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Yellowstone National Park, WY

Two Week Trip

Aug 1 - Aug 13, 2020 -- $1950 ★★★

This is the section of the website that attempts to describe the magnitude of Yellowstone National Park in order to convince you that it's a destination you should visit with us. If you just Google it, you will be overwhelmed by videos, websites and images about the Park, its geysers, grizzly bears, thundering rivers, big skies and ubiquitous bison.


Our trek begins in a thermal region in the middle of the park just North of Old Faithful. We will begin hiking at a place called Fountain Flats (note: primarily flat hiking) and head over towards Fairy Falls. On our 3rd day, we arrive at Old Faithful. We'll wait for it to erupt, have lunch and then leave the crowds behind for the last time, proceeding on to traverse the wonderful and remote Southwest portion of the park, the Bechler River area that features many wonderful waterfalls. We'll ford some (cold) rivers and visit some hot springs and thermal areas along the way. Eventually, we'll work our way back to the park road across the otherwordly Pitchstone Plateau having traversed 85 miles through the wilderness.



Weather

Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Expect daytime hiking temperatures in the 60s & 70s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s & 50s. While there is typically not much rain, it can happen at any time along with violent thunder and lightning. There was a hailstorm in 2019 on the first night. Here is the historical August weather.



Trip Leaders

Danielle Piscatelli
Julie Quibodeaux


Cost

$1950 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with another participant during the hotel nights. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Jackson Hole, personal equipment, restaurant meals eaten off the trail and any gratuities for guides.


Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, backcountry fees, 10 days of trail meals, ground transportation, National Park Permits, National Park entrance fees, insurance, and 2 awesome guides.



Difficulty

The trails through Yellowstone National Park are well groomed with good footing and moderate elevation gain and loss (although it may not seem like that while hiking). The mileages are moderate and there will be plenty of daylight which gives us lots of time to complete our daily mileage and relax in camp.


Please be aware that we will have to ford rivers (some cold and/or deep), so make sure to bring sturdy camp shoes and trekking poles to help you cross these rivers without issue. Crocs can work but are not recommended for this particular trip.



Important Notes


Because of the limited availability and high cost of hotel rooms in Jackson, a single supplement is not available for this trip. You will be sharing a hotel room with 1 or 2 others.


If you would like to fish, there will probably be time at some campsites to do so. However, you must purchase a Yellowstone fishing license from the ranger station (Wyoming license not necessary). Fatpacking does not have a fishing guide permit so you will be doing so on your own.



Fatpacking prohibits firearms on this (and all) trips. This is not only our requirement but also a requirement of Yellowstone National Park. However, you may bring bear spray (pepper spray) as there are both black bears and grizzly bears in the park. You will not be able to fly with bear spray however. You can buy or rent it in Jackson


Fatpacking has a commercial permit to operate in Yellowstone National Park.


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Packing List
Itinerary
Weather
Guides for this trip
Cost
Important Note
Difficulty (Please Read)
Packing List
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Itinerary


Saturday, August 1, 2020

Drive or fly into Jackson Hole Airport (JAC). The best time to arrive is between around Noon-3PM. However, flights are limited so do the best you can.


Text or call us and we will pick you up at the airport and bring you to our local hotel (TBD)


Equipment shakedown


Trail mix distribution


"Before" measurements taken


Go to Teton Mountaineering, 170 N Cache Dr, Jackson, WY 83001, (307) 733-3595 for last minute or forgotten equipment. Please note, there are several other fine options in town to buy or rent gear.


Go out for a group dinner (not included in trip cost)




Sunday, August 2, 2020

Second set of "before" measurements taken


All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and put in storage.


Free Hotel Breakfast or we will provide a continental breakfast


Shuttle to Yellowstone National Park (about 1.5 hours)


Pickup backcountry permits at Ranger Station and watch a park video required for backcountry travel


Shuttle to Fountain Flat Drive, Trailhead OK6, elevation 7150'.


