Yellowstone Plateau Wild Off-Trail Trek

Wyoming $2,100 • August 28-September 2, 2023 (TRIP IS FULL)

Hot Spring HikersJust east of Canyon Village and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, central Yellowstone gradually rises up toward the Mirror Plateau, a landscape that some view as Yellowstone National Park’s wildest! This country is heavily forested with lots of lodgepole pine that escaped the 1988 wildfires, so it’s mostly old growth, relatively open and easy to walk through. Walking through it we will, as substantial portions of this trip will be off-trail, be away from virtually all other humans. This trip also has beautiful meadows, lakes, streams and big views across vast expanses. We’ll explore a remote seldom-visited thermal basin. Bison, grizzly and other typical Yellowstone wildlife species are abundant. Here is an opportunity to really get in touch with the wild side of Yellowstone National Park – and yourself. We rate this trip fairly strenuous/difficult due to the off-trail sections, even though the uphills are modest. The trip base is Bozeman, Montana.

We usually do a “lollipop loop”, beginning and ending at the Wapiti Lake trail-head just east of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The terrain is rolling and wild, with some of the most beautiful woods and vistas in the Yellowstone National Park region. Except for near the trail head, this is one of the wildest, least-visited areas of the park.

TREK BASE: Bozeman, MT. Comfort Inn, 1370 N. 7th Avenue, 59715; (406)587-2322. Motel has airport pickup. Meet in lobby.

MEETING TIME: Pre-trip orientation including food and gear handout plus safety talk at 6 PM the evening prior to day one of the trip at the Comfort Inn lobby.

TRANSPORTATION: Air service to Bozeman;  All clients are responsible for getting  themselves to and from the airport to the hotel. We suggest Uber or any local cab company.   Making those arrangements in advance is suggested

Pond LiliesTREK RATING: This trip is fairly strenuous, and substantial portions of the trek will be off-trail. About nine miles will be our longest day (mostly on trail), and there will usually be one layover day. Six or seven miles will be our maximum mileage for off-trail travel in one day. Most of the off-trail sections are through open forest with relatively little underbrush or across meadows and shallow streams, so the “bushwhacking” is relatively easy.

ELEVATIONS: 8,000 to 9,000 feet. Maximum one-day elevation gain with backpack is less than 1,000 feet.

WEATHER: Cool to cold nights with warm sunny days is the rule. Relatively brief afternoon thunderstorms are frequent, and at these elevations we must be prepared for any kind of weather and sudden changes, too.

FISHING: We don’t recommend fishing on this trek because fishy odors may attract bears.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Extensive old growth lodge-pole pine and spruce forest that escaped the 1988 infernos, as well as some smaller areas that did burn then. Big meadows. Hot springs and other thermal features. Tremendous solitude, because much of our route will be off-trail in truly wild wilderness! Summer wildflowers and big mammals are also in the area. Lakes and canyons.

Canyon StanSPECIAL TIPS: A lightweight set of binoculars will help you spot wildlife. A trekking pole or poles is very helpful when traveling off-trail. This is serious griz country; so don’t bring deodorant or anything else that smells good!

STATUS: The Yellowstone back-country is not yet designated as Wilderness, though park protections are in place.

ITINERARY: There will be one layover, and the usual trail-head is just east of Canyon Village and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Campsites are reserved in advance exclusively for our group, and the trail-head is about 2 hours and 45 minutes from Bozeman, MT.

Note: Mileages and vertical foot estimates are approximate because we vary the exact route from year to year based upon local area conditions.

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Space is limited!
Have questions? Call (406) 823-0337

Broad Creek Backpackers

 Bog Orchid on Yellowstone Backpack TripGrand Canyon Yellowstone

Lovely Lodgepoles


Two flower clients

Annual Trip Calendar

Scheduled Yellowstone National 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.

All Yellowstone Trips


Broad Creek, in Yellowstone National Park

List prices include our complete gear package and there is a $300 discount if you bring your own (see our Canoeing List, Backpacking List, and/or Questionnaire for details – found here). Also, we offer a $300 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.

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