Bechler River Traverse

Yellowstone National Park, WY
5.0 (64 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Breathtaking Waterfalls
  • Riverside Hot Springs
  • Wildlife Habitat
  • Amazing Bechler Valley
  • Shoshone Lake & Geyser Basin
  • Backcountry Geyser
  • Vast Meadow Systems

Description

You will not experience a hike as unique and wonderful as this traverse of the famous Bechler River Valley in Southwestern Yellowstone National Park! It is our most popular Yellowstone hiking tour because of the opportunity to experience the hallmark features of Yellowstone in the backcountry, away from the crowds. Having it all to yourself, you’ll enjoy stunning geysers, serene rivers and streams, crystal-clear lakes, hot springs (yes, you can soak in them!), tumbling waterfalls, succulent wild berries, world-class trout waters, and the classic vast river meadows of Yellowstone, all in a backcountry setting.


Need to Know: March 1st Permits

Due to Yellowstone’s permit system, which issues backcountry hiking and camping permits on March 1st each year, it’s beneficial to register before February 28th of the year you’d like to hike with us. Give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn more!

Read more …
5 Days
$1655 Per Person
6 Days
$1910 Per Person
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-10 Guests
Trip Length: 5-6 Days
Distance: 35MI / 56KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 3

Our difficulty ratings are based on a scale of 1-5, tours with a rating of 1 being least difficult, tours with a rating of 5 being most difficult

Backpack Weight:
25-35 pounds
Daily Hiking Distances:
5-8 miles
Most Elevation Loss:
650 feet
Most Elevation Gain:
500 feet
Quality of Trails:
Well maintained
Additional:
This trip requires river crossings on the Bechler River, which can be relatively swift.

Participants should:

  1. be active and healthy
  2. exercise several times per week
  3. be comfortable hiking 6-8 miles per day in hilly or mountainous terrain with a 25-pound backpack

SOLITUDE LEVEL 4

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Yellowstone hike a solitude 4. You can expect to see a couple of other groups of hikers per day.

Montana and Wyoming do not charge sales tax on services, so there is no sales tax for this trip.

All trips in Yellowstone National Park have a 5% fee required by the National Park Service. This fee is applied when your reservation is made and is passed through directly to the national park.

There are no other taxes or fees associated with this trip. Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) with any questions!

Private Trips

Travel in perfect company by booking a private trip exclusively for your group!

Our sliding scale for private trips is based on the final number of guests in your group. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax, national park fees or guide gratuity. The final rate is based on the actual number of guests on the trip and may adjust based on cancellations or additions.

Please Note: you can also enjoy a private trip at our normal scheduled rates by filling any empty tour to capacity. However, if group members drop from the tour those spots will automatically become available on our website for instant booking. By purchasing a private trip at the rates listed below, your trip will remain exclusive to your group regardless of cancellations. 

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2.5
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.75
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.25
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person

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ITINERARY

ITINERARY

Day 1

  • Shuttle to Trailhead: 2.5-hour drive
  • Hiking Mileage: 6.3 miles + 5-mile optional day hike
  • Elevation Gain: 400 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 150 feet

This Yellowstone backpacking trip begins with a bang as we hike to the largest backcountry geyser in Yellowstone: Lone Star Geyser. If we’re lucky we’ll see its 30-45 foot eruption of scalding water. From Lone Star we hike along the Firehole river and over the continental divide before arriving at our camp, Shoshone Meadows. After setting up camp we will hike without packs to Shoshone Lake, one of the largest wilderness lakes in in the lower 48 states and the backdrop for the Shoshone Geyser Basin. The basin contains an abundance of geysers, each seeming to possess its own personality: there are bubbling pools, frothing potholes, bizarrely shaped mounds spewing fountain-like streams into the air and grumbling crevasses.

Day 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 8.5 miles + 1-mile optional day hike
  • Elevation Gain: 600 feet
  • ELevation Loss: 1,100 feet

The second day’s hike begins with a climb to the high point of the trip, a plateau of lush meadows and thick forests. A long day’s hike brings us to the headwaters of the Bechler River and then a ways into Bechler Canyon. After making camp near the river we’ll explore the valley’s first remarkable feature: “Mr. Bubbles,” a series of hot springs fit for royalty. Bring your bathing suit because we’ll take some time to lounge in the hot water while enjoying the peaceful scenery of Bechler Canyon.

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 5.1 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 800 feet

Hiking further downstream we’ll encounter two long river crossings which could be as deep as three feet – your guide will carefully assist the group across each one. Our exciting work fording the river will be rewarded with two grand waterfalls: Colonnade Falls, a two-part waterfall – the second of which is the highest on the hike, and Iris Falls. Camp will be a mere five minute hike from Colonnade Falls.

