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To experience all that Yellowstone has to offer, guided backpacking trips are the way to go. Away from the crowds, you’ll learn about the rich history of the park from a certified guide who will lead you safely during the day and help you set up camp under the stars at night. Experience America’s first national park the way few others do—off the beaten path and into the backcountry wilderness. The best thing about it is that everyone can participate, regardless of their skill level. From easier hikes to rigorous leg-burners, here you’ll find it all! Hike across river valleys, summit as many peaks as you wish, explore mountain ridges, relax in gorgeous campsites, and let your guide organize an ideal backpacking trip for you. And if photographing wildlife is your thing, this is the best way to ensure you’ll have the most action in front of your lens! Find out more about some of the best (and most photo-worthy) hikes in Yellowstone.

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  • Escape crowded tourist spots

    Yellowstone features over 1000 miles of hiking trails to explore

  • From easy strolls to strenuous backcountry routes

    Great backpacking opportunities for adventurers of all fitness levels

  • Geothermal wonders and iconic features

    World’s largest collection of geysers, deep-cut canyons, stunning waterfalls and wildlife

Available itineraries

3-Day Family-Friendly Observation Peak Trek

Camp along Cascade Lake and experience big views on this family-friendly backpacking trip in Yellowstone National Park. Mellow hikes and low-mileage, you will backpack ten miles over three days, camping in Yellowstone’s incredible backcountry. You’ll take in the epic views of Observation Peak and hike to Grebe Lake — a fantastic spot for wildlife viewing.

  • After meeting your guides, you will head to the Cascade Creek Trailhead where your adventure begins! Hike for 2.7 miles to Cascade Lake, make camp and eat lunch while enjoying nature. If your group is feeling energized and wishes to explore the area, opt for a short hike to Grebe Lake for wildlife viewing.

  • After a casual morning at camp and a hearty breakfast, begin your ascent of the Observation Peak. This 2.5 miles steady uphill hike traverses through open meadows and whitebark pine forest before reaching the 1,300-foot summit. Spend time exploring the abandoned rustic fire lookout and take in 360-degree views of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. Spend the rest of the afternoon hiking for 2.5 miles back to the basecamp.

  • This is your final morning at the camp. Have breakfast, pack up, and hike 2.7 miles back to civilization. You will definitely want to come back as soon as possible!

Custom Backpacking Trip With a Guide in Yellowstone

Get ready for a guided backpacking trip in Yellowstone and a wide array of hiking opportunities. Let your guide tailor a perfect trip for you and show you the best gems Yellowstone has to offer. Revel in the colorful landscapes as you visit river valleys, summit mountain peaks, watch wildlife, discover mountain ridges, and relax in your camp. Set up a base camp and go on trips with a light pack to get the most out of your visit in this pristine wilderness!

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Download Hiking and Backpacking in Yellowstone National Park Brochure
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Adventure and location overview, itinerary, available dates, what's included, how to prepare, and much more.
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Talk with us and let one of our adventure experts help you plan your perfect adventure.

Meet your guides

Sam Magro
Sam Magro
Sam is the owner and Lead Guide for Montana Alpine Guides. He has guided professionally on rock, ice, skis, and alpine since 2004 throughout the world. Sam has experience in guiding ascents in all disciplines including 2,000′ 5.12 rock climbs, link-ups of WI6 ice routes, technical mountaineering in Peru and Alaska, and ski descents of couloirs up to 50 degrees. He firmly believes a good guide should be dedicated to high personal goals in order to always improve, learn, and maintain their skills!
Montana Alpine Guides
Montana Alpine Guides
Montana Alpine Guides
Discover the best powder powder stashes in Montana with the most experienced ski guides in the Bozeman, Big Sky, and Yellowstone National Park areas.

