Yellowstone Guided Backpacking Trips

Yellowstone Backpacking Adventure

Yellowstone Guided Backpacking Trip

Get off the beaten path and enjoy parts of the park others rarely see on a Yellowstone guided backpacking trip. Backpacking is a great way to step away from everyday life for multiple days and experience Yellowstone away from the cars and paved trails.

Schedule a private, personalized backpacking trip for you and a group, or join one of our trips that’s open to the public. Bring your own backpacking gear, or rent from us.

However you choose to backpack with us, you’ll always be guided by a local biologist or naturalist with deep experience in the Yellowstone backcountry.

Don’t want to sleep on the ground in a tent? Check out our cabin-based trips below.

Backpacking Route Options

Moderate backpacking routes fully immerse you in the wonder of Yellowstone’s splendor. Choose routes with hot springs, waterfalls, abundant wildlife, peaceful lakes, or mountain scenery.

Most backpacking trips last 3-6 days depending on the route you choose. Trails range from easy and family-friendly (around 5 miles per day) to difficult (higher mileage or more elevation gain).

The season for backpacking in Yellowstone is late May-October, although some trails may require a later start in the season due to weather conditions.

Here are our favorite backpacking routes to guide in Yellowstone:


Difficulty: Easy to moderate; 4-6 days
Features: Waterfalls, hot springs, big meadows, birds
Best season: Late summer, early fall

Pebble Creek

Difficulty: Moderate; 2-3 days
Features: Big meadows, epic mountain views, beautiful creeks
Best season: Summer, fall

Black Canyon of the Yellowstone

Difficulty: Moderate; 2-3 days
Features: Wildlife rich, incredible views, epic canyon and riverside routes
Best season: Spring, early summer, fall

Heart Lake

Difficulty: Easy to moderate; 2-4 days
Features: Views, geothermal features, lakes, and big meadows
Best season: Late summer, fall

Northwestern Yellowstone

Difficulty: Moderate; 2-6 days
Features: High lakes, creeks, epic mountain views, ridges, wildlife, solitude
Best season: Summer, fall

Lamar River Trail

Difficulty: Easy to moderate; 3-6 days
Features: Gentler terrain, big valley views, bison and other wildlife, geothermal features
Best season: Summer and fall

Please note: We adapt our itineraries based on your abilities, interests, and seasonal conditions. Get in touch with us to tailor the perfect backpacking experience for you.

$700/day base + $100/person/day

What's Not Included

Gratuity National Park entrance fees: $20/person Weekly, annual, veteran, 4th grader & senior passes also accepted.

Payment Options

We will gladly accept online payment by credit card or by check if mailed in advance.

Have a Question?

Feel free to reach out and we're happy to answer any questions you may have.

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Family-Friendly Backpacking Routes

For those short on time, or who want to introduce kids to the joys of backpacking, we offer 2- and 3-day adventures with less than 5 miles of hiking per day on easy terrain.

Backpacking in Yellowstone National Park.

Backcountry Cabin-Based Hikes

If you like getting away from the crowds but aren’t keen on full-on camping, stay in a cabin surrounded by stunning landscape vistas.

The cabin is located in the Gallatin National Forest, just outside Yellowstone National Park. It is a 2.5 mile walk from Cooke City, MT, near Woody and Hayden Creeks. This location provides access to wilderness that very few people visit, with dramatic views, epic day hikes, a waterfall and a good grotto to swim in.

The cabin can sleep up to 10 people in bunks with comfortable mattresses (byo sleeping bag). It has a deck, wood stove, basic kitchen, table and benches, and an outhouse. We gather and filter water from nearby Woody Creek.

Sitting at 8,700 ft of elevation, hiking conditions are best after July 1, once the snow has melted and meadows have dried a bit at this higher elevation.

Backcountry cabin in Yellowstone National Park.

