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feldychi
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PostSun Feb 07, 2021 6:08 pm 
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Hello,

My partner and I are looking for a 5-6 day backpack in Yellowstone in the back country in early September. We are experienced backpackers in the Pacific NW although have not ever backpacked in Yellowstone or the surrounding areas.

We are hoping for something that will get us back and away from the crowds and can do mileage and elevation. Would love to get to some higher basins/lakes/meadows and see some of the natural geologic features and wildlife.

I am looking for suggestions if you have any. I understand the permit system is a lottery so am also looking for other suggestions in the surrounding area (Absarokas/Beartooth Wilderness) in case we can't get a permit.

Thanks in advance for suggestions,
Carrie
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Eric Hansen
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PostSun Feb 07, 2021 8:21 pm 
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Not experienced BPing in the park but I have done many trips in the Beartooths (NE of park) and they are fabulous. They are pretty high though. Good to have a plan B, and I would suggest a lower elevation one as well as a "no permit" one. Lower elevation with an eye toward early Sept. possibly getting raw at higher elevation. We've bailed from the Beartooths to the canyons on the west side of the Bighorns before and would gladly return. That might pull you further drive from Pacific NW though. Good luck.

Edit. I'll add several NOAA weather URL's I find useful for trip planning, and scoping Plan B factors.

http://wxmaps.org/pix/temp1
http://wxmaps.org/pix/prec1
https://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/qpf2.shtml
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feldychi
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PostSun Feb 07, 2021 9:49 pm 
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Thanks so much Eric. Yes, the Beartooths are a likely Plan B for sure...
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Malachai Constant
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PostSun Feb 07, 2021 10:08 pm 
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We did a backpacking trip there with our kids in the early 00s. We went from Old Faithful area to Shoshone lake and visited a wilderness hypothermal area and hot spring. We saw considerable wildlife including a harem of moose. The rangers strictly limited numbers and camping was only at designated sites. We had to attend a bear orientation which was scary to the kids. It was a fun trip. The regulations were complex. The Yellowstone backcountry is not spectacular but has a lot of large mammals. We also nicked in the Tetons which is spectacular. It is not so regulated as Yellowstone especially if you enter from the Idaho side. This provides a very different view of the peaks as compared to that from Jackson Hole. There are Grizz and the rangers recommend carrying bear spray.

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uww
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PostSun Feb 07, 2021 10:15 pm 
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My main contribution (that you likely already know) would be that the Yellowstone River is probably not what you are looking for. We had a great time and I would not hesitate to recommend it, but it's too short/flat and you have to create your own challenges. That was my first time in the park and it was amazing. I'd look at the canyon area. I'm glad we added in a tourist day to rapid fire hit the highlights- It would probably not be too terrible to string a couple of short ones in different areas if you are open to that.

We drove through Beartooth pass- which along with the road out of the park in that direction is a must see- and if you want alpine it sure looks like it would deliver.
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feldychi
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PostSun Feb 07, 2021 10:27 pm 
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Thank you so much!
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Songs2
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PostMon Feb 08, 2021 4:46 am 
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May I introduce you to Joey Coconato and his YouTube channel:
MyOwnFrontier

Joey does numerous multi-day backpacking trips--this is essentially his occupation--either solo or with friends. He has several good ones for Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, including the Thorofare (which is flat, following the historical traders' route into and out of the park, so would not meet your elevation-gain interest, but is in remotest area of the park). You may also find ideas for Montana and Idaho.

Please keep in mind that Yellowstone caldera is at 9200 feet and Yellowstone Lake is at 8100 feet already, per Wikipedia.

Echoing others, I would suggest expanding the search area to nearby areas, such as Beartooth-Absaroka and southern Winds (the "backside" of Cirque of the Winds, many fewer people).

Adding here: One way to figure out a route is to look at what the guide services call adventure backpacking, which routes they post on their websites. The itinerary is usually carefully spelled out, day by day, including elevation gain and features of interest. That can be a starting point for putting together your own adventure.

Finally, the rangers may close any trail at any time for bear activity.

