Go Deep into our First National Park
Sample ItineraryDAY 1: Your trip starts at Grant Village in Yellowstone National Park late in the afternoon. Set up camp and get to know your trip mates over supper. Share your expectations for the upcoming days while enjoying s'mores by the fire. You have several options for activities in Yellowstone National Park. Your trip leaders will share those options with you daily
DAY 2: After a hearty camp breakfast, take off for a sightseeing tour of Yellowstone. Stop along the way to hike to Norris Geyser Basin and experience the beauty of Old Faithful.
DAY 3: Practice canoe skills at the west thumb of Yellowstone Lake and paddle along the western shore looking for moose and osprey. Paddle up to Geyser Basin for lunch. Return to Grant Village by dinnertime.
DAY 4: After breakfast, head to Lewis Lake for a day of paddling. The group will have time to fish and explore the lakeshores.
DAY 5: Travel to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and explore trails to the upper and lower falls. After lunch, hike on one of the many trails along the Dunraven Pass. Return to base camp at Grant Village by suppertime.
DAY 6: Take one last hike this morning after breakfast, then pack up camp and eat lunch. The trip officially ends in the early afternoon after lunch. If you use WI's van transportation you will take a spectacular drive through the Beartooth Mountains on our way back to Billings, MT. There are opportunities to stop for souvenirs and at other points of interest along the way. You can expect to return to Billings in the evening.
Travel, Terrain, Etc...TERRAIN/ROUTE CHOICES: Yellowstone National Park has a wide variety of terrain and ecosystems, ranging from near-desert at the north entrance to sub-alpine meadows and forests. Lodge pole pines cover 60% of the park. Burn areas from the 1988 fire feature new growth and colorful wildflowers. Yellowstone National Park offers a wide range of route options from very easy to difficult.
TYPE OF TRAVEL: On paddling days you will travel in 24-foot Voyageur canoes, which hold 8-10 paddlers. On non-paddling days the group will travel from site to site in the WI van and participant cars.
WEATHER: Due to high elevations, temperatures in the summer months fluctuate from 25 F to 90 F. It is usually quite sunny and warm but be prepared for everything, including a rain shower or two.
YOUR GROUP: The group size ranges from 10 to 20 participants, plus 2 or more Wilderness Inquiry staff. Each group consists of people of various ages, backgrounds and abilities, including people with disabilities. Our trips are cooperative in nature. WI staff will assist you in whatever areas you need, however most people pitch in where they can.
ACCOMMODATIONS: We basecamp at a nice group site on this trip. At night, you will sleep in tents. Typically, there are 3 people per 4-person tent (other arrangements can be made). Facilities at the campground have flush toilets and showers.
MEALS: We’ll enjoy preparing our meals together in our base camp kitchens using fresh, healthy ingredients for bountiful dishes. Rise to the smell of freshly brewed coffee to enjoy with your breakfast of bacon, eggs, or pancakes. We’ll pack picnic lunches with hearty snacks before heading off to explore. In the evening, we’ll prepare our dinners together over stoves and campfires, and then finish with s’mores or other great desserts. If you have special dietary restrictions, be sure to list them on your registration.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: Wilderness Inquiry will provide all necessary canoeing and camping equipment. All you need to provide is your personal gear, such as clothing and a sleeping bag. A detailed equipment list will be sent to you upon confirmation of your participation.
FISHING: Cut throat and Lake trout thrive in Yellowstone Lake, however, if you want to try your luck, you must obtain a permit from the National Park Service, which you can do on the trip.
A note about the itinerary: Our trips are real adventures in the outdoors. While we'll make every effort to follow the itinerary listed here, elements may change due to weather or reasons beyond our control.
The natural wonders of Yellowstone National Park have awed generations of explorers, visitors, scientists, and tourists since the 19th century. Explorers from the earliest expeditions were considered liars or lunatics, their descriptions of the region seemed so fantastic. A national land preservation movement began with the Yellowstone National Park Act of 1872, which created the park to preserve the watershed of the Yellowstone River “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” Yellowstone became the world’s first designated national park.
The geologic features of Yellowstone have attracted visitors from all over the world. Mountain-building processes, including volcanic eruptions, uplift, and faulting, have created mountains, basins, and calderas. Melting glaciers created fast-flowing rivers that carved deep canyons. Yellowstone receives great acclaim for its 10,000 thermal features, including geysers, hot springs, mudpots, and fumaroles. In addition to the geology and breathtaking scenery of the region, Yellowstone visitors experience an abundance of wildlife.
Yellowstone National Park shelters the largest concentration of free-roaming wildlife in the lower 48 states. Herds of bison migrate into the valleys to graze. Powerful and elusive grizzly bears prowl the backcountry. The park provides habitat for over 50 other mammals including: wolves, black bears, mule deer, bighorn sheep, moose, elk, and pronghorn antelope. Nearly 300 species of birds breed or migrate through Yellowstone.
Yellowstone National Park encompasses over 2.2 million acres, a huge region larger than both Delaware and Rhode Island combined. Unlike those states, Yellowstone has relatively few developed areas. Most visitors tend to stay near these developed areas. Few people venture from the roads. This is the reason an experience with Wilderness Inquiry will be unique. Although our groups take in some of the more popular attractions, they will also venture away from the roads and trails as we paddle on Yellowstone Lake.
Formed in a volcanic caldera, Yellowstone Lake plunges 390 feet in depth and encompasses 110 miles of shoreline. At about 87,000 acres in size, it ranks as the largest lake in North America above 7,000 feet in elevation. Lake trout and cutthroat trout have the run of the lake, as they’re at the top of the food chain that originates near hot vents on the lake bottom. The warm water from the vents supports bacteria that feed on the released sulfur and forms the base of the food chain. You don’t have to tote a rod and reel to appreciate the world-renowned trout fishing in Yellowstone. Thousands of people every year flock to bridges that pass over crystal clear waters just to view the colorful trout. Fishing Bridge, near the outlet of Yellowstone Lake, provides one popular spot to watch fish.
Yellowstone offers a truly unique wilderness environment. Exploring its backcountry and solitude is just the ticket for fully appreciating its diversity of wildlife and geologic drama.
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This trip officially begins at the Grant Village Campground in Yellowstone National Park on the evening of the first day of the trip. You can take your own transportation or use WI’s van transportation from Billings. Most people meet us in Billings the morning of the first day of the trip. Detailed meeting place instructions will be sent to you when you are confirmed for the trip.
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Multicolored microorganisms give Yellowstone its color. This is Grand Prismatic Spring in the Midway Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park.
Fly fishing at sunrise on Yellowstone Lake.
A moose wades out for a drink of Yellowstone Lake's cold water.
Spectacular falls on the Yellowstone River. This area is known as the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park
Elk near Yellowstone's Grant Village campground
Enjoying the view of Yellowstone Falls in Yellowstone National Park
View from high above Yellowstone Lake, which was affected by the 1988 wildfire and now shows signs of regrowth.