Expect and Prepare

Wildlife abounds, including grizzly bears and bison. Take all precautions for your safety. 

The trail ventures into wilderness that sees almost no visitors. Be prepared for absolute remoteness. 

Overgrown trails make navigating with GPS and a compass necessary. 

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem 

 

Entering Yellowstone National Park through the north, the WWT traverses the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Passing through Mammoth Hot Springs, the park office is a necessary stop for backcountry permits.

The trail begins to diverge from the Continental Divide Trail, Big Sky Variation, and takes a route through the Lamar Valley. This river valley is called the Serengeti of North America and is home to herds of bison, pronghorn antelope, wolves, and grizzly bears.

The WWT leaves Yellowstone National Park and enters the North Absaroka Wilderness. This path not only allows for solitude and a wilderness experience but also frees the hiker from the necessity of permits. Because the trail leaves the official borders of Yellowstone National Park so quickly, there is no need for extraneous backcountry permits.

The Trail continues through the Washakie Wilderness, and the Teton Wilderness. All trails follow existing routes but their lack of use and maintenance ensures rugged hiking.

The entire trail is home to grizzly and Bison. This is the most intact ecosystem of the lower 48 and provides the best wildlife viewing in North America. Bring a camera and hang all food in camp.

Yellowstone History

 

The original Yellowstone National Park boundary was drawn to incorporate all of the geologic features of the region. Originally, the park was created because of the hydrothermal oddities such as geysers and hot springs. Thanks to the large area of interest, wildlife also enjoyed protections.

The American Bison found its last refuge within the park and thanks to recovery efforts, is no longer critically endangered.

Park rangers originally hunted the park’s predators to extinction, including grizzly bears and wolves.  They were seen as nuisances and dangerous to tourists. Thankfully, the reintroduction of both wolves and grizzlies have created a mecca of wildlife. In what is perhaps the best conserved temperate ecosystem on the planet, the WWT makes certain to provide the best backcountry hiking experience possible.

 

The wilderness areas that were created on Yellowstone’s eastern boundaries were created to ensure an immaculate landscape. Few visitors ever make it this far into the wilderness. The WWT connects Idaho’s great wilderness to Montana’s great wilderness, to the Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Section map: Coming Fall 2018

Wild West Trail Map picture