This trip is rated Vigorous (4). Participants will be carrying their own backpacks with weights of 35–40 lbs. over varied terrain and at altitude. We will backpack a total of approximately 30 miles over our four backpacking days; however, the number of miles per day will vary depending on the campsite locations for each given departure. Please make sure your backpack is fitted to your body before the trip.
Daily mileage and elevation may change.
This trip begins in Bozeman, Montana. We meet our backpacking companions in the early morning at our host hotel in Bozeman. After a gear check and brief orientation, we load our gear into the support vehicle for our three-hour drive to the trailhead. Our hike starts out with a visit to the Lonestar Geyser, the largest backcountry geyser in the park with a 40' eruption every three hours. We backpack along the Firehole River, passing an abundance of geysers, bubbling pools and potholes, crossing the Continental Divide before arriving at camp. Lunch and dinner included.
Backpacking: 3–10.5 miles depending on permitted campground location, Elevation gain: 500'
After a sound night's sleep and a hearty breakfast, we'll break camp and hit the trail! Today's goal is the headwaters of the Bechler River and into the heart of Bechler Canyon. After setting up camp near the riverside, we explore the valley's first remarkable geothermal feature, "Mr. Bubbles," a gorgeous series of hot springs. Bring your bathing suit as we have the opportunity to lounge in the natural hot baths. All meals included.
Backpacking: 4–10 miles depending on permitted campground location, Elevation gain/loss: +850'/-1,200'. Optional hike: 1 mile
Wake up to another hearty breakfast at the base of Bechler Canyon. We have a big day along the river, with two exciting river crossings. Be sure to bring along water shoes for this section if you would prefer to change out of your boots. We work together to carefully ford these two river beds and then enjoy the remarkable reward of two waterfalls, Colonnade and Iris Falls. We set up camp only five minutes away from these spectacular sights. All meals included.
Backpacking: 5–9 miles depending on permitted campground location, Elevation loss: 500'
Our final day includes a long, flat section of trail leading through the lower sections of the canyon. This section is characterized by massive boulder fields and acres of berry bushes where we can stop to forage. We expect to see an abundance of wildlife along our journey and hope to glimpse the Grand Tetons in the distance. Hiking through the beautiful Bechler meadows and forests of southwestern Yellowstone is a truly unforgettable backcountry experience. After returning to civilization at the Bechler Ranger station, we begin our drive back to Bozeman. We plan to arrive at the hotel between approximately 6–7pm where we will say our goodbyes. Flights may be booked for after 9pm. Breakfast and lunch included.
Backpacking: 7–10 miles depending on night three’s permitted campground location, Elevation loss: 250'/p>