The Thorofare

Yellowstone National Park, WY
5.0 (18 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Pristine Wildernesses
  • USA's Longest Undammed River
  • Vibrant Wildlife Habitat
  • Layover Day to Explore
  • Scenic Boat Shuttle
  • Yellowstone Meadows & River Valleys
  • Dramatic Night Skies

Description

Do you want to have an unforgettable adventure this summer? If so, the Thorofare backpacking trip is for you! This trip is a 7 day/6 night hiking adventure into the headwater basin of the Yellowstone River, arguably the most pristine and remote area in the Continental United States. Rich with wildlife, mountain views, vast meadow systems, roaring rivers, crystal clear creeks, and feeling of wildness, this trip is truly spectacular!

We catch a boat shuttle from Bridge Bay Marina to the beginning of our hike along the eastern edge of Yellowstone Lake. From here we hike to the South end of the lake, where the mouth of the Yellowstone River marks the beginning of the Thorofare Country. For 3 more days we hike up the Yellowstone River into some of the most remote wilderness in the continental United States. The chances of seeing wildlife are very good (although never guaranteed of course), as this area is the Eden of Yellowstone’s animal habitat. Bring your fly rod along if you’re a fisherman, and you’ll have the opportunity to catch 20 inch native cutthroat trout. Bring your camera along if you’re a photographer, and you’ll be shooting pictures of the most pristine area in Yellowstone. On day 5 we begin our hike back to Yellowstone Lake, exploring and scouting for wildlife along the way.


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 …
7 Days
$1985 Per Person
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-5 Guests
Trip Length: 7 Days
Distance: 44MI / 70KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 4

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:
35-45 pounds
Daily Hiking Distances:
6-10 miles
Most Elevation Loss:
minimal
Most Elevation Gain:
minimal
Quality of Trails:
Well maintained
Additional:
This trip is rated Level 4 Difficulty because of the pack weights required for a 7-day trip and the longer days of hiking (up to 10 miles).

Participants should:

  1. be active and healthy
  2. regularly exercise vigorously
  3. be comfortable hiking, biking, running, or swimming for several hours without many breaks

SOLITUDE LEVEL 5

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Yellowstone backpacking trip a solitude 5. You can expect to see no more than a handful of other groups throughout the duration of your trip. This is a wonderfully serene and wild area where wildlife are abundant.

We’re here to help. If you have any questions, call 800-715-HIKE or contact us online.
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ITINERARY

ITINERARY

Day 1

  • Shuttle to Trailhead: 2.5-hour drive
  • Hiking Mileage: 8.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 100 feet

This unforgettable Yellowstone backpacking adventure starts from Bridge Bay Marina on the north end of Yellowstone Lake, where we catch a boat shuttle that will drop us off 9 miles away along the the Southeast Arm of the lake. During the boat ride, and also once we’re hiking, we’ll have fantastic views of Mt. Doane and Mt. Stevenson. Dot and Frank Islands meanwhile aid in grasping the size of Yellowstone Lake. It is over 20 miles long, 14 miles wide and 300 feet deep. Scientists believe it is part of the ancient caldera of Yellowstone’s supervolcano. Once on shore, we’ll hike 8 miles to our camp at Beaverdam Creek, which marks the beginning of the valley of the Upper Yellowstone River. Camp for the evening is atop a bluff overlooking the creek and the expanse of the Thorofare!

Day 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 7.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: marginal

After crossing Beaverdam Creek we hike through thick willows and enter the broad meadows of the upper valley. Moose are sometimes encountered lounging among the willows. Another mile of hiking brings us to burned forests from the fires of 1988. Now over a quarter century old, the cleansing, regenerative effects of the fire are clearly evident. We’ll make camp this evening in the vicinity of Trapper Creek, with spectacular views of the Trident (a series of rocky escarpments) to the south and Turret and Table Mountain to the east. Occasionally wolves can be heard howling from this part of the valley in the late evening and early morning.

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 7.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 450 feet

The next morning we’ll hike deeper into the Thorofare, as our trip continues south, paralleling the Yellowstone River. Often following grizzly or wolf tracks on the trail, we continue to scout for wildlife as we hike. We’ll hike a short distance downstream from camp to a large tributary of the Yellowstone River named Mountain Creek. We’ll depart the valley here and hike upstream along Mountain Creek to its junction with Howell Creek. We’ll then hike a few miles up Howell Creek to camp near the park boundary. We’ll have the opportunity to sleep in one of the most remote areas of the Continental United States.

