July Visit -- Planning Help

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July Visit -- Planning Help

Post by napid79 »

This July I will be in the park from July 17 - July 25 with my 9 year-old son. We're looking to do some backpacking, day hiking, animal watching, and fishing. I'm looking for any hidden gems that would be great for me and my son since we have so much time. With 8 days, I'm assuming we will be able to do hit all the main attractions and still have time to explore.

One thing we do want to do is is a 3-4 day backpack trip. This will be his first backpacking adventure (not mine, I've done many). Having never backpacked Yellowstone, I'm looking for any recommendations on routes. One route I've been eyeing is the Bliss Pass route. I would prefer not to do an out and back, but also am not sure how shuttling/hitchhiking works in the corner of the park. If there are other options that would be suitable for a 9 year-old, I'd love to hear them.


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Re: July Visit -- Planning Help

Post by Max »

For the longer backcountry hike you may want to check the Trip Reports forum. There are a few hike-centric reports in there... it may even be a good idea to PM the authors directly for suggestions in case they don't see your post here. Scatman is one person with a lot of backcountry experience who comes to mind.

When you're not on the trails and are looking for wildlife, definitely get out pretty early. In summer it gets hot quickly, so you want to beat the heat in order to increase your chances of seeing wildlife--and that's before the roads get really crowded with tourists.

One shorter hike to consider is Mt. Washburn, since you have an interest in wildlife. Start at sunrise and go up the Chittenden Road side. Of all the hikes I've done in the park, this one has offered up the greatest variety of wildlife. Again, best to start first thing in the morning to avoid the heat until you're heading back down. There's a good chance you'll have it to yourself or only a couple other people on the way up too.


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Re: July Visit -- Planning Help

Post by yellvet »

The first thing you should know is that you must have a back country camping permit before you can camp in the Yellowstone back country. The permit identifies a specific Yellowstone back country camp site along with specific camping dates. The Park needs to approve your permit application and your camping dates before it will allow you to camp in the back country. If you don't have a permit, then don't camp in the back country....stay at a campground. If you get caught camping in the back country without a permit, you'll be "OB camping" (out of bounds camping), which is a direct violation of Yellowstone rules and regulations. OB camping could also you get a citation/fine that could cost you $250 or more. And that's the last thing you need when you're on vacation with your son. Because so many people want to camp in the Yellowstone back country, it's usually best to apply for your back country camping permit in early January and that applicants aren't usually notified by the Yellowstone Back Country Office until some time in May, if their back country camping permit application was approved or not. So if you're traveling a long way to get to Yellowstone, keep this top of mind when you're planning your trip. For more information on camping in the Yellowstone back country, I highly recommend that you contact the Yellowstone Back Country Office. They'll be happy to give you all the details on how to apply for a back country camping permit. Keep in mind that July is the height of the peak visitor season in Yellowstone. So there's plenty of competition for back country camp sites with only a limited number available. That being the case, you might want to consider this idea. This year stay at a developed campground with your son. This will give you a chance to familiarize yourself with Yellowstone and check out some of the different areas of the Park and explore some of the trails on Yellowstone's extensive trail system. See which areas of the Park you like the best. When you know what area you'd like to camp in, then apply for your back country camping permit next January. Consider stopping by the Yellowstone Back Country Office when you're in the Park this summer. The ranger can give you all the particulars on how to apply for a back country permit, the best time to apply, what's required of you when you're camping in the back country, what site(s) will be available and when and which ones would be the best for you and your son based your previous wilderness camping and hiking experience. Personally, I think you'd have a much better time exploring the different areas of the Park first,before you jump into in a back country camping experience. Hope this helps.

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Re: July Visit -- Planning Help

Post by billandkaren »

This should be a great experience for you and your son. Just a couple of thoughts and suggestions. Is your son up for a 3-4 day backpacking trip his first time out? As a former teacher, I know that some kids can be very enthusiastic about a trip like this, but tire of it very quickly. You know your son of course, but you want his first trip out to be as positive as possible. You might want to consider 1 or 2 nights for his first trip.

In July you will still be in the mosquito and fly season. I found mosquito nets and, of course, bug spray to be very helpful. I would carry a couple of cans of bear spray and stay away from the areas with a greater possibility of grizzly encounter. Also, while less likely in July, thunderstorms can still be a possibility so rain gear is a good idea.

Many backcountry trails lack bridges over the streams so you need to be prepared to ford these streams. Most streams will be relatively easy to cross by July, but I carry watershoes to keep my boots dry.

You wll be traveling at a peak time for backcountry camp sites. So you may be somewhat limited in your choices to get a reservation. Another option would be to choose a trail in one of the surrounding national forests. There are some trails as beautiful, if not more so, than what the park has to offer. The trails are less crowded and you don't need a reservation for a campsite.

That being said, Pebble creek out to Bliss Pass would be a great hike if you can get a camp site. Also hikes in the southwest corner of the park are supposed to be beautiful, especially if you like waterfalls, and campsites might be more available than in other areas.

Hope you guys have a great time. I admire you for doing this with your son.

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