Bechler River Trail | Yellowstone National Park

Hike Bechler River Trail in Yellowstone National Park

Season

Spring through fall; shoulder seasons less crowded

Nearest city

Bozeman, Montana is a two-hour drive

Duration

5 days

Skill level

Intermediate

Experience Yellowstone’s largest backcountry geyser

Hot springs, geysers, river crossings and waterfalls await on this 34-mile trek through Yellowstone’s backcountry with your own Bechler River Trail guide. Trek through the Bechler River Valley, set up camp under the stars, view wildlife, get up close and personal with the Lone Star Geyser and soak in hot springs on this incredible five-day guided backpacking trip. This is an intermediate level trip due to its length and slight elevation change, but the hot springs make it all worth it — don’t forget to pack your bathing suit!

Book This Adventure

Bechler River Trail Guided Backpacking Trip

$1370 per person · 5 days

Trek 34 miles through the famous Bechler River Valley and experience Yellowstone’s largest backcountry geyser — Lone Star Geyser. Fording rivers and trekking through canyons, you’ll camp near lakes and waterfalls and soak in the incredible riverside hot springs (don’t forget your bathing suit!). Highlights include Shoshone Lake, Shoshone Geyser Basin, Dunanda Falls, along with ample opportunities for wildlife spotting.

Trip Highlights

This Bechler River Trail backpacking trip starts out with a trek to Lone Star Geyser — Yellowstone’s impressive backcountry gem that erupts 30-45 feet high. Then, hike along Firehole River and over the Continental Divide before setting up camp in Shoshone Meadows and sleeping under the stars. Continue into the Bechler Canyon, make camp and experience a series of incredible soaking hot springs. From there, it’s river crossings, waterfalls, boulder canyons and the occasional bison spotting as you finish off your 5-day adventure.

Things you need to know

Why should I book with 57hours?

With us, it’s all play and no work for you! 57hours is an open platform that connects you with trained and certified outdoor adventure professionals all over the world. Using our tech-savvy, we make it super easy to find and book adventures worth tackling, with guides worth booking, all gathered from the first-hand experiences of the locals who adventure in these amazing locations.

Why should I go hiking?

Most people travel to Yellowstone and do the scenic loop drive, never venturing more than a few feet from their cars — but cars just don’t do Yellowstone justice. Why view this breathtaking landscape passively through a window, when you can walk on epic trails that take you past geysers, waterfalls, canyons, rivers, wildflower meadows, and mountain peaks? Hiking is undoubtedly the best way to enjoy Yellowstone’s striking terrain and experience the untouched nature around you.

What’s included?

What you get in this adventure:

  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Yellowstone hiking guide
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Bozeman, Montana to Yellowstone and back
  • Entrance fees and national park permits
  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • Bear safety equipment including bear spray canisters and food-hanging gear
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone

What can I expect from hiking with a guide?

Hiring a local guide offers you the chance to experience Yellowstone’s beauty to the fullest. Local guides know all the hidden gems the area has to offer, will explain the history and geology during the hike, and will customize your adventure to the objectives of your group. Because there is so much to see and do in Yellowstone — and it gets crowded quickly — this is one location where it really pays to have a guide by your side to make the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

What do I need to bring?

A trip packet will be emailed to you after your booking with more details, but here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

  • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 40L bag)
  • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
  • Lightweight hiking boots or shoes
  • Spare clothes for layering
  • Waterproof rain jacket
  • Sunhat
  • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
  • Sunglasses
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Camera — optional (but recommended)

What’s the itinerary?

Please keep in mind, despite best efforts to stick to a set itinerary, plans can occasionally change based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.

