Yellowstone Women's Backpacking – Black Canyon

Trip Length 4 Days
Group Size 4–8
Activity level
Starting from
$1,249 for REI Members
$1,369 for non-members
Departures Jun 2021-Sep 2021

Explore the untamed wilderness of Yellowstone National Park’s Black Canyon on this 4-day backpacking adventure designed for—and guided by—women.

Originating in the high peaks of the Rockies, the Yellowstone River flows into Yellowstone National Park before winding its way through Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota, ultimately joining with the Missouri River almost 700 miles away. On this women's backcountry escape, we explore Yellowstone’s Black Canyon, carved by the Yellowstone River and filled with cascading waterfalls, vast rolling meadows and abundant wildlife.

Carrying all we need in our packs, we quickly leave the tourist crowds behind and savor the tranquility and solitude of the Rocky Mountain wilderness. Backpacking five to eight miles each day, we enjoy every step of our journey from camp to camp, keeping our eyes peeled for bison, elk, moose and bear. Guided down the trail by exceptional women, our guides share tips on backpacking and wilderness travel while enlightening us about this magnificent park’s natural history. An amazing adventure from beginning to end, let us show you the wonders of the world’s first national park.

Looking for other options in Yellowstone? Check out our Bechler River Women's Backpacking trip.

Open trip gallery
See all trip photos

Trip Highlights

  • An immersive backpacking exploration of Yellowstone National Park’s Black Canyon
  • Exceptional guides share tips on backpacking techniques, wilderness travel and gear
  • Tranquil wilderness camping, with many campsites on the banks of the Yellowstone River
  • Learn about the natural history, ecology and geology of our first national park
  • Roundtrip ground transportation from/to Bozeman, MT included
  • REI Women’s Adventure—designed for women, guided by women

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate Plus [3-4]. Participants will be carrying their own backpacks with weights of 35–40 lbs. over varied terrain and at altitude. Please make sure your backpack is fitted to your body before the trip. Trip members need to be in good physical condition.

To maximize your enjoyment of the trip, we strongly encourage you to take up a training regimen beforehand. Day hiking with a pack and making sure your hiking boots are broken in before your trip is key. Cycling, running, walking and weight training are also good conditioners for this type of outing. The better shape you are in, the more you’ll enjoy all that Yellowstone National Park has to offer.

  • Backpacking

What's Included

Round-trip ground transportation from/to Bozeman, MT; professional instruction and guiding; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; 2-person tents; group cooking gear; group first aid kit, water filter; campsite and permit fees; park entrance fees; shuttles between meeting points and trailheads.

Accommodations

Backcountry camping, 3 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Route Variation

This itinerary is subject to permit availability.

Daily mileage and elevation may change.

Day 1

Meet in Bozeman for orientation and transfer to Yellowstone National Park

This trip begins at our host hotel in Bozeman, Montana. We meet our backpacking companions at 8am and, after a gear check and brief orientation, we jump into our van and set out for the two-hour drive to magnificent Yellowstone National Park. After a quick stop at the Albright Visitor Center, we continue on to the Hellroaring Creek Trailhead where our adventure begins in earnest. Descending 500 feet to the Yellowstone River, we breathe in the fresh mountain air as we make our way to tonight’s campsite, where we enjoy a tasty camp dinner and our first views of the Black Canyon. Lunch and dinner included.

Backpacking: 6–8 miles, Elevation loss: -750'; Van transfer: 2 hours

Day 2

Watch for wildlife and navigate creek crossings en route to our next camp

After breakfast, we break camp and continue backpacking downriver. Today’s hike leads us along the north bank of the Yellowstone River on a well-maintained trail with a relatively gentle grade. We navigate a few short creek crossings on our way to our next camp, arriving early enough to drop our packs, pitch our tents, and head out on an afternoon exploratory hike of the surrounding wilderness. This section of the Black Canyon generally offers a chance to observe Yellowstone’s abundant wildlife including elk, bison, coyotes, moose, deer and an occasional bear. After dinner this evening, we slip into our cozy tents and fall asleep to the relaxing sounds of the nearby riversong. We spend tonight and tomorrow night at the same campsite, allowing us to hike tomorrow without our full backpacks. All meals included.

Backpacking: 5–7 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +350’ / -600'

Day 3

Head out on a day hike, go fishing, or relax in camp

Today is a layover day, providing us with the opportunity to really soak up the Yellowstone backcountry in any way that suits us. We have the option of relaxing in camp, trying our hand at fishing (plan to bring your own fishing gear), or exploring downstream on a day hike to Knowles Falls. Fantastic views of the Yellowstone River—the longest undammed river in the Lower 48—greet us as we immerse ourselves in the beauty of the surrounding wilderness. Our guides are standing by to answer any questions that come to mind about the national park and its fascinating natural history. Tonight, we relish one final evening in the wilderness with our backpacking companions under the vast Rocky Mountain sky. All meals included.

Optional hiking: 5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,000’ / -1,000'

Day 4

Backpack along Eagle Creek and savor final views of the Yellowstone landscape

We pack up our camp this morning and set out on our upstream hike along Eagle Creek, en route back to the trailhead. The trail ascends sharply, passing a picturesque waterfall before leveling off in a beautiful valley of huge meadows and isolated stands of trees. Now out of the canyon, our views open up and more of Yellowstone’s high-country landscapes materialize before our eyes. Finally back at the trailhead this afternoon, our van awaits to transport us back to Bozeman. We expect to arrive back at our Bozeman host hotel between 3–4pm. Breakfast and lunch included.

Backpacking: 4–5 miles, Elevation gain: +1,000'; Van transfer: 2 hours

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary—this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.