Shoal Creek Falls
- 5 days in the Gros Ventre Mountains
- Amazing high mountain views
- Lush, pristine river valleys
- Potential to see wildlife
- Rejuvenating solitude
- Fantastically vivid night skies
- Refreshing soak in Granite Hot Springs
If you're ready for an unforgettable hiking adventure, this trip is for you! This trip makes a fantastic add-on to a longer visit to Yellowstone Country, but is also a worthwhile standalone vacation. We're going to head deep into the Gros Ventre Mountain Range outside Jackson Hole, where we'll explore remote rivers and creeks, hike over several high passes, spend a layover day roaming the high country, search for wildlife, and enjoy fantastic wilderness camps where the night sky is like nothing you've ever seen!
The trip originates in Jackson Hole, where our trailhead is a short hour drive away. We'll begin our hike up the Shoal Creek drainage, where we'll camp the first night near Shoal Falls, a breathtaking waterfall. We'll continue hiking up the drainage, nearly to the headwaters of Shoal Creek, where we'll camp in a stunning basin below the high country. Then we hike over our first alpine pass and drop into a stunning meadow camp. We'll take a day to explore Hidden Basin, an off-trail alpine area that is a highlight of this trip. Our route continues over another alpine pass and then drops into pristine Granite Creek. We'll follow Granite Creek downstream and cap off the trip with a soak in Granite Hot Springs - a rustic, developed hot spring pool.
Trip Dates & Booking
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- Shuttle to Trailhead: 1 hour
- Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
- Elevation Gain: 1650 feet
This Greater Yellowstone Llama Trek starts with a short shuttle from your hotel in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Our drive to the trailhead is a beautiful one through the lush, scenic mountains that surround Jackson.
At the trailhead we'll do a final pack fitting and load up all of the llamas before hitting the trail. Our first day takes us up Jack Pine Creek and directly into the high country to a camp near Shoal Falls. Shoal Falls is a several hundred-foot-tall, cascading waterfall that spills down an alpine cliff. We'll set up camp in the vicinity of the falls, build a cozy campfire and enjoy a hearty, backcountry dinner to celebrate our first night in the wilderness!
- Hiking Mileage: 5 miles + day hike
- Elevation Gain: 1650 feet + day hike (1079 feet)
- Elevation Loss: 1079 feet
On Day 2 we'll head upstream along Shoal Creek to Shoal Lake, which is a beautiful mountain lake nestled beneath towering Steamboat Peak (10,979 feet). It's a great day for spotting bighorn sheep, so we'll keep our eyes peeled as we hike. Also, today we enjoy a day hike that takes us above treeline for incredible views in all directions!
- Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 1815 feet
Today is a layover day to hike and explore or, for those who prefer it, to relax and enjoy camp. We'll enjoy a big breakfast and relaxing morning to soak up the magic of this phenomenal place. Then, for those interested in doing more hiking, the guide will lead a group up and over an alpine pass just below 11,000 feet, in the shadow of Black Peak (11,724 feet). Today is another great day for spotting bighorn sheep, as well as keeping an eye out for bear and wolf sign. We'll be above treeline all day, with fantastic views in all directions. After crossing a ridge we'll enjoy expansive views we've not yet fully seen. Today is a memorable day in which you're sure to feel deeply "the freedom of the hills" as we hike at will across world-class mountains.
- Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
- Elevation Loss: 1650 feet
We'll take our time enjoying a gourmet breakfast while we bask in the morning sunrise as the sun crests the 11,000-foot peak above us. Today we begin our descent out of the high country, but the views will mesmerize us as we gaze down from the high country as we hike. By now everyone will recognize the landscape around us and the noticeable features from the trail. Today's trek takes us from our lakeside camp down Shoal Creek, past cliffs where we sometimes see mountain goats playing above Shoal Creek Falls. The perspective on the way down proves to be one full of breathtaking vistas and serenity.
- Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
- Elevation Loss: 1650 feet
- Shuttle to Jackson Hole: 1 hour
On our last day we hike downstream along Jack Pine Creek through a chain of stunning meadows. Eventually we'll reach our ending trailhead, where Granite Hot Springs - a developed thermal pool - awaits your tired muscles. While you soak the guide will get everything packed up, and then we'll shuttle back to Jackson Hole for our goodbyes.
Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.
- Pack llamas to transport the majority of gear and food and a dedicated llama handler
- One or more professional, knowledgeable, certified Jackson Hole hiking guides (max guest to guide ratio is 6:1, not including the llama handler)
- 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
- Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Jackson, Wyoming to the trailhead and back
- 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 your kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!
- Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
- Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
- Waterbottles and a headlamp or flashlight
- Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-15% of trip cost)
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.
We provide all group gear which includes the following:
- Deuter or Osprey backpacks
- Sierra Designs or Mountain Hardware tents
- Sierra Designs sleeping bags
- Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
- Leki trekking poles
- Mountain Safety Research cooking stoves
- Mountain Safety Research cookware
- Bear spray cannisters and food-hanging gear
- Company-issued first-aid kit
- Emergency communication device(s)
We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter waterbottles per person, either a headlamp or flashlight per person, and a lightweight waterproof stuff sac for your clothes and belongings. 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.
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, rain gear, and non-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.
You'll meet your hiking guide and group at predetermined hotel in Jackson, Wyoming for an orientation meeting at 6:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. The next morning we'll pick you up at your hotel for transport to the trailhead.
Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, discounted lodging and more.
Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional Wyoming 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.
Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with solid guiding backgrounds, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, training in llama-handling, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.
The standard ratio of guests to guides on llama trips is 1 guide for 1-4 guests; 2 guides for 5-8 guests; and 3 guides for 9-10 guests. Private trips can have can have up to 12 guests. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.
Ideally you desire to be on a trip with llamas, by this we mean that a trip with stock animals is different than a backpacking trip in many ways. One big difference is that it takes time for your guide to get all the animals loaded and ready to go in the morning and to unload gear and care for them once we arrive in camp. Also the pace of a llama trip can be a bit slower than you would walk without a pack and you’ll be expected to hike with the group.
On a llama trip the animals tend to take on a focus of the trip. These trips are most rewarding when the clients want to interact with and help out with caring for the llamas. The tradeoff for not having to carry a large backpack is that llamas do require extra work from their guide/handlers. If you are choosing a llama trip solely on the basis of not having to carry a backpack and do not wish to interact with a llama, you need to speak honestly with your Adventure Consultant about this and potentially add another Wildland Guide to your trip to cover the extra workload of caring for the llamas.
Being a Northern mountain environment, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is prone to sudden temperature and weather shifts. This is an exciting aspect of being in Wyoming's mountains. On trips 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 around Yellowstone:
|Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)|
Sleeping on this trip is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.
Fresh & Delicious
Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.
In the Action
Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.