Classic Adventures in the National Parks: The Thorofare

Yellowstone National Park
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Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone Thorofare

Head to the Thorofare in late May or June to glimpse calf season for moose. Photo by: istock.com / Jack Vandenheuvel

Head to the Thorofare in late May or June to glimpse calf season for moose. Photo by: istock.com/Jack Vandenheuvel

This trip through the remotest wilderness in the Lower 48 may be the closest you come to going on a safari on this side of the world. Like North America’s version of the Big Five, bears (both kinds), bison, moose, elk, and mule deer call Yellowstone’s seldom-visited southeast corner home.

From the Nine Mile trailhead, take three days to do the 33-mile “out” portion of this out-and-back along Yellowstone Lake and River, camping at Brimstone Bay (mile 12), Turret View (mile 22), and Thorofare (mile 33) Campgrounds. The big boys are more common near the marshy north end of the route (starting around mile 18), but the river’s resident otters, loons, and cutthroat should keep you occupied for the first day and a half. Retrace your steps on the return or make it an 81-mile lollipop-loop by linking the South Boundary, Two Ocean Plateau, and Trail Creek Trails.

Trailhead Nine Mile Season May to October Permit $3/person per night