Yellowstone Backpacking and Wildfire Ecology, Part Four

Our wide variety of guided Yellowstone backpack trips explore a tremendous variety of wild Yellowstone landscapes, including recently burned areas, shady old growth forest and all stages of forest development in between!

For example, the June Northern Yellowstone Wildlife and Wildflower Extravaganza explores a varied mix of wide open meadow and open Douglas-fir woodlands with a smattering of aspen and spruce. But on our autumn northern Yellowstone trip, we get into higher terrain where areas that burned in 1988 are growing back with a lush mix of lodgepole pine, quaking aspen and Engelmann spruce.

The Lamar backcountry trek is a study in lodgepole pine ecology, with large areas of dense young forest dating back to the ’88 wildfires. The Gallatin Range trek is a splendid mix of post fire lodgepole plus old growth spruce-fir forest and old growth lodgepole, too, interspersed with spectacular wildflower meadows! The Southern Yellowstone Heart Lake Backcountry is a similar mix of post-fire and old growth woods, while our Bechler Waterfall Wonderland treks are mostly through old growth forest interspersed with huge meadows. These treks include just a tiny post wildfire area along the edge of the 1988 burns. Similarly, our Yellowstone Plateau Off-Trail backpacking adventures include minimal young post-fire forest and large areas of old growth lodgepole pine on the rhyolite plateau, interspersed with lush stream-side meadows.

In other words, each of our guided Yellowstone backpack treks is a unique trek into a tremendously varied landscape with widely varying forest types in infinitely varying stages of ecological succession, all shaped by the inexorable force of natural lightening-ignited wildfires that help to create the unmatched landscape diversity that one experiences when venturing into the wild and beautiful Yellowstone backcountry!

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