Yellowstone Guided Backpacking, Gallatin Traverse
Gallatin Traverse Guided Backpacking Tours, Yellowstone
Gallatin Traverse Itinerary (4 Day or 7 Day Trips)

Gallatin Traverse Itinerary (4 Day Trip)
This trip may be done in the opposite direction (east to west) depending on campsite availability.

Day 1 - Moderate - 6 mi/9.6 km
Our trip begins at the Glen Creek Trailhead just south of Mammoth Hot Springs. The hike crosses the sagebrush flats of Swan Lake Flat before climbing gradually (500 ft.) to our first campsite (1G3 or 1G4) on the southeastern slopes of Electric Peak (10,969 ft.).

Day 2 - Difficult - 7 mi/11.2 km
The next morning we'll climb to Electric Pass, reaching an elevation of 9,840 ft. This is the highest point along the entire route. It's a gradual ascent that climbs 1,800 ft., from our campsite beside the Gardner River. After reaching this spectacular ridgeline we'll be treated to panoramas that extend across this rugged area of the park. This is also prime grizzly bear habitat and a good place to drop the packs and soak up the views before descending to our campsite beside Sportsman Lake.

Day 3 - Moderate - 8 mi/12.8 km
After leaving Sportsman Lake we'll climb once again, gaining about 600 ft. in elevation, before entering the dense pine forests to the west. After about 3.0 miles we'll connect with Fan Creek Trail and continue our gradual descent beside this beautiful, meandering stream. Our campsite for the last night is located in the southwestern corner of this quiet and undisturbed valley.

Day 4 - Easy to Moderate - 3 mi/4.8 km (See option below)
On day four we'll take our time breaking camp before beginning the short hike to the Fawn Pass Trailhead, following the open meadows that border Fan Creek. From the Fawn Pass Trailhead we'll take a shuttle back to the starting point near Mammoth Hot Springs (2-3 hour drive). NOTE: As an option, we may extend the mileage on the last day to include the Bighorn Pass Trail. This would bring the total miles covered for the day to 10 mi/16 km.

Gallatin Loop Itinerary (7 Day Trip)
Day 1 - Easy - 6 mi/9.6 km
This trip begins at the Fawn Pass Trailhead which is located south of Big Sky, Montana on the western edge of Yellowstone National Park. The hike heads east toward Fawn Pass and the Fawn Pass cutoff trail where we'll descend to our campsite along the Gallatin River (WB1).

Day 2 - Difficult - 11.2 mi/18 km
The next morning we'll climb back up to the Fawn Pass Trail (250 ft) and begin the long, steady climb toward Fawn Pass (9,120 ft). The trail meanders through dense sagebrush and mixed pine forests before reaching Fawn Pass. This is ideal grizzly bear habitat and we'll be hiking through the Gallatin Bear Management Area for almost the entire day. Elevation gain will be approximately 1,620 ft. After a well deserved rest at the top we'll descend along Fawn Creek to our campsite near the base of Quadrant Mountain.

Day 3 - Moderate - 7 mi/11.2 km
On day three the terrain opens once again as we hike along the northern end of Gardners Hole. This wide valley continues south across the sage covered lowlands that flank the eastern side of the Gallatin Range. We'll connect with the Sportsman Lake Trail and head west, climbing gradually toward Electric Pass.

Day 4 - Difficult - 7 mi/11.2 km
From our campsite along the Gardner River we'll begin the long climb to Electric Pass which reaches a height of nearly 10,000 ft. Elevation gain for the day will be approximately 2,000 ft. From the top of Electric Pass the views stretch across the Gallatin Range and beyond. This alpine environment is the perfect place to look for grizzly bears that forage on the open slopes that surround Electric Peak. The day ends at one of two campsites beside Sportsman Lake.

Day 5 - Moderate to Difficult - 7.5 mi/12 km
Leaving Sportsman Lake the trail climbs into the dense and cooler forests located to the west, passing through smaller meadows and thick pine woodlands before reaching our fifth campsite at High Lake.

Day 6 - Difficult - 8 mi/12.8 km
Day six is a strenuous day that follows the Crescent/High Lake Trail past beautiful vistas that will drop away at your feet. After reaching Crescent Lake we'll descend to Specimen Creek before making the big climb up to Shelf Lake. The last two miles to the lake climbs 2,000 ft. This is a long, tough but rewarding day.

Day 7 - Easy - 8 mi/12.8 km
On day seven we'll enjoy a relaxing morning in camp before we begin the eight mile trek back to the Specimen Creek Trailhead.

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Trip Dates

Price Per


Total Distance






July 16-19


4 Days/3 Nights

23.5 mi/25 km



7,000-9,800 ft.



What's Included?
Round-trip transportation from Bozeman to Yellowstone National Park, Professional Guide, Backcountry Permits, Backpack, Tent (3-season, 2-person), Sleeping Bag and Sleeping Pad (20º F), Cook Stove, Cooking Fuel, Water Filter; Trekking Poles, Group First-aid Kit, Bear Spray, Meals and Snacks (meals are supplied while backpacking only). See the gear checklist below for the additional items you are responsible for bringing.

NOTE: If you supply your own backpacking equipment/clothing and food (see items listed above) you will receive a discount of $200 off your trip. Please let us know ahead of time so we can plan accordingly.

