish to explore the real Yellowstone (its wild back-country), don’t settle for less!

We specialize in remote and off the beaten track! We do not view wilderness as an “outdoor gymnasium.” Instead, we provide the opportunity for a real old-fashioned wilderness experience. And a profound respect for wilderness-dependent life and land is fundamental to our operation, both on Yellowstone backpacking trips and all other adventures in the big wilds.

Wyoming BackpackingBig Wild Adventures Scheduled, Custom and Family Hiking Trips:

Scheduled Hiking Trips are generally for anybody at least 14 years of age – individuals, couples, groups of friends, parents/relatives with young adults – and provide a unique small group experience in some of the world’s most magnificent wilderness areas! There is a list of scheduled trips by region on the right side of every internal page of this website. View scheduled trips.

Custom and Family Backpacking Trips are a private wilderness experience with your group and our guide, and can be scheduled for any of our regular guiding areas. This includes our Yellowstone backpacking trips, backpacking in Montana and Wyoming backpacking and more. Remember, some areas are best enjoyed at certain times of the year. We can also run Custom and Family Trips in other areas, too. We’d love to suggest some great trip alternatives for your time slot! A Family trip is a great way to bond, and we love to get young people out into the wilds! Read more about our Custom and Family trips.

Utah Backpacking

Big Wild Adventures offers top notch Montana and Wyoming backpacking, Yellowstone guided hikes, and guided hikes in several other states including Alaska.

We supply state of the art equipment. Bring your own gear (backpack/rain-cover, lightweight day-pack, tent, sleeping bag & pad, cup/bowl/spoon) for a $300 discount. There’s also a $300 discount for a second trip in a calendar year.

No Prior Experience Is Necessary!

Commission available for travel agents.

Note: At Big Wild, we don’t need to purchase photos for our website. All photos on this website are taken by Big Wild Adventures owner, guides and founders.  Nearly all were taken while guiding Big Wild trips.

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Guided Yellowstone Backpacking

Guided Yellowstone Hiking Tours


“Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”– John Muir

The West’s #1 Trekking & Canoeing Wilderness Adventure Company For 45 Years!

As seen in…Our Guided Backpacking Expertise in West
As featured in Backpacker, Sierra, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, The New York Times, and more.

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View Trip Calendar

No company offers a wider variety of great treks, from north of the Arctic Circle to the Southwest deserts. Our trips include the following places:

Our trips are wild and remote, off the beaten track! We also emphasize safety and low-impact (leave no trace) wilderness travel.

How to Book A Trip

Simply complete this web form
or call (406) 823-0337.

A family business since 1978

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Member of the: Gardiner Chamber of Commerce

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