Yellowstone Basecamp Tour
- Classic & magnificent, obscure hikes
- Diverse Yellowstone hiking experience
- Potential to see wildlife
- Amazing natural & cultural history
- Spectacular Yellowstone views
- Cozy camping with showers & campfires
- Excellent outdoor cuisine
- Quintessential meadows & river valleys
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. While driving, we can often stop at pullouts as animal sightings and additional attractions arise in this unpredictable ecosystem.
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.
Trip Dates & Booking
You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.
We can often customize dates for groups at no extra cost!
- Shuttle from Bozeman: 2-hour drive
- Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
- Elevation Gain/Loss: marginal
This Yellowstone hiking tour begins with the two most notable attractions of Yellowstone’s northern range, Mammoth Hot Springs and the Lamar Valley. Mammoth Hot Springs consists of a collection of hot springs and travertine terraces that are uniquely spectacular, even by Yellowstone standards. The travertine terraces formed over thousands of years with heavy calcium carbonate deposition from waters flowing through a limestone fault line. After walking the terraces of Mammoth, we’ll enjoy a scenic drive into the Lamar Valley. This glacial-carved valley is renowned for its abundant wildlife. The Lamar River Trail in particular, lets you leave the roads and crowds behind you to follow the footsteps (often literally) of the animals into the backcountry. This out and back hike will lead us into a lush valley where we most commonly pass splashing waterfowl and grazing bison. If we are really lucky, we can see big horn sheep, pronghorn, and the famous grey wolf. No matter how far we hike or how many animals we see, this trail is always rewarding with mountain views, wildflowers, and solitude.
- Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,400 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 along the hillsides. 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.
- Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 1400 feet
Today we will start with a loop around Elephant Back Mountain. This moderate 3.6-mile hike has about 1,400 feet elevation gain and loss. 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 switchbacks. Flecks of black obsidian will glitter beneath your feet. The ascent culminates to an awe-inspiring bird’s eye view of the lake. We can identify many prominent landmarks from our peak, before making our trek back down the Elephants Back. The glittering expanse of Yellowstone Lake will be the focal point of our next hike’s destination: Storm Point. This relatively flat 2.3-mile loop leads to a stunning vista of the largest lake above 7,000 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 the 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.
- Hiking Mileage: appx 7 miles
- Elevation Gain/Loss: minimal
We'll start the day in the Upper Geyser Basin which hosts some of the park’s most iconic features. Yellowstone is home to 60% of the world's geysers and most of them can be found here, 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. Next we’ll travel a few miles down the road for a hike out to Lone Star Geyser. This is a beautiful hike along the aptly named Firehole River to the largest backcountry geyser in the park: Lone Star Geyser. Lone Star 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 about every 3 hours and a log book is kept nearby so that we'll know when the next eruption will occur.
- Hiking Mileage: 5.4 miles
- Elevation Change: 200 feet
- Shuttle to Bozeman: 2.5-hour drive
Our final day’s hike takes us through classic Yellowstone meadows and lodgepole pine forests to Fairy Falls, a 200-foot waterfall plunging off a pine-studded cliff. After we soak up the sights and sounds of Fairy Falls, we will end our tour with a stop at the Grand Prismatic overlook. The Grand Prismatic is the largest hot spring in the United States and one of the most iconic features in the park. It’s a great way to close out our Yellowstone adventure. 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 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 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!
- Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
- 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 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.
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, 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 this hiking tour is a maximum of 12 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)|
On our signature camping tours we hand pick wonderful campgrounds that put us right in the action for exceptional hiking and camping vacations. They may be national park, state park, or private campgrounds. They may vary by trip date depending on availability and seasonality.
Basecamp trips include meals for the duration of the tours beginning with breakfast the first day through lunch the final day. Meals are prepared by your guide(s) using fresh ingredients, exclusive Wildland recipes, and we adhere to all department of health outdoor cooking codes.
What amenities do basecamp tours include? Cold and hot drinks, campfires (where/when allowed), camp chairs, access to showers, fresh food, roomy tents, comfortable sleeping pads, comfy sleeping bags, camp pillows and more! Camp comfortably, eat like royalty, and hike til your heart's content!