Heart Lake Llama Trek

Yellowstone National Park, WY
4.8 (6 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Point to Point Thru-Hike
  • Summit Mount Sheridan
  • Thermals & Hot Springs
  • Abundant Wildlife Habitat
  • Mountain Solitude
  • Hike with Light Daypack
  • Llama Trail Companions

Description

Our Heart Lake Llama Trek is an awesome opportunity to explore Yellowstone National Park‘s spectacular wilderness. We’ll sleep under the stars, feast on tasty backcountry cooking, enjoy days of memorable hiking, and keep an eye out for wildlife. We’ll also see very unique Yellowstone highlights including thermal features, wildlife, and big mountain views. We’ll camp next to lakes and rivers and enjoy roaring campfires.

Our hike starts near Heart Lake, where we camp for two nights and ascend Mount Sheridan on Day 2. On Day 3 we leave Heart Lake and enter into the deeper backcountry, traversing the Heart River to the Snake River, and exiting near the South Entrance of Yellowstone.

Please note: this trip is operated by Wildland Llamas, a separate company from Wildland Trekking. Wildland Llamas is a licensed stock outfitter and guide company in Yellowstone National Park.

Read more …
6 Days
$2565 Per Person
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Llama Trek
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-10 Guests
Trip Length: 6 Days
Distance: 52+MI / 84+KM

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:
10 pounds
Daily Hiking Distances:
3-11 miles
Most Elevation Loss:
2805 feet
Most Elevation Gain:
2805 feet
Quality of Trails:
Well-maintained
Additional:
This trip follows well-maintained trails. It has some longer days of hiking (up to 11 miles) and some broad river crossings. Also, our hike to the summit of Mount Sheridan (optional) requires significant elevation gain and loss (nearly 3,000 feet).

Participants should:

  1. be active and healthy
  2. exercise several times per week
  3. be comfortable hiking 8-10 miles per day in hilly or mountainous terrain

SOLITUDE LEVEL 4

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

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

All Wyoming llama trips begin and end in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Jackson Hole has an airport served by United, Delta, and American Airlines. One can also fly into Salt Lake City and drive to Jackson Hole. It is a 4.5-hour drive from Salt Lake City to Jackson Hole on good roads.

Shuttle from Jackson Airport to Town

A Black Car Service (307-413-2572) provides private airport transportation. Advance reservations are recommended.

Shuttle from Salt Lake to Jackson

Salt Lake Express (800-356-9796 or 208-656-8824) and Alltrans (800-652-9510) offer daily vans from Salt Lake City to Jackson Hole. Advance reservations required.

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 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: 1.5 hours
  • Hiking Distance: 9.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 200 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 500 feet

This Yellowstone llama trek begins with pickup at your hotel in Jackson, Wyoming. We’ll drive to our starting point at Heart Lake Trailhead (passing stunning views of the Tetons enroute), pack up the llamas, and begin our trek. Today takes us through meadows and lodgepole pine forests to a broad valley looking down onto Heart Lake. We’ll hike by Witch Creek – a boiling creek – and other thermal features and traverse around Heart Lake to our campsite. We’ll set up camp and enjoy a dip in Heart Lake before settling in for a backcountry dinner and great night’s sleep.

Day 2

  • Hiking Distance: 11.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 2805 feet

Today we leave camp set up and get an early start to beat potential thunderstorms. Our hike takes us up the flanks of Mount Sheridan to a summit ridge. We’ll follow the ridge to the summit for absolutely spectacular views, a picnic lunch, and long break before we descend. From the top of Mount Sheridan we can see how Heart Lake earned its name – it is indeed a huge, heart-shaped lake surrounded by classic Yellowstone wilderness. We’ll be able to see the Tetons in the distance to the South and the Gallatin Mountains to the north.

Once back at camp, we will have some time to relax, swim in the lake, or enjoy a good book before another wonderful backcountry dinner.

Day 3

  • Hiking Distance: 5.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: minimal
  • Elevation Loss: 200 feet

Today we leave Heart Lake and begin a gradual traverse of the Heart River. At this point we are in very remote feeling country characterized by broad valleys, deep lodgepole stands, vast meadows, wonderful-smelling sage brush and willows, and all-around excellent wildlife habitat. We have seen packs of wolves, moose, elk, deer, bear, coyote, fox and a variety of wildlife in this area. We’ll keep our eyes out and hope to see some! Eventually we’ll come to our campsite not far from the shores of the Heart River.

Day 4

  • Hiking Distance: 5-8.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 0-500 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 100-300 feet

There are two possibilities for today, both of which take us down the Heart River to its confluence with the Snake River. One is 5 miles and leaves 6 miles of hiking for Day 5; the other is 8.5 miles and leaves 3 miles of hiking for Day 5. Which campsites are available when we secure permits will determine which alternative we take. Either way we start with a heart breakfast, traverse miles of stunning Yellowstone river wilderness, and end up camping near the shores of the famous Snake River.

Day 5

  • Hiking Distance: 3-6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 300 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 550 feet

Today we continue our hike along the Snake River to a camp that gives us access to the Snake River Hot Springs. This extraordinary thermal feature originates with a spring bubbling up scalding water which forms its own, steaming creek. The steaming water flows 1/2 mile, cooling as it goes, to where it meets the Snake River. We will soak at the confluence of the thermal water and the Snake River. We have had groups in the past see packs of wolves (with pups) from this amazingly special spot. We’ll celebrate our final night in the wilderness with a hearty feast and good night’s sleep.

