Widening the search

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 10:53:57 07/09/17

In Reply to: cowboy cookout posted by miriam thompson


The link 46er provided will likely take care of your desire to book a cowboy cookout.

The link I am providing is more relevant to your looking for off the beaten path activities. What I would suggest you consider, if you are willing to part with the coin of the realm that it would require, would be an all-day horse trip into the Bechler backcountry, which is the relatively remote and much less visited portion of Yellowstone National Park. It carries the unofficial name of "Cascade Corner", a reference to the abundance of waterfalls along the various watercourses that plunge down from the Pitchstone Plateau. I have done a weeklong horsepacking trip through the Bechler, and it took most of that week to manage reaching all 3 of the major waterfall areas (the Bechler River canyon, Dunanda Falls, and Union Falls). I have day hiked since to both Dunanda and Union Falls multiple times, so I know a one-day in and out horse trip to either of them is quite possible. I have not done the same regarding the string of falls in the Bechler Canyon, like Colonnade and Iris Falls, but I'm sure it would also be doable as a one-day horse trip. The Bechler Canyon and Dunanda Falls trips would be easier overall, because the trailhead is the Bechler Ranger Station, which is east of Ashton, Idaho, which is around an hour and a half from West Yellowstone. Any of the trailheads, like Grassy Lake Reservoir, that access Union Falls, are along the Reclamation Road, a dirt affair that would be tough on stock trailer rigs, but well worth it if an outfitter could handle it. I'm trying to link an NPS public image collection shot of Union Falls, but it might not post, due to link length. You can search on any of the falls and see dozens or hundreds of photos of them. Union Falls has the additional advantage of proximity to "The Scout Pool", a legal soaking spot on the warm fork of Mountain Ash Creek. Any outfitter with much experience in that area will know about it. There are legal soaking spots at the base of Dunanda Falls, but getting down to them and climbing back out is a bit of a grunt. (I've done it more than once.) This year, with the rivers running higher than average, and the runoff possibly lasting longer than normal, certain itineraries might be impacted by high water in mid-July. It would still be worth looking into if you are comfortable with spending 2-3 hours on horseback each way. The Backcountry Situation Report should provide current info on the rivers in the Bechler. It is available at https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/situationreport.htm You will have to copy and paste the link since this site only allows one link per post.

Admittedly, what I am suggesting is not for everyone. It is likely to be pricey, and is not for anyone with a bad back or lack of experience with horses. If you are comfortable with the activity, and find an outfitter who is permitted in Yellowstone AND familiar with the Bechler, it would be an experience you would not likely forget.


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