Begin Hiking, elevation 7150'.


Hike 0.4 miles on the Fairy Falls Trail, elevation 7150'


Turn right and hike 3.0 miles on the Sentinal Meadows Trail and Imperial Meadows Trails, elevation 7150'


Turn right and hike 1.5 miles on the Fairy Falls Trail to campsite OD4, elevation 7200'


Camp at campsite OD4 (Imperial Meadows), elevation 7200'


Miles today: 4.9. Total miles: 4.9


Possible Bailout: Grand Loop Rd.


Monday, August 3, 2020

Hike 0.6 flat miles on the Fairy Falls Trail, elevation 7200'


Hike 2.8 flat miles on the Fairy Falls Trail, past Fairy Falls (we'll stop there of course) to the Fairy Falls Trailhead, OK5, elevation 7250'


Along the way to the Fairy Falls Trailhead, hike 0.2 miles to the Grand Prismatic Viewpoint

At the Fairy Falls Trailhead, you can dip in the water where a thermal feature empties into the Firehole River

Hike 5.2 mostly uphill miles via Mallard Creek Trailhead OK5 to Mallard Lake, elevation 8100'


Camp at 2 campsites OB2 & OB3 (Mallard Lake), elevation 8100'.


Miles today: 8.8. Total miles: 13.7


Possible bailout: Grand Loop Road


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Hike 3.1 miles on the Mallard Lake Trail, to Old Faithful, elevation 7400'.


Wait around until Old Faithful does its thing. Eat lunch while waiting or afterwards depending upon the timing of the geyser.


Old Faithful will be packed with people. There are numerous frontcountry distractions including flush toilets, visitor's center, gift shop, restaurants and throngs of people so we will spend an hour here.


Somehow assemble and hike 0.5 miles through the Old Faithful complex to the Howard Eaton Trailhead OK2, elevation 7400'. This will be one the trip's greatest logistical challenges.


Hike 2.9 miles on the Howard Eaton Trail, campsite OA1, elevation 7650'.


Camp at Campsite OA1 (Lone Star), elevation 7650'


Day-Hike 1.0 miles to Lone Star Geyser. Lone Star Geyser erupts about every 3 hours. In 2019, we timed it perfectly but who knows if we will be so lucky this year.


Miles today: 7.5. Total miles: 21.2


Possible bailout: Old Faithful.


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Hike 3.8 miles on the Shoshone Lake Trail to the Bechler River trail, elevation 7900'.


Hike 4.0 miles on the Bechler River trail to campsite 9D3, elevation 8150'.


Camp at Campsite 9D3 (Douglas Knob Meadow), elevation 8150'


Miles today: 7.8. Total miles: 29.0


Possible bailout: Old Faithful


Thursday, August 6, 2020

Hike 3.1 miles (stop to see Twister Falls along the way) on the Bechler River Trail to a spur trail, elevation 7300'


Drop packs near a hitching post and day-hike 1.0 round trip miles to Mr. Bubbles, an amazing thermal area and natural hot tub big enough for the entire group to soak, elevation 7500'. Do not miss this!


Have lunch at Mr. Bubbles


Shortly after putting packs back on, view Ragged Falls. Then cross the Bechler River on a precarious log bridge


Hike 1.0 downhill miles on the Bechler River Trail to Campsite 9B9.


Drop packs and day-hike 0.3 round trip miles to see the Batchelder Column (although the waterfall behind it is more spectacular)


Hike 2.7 downhill miles on the Bechler River Trail to Campsite 9B6, elevation 6600'


Camp at campsite 9B6 (Lower Ford), elevation 6600'


Miles today: 8.1. Total miles: 37.1


Possible bailout: 2 days away.