Day 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 7.1 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 200 feet
  • Elevation Gain: 200 feet

We’ll hike the lower part of the canyon which is flanked on the south by berry-laden boulder fields; a popular foraging ground for black bears and hikers alike! Once we exit the canyon we’ll hike through beautiful Bechler Meadows (where we sometimes see moose and bison) and make camp near the luxurious hot springs at the base of Dunanda Falls; where Boundary Creek flows over a large cliff.

Day 5

  • Hiking Mileage: 8.1 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 200 feet
  • Shuttle: 2.5-hour drive

After our final breakfast in the backcountry, we pack our gear and hike 8 miles through the lush meadows and stands of lodgepole pine where we arrive at the Bechler Ranger Station. Once in the vehicle and heading back to town, we sit in quiet contemplation of the wonderful memories of our Yellowstone adventure.

Variations

This hike is often done in four or six days. For a 4-day itinerary we’ll skip Dunanda Falls and hike on to the trailhead. For the 6-day itinerary a layover day is added either on day 2 at Shoshone Geyser Basin or day 5 at Dunanda Falls.

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. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.

Trip Dates & Booking

TRIP DATES & BOOKING

Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book

AVAILABLE TO BOOK

This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast

GOING FAST

This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation

REQUEST A RESERVATION

This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, backcountry sleeping pad and multi-day backpack
  • High quality, synthetic sleeping bag (professionally laundered after every use) – or bring your own.
  • 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 Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  • 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 (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)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about what to pack.

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 synthetic-fill sleeping bags (or bring your own)
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Bear spray cannisters and food-hanging gear
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

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.

Additionally, some guests choose to bring their own sleeping bag. We supply high quality, synthetic fill bags that are professionally laundered after every trip. Synthetic fill is non-allergenic, insulates when damp and stands up well to repeated washings, but is heavier and bulkier than down. If you’re able to bring your own down sleeping bag, there are multiple benefits. If not, we’ve got you covered!

What Clothes to Bring

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with detailed guidance about what clothes to pack (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and our recommended clothing system. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required.

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red 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.

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

Where Do We Meet?

Your guide will conduct a virtual orientation meeting (via conference call) at 5:00 PM the evening before your trip begins to review the packing list, communicate the first day’s logistics and answer any last minute questions you have. Your guide will give you the phone number for this call during the pre-trip contact approximately 10 days before your trip start date.

Early on the morning of Day 1 your guide will pick you up from your accommodations in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Driggs, Idaho; or Victor, Idaho*.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

Start/End Times

You can expect the first day’s pick-up time to be between 5 and 7 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 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

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)

MonthHighLow
June70°42°
July80°47°
August78°45°
September68°37°

Accommodations

Accommodations

BACKCOUNTRY SLEEPING

Tent Camping

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 synthetic-fill sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

BACKCOUNTRY CUISINE

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.

AMAZING CAMPSITES

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.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 5.0 (64 reviews)
Sara O.
4.0

Challenging Trip, Amazing Guides

2 years ago

This trip was a challenge from the start. We understand that pulling permits can be a challenge, but the change in agenda was not communicated until the pre trip meeting. This did not allow for us to mentally prepare for the more intensive trip. The guides were champs, they did the best they could with a hard situation and rocked it! Not having an accurate mileage was a difficulty mental challenge and made for some crappy hikers. The guides took things in stride and supported us as best as they could. I can not say enough about the guides and how they shined through this trip. My only suggestion would be to have the group hit the trail earlier in the day to allow for more breaks when hiking and to prevent needing to hike in the heat of the day. Traci and Lauren were great, like I said they rocked a hard trip and I am proud to say the Bechler may have broken me at times, but I always knew that traci and Lauren would help put me back together. I have returned home with a renewed love of the outdoors and wildland!

Bernard P.
4.0

Good Trip

2 years ago

Our guide kept it interesting and fun. The food was better than I expected. The equipment was first rate.

Veronica T
5.0

Absolutely Incredible Trip

22 days ago

Absolutely incredible trip from start to finish. Our guide Jessica Chute went above and beyond to provide the best trip experience for us. She was kind, patient, organized, an excellent cook, funny, knowledgeable. We couldn’t have asked for a better person to lead us. 5 stars. The equipment that was provided was excellent. The food was surprisingly awesome. The worst part about the entire trip was that it had to end. Will definitely be booking another trip in the near future.

See All Guest Reviews!

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