Yellowstone Women’s Backpacking – Bechler River

Yellowstone Women’s Backpacking – Bechler River

Backcountry Shangri-La

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  • Activity Level: 4
  • Days: 4
  • Group Size: 4-10
  • Member price: from $1,149
  • Non-member price: from $1,274

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Brush up on wilderness basics, venture into the park and see Yellowstone’s largest backcountry geyser.

This trip begins in Bozeman, Montana. We meet our backpacking companions at 6:30am at our host hotel in Bozeman. Our female guides conduct a full orientation, providing invaluable tips about proper pack fitting, and discuss various other gear necessities with women’s considerations in mind. After a gear check, we jump in our waiting van for the three-hour drive to our trailhead in southwestern Yellowstone. Shortly after hitting the trail, we reach Lonestar Geyser, the largest backcountry geyser in the park, erupting every three hours. Backpacking along the Firehole River, we pass an abundance of geysers, bubbling pools and mudpots, and cross the Continental Divide before arriving at our first camp. Before dinner, our guides offer a primer on wilderness camping that covers subjects such as proper tent set-up in all conditions, sleeping comfort, backcountry bathroom etiquette and fire building. Lunch and dinner included.

Backpacking: 6-9 miles depending on permitted campground location; elevation gain: 500'. Transfer: 3 hours.

Day 2

Hike into the heart of the Bechler Valley, soak in a gorgeous series of wild hot springs, and camp near a waterfall.

After a peaceful night's sleep and a hearty breakfast, we break camp, don our packs, and set out for another full day of outdoor adventure. Hiking into the heart of the Bechler Valley and alternating between riverside and forest trails, our goal is to reach the headwaters of the Bechler River by mid-afternoon. After dropping our packs and setting up camp near Twister Falls, we take a short hike to one of the valley's most remarkable geothermal features, "Mr. Bubbles". This gorgeous series of hot springs invites us to climb in and soak away the day’s aches in a natural wilderness spa. A relaxing end to a memorable and fulfilling day of exploration. All meals included.

Backpacking: 6-8 miles depending on permitted campground location; elevation gain: 850'; elevation loss: 1,200'. Optional hot spring hike: 1 mile.

Day 3

Savor exhilarating river crossings and breathtaking waterfalls, camp near spectacular Colonnade Falls, and watch the sunset.

Wake up to a hot beverage and breath the fresh Rocky Mountain air. Our big hike today alongside and across the Bechler River includes two rivers crossings through thigh-deep, fast-moving water. Our guides help carry our packs and we work as a team to complete these exciting crossings (be sure to pack water shoes for this section if you prefer to change out of your boots). In reward of our efforts, we pass lovely Iris Falls before continuing on to our next and last campsite near Colonnade Falls. After making camp, a short hike to the falls is an option before dinner is served. As the sun sets, we relive the day’s adventures and relish our final evening in one of America’s most beloved national parks. All meals included.

Backpacking: 5-8 miles depending on permitted campground location; elevation loss: 500'.

Day 4

Hike through Bechler Canyon, forage acres of berry bushes, behold Grand Teton, and say farewell to new friends and Yellowstone herself.

Our final day of backpacking includes a long, flat stretch of trail leading through the lower sections of Bechler Canyon. This landscape is characterized by massive boulder fields, vast meadows, and acres of berry bushes where we can stop to forage. We navigate one final river crossing and, on clear days, enjoy views of Grand Teton before reaching the end of the trail near the Bechler Ranger Station. We plan to arrive back in Bozeman between 6-7pm this evening where we bid our newfound friends a fond farewell. Please do not schedule any departing flight prior to 8:30 pm. tonight. Breakfast and lunch included.

Backpacking: 7-9 miles depending on last night’s permitted campground location; elevation loss: 250'. Transfer: 3.5 hours.

Adventure Expert


Some of the best places in our national parks can only be reached by foot, and Yellowstone’s Bechler River is no exception. Backpack away from the crowds past dramatic geothermal features, waterfalls, and secluded valleys and savor a truly immersive wilderness experience.