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Yellowstone Basecamp Tour

Highlights

  • Classic & magnificent, obscure hikes
  • Diverse Yellowstone hiking experience
  • Potential to see bears, wolves, moose, bison & more
  • Amazing natural & cultural history
  • Mount Washburn ascent with fantastic views
  • Comfortable campsite with showers, campfires & more
  • Excellent outdoor cuisine
  • Quintessential Yellowstone meadows & river valleys

Description

What sets our Yellowstone Base Camp Tour apart is the ability to see a tremendous amount in one visit, have a wonderful outdoor experience, and enjoy comforts like showers and cozy sleeping amenities even while camping. We'll go on five diverse hikes which together create a comprehensive, truly unforgettable experience. The hikes well represent the amazing attributes of this exceptional national park. You’ll enjoy breathtaking mountain scenery, the most well-known and spectacular geysers in the park, and abundant wildlife viewing opportunities.
You’ll also have a fantastic overall outdoor experience as we camp under star-lit skies. Your guide will cook tasty outdoor meals as you relax around the campfire and absorb the magic of Yellowstone before and after your hikes.
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Trip Dates

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800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Itinerary

Day 1
  • Shuttle from Bozeman: 3-hour drive
  • Hiking Mileage: 4 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,345 feet
We'll begin the day with a stop at Mammoth Hot Springs which consists of a collections of hot springs and travertine terraces that are uniquely spectacular, even by Yellowstone standards. The travertine terraces formed over thousands of years of heavy calcium carbonate deposition from waters flowing through a limestone fault line. After enjoying the Lower and Upper Terraces we’ll drive a short way up the road for a hike up Bunsen Peak. From its summit we’ll have incredible views of Gardners Hole, Swan Lake Flat, Mammoth and Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Geyser Basin, and most impressive of all - Electric Peak.
Day 2
  • Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,384 feet
Our second hike is one of the most beautiful in the park, a hike to the summit of Mt. Washburn at over 10,000 feet. The trail to the summit travels through picturesque subalpine parkland where wildflowers abound. Bighorn sheep are sometimes seen grazing in nearby meadows. This is one of the only places in the park where hikers can get close up views and photos of the majestic sheep as they are habituated to the presence of hikers. It is a steady climb over 3 miles to the summit where we'll have a tremendous view of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone - a giant rift in a landscape of forested hills. Other sites include Yellowstone Lake, the Teton Range, Electric Peak, and an overall sense that the entire park stretches out below your feet.

Following this beautiful hike we'll drive to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone for a short stroll out to Artist Point for one of the more phenomenal waterfall views in North America - the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is an amazing feature at 20 miles long, 1,200 feet deep, and a mere 4,000 feet in width on average. It was formed approximately 10,000 years ago when a large glacial ice dam in Hayden Valley burst, flooding the canyon and creating the two thunderous waterfalls and multicolored canyon walls it is known for.
Day 3
  • Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1400 feet
Today we are exploring Yellowstone Lake, the largest lake above 7000 feet in North America, and also a body of water that partially fills the amazing caldera of the Yellowstone super volcano. Our first hike is to the top of an elevated ridge with spectacular views of Yellowstone Lake. The trail begins in an old growth lodge pole pine forest mixed with spruce and fir, an area also frequented by grizzly bears. After a mile of relatively mild uphill, we will climb a series of steeper switchbacks to gain the top of the ridge. Flecks of black obsidian will glitter beneath your feet. The ascent culminates to an awe-inspiring bird’s eye view of iconic Yellowstone Lake. We will relax for a snack and identify many prominent landmarks from our perch, before making our trek back down toward our trailhead.

Our next hike is a 2.3-mile loop that takes us to a stunning vista of the largest lake above 7000 feet in North America. In spring, the lakeshore is a corridor for Grizzly bears. The hike begins at Indian Pond, a favorite locale for Bison, and continues through a lodge pole pine forest to a bluff overlooking the picturesque shore of this hydrothermal fed lake. Before completing our loop, we will walk past enormous boulders, which are home to a colony of Yellow-bellied Marmots. If we are lucky, we may see one basking in the sun.
Day 4
  • Hiking Mileage: appx 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: minimal
Yellowstone is home to 60% of the world's geysers and most of them can be found in the Upper Geyser Basin, including Old Faithful itself. Walking the boardwalks, we'll experience the basins' diverse array of geysers from thin fountains to massive eruptions. It is an impressive scene.

If the group is so inclined we'll continue through Biscuit Basin to Mystic Falls, a lengthy cascade on the Little Firehole River. The hike can be turned into a loop during which we ascend a plateau that overlooks the Old Faithful Geyser Basin. Once on the plateau, we'll stop to enjoy the fantastic views of geysers erupting from afar.
Day 5
  • Hiking Mileage: 6.6 miles
  • Elevation Change: marginal
  • Shuttle to Bozeman: 3-hour drive
The final day of our journey will be a beautiful hike along the aptly named Firehole River to the largest backcountry geyser in the park: Lonestar Geyser. After appreciating a beautiful waterfall called Kepler Cascades at the trailhead we'll commence our 2.7-mile hike to the geyser. Lonestar is found in a clearing surrounded by dense forest; it erupts from a shed-sized cream colored mound. At full tilt it sprays scalding water 30-45 feet into the air. The geyser erupts every 3 hours and a log book is kept nearby so that we'll know when the next eruption will occur. It is a good place for lunch to await the geyser's eruption.

After lunch and watching/photographing the the eruption of Lonestar Geyser, we will enjoy our hike back to the trailhead. Our final stop on this tour is a must-see highlight of Yellowstone. A short hike (1.2 miles round trip) takes to an overlook of the stunning Grand Prismatic Spring. The Grand Prismatic is the largest hot spring in the United States and one of the most iconic features in the park.

We will conclude our trip with a shuttle back to Bozeman and fond farewells. What a week it's been!



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 daypack
  • 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
  • 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 outdoors – 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? 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!


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.


Guide Working Parameters

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.


Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on this hiking tour is 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


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°