Bison Cross A River In Yellowstone National Park. Photo:David Monniaux

Sure, Yellowstone Can Get Crowded. But There’s More Solitude, And Better Wildlife Viewing, In The Remote Back Country

Yellowstone National Park is the destination that people think of first when the subject of North American wildlife comes up. And the park certainly is an ecologicial wonderland, with herds of elk and buffalo, or bison, plenty of moose, and such apex predators as grizzly bears and wolves.

However, as anyone who has been there can tell you, crowds can build up, especially during the height of the summer season. A wildlife traveler can sometimes feel as if he or she is visiting an amusement park, rather than an all-natural national park.

But there are a few ways to escape those crowds. One is to hike into the back country. Another is to ride horses into the more remote reaches of the park. That’s what I did a few years back, when I spent five days traveling in the Thoroughfare region along the upper Yellowstone River, above Yellowstone Lake.

I traveled with an outfit called Yellowstone Mountain Guides, which specializes in taking people into the park on horseback, while bringing along plenty of good food, tents and other necessities on the backs of mules. It was a first-class trip, with fine weather to match the spectacular scenery, as well as a variety of wildlife-viewing opportunities. We also caught quite a few native Yellowstone cutthroat trout. At night, the wranglers told us stories about the first mountain men to explore the area.

But the best thing was, other than the other members of our party, we saw few other people, out there in the back of the beyond. It was a genuine adventure.

Have a look here for more information on Yellowstone Mountain Guides, and the types of trips they run. —Paul Guernsey

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