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  1. #1
    Member callook66's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Asheville, NC
    WBBB 1.0 DL, Several DIYs
    10x10 Granite Gear
    HammockGear Burrow
    Dynaglide Whoopies

    Suggest-a-hike!! YELLOWSTONE!

    I moved to ID recently, and am going to drive over to Yellowstone to meet up with a friend for a visit/overnight hike. Can anyone suggest an awesome day/overnight hike for us to pull off? It's short notice, and I'm probably going to drive over tomorrow night... So if anyone could give any info on a good overnight in Yellowstone pretty quickly, It'd be AWESOME! I want to test out my new DIY hammock and whoopies!

    Thanks, fellow hangers!

  2. #2
    MacEntyre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Jamestown, NC
    Molly Mac Gear

    Lamar Valley

    (Top Right Circle on Map)

    At the head of the Lamar Valley stands an assortment of bizarre volcanic hoodoos in a region an early park superintendent dubbed the Goblin Labyrinths (see photo). Take the Northeast Entrance Road to the head of the Lamar River Trail at Soda Butte Creek.

    Eighteen miles [29 kilometers] of hiking south and east along the Lamar River and Miller Creek Trails lead to the Hoodoo Basin Trail. The Hoodoo Basin Trail runs for 8 miles [13 kilometers], crossing Miller Creek and climbing 2,000 feet [610 meters] over the saddle of Parker Peak, descending into Hoodoo Basin, a region of highly eroded volcanic rock outcrops. Camp at Boundary campsite.

    More info on the Lamar Valley Trail in the NE quadrant of the park:

    Lamar Valley Trail
    Length: 5.3 miles, one way.
    Elevation change: Trailhead at 6,600 feet (80-foot drop).
    Trailhead: The Soda Butte Trailhead is on the Northeast Entrance Road, between Tower and Cooke City, about 10.75 miles east of Tower Junction, or 4.0 miles east of the Lamar Ranger Station.

    Two trailheads exist for this valley hike. Both are within a quarter mile of each other, but the first is 2.8 miles from Lamar Ranger Station. This trailhead is not recommended for hikers because it generally is used by horse packers accessing the upper Lamar region and the Absaroka (pronounced Ab-sore-ka) Range. Horses crossing Soda Butte Creek have no difficulty but hikers will get their feet wet. About a mile and a quarter east is the hikers' access. This trail crosses a wooden bridge and continues south along the eastern edge of the Lamar Valley, at the base of Mount Norris. The trail is relatively flat, exposed, and cuts through sagebrush and bunchgrasses. Just before the trail climbs a steep bench or terrace, the horse trail joins the hikers' trail. Then, at the base of the bench, the trail junction for Upper Lamar-including Cache, Calfee and Miller creeks-splits to the east, and heads up-valley.

    The Lamar Valley Trail fords the Lamar River toward the base of Amethyst Mountain (9,614 feet) and the start of the Specimen Ridge Trail (see Specimen Ridge Trail for description). This is a major river ford, so spring or early summer crossing, when the river is in full force, is not recommended. By late summer and fall, the river is down, but it still can be treacherous to cross. The cobble river bottom is uneven and slippery- old sneakers are the best footwear for fording here. After climbing the river bank, the trail is well-marked for the Specimen Ridge Trail, but the Lamar Valley Trail is very faint. Game trails crisscross the Lamar Valley, and the best plan is to follow worn trails and maintain a sense of direction by paralleling the Lamar river and valley.

    The Lamar Valley Trail provides one of the best opportunities to walk among and view wildlife in the park. The steep, forested slope on the southern edge of the valley harbors elk and bison during the day. They move in and out of the forest, spending most of their nights in the open, unprotected valley. Visible along the forest edge are veins and arteries of game trails leading to and from the forest and valley. Coyotes also wander along the trails looking for an opportunistic meal.

    In the winter of 1995, Canada gray wolves, primarily black in color, were introduced into Yellowstone and were released into the Lamar Valley. Several holding pens were built along the valley, out of the public's view, and the wolves were released that spring. Some wolves immediately left the park, while others discovered the advantage of being in the Lamar Valley during elk calving season. Many visitors were able to view the drama of wolves bringing down and disemboweling one or two elk calves a day. If the wolves remain, it will take several years to determine what effect this experiment will have on elk and bison populations. Coyotes have been a major character of the Lamar, but their status certainly will change and they will be displaced.

    The openness of the Lamar Valley is its uniqueness. To look up and down the valley while hiking and to realize the vast distance to cover by foot is humbling.

    Near the trails' end, you can see a clump of cottonwoods at a distance. The cottonwood clump shelters the Lamar picnic area. Just before the picnic area is another river ford. This ford is, however, twice as treacherous, since both the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek merge up-river. Scout for a shallow area to cross, and make sure your pack straps and buckles are unsnapped.
    Last edited by MacEntyre; 06-27-2010 at 05:43.
    "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." - Ben Franklin

  3. #3
    Grizzly bears have poor night vision, so that they tend to follow trails after dark. Many YNP remote camp sites are trail sites, so you may want to set up camp a bit off trail.

  4. #4
    I am pretty sure you will need to a backcountry trip permit to camp outside of the approved car campgrounds. They are not difficult to get, it just takes some time. With that said, my favorite backcountry camping and hiking is to the head waters of the Yellowstone river (~35 miles depending on which direction you come from). Great fishing and the forest service has provided bear boxes that you can camp by.

    As far as day hikes, I love Avalanche Peak. I personally think it has one of the best views of the park and surrounding region. There are very few people that attempt it, so you escape the tourists easily.

    We also like Mount Washburn, primarly for the views, depending on the time of the year you will find a lot of people on the trail or the road depending on which side you hike up. It never fails that you will run into a herd of critters (Big Horn sheep usually) along the way.

    We usually do Avalanche Peak and Mount Washburn in the same day, and then go over to West Yellowstone for recovery grub.

    The best part of yellowstone is that I have been going their mutliple times a year for the last 20 years and still find something new to see/hike every time we go. My absolute favorite destination.


  5. #5
    Senior Member the2nddeal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Rome, GA
    DIY 1.1oz or WB Traveler
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    Whoopie Sling
    I just got back from 2 weeks in Yellowstone / Grand Tetons. My wife and I did quite a bit if day hiking. The trail up Mt. Washburn still had a good bit of snow on it, but you could walk on top of the snow (ice) for the most part. There were only a few places we post-holed. Of course, this is on the trail (not the other side with the nicely graded road).

    Another trail we did that we enjoyed was the DeLacy Creek Trail to Shoshone Lake. While a lot of the other trails we did had a lot of people on them, we had this trail to ourselves. Even though there weren't huge overlooks, etc. on this hike, we enjoyed walking through the huge meadows and the solitude during a snow storm.

    Regardless of what hike you do in Yellowstone, you pretty much can't go wrong. Even the crowded hikes (south rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone) offer amazing views or wildlife.

    Have fun and keep an eye out. We saw lots of grizzlies (unlike 99% of people yelling "grizzly" from their car, I knew the difference between a grizzly and a brown-colored Black Bear). Lamar Valley was LOADED with grizzlies the last two weeks. Have fun!

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