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 2-7 days of backpacking in Yellowstone NP
      • Tents and accommodations in tents
      • Meals
      • Cookware
      • Stoves and fuel
      • Emergency communication devices

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to Bozeman/Yellowstone
      • Transportation to the trailhead — can be arranged by the guide
      • Accommodations before and after the trip
      • Personal clothing and camping gear
      • Snacks
      • 3.5% land use charge
  • The best thing about backpacking in Yellowstone is that there are incredible options for all skill levels.

    For beginner hikes, if you can walk for four to six hours with little elevation gain, you are good to go! Intermediate hikes will see a little more change in elevation and hikes will start to increase in length, hiking anywhere between four to eight miles. Advanced hikes are full day treks with steep descents and challenging switchbacks.

    Keep in mind, the weather can be very hot and you’ll also be packing a daypack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout the day.

  • Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

      • Backpack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 65-85L bag)
      • Super lightweight summit/day pack (15-25 L)
      • Pack rain cover
      • Sleeping bag (15 degrees)
      • Sleeping pad
      • Hiking poles — optional
      • Water bottle or hydration bladder (two to three 1L bottles)
      • Sturdy hiking boots
      • Lightweight river crossing shoes
      • Synthetic or wool socks
      • Synthetic t-shirt/sport shirt​ 
      • Synthetic or wool long sleeve base layer​ 
      • Long sleeve cotton shirt​ 
      • Medium-weight​ p​olar fleece
      • Light- to medium-weight down or synthetic puffy jacket 
      • Lightweight rain jacket 
      • Lightweight synthetic or wool bottom base layer
      • Synthetic/nylon hiking pant​s
      • Synthetic/nylon hiking shorts
      • Lightweight rain pants 
      • Gaiters
      • Lightweight but warm down coat​ — early and late season
      • Fleece pants — early and late season
      • Balaclava or neck gaiter​ — early and late season
      • Spare clothes for layering
      • Sunhat
      • Hat or visor
      • Lightweight warm hat
      • Lightweigh gloves
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, lip balm, hand sanitizer, insect repellent, toilet paper, ziploc bags for toilet paper, toothbrush, contact solution, etc.)
      • Mosquito head net
      • Personal first aid
      • Bowl, spoon, and insulated mug
      • Drink​ ​mixes
      • Snacks (nuts, dried fruit, snack bars, etc.)
      • Water treatment​: tablets or filter — provided by the guide, but it’s always good to carry extra
      • Bear spray
      • Headlamp with extra batteries
      • Sunglasses
      • Lighter
      • Knife
      • Camera — optional (but recommended)

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

  • Group sizes and prices:

      • For these private adventures, the usual guest-to-guide ratio is 5:1.  
      • Any locations further than 1 hour from Bozeman require a minimum trip length of 3 days/2 nights or that monetary equivalent.
      • Cost per person decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to go backpacking with friends and family!

    Backpacking in Yellowstone can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you’re older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has backpackers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to Yellowstone National Park, most people fly into Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Montana about 2 hours away from Yellowstone NP North Entrance. From there, you can rent a car to get to Yellowstone National Park.

    Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, you will meet your guide at one of the trailheads, 20 minutes to 1.5 hours away from Big Sky and Bozeman, MT. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity. 

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Yellowstone please refer to the National Park Service’s website.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

  • A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required at the time of booking to secure your reservation. The balance payment is due 3 months (120 days) before the start of your trip. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies:

    • If you cancel 120 or more days prior to the start of your trip, you will get a full refund minus $500 per person deposit.
    • If you cancel less than 120 days before the start of your program, no refunds will be issued

    Date changes may be requested at any time up to 45 days prior to your departure date for a $150 fee per person. There are no date changes allowed less than 45 days before departure.

    MAG reserves the right to cancel any program due to inadequate bookings, weather or route
    conditions, guide health, or for any other reason. If MAG must cancel a trip, a full refund will be
    given. In such cases, MAG is not responsible for expenses incurred by the client in connection
    with the trip such as airfare, car rental, equipment purchases, etc.

Have more questions? Read our FAQ, or Talk with us
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