Bechler River Traverse
Day 1:

  • Meet in Bozeman, Montana
  • Drive 2.5 hours to the trailhead
  • Hike to the largest backcountry geyser in Yellowstone — Lone Star Geyser — where you will hopefully witness a 30-45-foot eruption
  • From Lone Star, hike along Firehole River and over the Continental Divide before arriving at camp in Shoshone Meadows
  • Set up camp, leave backpacks behind, and hike to Shoshone Lake, one of the largest wilderness lakes in the lower 48 and the backdrop of the Shoshone Geyser Basin
  • Total hiking for the day: 6.3 miles and optional 5-mile day hike

Day 2:

  • Begin hiking with a climb to the high point of the trip, a plateau of lush meadows and thick forest, and continue to the headwaters of the Bechler River and into the Bechler Canyon
  • Make camp near the river and explore the valley’s remarkable “Mr. Bubbles,” a series of incredible soaking hot springs
  • Lounge in the hot springs while enjoying views of Bechler Canyon
  • Total hiking for the day: 8.5 miles and optional 1-mile day hike

Day 3:

  • Hike downstream for two river crossings up to 3 feet high. Your guide will assist each individual across the river
  • After fording the river, see two grand waterfalls: Colonnade Falls (a two-part waterfall, the second of which is the highest on the hike) and Iris Falls
  • Set up camp a mere five-minute hike from Colonnade Falls
  • Total hiking for the day: 5.1 miles

Day 4:

  • Hike the lower part of the canyon flanked by berry-laden boulder fields
  • After exiting the canyon, hike through Bechler Meadows, a great spot for viewing moose and bison
  • Make camp near the hot springs at the base of Dunanda Falls
  • Total hiking for the day: 7.1 miles

Day 5:

  • Wake up and have your final backcountry breakfast before packing up gear and hiking 8 miles to the Bechler Ranger Station
  • Drive 3.5 hours back to Bozeman
  • Total hiking for the day: 8.1 miles

How fit do I need to be?

Due to its length (34 miles) and change in elevation, this Yellowstone backpacking trip is rated intermediate. You will hike five to eight miles per day carrying 25 to 35 pounds. The trails are well-maintained, but you will gain around 500 feet of elevation over mountainous terrain. Keep in mind, the weather in summer can be very hot and you’ll also be carrying a full backpack filled with water, your gear and other things you’ll need throughout the day, so you should consider yourself active and healthy before attempting it. If this trek is too challenging, there are plenty of less strenuous Yellowstone hikes to get started on.

What is the minimum age requirement?

Anyone 5 and older can join private day-hikes in Yellowstone, with final approval on a case-by-case basis. If you’re travelling with children under 12, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

What about group sizes and pricing?

The standard group size on backpacking trips is six guests and one guide, with a maximum of ten guests and two guides. Pricing is per person, and costs decrease as your group grows, making it the perfect opportunity to hike with family or friends!

What about bad weather?

Yellowstone is prone to sudden temperature and weather changes, so you need to be prepared with the right gear. The same white cloud shielding you from sunbeams can easily turn into a thunderstorm within minutes. Rest assured, your guide — all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMTs — will know the correct course of action if the weather throws a curveball. In most cases, unfavorable weather won’t stop you from experiencing a guided hiking tour within the park, but if plans need to shift, your guide will amend your itinerary to find a trail more suitable to the day’s weather.

Do I need an insurance policy?

It’s highly recommended that you cover all your bases with travel and medical insurance. While hiking might seem like a low-risk outdoor activity, accidents can happen anywhere and we recommend insurance to avoid paying out of pocket for costly medical expenses. And as we’ve recently seen, travel plans can be abruptly halted, so it’s a good idea to have cancellation insurance that also covers lost baggage. It’s tried and tested and it works.

Cancellation policy

All policies regarding cancellation, rescheduling and trip insurance will be clearly laid out by your guide prior to booking your adventure. Contact us if you’d like more information on a specific adventure.

Getting there and meeting location

Yellowstone multi-day hiking tours begin in Bozeman, Montana. Bozeman has an airport served by many major airlines. You can also fly into Billings and drive the 2.5 hours to Bozeman.

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