Our hiking tour assembles in Bozeman, MT early morning of Day 1, and we’ll van shuttle to the Mammoth area. Our first hike is a rolling 5 mile loop through Beaver Ponds that will bring us to the Hot Springs area. This is Yellowstone’s only major thermal area located well outside the Yellowstone Caldera. Here you can observe the travertine terraces, which are changing constantly, along with other active thermal features. We will then continue our journey south, with a stop at Norris Geyser Basin, the hottest thermal area in the park. The historic Old Faithful Inn will be our home for 2 nights (5 miles).
Day 2 will be an exploration of the Old Faithful area. We’ll visit multiple geyser basins, the Firehole River, waterfalls, bubbling calderas and other thermal features along short paths and boardwalks (5 miles).
On Day 3, we offer a challenge to summit Mount Washburn – the highest point of the Washburn Range. Just over 3 miles of walking to the top will give us far reaching views of the giant Yellowstone Caldera and surrounding mountains. We then continue our clockwise drive around the Yellowstone loop to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Here we can visit Upper and Lower Falls on short trails from the parking lot. This relatively new canyon, geologically speaking, has been carved through fault lines and glacial deposits by the Yellowstone River, the longest undammed river in the continental United States. We then continue through the Hayden Valley to Lake Village for our overnight in the quaint cabins near the lake (6.8 miles).
Day 4 is a combination of two hikes. A gentle hike up Bridge Creek is our first, to see where the waters have carved a small natural bridge on which grows a lone pine tree. We next follow a nearby trail up Elephant Back Mountain to reach one of the best elevated viewpoints of Yellowstone Lake. The trees open out as the path approaches the rim of a plateau, allowing a great vista over the northern part of the lake and the rugged Absaroka Range to the east. We then continue our drive through West Thumb and along the John D Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway into Grand Teton National Park, to the historic Jackson Lake Lodge for the night (6.1 miles).
In the midst of the majestic Teton Mountains we are surrounded by natural beauty captured in the paintings and photos of so many before us, and too many choices of where to scout. Our quick introduction of the area will take us on Day 5 to Jenny Lake where a small ferry takes guests to the west side for a walk on the newly designed trail up to Inspiration Point. You will be given ample time to explore the area – walking up Cascade Canyon, or around the lake, or finding a quiet spot to contemplate the vast wilderness. Our tour ends with a shuttle into Jackson, Wyoming, and no doubt a yearn to return for another dose of nature therapy.