Mountain Country Trek
- Camps near rivers, lakes & meadows
- Rejuvenating solitude
- Electric Pass & Electric Peak
- Yellowstone meadows & river valleys
- Diverse, point to point hike
- Potential to see wildlife
In Northwestern Yellowstone, the Gallatin Mountain Range climbs high above the rest of the Park providing a spectacular setting for this backpacking trip! Offered as three, four, or five day options, it can be a relatively short enhancement to your Yellowstone visit or a vacation in and of itself. Featuring the best of Yellowstone's mountain country - rivers, meadows, lakes, deep forests, treeline passes, and alpine ridge hiking - this trek is one of the best!
We'll start hiking near Paradise Valley - one of the most beautiful and wildlife-rich areas in Yellowstone. From there we'll gradually hike uphill to our first night's camp, nestled beneath towering alpine peaks and near a pristine mountain creek. From there it's a beautiful hike over a high mountain pass and through to the other side of the Gallatin Mountains, with potential wildlife sighting opportunities the whole way.
Trip Dates & Booking
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- Shuttle to Trailhead: 2-hour drive
- Hiking Mileage: 6.1 miles
- Elevation Gain: 750 feet
This fantastic Yellowstone backpacking adventure begins at the Glen Creek Trailhead, a few miles south of Mammoth Hot Springs in northwestern Yellowstone. At just over 7,000’ of elevation , the trailhead lies in beautiful meadows below Terrace Mountain. Bison are often seen even before leaving the vehicle. The day’s hike consists of gradual but steady uphill hiking through meadows and stands of pine and fir to camp on the banks of the Gardner River, one Yellowstone's finest rivers.
- Hiking Mileage: 8 miles (optional day hike)
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 3,000 feet each way
We’ll not be moving camp this day. Instead, we’ll use the day to hike up the southeast ridge of the magnificent Electric Peak, the tallest peak in the Gallatin Range at nearly 11,000’. The first two miles of the hike are on a well-defined trail at a moderate grade. The hike gets gradually less-defined and steeper after that, until we’re scrambling over lower angle rocks near the summit. It is a long hike that will reward us with tremendous views from the summit.
- Hiking Mileage: 6.2 miles
- Elevation Gain: 1,800 feet
- Elevation Loss: 2,100 feet
Day 3 begins with a 3-mile hike and 1,800’ of elevation gain to Electric Pass, on the southwestern shoulder of Electric Peak. There are more tremendous views from here. We’ll then hike down the valley on the other side, losing 2,100’ of elevation to Sportsman Lake. Here we’ll have a different perspective on Electric Peak looking at it from the west. Sportsman Lake makes for a peaceful camp in a small meadow nestled beneath another large mountain and offers great evening hiking opportunities.
- Hiking Mileage: 8.7 miles
- Elevation Gain: 600 feet
- Elevation Loss: 850 feet
The first mile of hiking on Day 4 passes through a large swath of burned forest from the 1988 forest fires. This will be a good opportunity to witness the natural progression of Yellowstone’s fire-dependent lodgepole pine forests. Young trees blanket the landscape and some grow to nearly 20 feet tall. After topping out on a high ridge we’ll leave the burned timber and hike into a beautiful forest and the splendor of Fan Creek. This part of the hike gets light use by other backpackers, which may surprise you when you see how truly beautiful it is.
- Hiking Mileage: 2.8 miles
- Elevation Loss: 350 feet
- Shuttle to Bozeman: 2-hour drive
The rest of the hike is slightly downhill through open country all the way to the trailhead. Moose and bears are frequently seen in this portion of the hike. The hike ends in the beautiful Gallatin River Valley near the confluence of Fan Creek and the majestic Gallatin River.
This route can also be done in 3 or 4 days. A 4-day itinerary can involve either skipping the layover day to climb Electric Peak or climbing Electric Peak and hiking all the way out from Sportsman Lake on day 4. For a 3-day trip, we will not have a layover day on day 2 to climb Electric Peak and day 3 will be spent hiking all the way out from Sportsman Lake(10.7 miles).
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.
- 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!
- 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)
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, 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
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.
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.
Ready to hike? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here 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 72 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time...etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides' off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.
The standard group size on backpacking trips is 6 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 1-800-715-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
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)|
Camping on Backpacking Trips
Sleeping on backpacking trips 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.