Photo: Russ Nordstrand

Premier Yellowstone Hiking Company

Wildland Trekking Phone Number

Observation Peak Trek

Highlights

  • Fantastic trip for families
  • Moderate hiking with short distances
  • Beautiful camping on the shores of Cascade Lake
  • Wonderful hike to the top of Observation Peak
  • Historic fire lookout and BIG views

Description

This Yellowstone backpacking tour is a great opportunity to get younger kids away from the busy highways and give them a taste of camping in the amazing backcountry of Yellowstone. It can be done in 2 or 3 days, and it features beautiful but mellow hiking with low mileages (only 2.5 miles in and out of camp). We enjoy camping on the shores of a pristine lake, hiking to a lookout tower for amazing views, cooking smores on campfires, and enjoying Yellowstone's stunning wilderness!
The sunsets and sunrises from our lakeside camp are breathtaking. On the 2-day itinerary we'll continue hiking to Observation Point the first day, but on the 3-day itinerary we'll hike to Grebe Lake, which is a fantastic area for wildlife. That evening we'll enjoy a big, tasty dinner at our cozy camp.

The second day (on the 3-day itinerary), we'll trek to the top of Observation Peak, which offers incredible views of Yellowstone, and further views into Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. At the top of the peak is a decommissioned fire lookout that illustrates the amazing history of the area. Another hearty dinner at camp and great night of sleep precedes our hike back to the trailhead on the third day.
Click here to have a detailed PDF information packet emailed to you, or request a reservation today. You can also call us at 800-715-HIKE.

Please note: Due to Yellowstone's permit system, it's beneficial to register before March 1st of the year you'd like to hike with us. Give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn more!
 

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Shuttle to Trailhead: 3 hours
Hiking Mileage: 2.5 miles + 1.5 miles day hiking
Elevation Gain: 200 feet


From Bozeman we’ll drive through Northern Yellowstone to the Cascade Lake Trailhead. Wildlife is typically seen on the way to the trailhead. It is a 2.5-mile hike to Cascade Lake, a picturesque lake with excellent fishing where we’ll make camp. Following lunch there will be an optional day hike to Grebe Lake, the headwaters of the Gibbon River. Grebe Lake is one of just a few lakes in the park that is home to the arctic grayling, a rare and unusual looking fish native to Yellowstone. Various waterfowl frequent the lake and deer and moose are sometimes spotted along the shore.


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 6 miles (optional day hike)
Elevation Gain: 1,400 feet


Following a casual morning and delicious breakfast we’ll commence our ascent of Observation Peak. From the lake, it is 3 miles of steady uphill through open meadows and whitebark pine forest to the summit, 1,400 feet above the lake. Observation Peak possesses an abandoned, rustic fire lookout and a 360-degree panorama of portions of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. The Gallatin and Absaroka ranges are visible as well as portions of Yellowstone Lake and the Central Plateau.


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 2.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 200 feet
Shuttle to Bozeman: 3 hours


Following another casual morning and delicious breakfast we’ll pack up and hike the final 2.5 miles back to civilization.


2-day Variation

For a 2-day itinerary we’ll ascend Observation Peak after setting up camp on day 1. On the morning of day 2 we’ll hike out to Grebe Lake before packing up camp and hiking out that afternoon.


Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary park restrictions, campsite availability, weather, road closures, guest ability/injury, and natural events like fires and flooding.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Yellowstone hiking guide
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Bozeman, Montana to Yellowstone and back
  • Entrance fees and national park permits
  • Bear safety equipment including bear spray cannisters and food-hanging gear
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.


Meals: What To Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.


Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Bear spray cannisters and food-hanging gear
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone


What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.


What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? Simply click here and complete the form to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 48 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!


Where Do We Meet?

You'll meet your hiking guide and group in Bozeman, Montana for an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. Your guide will be in contact approximately 2 weeks before your trip and will specify the exact location of the orientation meeting at that point. The next morning we'll pick you up at your hotel for transport to the trailhead. For Private Yellowstone Tours, you also have the option to originate your trip in West Yellowstone.

Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, lodging and more.


Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day's pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day no later than 7 PM.


Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.


Guides

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.


Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on backpacking trips is 5 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 10 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis


Weather in Yellowstone

Being a Northern mountain environment, Yellowstone is prone to sudden temperature and weather shifts. This is an exciting aspect of being in Yellowstone. On the Spring/Fall Trekking Adventure in June, snow is a slight possibility, and the rest of the summer you're likely to get rained on at least once during your trip. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). See below for average summer temperatures in Yellowstone:
     
Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
     
 
Month
High
Low
 
June
70°
42°
 
July
80°
47°
 
August
78°
45°
 
September
68°
37°