This trip begins in Bozeman, Montana. We meet our backpacking companions at 8am at our host hotel in Bozeman. ? After a gear check and brief orientation, we load our gear and drive about two hours to the trailhead. Plan on adding five to ten pounds of shared, group gear to your pack. Our hike begins at the Specimen Creek Trailhead at 7,000 ft in the scenic Gallatin River Valley that roughly defines the park's northwestern boundary. The trailhead is our lowest elevation of the trip as we trek up to the crest in search of stunning mountain vistas. We end our day at a beautiful camp in the meadows along the shores of Specimen Creek. Lunch and dinner included.
Backpacking: 6 miles, Elevation gain: 1,000'
After a casual morning we continue following Specimen Creek upstream through beautiful meadows and majestic stands of spruce and fir until finally we arrive at Gallatin Crest. A short distance to the north along the trail we arrive at High Lake. The lake is nestled among subalpine meadows and will be our campsite for the night. Once camp is made the group will have the option of swimming in the lake or taking a short hike for views of Electric Peak. All meals included.
Backpacking: 4 miles, Elevation gain: 850'
Shortly out of camp we reach the ridgeline and have tremendous views of Paradise Valley to the east. We'll hike through moss-covered lodgepole pines, high alpine meadows and across cascading creeks until we reach the stunningly beautiful Crescent Lake for lunch and a midday swim. Keep an eye on the cliffs above for mountain goat sightings. After lunch we continue on to Shelf Lake, the trip's highest point at 9,200 ft above sea level. Once camp is made, we hike up to the most dramatic part of the crest for views of the Madison Range to the west with an opportunity to see bighorn sheep. Sunsets here are a sight to behold. All meals included.
Backpacking: 8 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,400/-1,000; Optional hike: 1?2 miles
Our final day is a long descent of the north fork of Specimen Creek to its junction with the main. The trail descends sharply from Shelf Lake into thick and beautiful stands of spruce and fir. Specimen Creek grows rapidly as we descend and soon we are in the beautiful lower meadows that we hiked through on the first day. A final, mostly level two miles bring us to the trailhead. We plan to be back at the hotel between 4?5pm. Breakfast and lunch included.
Backpacking: 8 miles, Elevation loss: 2,250'