What’s Included in Your Guided Yellowstone Backpacking Trip

While backpacking in Yellowstone with one of our guides, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the scenery while we navigate the trail for you. Backpacking gear is not included in the trip cost, but we’ll rent it to you for $200 per trip, per person.

Here’s what’s included in your guided Yellowstone backpacking trip:

Private Yellowstone Hiking Experience

This personalized Yellowstone guided backpacking trip gives you the full attention of your expert guide and a trail chosen specifically for your group. Small groups of 1-6 make for an intimate, fun experience. Please contact us directly about trips for larger groups.

Meals to Refuel

Not sure what makes good backpacking food? Don’t worry about it! We’ll bring dehydrated (not freeze dried!) and lightweight meals plus snacks to keep you nourished on the trail. We use a special questionnaire to help us get things just right for each backpacker.

Cooking equipment, fuel and dishwashing kit is provided. We’ll share in carrying the food.


Enjoy watching the local wildlife from a safe distance with a personal pair of binoculars. We don’t want you to miss a thing! Prefer not to carry binoculars? Your guide will have a pair and is willing to share.

Biologist Guide

Our local biologist and naturalist guides bring a holistic and in-depth lens to Yellowstone National Park. They’ll make sure you don’t miss things you might not see on your own.

Safety Equipment & Training

Safety is our number one priority. We bring bear-resistant food storage equipment, bear spray, DEET-free insect repellent, first-aid kits and water purification filters.

Our guides are also trained in outdoor safety protocols and wilderness first aid, so you’ll know you’re in good hands.

Custom Itinerary

Is there something you want to see or a particular area that you’d like to explore?? Talk to us about the type of experience you’d like to have and points of interest you’d like to see on your backpacking trip. Your expert guide will tailor and plan the experience for you.

What to Bring on Your Yellowstone Backpacking Tour

Here’s how to be prepared for your guided backpacking trip in Yellowstone:

Backpacking Gear

Bring your own backpack, sleeping pad, sleeping bag (15 to 30 degree recommended), inflatable pillow, tent, and dishware. Don’t have your own? Rent all your gear from us for $200 per trip or rent only the items you need.

Water Bottles

Yellowstone has a dry, high-elevation climate. Bring your own water bottles or hydration pack with 3 liters capacity. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the day.


Bring any camera or video recording device you like! You’ll be seeing incredible landscapes that very few get to see, and finding beauty all around you. You’ll want to capture these moments.

Warm Clothing & Layers

Weather in Yellowstone can change quickly, and temperatures vary widely. Bring plenty of layers no matter the forecast, including wind and waterproof layers. You’ll want a warm, packable jacket for evenings at the camp.

Sunscreen & Sunglasses

Regardless of temperature or sun exposure, bring sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) and sunglasses to shield yourself from Yellowstone's strong UV rays throughout the day. Bring a hat for protection from long days in the sun.

Shoes for Hiking & Relaxing

Wear sturdy, hiking boots for walking on uneven terrain. You might also bring light sandals or slip-on shoes for relaxing after hikes.

Backpacking Trip Pricing

Backpacking trips are $700 per day for the first guest and $100 per additional person.
All food, food storage equipment, First Aid kit, and bear spray is included.
If you don't have your own backpacking gear, it is available for rent. Full gear is $200 per trip and includes a high-quality, light-weight backpack, inflatable mat, sleeping bag, tent, and dishware.

