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Yellowstone National Park: Bechler River Loop

Tour a lesser-traveled corner of Yellowstone National Park on this 8.6-mile loop that boasts vast lodgepole pine forests and massive meadows that stretch for miles.

Rating

Most seasoned Yellowstone hikers and backpackers who’ve explored Bechler River country speak in terms of awe when asked about this remote, and oft-forgotten, corner of the park. Set aside a weekend (or a day) and venture into these far reaches of southwest Yellowstone to escape the crowds and hang with bugling bull elk and howling gray wolves.
From the Bechler River Ranger Station, hike northeast on the well-used path for a flat stroll through shaded forest and marshy meadows. After 3.4 miles, set up camp at the park-authorized sites, then take a brief side trip to a narrow suspension bridge that hangs above Boundary Creek. Bechler Meadows, a vast stretch of open country, extends to the north. (The best time to visit Bechler Meadows is late summer or fall due to spring runoff.) The next day, spend some quality time along the Bechler River’s tranquil waters before leaving the river near mile 7 for the 1.6-mile stretch back to Waypoint 2 and the trailhead.

PERMIT: Overnight camping in Yellowstone National Park requires a backcountry permit. Check out the latest fees and more details at nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/backcountryhiking.htm.
MORE PARK INFO: Yellowstone National Park, (307) 344-7381; nps.gov/yell/.
-Mapped by Jason Kauffman

To Trailhead

From Ashton, ID, drive east on ID 47 to the turnoff for Cave Falls Rd. Continue driving east on Cave Falls Rd. to the turnoff for parking at the Bechler River Ranger Station.

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