Good luck!
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silence
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PostMon Feb 08, 2021 7:01 am 
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Back in late Sept-early Oct, 2018 we did a road trip/car camp to Yellowstone. On our last day we drove thru Lamar Valley. We stopped at a busy parking area which just happened to be the trailhead for the Lamar River trail and beyond. We talked with 2 backpackers who had just returned from a multi-day trip (probably an out and back since they only had one car). I just did a little research and found links to where they may have gone. BTW it snowed the next day.

Lamar River trailhead, Oct 1, 2018. The trail winds left around the bend.

https://wildlandtrekking.com/blog/lamar-river-trail/

https://www.backpacker.com/stories/secret-hikes-yellowstone-national-park/

Here's another idea but looks shorter ... drive a little further up the road to the Pebble Creek Campground and start a trip from there
https://www.backpacker.com/trips/hike-yellowstones-wild-side/

Here's a link to the Park's Backcountry Trip Planner
https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/upload/bctrip-planner_2019-optimized-2.pdf

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feldychi
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PostMon Feb 08, 2021 7:37 am 
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Thank you for all of the great suggestions everyone. I also ordered a book and will be starting more thorough research this week. Really appreciate all of the ideas.

Thanks,
Carrie
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Songs2
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PostMon Feb 08, 2021 9:30 am 
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Not to belabor a point too much, but if coming from, say, sea level to about 3,000-4,000 ft, I would build in a couple of days of acclimation to higher altitude.
Something I picked up from BoostOxygen.com:

Quote:
--8,000 feet (Aspen, Vail, Park City, Jackson Hole, etc), there is approximately 29% less effective Oxygen in the atmosphere.
--10,000 feet (Breckenridge, CO) there is approximately 33% less effective Oxygen in the atmosphere.
--12,000 feet (Mt. Baldy, Mt. Hood) there is approximately 38% less effective Oxygen in the atmosphere.

Also, you may have sun beating down, which will enervate one rapidly. So dialing back on early effort and maybe having a rest day possibility could make the overall trek more enjoyable.

REI.com has a trail description of the Lamar River-Mist Pass-Pelican Valley backpack, in addition to the sites a previous poster mentioned.

Here is Joey Coconato's 7-day hike extending from there:
Lamar River-Pelican Valley
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Chief Joseph
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PostMon Feb 08, 2021 4:45 pm 
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Songs2 wrote:
Not to belabor a point too much, but if coming from, say, sea level to about 3,000-4,000 ft, I would build in a couple of days of acclimation to higher altitude.

Of course everyone is different as far as altitude tolerance goes. I was warned about acclimation on my trip to the Winds 2 years ago. I had never hiked anywhere near 10k feet before and I had no problem at all and I am old and not in the best condition, so I suppose it's a ymmv thing.

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feldychi
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PostMon Feb 08, 2021 8:54 pm 
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Yes, good reminders everyone. I too have done 2 trips in the Winds and acclimatization is so important!
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bullfrog
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PostWed Feb 10, 2021 5:18 pm 
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I did two backpacking trips to Yellowstone about 20 years ago. It's really true that you lose the hordes of tourists about 300 yards away from the main road. On one trip, we didn't see another human for six days. But the reservation system for backcountry campsites can be a hassle. Back then, many of the sites were one-day only. We felt like vagabonds with the constant requirement of breaking down the tents every morning and then setting up in a new place every evening. I'm not sure if it's still this way. On one trip, we did the Pelican Valley-Lamar Valley trip cited earlier. There's lots of thermal areas hidden away on that hike, and the Larmar Valley was empty and wild. The other trip was up the Bechler River valley from the SW corner of the park. Lots of waterfalls and hot springs on that trip, including one place where you could actually soak in thermal water mixing with a cold river stream (PM me if you want more details). I would highly recommend a backpacking trip in Yellowstone. You're in the world's first national park, but away from the crowds, immersed in true wilderness. It's an experience you will never forget.
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feldychi
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PostWed Feb 10, 2021 6:39 pm 
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Thanks again everyone. Starting research tonight and I imagine will reach out to some of you with more questions. Really appreciate the assistance.
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