Day 6

  • Hiking Distance: 5.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 300 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 550 feet
  • Shuttle to Jackson Hole: 1.5 hours

Today we have our final backcountry breakfast and break camp. We cross the Snake River and hike out to a trailhead not far from the South Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch either during our hike or at the trailhead, and enjoy a relaxing shuttle past the Tetons back to Jackson.

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

  • Pack llamas to transport the majority of gear and food
  • One or more professional, knowledgeable, certified Yellowstone National Park hiking guides
  • 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
  • Roundtrip transportation from Jackson 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!

What's Not Included

  • 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)

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 or Mountain Hardware 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
  • 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)

What Gear To Bring

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.

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

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 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.

Guides

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, 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.

Group Size

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. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) and we’ll answer all your questions.

Weather Around Yellowstone

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)

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

Accommodations

Accommodations

BACKCOUNTRY SLEEPING

Tent Camping

Sleeping on llama treks 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 trekking 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 llama trekking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 4.8 (6 reviews)
JB H
5.0

An Adventure Both Challenging and Rewarding

2 months ago

The Heart Lake Llama Trek is not for the faint of heart. Regardless of its moderately difficult rating, it is a demanding trek, especially for those who come from coastal areas like Miami, where I live. Although the trek itself is not technically difficult, the first day required a hike to a plateau of approximately 8400 feet. For me, I was hit with altitude sickness almost immediately, which included symptoms of nauseousness, shortness of breath and fatigue. Those not accustomed to altitude should bring along prescription Diamox to alleviate those symptoms, which unfortunately I failed to do. The first day’s hike was supposed to be nine miles, but my pedometer, and those of others, registered more than 11. The disparity between the mileage published on our guide’s map and the mileage registered by my pedometer remained like this throughout the trip. Thus, by the end of the journey, there was a consensus among my fellow trekkers that we had actually hiked about 60 miles, or 10 miles a day on average. Not the 50 miles or less as advertised on Wildland’s website. Hiking 10 miles a day under a blazing August sun in Yellowstone National Park is a tough, tough undertaking. The hot arid air sapped the hydration right out of me, leaving me constantly thirsty. A two liter Camelback full of water is completely insufficient for a day-long hike. As a result, since the llamas did not carry additional water, I was left constantly parched and resorted to begging others for a drink from their water bottles during breaks. The only water available to the group throughout the trip was that which was filtered manually, at an excruciatingly slow rate, from streams and rivers along the way. Food was yet another critical thing in short supply. Simply put, there was only enough food for a small single serving per person for each meal. Hiking all day does nothing if not burn calories and trigger a profound appetite among those who engage in this activity. Moreover, there was no fruit or juice on the trip, like apples, oranges, peaches, and the like. I found myself craving oranges and orange juice along the way, which may have been cause by a vitamin C deficiency while on the trail. That said, given the price of the trip, having more food and fresh fruit for a six-day journey does not seem unreasonable. Equally challenging was getting into and out of a one-man tent and changing clothes within its confines. I had to contort my body into various shapes to get out of my hiking clothes and into something warm and comfortable for the night, which usually resulted in my breaking a sweat just in time to climb into my sleeping bag. While the days were close to 100 degrees the nights would often drop into the 30s, turning dew into frost for a cold morning wake-up. Nevertheless, dressing warmly during the night was imperative. Of course, while the sights and sounds of Yellowstone are spectacular, even breathtaking, I was shocked to see how many bleached grey trees lay dead on the ground like battalions of confederate soldiers who once littered the battlefield at Gettysburg. On the first day, a dead tree blocked our passage preventing the llamas from moving forward. Luckily, a group of hikers headed in the opposite direction had a small hatchet, which I and a few others took turns chopping, until the tree split in half, and we were able to pass. Although most of the trees were cut and left to rot on the side of the trail by the Park Service, which has no appreciable way to remove them, it seemed to me they created a fire risk should lightning strike one of them indiscriminately. Speaking of fire, Yellowstone, like much of the West, is experiencing a severe drought. As a result, we were prohibited from having campfires, which we were not informed of prior to signing up for the journey. Not being able to have a campfire was disappointing, but understandable. Nevertheless, the restrictions on campfires did not stop one member of our group from smoking cigarettes along the trail, which is prohibited by the Park Service regardless of droughts. Wildland supposedly has a no smoking policy, but it must be buried in the small print, because I didn’t see it. Wildland should emblazon that policy across every page of its application, while encouraging those who smoke not to apply. Aside from the much-needed solitude and natural beauty of the alpine valleys and cold streams, the best part of the trip was our guides, Jeff and Brett. Jeff led the hike while Brett took care of the Llamas. Together they worked like dogs to ensure our party had a rewarding experience. Their stamina was remarkable. After hiking all day, they would help make camp, cook dinner, and break camp early the next morning, while packing and unpacking the Llamas. Not an easy task. To both, I bestow on them my highest praise. Brett and Jeff kept me going even when I felt as though I had hit the wall. After completing the trip, I knew I had accomplished something both challenging and rewarding.

Benjamin B
5.0

Truly Memorable Experience

2 months ago

The Yellowstone Llama Trek I did around heart lake was amazing. It was everything I was looking for in terms of remoteness overalls physical endurance. Jeff was also a great guide. I highly recommended Wildland to anyone looking for a truly memorable experience!

Ruth E
4.0

Wonderful Week

2 months ago

Our guides were incredible, Jeff and Bret worked so hard! Overall it was a wonderful week!

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