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Backpacker Magazine – March 2010

Northern Rockies: Gallatin Skyline, Yellowstone National Park

Go high for the see-it-all hike in this iconic park.

by: Steve Howe

Electric Peak (Robert Pahre)
Electric Peak (Robert Pahre)


Weeklong
At one extreme, you have the boardwalks-and-bus-stops Yellowstone. At the other, this wild alpine route. The 40-mile trek winds along the spine of the Gallatin Range, where you’ll cross massive summits, skirt streamside elk meadows, and even explore a petrified forest.

The route traverses 9,888-foot Big Horn Peak (day two) and passes two more must-bag peaks: 9,855-foot Sheep Mountain and 10,959-foot Electric Peak. Allow a half day for the straightforward detour up Sheep Mountain from Shelf Lake, and a full day for the challenging scramble up Electric Peak. Expect to see elk, deer, and swans along the rivers, bighorn sheep on ridges, and probably bears.

The price for such a wondrous trip? The initial 3,000-foot climb out of Gallatin River Canyon, and scarce water sources; carry a gallon for the dry six-mile leg between Black Butte Creek and Shelf Lake, more if you’re camping between the two. Get advance reservations ($20, beginning April 1).

The Way
Start: Daly Creek trailhead on US 191, south of Bozeman. Finish: Glen Creek trailhead, south of Mammoth. Map Trails Illustrated Mammoth Hot Springs ($10, natgeomaps.com)

Contact (307) 344-2160; nps.gov/yell

Trip Data
backpacker.com/hikes/563516


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READERS COMMENTS

patrick
Apr 09, 2010

Oop's ,okay you mentioned bears.

patrick
Apr 09, 2010

Too bad it's still winter here in the greater yellowstone ecosystem ,also no mention of bears? bears are out and about in yellowstone's northern range right now!

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