Day 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 4-10 miles (optional day hike)
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1250 feet

Day 4 is exciting for two reasons. The first is that we’re not moving camp! We’ll sleep in and enjoy a delicious breakfast before embarking on a spectacular day hike to Eagle Pass, the second exciting part of the day. Several miles up Howell Creek the trail steepens and ascends through classic Yellowstone subalpine terrain to Eagle Pass. This will place us just below Eagle Peak, the highest peak in Yellowstone at 11,358 feet. Here we will have brilliant views of the wild and beautiful Absaroka Mountains to the east.

Day 5

  • Hiking Mileage: 6.5 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 350 feet

On day 5 we’ll begin our hike back toward Yellowstone Lake, enjoying the wildlife, wildness and views as we go. The views hiking back north are very different than they were on the way in. As we hike we’re watching the Yellowstone River flow into Yellowstone Lake and the Gallatin Mountains in the distance. Our camp will be near the Yellowstone if not right on its shores.

Day 6

  • Hiking Mileage: 9.9 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 150 feet

Day 6 we’ll continue hiking back through the Yellowstone River valley to a camp right on the shores of Yellowstone Lake.

Day 7

  • Hiking Mileage: 4.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: marginal
  • Shuttle: 2.5-hour drive

On day 7 we’ll hike along the eastern edge of Yellowstone Lake and catch the boat shuttle back to Bridge Bay Marina. A comfortable drive through Yellowstone National Park back to our hotels ends this amazing backpacking trip.

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.

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 or Black Diamond 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 and max group size on backpacking trips is 6 guests and 1 guide. 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)
  • 10 and older to join private tours, with final approval on a case by case basis
  • 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 (18 reviews)
Nicola M
5.0

The trip was excellent

14 days ago

We had an amazing experience trekking the Thorofare with Rosey who is a fantastic guide. It was a beautiful trip where we were able to be out in the wilderness barely seeing another soul and really feel fully immersed. The veiws and landscape were always breathtaking and our trip up to eagle pass was wonderful. I also loved the campsites- being able to take in the surroundings, in particular the amazing stars at night and the milky way and also hearing the wolves howling. Rosey really made the trip for me, she was extremely professional throughout making sure everyone felt completely safe even in the wilderness, she gave us all the information we needed at all points of the trip and was very knowledgeable. The best part was that she made it a really fun experience also, by always engaging and joining in with all the guests on the trip. Thank you so much Rosey for making it such a memorable experience!

Paige W
5.0

10 out of 10 trip

14 days ago

10/10 recommend this backpacking trip! The environment of Yellowstone is incredible on its own and there is a true backcountry feel to this trek. We had a wonderful group led by our guide Rosey who turned an already amazing trip on its own into something extraordinary! She is extremely knowledgeable and I loved listening to her share her knowledge with us. She is so personable and made efforts to connect with each guest in a really special way. She is professional, a great teacher, and a supportive and safe guide. She made us all feel safe in the wild backcountry, and I certainly left understanding the animals in this environment more.

Heather B
5.0

Unforgettable Adventure

1 month ago

Everything about this adventure was 5 stars - from the initial booking, to preparatory advice, to COVID-related logistical changes, to the trip itself. I dealt with many different representatives during the planning phase and each one was responsive, informed, and patiently answered numerous questions. Ron spent nearly an hour advising me on gear options to address an unforeseen health issue before the hike, and our guide Matt Maar was nothing short of perfect. He was professional, attentive, patient, incredibly knowledgeable about the area, plants, and wildlife, and took exceptional care of us, constantly working to make sure we were safe and comfortable. Every meal he prepared for us was beyond special – I could have never imagined eating so well in the back country! The hike is challenging enough to make it feel like a great accomplishment, but not insurmountable for anyone who’s in good shape or willing to train. And the gift of the Thorofare makes every step worthwhile. It is truly a magical place that I will never forget. The expansive, pristine landscape that unfolds before you around every turn makes time stand still. The wildflowers were breathtaking. And the quiet solitude, sunsets, and starry starry nights unforgettable. Thank you Matt for a truly off the charts adventure of a lifetime. I’m looking forward to future treks!

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