Friday, August 7, 2020

Hike 1.0 miles on the Bechler River Trail to Iris Falls


Hike 0.3 miles on the Bechler River Trail to a spur trail to Colonnade Falls


Hike 0.3 round trip miles on the Spur Trail to Colonnade Falls


Hike 3.1 miles on the Bechler River Trail to the Bechler Meadows Trail, elevation 6400'


Ford the Bechler River


Hike 0.6 miles on the Bechler Meadows Trail to the Bechler Meadows Cutoff Trail, elevation 6400'


Hike 1.9 miles on the Bechler Meadows Cutoff Trail to the Boundary Creek Trail, elevation 6400'


Hike 1.6 miles on the Boundary Creek Trail to campsite 9A3, elevation 6650'


There are hot springs nearby! (Less than half a mile)

Camp at campsite 9A3 (Dunanda Falls), elevation 6650'


At 308', Dunanda Falls is the highest waterfall in Yellowstone National Park. There is supposedly a hot spring / thermal feature at its base where you can soak in relatively warm water and have a 300' cascade falling on you. In order to get there, you must go downhill from the campsite to the river (which you'll have to do to get water anyway). Cross the river and walk about 0.2 miles on a social trail to get to the base of Dunanda Falls. The pool is somewhere at the base of the falls.

Miles today: 9.2. Total miles: 46.3


Possible bailout: Two days distant from here


Saturday, August 8, 2020

Hike 3.0 miles on the Boundary Creek Trail, elevation 6400'


Ford Boundary Creek


Hike 3.4 miles on the Boundary Creek Trail to the Bechler Meadows Trail, elevation 6400'


Hike 1.7 miles on the Bechler Meadows Trail to the Bechler River Trail, elevation 6400'


Hike 0.8 miles on the Bechler River Trail to campsite 9C1


Camp at Campsite 9C1 (Rocky Ford), elevation 6400'


Miles today: 8.9. Total miles: 55.2


Possible bailout: Bechler Ranger Station


Sunday, August 9, 2020

About a quarter mile from camp we Ford the Bechler River


Hike 1.0 miles on the Bechler River Trail to the Mountain Ash Creek Trail, elevation 6400'


Hike 2.8 miles on the Mountain Ash Creek Trail to Campsite 9U1, elevation 6450'


Hike 2.8 miles on the Mountain Ash Creek Trail to Campsite 9U4, elevation 6600'


Day-Hike 5.0 round-trip miles to Union Falls, elevation 6750'


Camp at Campsite 9U4 (Union Falls), elevation 6600'


Miles today: 11.6. Total miles: 66.8


Possible bailout: Fish Lake Trailhead


Monday, August 10, 2020

Today is a short day. Plenty of time in camp to rest-up / wash up in anticipation of a long day tomorrow


Hike 4.5 miles on the Mountain Ash Creek Trail to campsite 9F2, elevation 7100'


Camp at campsite 9F2 (Upper Falls River) elevation 7100'


Miles today: 4.5. Total miles: 71.3


Possible bailout: Cascade Creek Trailhead


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Hike 11.1 miles on the Pitchstone Plateau Trail to campsites 8P1 & 8P2, elevation 8450'.


This seldom-used trail is marked by cairns and is very difficult to find in places where fires have burned through leaving blowdowns. With good route finding skills, perseverance and possibly a GPS the trail is eminently navigable, if frustrating at times.


Camp at campsites 8P1 & 8P2 (Phantom Campsite) elevation 8450'


Miles today: 11.1. Total miles: 82.4


Possible bailout: Cascade Creek Trailhead


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Hike 5.5 mostly downhill miles on the Pitchstone Plateau Trail to Phantom / Pitchstone Trailhead 8K4, elevation 7700'


Miles today: 5.5. Total miles: 87.9


End of hiking


Shuttle back to Jackson Hole. Check back into local hotel (TBD)


Your stuff will either be here or be transported here shortly after we arrive


After measurements taken


Dinner (not included in trip cost) and awards Ceremony


This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Our shuttle will make one trip to the airport early in the morning around 5:00AM or 5:30AM. If you have a later flight and don't want to wake up early in the morning, please make your own arrangements to get to the airport.


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