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Source for Yellowstone maps with campsites superimposed?
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Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Source for Yellowstone maps with campsites superimposed? on 03/25/2011 06:45:21 MDT Print View

I'm looking for a topo map of Yellowstone with campsites superimposed. I'm trying to find Bechler/Shoshone Lake campsites ~10 miles apart and having a tough time.

Right now I have a Trails Illustrated map that doesn't provide enough detail and doesn't have campsites. I have National Geo Topo! for National Parks, and it doesn't have campsites.

Have the Yellowstone backcountry planning guide that shows all the campsites and capacity, but no topo features.

I have a trail guidebook that shows some distances and campsites, but not quite enough topo detail.

Switching between these three sources is rather cumbersome. Is there a better way?

I'd love to find an improved version of Topo! that'll allow me to add to an existing path waypoints corresponding to a campsite. I'd love to be able to compute distance between those waypoints as well!


Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Bechler/Shoshoni map on 03/25/2011 07:43:13 MDT Print View

Curtis, while the NG Trails Illustrated map that covers the whole park doesn't show campsites, there are also 4 YNP maps that each cover a quarter of the park. For Bechler and Shoshoni, you would want the Old Faithful map (#302), which covers the SW corner. It has the campsites on it.

Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Bechler/Shoshoni map on 03/25/2011 16:45:40 MDT Print View

Excellent, ordered!

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Bechler route? on 03/25/2011 17:03:50 MDT Print View

Curtis, I am interested in what your route will be. That's the one part of the Park that I haven't spent any time in, but maybe will this summer. Are you planning to hike from the Bechler ranger station up to Shoshoni Lake and exit north of there? Logistics of that would be crazy. Just getting to the Bechler RS is an exercise in shock absorber efficiency (on one of the south boundary roads, Cave or Flagg Ranch), or else a serious detour from West Yellowstone to Ashton. What are you thinking you will do?

Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Bechler route? on 03/25/2011 17:24:06 MDT Print View

I'm planning on going from the Bechler ranger station up around Shoshoni Lake and then up either to the Lone Star trailhead. My teen sons are dying for a 50 mile hike for braggin rights, so I'm adding in the 17mi loop around the lake.

We're going to have 2 cars, so logistics can be improved somewhat by dropping off a car at the end. I've debated going downhill, but I don't want to make it too easy on the teens. My daughter and I did 53 miles in the Tetons last summer, which was a lot of elevation change!

I don't yet know which side we'll come in from. I'm tempted to come up from Flagg Ranch so that my two boys can see the Tetons along the way.

When will you be there?

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Bechler-Shoshoni on 03/26/2011 08:01:33 MDT Print View

That sounds like a great trek. As far as seeing the Tetons, there isn't any view of them while on those south boundary roads. You can see the west side of them while driving east from Ashton. But when you get into the mountains, the view goes away. In fact, there's not much to look at at all while driving the Flagg Ranch road, as you are in pretty thick forest most of the way.

I suppose you could just drive both cars from Jackson, past the Tetons, enter the park, and leave one car at the end-of-trek trailhead. Then head over to West Yellowstone, then south to Ashton and on to the Behhler RS. I'm not sure, but it seems like it took the same amount of time for me to get from W. Yellowstone to Bechler RS via Ashton as it did from Bechler RS to the main highway on the Flagg Ranch road. And the Flagg Ranch road, like I mentioned, is pretty rough and slow in a lot of places. I was glad to have my 4Runner, as it could be a bit hard on a 2WD vehicle.

If I do hike a bit in that area this summer, it won't be till mid-late August. I'll be near Glacier July 4th, then hope to pop a couple quick trips in GNP before heading up to play in the Canadian NPs for a few weeks. The loose plan is to get back down to Yellowstone and do a couple hikes, and finally hit the Wind Rivers on my way back to Colorado. It's a pretty aggressive plan, and I might tire of being on the road that long. We'll see how it goes.

I hope your trip is a great success. I think it's great that you are doing this for your family. They'll never forget this trip.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Bechler River trail on 03/26/2011 12:49:06 MDT Print View

A tip on campsites: NPS's website includes a backcountry trip planner that has all the sites' locations nicely mapped. You can use this site to request reservations, and in general it's very informative.

An even easier trip planner is Bill Schneider's "Hiking Yellowstone National Park" from Falcon Press.

I hiked from Lone Star to Bechler Ranger Station in 2008, and did a shorter trip through the Bechler Meadows and up the Boundary Creek Trail last summer. Some of the best hiking in a park that has much great hiking! On the full Bechler trip we camped the first night at 8G1, on the Shoshone Lake Trail about 100 yards from its junction with the Bechler River Trail. It's a short, flat hike from the Bechler Trail to the lake, and it's the side of the lake with its own mini-geyser basin.

Be sure to include Dunanda Falls (on the Boundary Creek Trail) on your itinerary as a campsite or day destination. From the ridge above the campsite (9A3) you have a great view to the Grand Teton, weather permitting. The Falls have one of the best backcountry hot springs anywhere. The Teton Range is visible from much of the Bechler Meadows.

I'm hoping to get back there this fall. You'll have a great time!

Rob Vandiver

Locale: So Cal
Google Earth is awesome. on 03/26/2011 23:48:01 MDT Print View

Google Earth is an incredible resource! You can download all sorts of KMA files that are overlaid over the satellite imagery.
This site:
has KMA files with some trails, campsites and other info.

You can trace your route (or use the existing trail overlay) and get elevation profiles and millage estimates.

As for the contours, you can dl USGS topo overlays here:
When you turn the overlay on, it displays a blue grid over the satellite imagery. Click on the name of the map you want to DL, and presto! Whatever USGS map you wanted, with campsites, trails, and your overlaid path right over the top of it.

Best yet, it's all free.
Some parks have AWESOME kma data files, San Bernardino NP has about the best that I have found. There are trails marked on it that aren't on any other NPS maps, only on USGS or other maps.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Google Earth is awesome. on 03/27/2011 07:49:16 MDT Print View

Yup, great for coastal BC as well. Can plan how to go between all of the logging patches and use the sections not logged or very recently logged with minimal brush.