Classic Backpacking
  • + $100 per hiker per day, after the first
Cabin Based Backpacking
  • + $100 per hiker per day, after the first

Backpacking Trip Memories From Past Guests

Spent the past 4 nights/5 days in the Bechler region of Yellowstone NP backpacking with Cara. It was a trip of a lifetime and Cara’s expert knowledge, attention to detail and kindness made this trip spectacular. She customized a trip that was both adventurous and relaxing at the same time. I have hiked with Cara on two separate trips and always make sure to book with her when in Yellowstone!
Sarah W
September 2019
Cara was able to piece together a backpacking trip in Montana's beautiful Gallatin National Forest despite not having access to Yellowstone national park due to the 1000 year flood that occurred during June of 2022. Without Cara and Ben, we would not have been able to have a trip that my family had been looking forward to for 8 months. We had a great trip and will have memories for a life time! Thank you Cara for all of your hard work and effort on our behalf!
Don M
June 2022
Highly recommend! I’ve tried other guides in Yellowstone, In Our Nature is the best guiding service! I am very grateful to have found professional guides that I can depend on for future visits. Thanks Cara and Nancy!
Scott K
July 2019
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Your Tour Questions Answered

Do you need a permit to backpack in Yellowstone?

Yes, a backcountry permit is required for overnight hiking and camping in Yellowstone National Park. These permits help regulate the number of visitors in the backcountry and protect the park's natural resources.

When you book a backpacking tour with In Our Nature, we’ll secure the right permit and book the campsites for you. We can begin booking backcountry campsites on March 1st of each year, so please get in touch early so that we have the best options for you.

Is it safe to sleep in a tent in Yellowstone?

Sleeping in a tent while backpacking in Yellowstone is generally safe, but it's essential to follow proper precautions. Store all food and scented items in a bear-resistant manner (your guide will show you), and set up camp in designated areas away from animal trails.

Being bear-aware and making noise while hiking will also help prevent unexpected wildlife encounters.

Are showers available?

No. Backpackers should be prepared to go several days without access to showers during extended trips into the wilderness areas of the park.

We will have opportunities to cool off in creeks and rivers and you can use your water pack or the backcountry bidet for basic hygiene. Wilderness wipes are also recommended.

Are bathrooms available on backpacking trips?

Restrooms are available at designated locations throughout Yellowstone National Park’s road system. However, access is limited in the backcountry. Some backcountry campsites have pit toilets, but many do not.

During most of your trip, be prepared to use the restroom outside using Leave No Trace best practices. Your guide will give you training and information about where and how to properly dispose of your waste.

What is your cancellation policy?

Cancel more than 30 days before your trip date to get a full refund minus a 10% credit card and processing fee. Cancel 5-29 days before your trip date to get a 50% refund.

We typically do not issue refunds if you cancel within 5 days of your booked tour. However, please contact us if exceptional circumstances keep you from attending as we may be able to make alternative arrangements.

Yellowstone backpacking trip guide Cara McGary.
Hiking along a river in Yellowstone National Park.
Hiking in n Yellowstone National Park.
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Looking for Another Adventure?

Make the most of your visit on a private tour with In Our Nature Guiding Services. One of our local wildlife biologists will craft your adventure to your personal interests.

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from $500 per day

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from $780 per day

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Visit geysers, hot springs & mud pots with your own expert guide. Yellowstone sits on top of one of the largest volcanic hot spots in the world. Learn about the chamber of partially molten magma underneath and how it causes all of the fanciful thermal activity in the park. There is no other place like this on earth!
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late April to early November
from $780 per day

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Llama Day Hikes

Llama hikes are among the many incredible adventures available in Paradise Valley and Gardiner area, on Yellowstone’s fringe. You’re lucky to have multiple ways to join Susi from Yellowstone Llamas, who can answer all of your questions about the llamas.
late May – late October
from $150 per day

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Yellowstone Vacation Package

Choose the guided activities and tours you would like to do and stay at Wanderlust Haven, an ideally located, beautiful two bedroom, two bathroom house in Gardiner with amazing views!
Bozeman Airport transfers can be arranged.
Yellowstone Nat’l Park & Gardiner MT
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from $1,200 per day incl. luxe lodging

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Yellowstone Snowshoe & XC Ski Tours

Come indulge in Yellowstone’s winter splendor: explore varied terrain, follow & identify fresh animal tracks, and take in stellar views of Yellowstone’s northern range.
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from $350 per day

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