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Rebecca Cummings
(Becky908)

Locale: So. Cal
Ride to Yellowstone's Bechler Ranger Station from Kepler Cascades? on 06/21/2011 13:08:42 MDT Print View

I'm backpacking with a friend August 3-6 from Bechler Ranger Station to Kepler Cascades trailhead near Old Faithful. Initially, I figured we'd drop off the car at Kepler and thumb a ride to Bechler, but it looks like there's 10 miles of unpaved road to Bechler. Under those conditions, it doesn't seem bloody likely that anyone would drive us there, even two nice ladies sporting backpacks.

A shot in the dark: Will anyone be hiking in this area, around this time and will be willing to give us a lift? Alternatively, if someone is going in the opposite direction, swap keys?

If hitchhiking is the only way, might it be easier to end the trip at Bechler and try for a ride to Old Faithful?

OR, if anyone has any other suggestions . . . I've never been to Yellowstone.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Ride to Yellowstone's Bechler Ranger Station from Kepler Cascades on 06/21/2011 14:05:07 MDT Print View

Rebecca, you are in for a real logistical nightmare. I hope somebody, a trail angel, will come to your rescue on this one. Getting from Old Faithful to Bechler RS involves exiting the Park at West Yellowstone, then somehow getting down to Ashton, Idaho and on to Bechler. I'm thinking that it will be difficult to hitch a ride all that way. But by hiking N-S, you might possibly get lucky and come out at Bechler the same time somebody else does, and maybe be able to catch a ride to Ashton. Or, perhaps not, and you'd be at the mercy of the Bechler ranger as to whether you can camp there until somebody shows up. Also, don't try hitchhiking the southern boundary roads, as there is very little traffic. The only options I see (assuming that the trail shuttle angel doesn't surface) is to do one of several loops out of the Bechler RS, or an out-and-back from the north. Hopefully Mike Clelland will chime in with some better advice, as he lives near Ashton. Good luck.

Rebecca Cummings
(Becky908)

Locale: So. Cal
Re: Ride to Yellowstone's Bechler Ranger Station from Kepler Cascades on 06/21/2011 14:35:12 MDT Print View

Thanks Gary.
A loop from Bechler or Kepler is sounding more and more desirable. Any recommendations on that would be greatly appreciated. Our main goal is to see the waterfalls and soak in the hot spring near Three River Junction, which looks to be about 14 miles from the north or south.

--Becky

William Cummings
(rcummings1) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Ride to Yellowstone's Bechler Ranger Station from Kepler Cascades on 06/21/2011 15:11:19 MDT Print View

Do the loop from Bechler RS up to the Three River Junction and back. It's right at 14 miles one way. You travel through Bechler Meadows and the lower part of Bechler Canyon with lots of great waterfalls. This loop has better scenery with big vistas of the Tetons. If you do the Northern loop you spend a lot more time hiking in a never changing Lodgepole forest. Lone Star and Shoshone Lake are my least favorite part of the park. You might have to take one of the perimeter trails around Bechler Meadows if the water is still high. Bring your bug spray/nets and check with the Ranger at Bechler RS about the trail through the meadow. Try to get 2 nights at Three River Junction, it's a great spot to hang/explore.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Bechler hitching on 06/21/2011 16:04:47 MDT Print View

Hitching in Yellowstone can be a pain, but there are enough people that eventually it'll work (with patience). Leaving the car at Old Faithful, hiking to Bechler RS, then hiking the S Boundary to the paved road would be one option. Even better, hike the trail over the SE corner of the Pitchstone to the TH near Lewis Lake (name escapes me). Even better, hitch up to Lewis River, hike in to Shoshone Lake, then up to the road and finish with a short hitch to Old Faithful.

Rebecca Cummings
(Becky908)

Locale: So. Cal
Re: Re: Re: Ride to Yellowstone's Bechler Ranger Station from Kepler Cascades on 06/21/2011 18:32:00 MDT Print View

Thanks for the info, William. We will be fortified with Deet.

A couple more questions for you, William:

It looks like I choose Bechler River or Meadow trail out of the ranger station and then in about 7 miles I connect or continue along the Bechler River trail, and then on up to Three River Junction. On the return, it's the same trail (Bechler River) and then choose Bechler Meadow or River trail back to the ranger station, yes? It's more like a lollipop route?

A couple more questions: Am I safe to wait until arriving at the Ranger Station to get the permit? And I see nothing about bear canisters, only about hanging your food. Are bear canisters frowned upon or absolutely not allowed?

Edited by Becky908 on 06/21/2011 18:34:26 MDT.

Rebecca Cummings
(Becky908)

Locale: So. Cal
Re: Bechler hitching on 06/21/2011 18:33:09 MDT Print View

Thanks, David. I have options, I see.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
One more problem on 06/21/2011 19:35:02 MDT Print View

Becky, The Bechler Meadows are the lowest point in Yellowstone Park, and hence are kind of a natural sump. They can be marshy and muddy through August and underwater in July. And the Northern Rockies had its highest snowfall in years this past winter, and heavy rain in the spring. The Meadows/Boundary Creek to Three Rivers lollipop loop is a great trip, but in early August this year it may be impassible.

You might try an out-and-back from Lone Star south to Three Rivers (or beyond - there are some terrific falls along the Bechler Trail before you get to the Meadows. Great side trip to Shoshone Lake.

If you can do the loop from Bechler RS, don't miss Dunanda Falls, which has two great soaking pools within 75 yards of the Falls. In my opinion even better than the Ferris Falls hot springs.

Richard

Rebecca Cummings
(Becky908)

Locale: So. Cal
Re: One more problem on 06/21/2011 23:54:18 MDT Print View

Richard, can Dunanda Falls be approached from the north, or does that add significant mileage?

I'm certainly glad that I queried the BPL crew first. Looks like I've got some more planning to do.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
rangers and canisters on 06/22/2011 07:48:51 MDT Print View

I'd ring the Old Faithful backcountry desk and ask about the availabilty of permits. They do cap the number of folks at given sites, and August is usually quite crowded. You could end up being SOL.

Bear canisters are certainly allowed, but rather pointless. All BC sites in Yellowstone have a pole of some sort that makes hanging food dead easy, and MT/WY bears are less interested in human food and less acrobatically motivated than CA bears (thankfully). 40 feet of rope is all you'll need.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Dunanda Falls on 06/22/2011 14:24:09 MDT Print View

Becky - It can be approached from the north, but I realize this would make it a very long out-and-back. Dunanda and Silver Scarf Falls are located off the Boundary Creek Trail, which intersects the Bechler River Trail just after the last Bechler River crossing (above the Meadows). Dunanda is 2-3 miles up that trail, toward Buffalo Lake. Campsite 9A3 is right at the Falls. This is about 24 miles from Lone Star trailhead. But you'd hike the length of the Bechler River Canyon - best sets of falls in Yellowstone.

David is correct about availability of permits in August - do check with the Backcountry office first.

Richard

Rebecca Cummings
(Becky908)

Locale: So. Cal
Permits on 06/22/2011 18:41:30 MDT Print View

Thanks Charles and David. I called the backcountry ranger today and he agreed that early August is cutting it too close this year for lower Bechler. And he suggested that I call before submitting my campsite requests to see if I have a snowball's chance. I'll be doing that tomorrow. Thanks for all the helpful info.