If you have any food allergies or special meal preferences please let us know and we'll do our best to accommodate your request. Additional fees may apply for special dietary food requests. We pack a variety of meals for dinners along with high-calorie energy bars, oatmeal, dried fruits, granola, nuts, and beef jerky for lunches.

Returning guests will receive a 10% discount on all future trips with us.

Not Included?
Airfare, Trip Insurance, Hotel Reservations, Personal Items

For flight and rental car information please click here.

Travel Agency
Need help getting to and from the area? Contact TravelCafe

Shuttle Services
There are a number of reliable shuttle services in the region that offer transportation to and from the park.
Karst Stage
Yellowstone Road Runner

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Black Canyon of the Yellowstone Gear Checklist Yellowstone Backpacking Preparation
  1. A good pair of waterproof hiking boots
    (already broken-in)
  2. Rain gear/jacket and rain pants
  3. Warm coat (fleece or down).
    Temps can drop into the 20's and 30's ºF at night.
  4. 3-4 pairs of synthetic hiking socks
  5. Sunscreen (small tube)
  6. Sandals or lightweight water shoes (No flip flops)
  7. Quick-drying hiking pants (zip-off legs are ideal),
    and/or a pair of shorts (no jeans)
  8. Mid to lightweight long underwear
    (tops and bottoms)
  9. Synthetic t-shirts
  10. Baseball hat or wide-brimmed hat
  11. Knit hat and warm gloves
  12. Personal items (deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste,
    lip balm, etc.). We strongly urge you to bring products with a minimal scent.
  13. Sunglasses
  14. Bug spray (on trips where indicated)
  15. Your sense of adventure

Optional Equipment/Items

  1. Gaiters
  2. Camera
  3. Binoculars
  4. Pocket knife or multi-tool
  5. A good book or magazine
While these hikes are generally moderate in difficulty they do require a certain level of fitness and conditioning. Much of Yellowstone is situated at elevations that are above 6,000 ft. which can limit your normal level of physical activity. We recommend a regular fitness routine that includes most forms of cardio activity as well as regular day hikes in the footwear you plan to hike in. You must be able to carry between 30 and 60 lbs. of equipment in a variety of weather conditions and over a variety of terrain.

Medical Conditions
Please make us aware of any pre-existing medical conditions you or anyone in your party may have. If you are taking medications for these ailments please let us know. We will email you the appropriate forms once a trip is booked.

Yellowstone Weather
The weather in Yellowstone is very unpredictable and even though our trips are run during the summer months it can snow at any time of the year in Yellowstone. Daytime temperatures can range between 40ºF and 85ºF and nighttime temperatures can drop into the 20's and 30's ºF. You must be prepared for any type of weather. Click here for detailed information on the weather in Yellowstone.

Getting to Yellowstone
We recommend flying into the Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) at Gallatin Field which is located 90 miles from the West Entrance and West Yellowstone, MT, and 95 miles from the North Entrance, Mammoth Hot Springs and the Albright Visitor Center. Click here for more information on air travel and rental car services.

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Number of People
Please Choose Your Dates
Deposit, Refund & Cancellation Policies

A deposit of $350 per person is required prior to the start of each trip.
For groups of 4 or more the deposit is $1,000 to reserve a trip.
The remaining balance is due 30 days prior to the trip date.
If you book a tour less than 60 days prior to the trip date the full amount is due.

Trips cancelled up to 60 days prior to the tour date will have the initial deposit returned.
Trips cancelled between 60 and 30 days will receive a 50% refund on the total package price.
Trips cancelled less than 30 days from the start date are non refundable.*
Cancellations must be made in writing or by email.
Refunds will be issued within 90 days from the cancellation date.

* You may reschedule your trip if necessary. Email us for details.

Trail Guides, LLC reserves the right to cancel a trip at any time prior to the start date.
Under these circumstances we will refund the entire amount of the trip, including the deposit.
However, we cannot be held liable for individual travel expenses such as;
airfare, rental cars, equipment, meals, trip insurance, travel visas, medical expenses, etc.

NOTE: All backpacking trips are operated rain or shine. Because of the remote locations in which these trips are conducted
our schedule can vary depending on a variety of conditions but we make every effort to adhere to the itineraries outlined above.
The park service may close backcountry areas, campsites and trails due to bear, flood or wildfire activity.
If a tour is cancelled for reasons beyond our control we will issue a credit for a trip of equal value.

Cell service is very inconsistent throughout the park and we may not be able to contact you if we’re running late or vice versa. Wildlife and other unforeseen circumstances including, but not limited to; traffic jams, wildfires, animals, accidents, etc. can significantly delay our/your travel time to the designated meeting points, but we make every effort to be on time. Please be patient. Delays are inevitable in Yellowstone but we cannot be held liable for these unexpected inconveniences. On the day your trip begins you are required to wait for your guide a minimum of 2-3 hours from the appointed start time unless otherwise instructed. Day hikes and backpacking trips are non-refundable under these circumstances.

Click here to download a copy of our deposit, refund and cancellation policies.

We highly recommend purchasing trip insurance before you travel:

For more information please contact us at:
Tel: 1-406-595-1823

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