Yellowstone Backpacking Tours

Phone Number for Wyoming Hiking Guides

Black Canyon (Coming in 2019!)


  • Early/late season exploration
  • Fantastic wildlife habitat
  • Traverse the Yellowstone River
  • Warm(er) early season temperatures
  • Native trout and fishing opportunities
  • Hike in comfort with just a light day pack
  • Enjoy our top-notch service and wonderful llamas!


If you are looking for a unique adventure for your group you won’t be disappointed in the beauty and highlights of this trip. The Black Canyon of Yellowstone is a fantastic early season trip due to its lower elevation, which allows the snow to melt earlier than other areas of the Park. This feature also makes it an excellent winter/spring feeding area for wildlife. Especially Bison and elk during the early summer months bear and raise their young along the meadows of the Yellowstone River. If you enjoy animal sightings and or trying your hand at catching wild trout this is the adventure for you.
You will have the chance to see many distinct species of wildlife while hiking to and from our base camp. The meadows are full or rich blades of grass, flowers and rich history told by the bends and drops of the well-traveled Yellowstone River. Our guides will walk you through the different layers of archeology as they intercept through time to bring such an amazing place to life. With the rich flora and fauna there is much to discover and explore in the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone River.
Click here to have a detailed PDF information packet emailed to you, or request a reservation today. You can also call us at 800-715-HIKE.


Yellowstone Llama Trek Photos

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Shuttle to Trailhead: 2.5 hours
Hiking Mileage: 4.7 miles
Elevation Loss: 720 feet

This Yellowstone National Park Llama Trek begins with pickup at your hotel in Bozeman, Montana (custom trips can also originate from West Yellowstone or Jackson, WY). Regardless of our starting point you won’t be disappointed with the views of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem as we travel to the start of our hike. Once we reach the trailhead we will eat a quick snack, load up the llamas and begin our 5-mile trek to our campsite on the shores of the Yellowstone River. Today's hike descends a lush, beautiful drainage with a waterfall and wildlife viewing opportunities (not guaranteed).

We cross the Yellowstone River on a bridge, set up camp, enjoy a hearty backcountry dinner, sit around a roaring campfire and eventually drift off to sleep in our tents with the rushing sound of the river providing background music.

Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 80 feet

Today is one of our guides' and guests' favorite days of this trek. We make a day of trekking to Knowles Falls and enjoy a fabulous picnic setting near a roaring cascade along America's longest undammed river. We will keep our eyes out for wildlife and also bones and skulls left over from the long winter. This entire valley is prime winter habitat for bison, elk, sheep, deer, marmots and more. When weakened animals enter the scarcity and harshness of a Yellowstone winter they often succumb, and their hides, skulls and bones are evidence of this cycle throughout the Black Canyon.

Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 2-6 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 120 feet

Today we hike upstream along the Yellowstone River to Cascade Lake, a pristine body of water that was separated from the river by glacial activity thousands of years ago. Again, we'll keep a sharp eye out for wildlife and remnants of winter cullings of ungulate populations in the Black Canyon. Eventually well return to camp and settle in for our final night in the wilderness. We'll enjoy a celebratory feast and one last campfire with the clearest night sky you've ever seen splayed out above us.

Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 4.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 720 feet
Shuttle to Jackson Hole: 2.5 hours

Today is our last morning on the banks of the Yellowstone River. We will head back the way we came and get a unique perspective as we hike up and out of The Black Canyon. Many times we will see wildlife in the meadows and along the Yellowstone River as we hike out. The views are beautiful as we pass by many Douglas Fir, Blue Spruce and Juniper Trees. At the trailhead we will unload the llamas and begin our shuttle back to Bozeman for our fond farewells.

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary park restrictions, campsite availability, weather, road closures, guest ability/injury, and natural events like fires and flooding.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Pack llamas to transport the majority of gear and food and a dedicated llama handler
  • One or more professional, knowledgeable, certified Yellowstone National Park hiking guides (max guest to guide ratio is 6:1, not including the llama handler)
  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • Roundtrip transportation from Jackson (or Bozeman for fall trips after September 22) to the trailhead and back
  • Bear safety equipment including bear spray cannisters and food-hanging gear
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and your kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Waterbottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-15% of trip cost)
See the Packing List page for more information.

Meals: What To Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs or Mountain Hardware tents
  • Sierra Designs sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Mountain Safety Research cooking stoves
  • Mountain Safety Research cookware
  • Bear spray cannisters and food-hanging gear
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone

What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter waterbottles per person, either a headlamp or flashlight per person, and a lightweight waterproof stuff sac for your clothes and belongings. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

Where Do We Meet?

You'll meet your hiking guide and group at a predetermined hotel in Jackson, Wyoming (or Bozeman, MT for fall trips after Sept 22) for an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. The next morning we'll pick you up at your hotel for transport to the trailhead. Your guide will be in contact approximately 10 days before your trip to coordinate the rendezvous and answer any last minute questions you have.

Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, discounted lodging and more.

Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional Wyoming hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.


Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, training in llama-handling, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

Group Size

Every llama trip has a dedicated llama handler/wilderness guide. The standard ratio of guests to guides/handlers on llama trips is 1 guide/handler for 1-4 guests; 2 guides/handlers for 5-8 guests; and 3 guides/handlers for 9-12 guests. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.

Weather Around Yellowstone

Being a Northern mountain environment, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is prone to sudden temperature and weather shifts. This is an exciting aspect of being in Wyoming's mountains. On trips in June, snow is a slight possibility, and the rest of the summer you're likely to get rained on at least once during your trip. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). See below for average summer temperatures around Yellowstone:
Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)