My girlfriend and I just finished a killer eight-day trip along the Thorofare and South Boundary Trail in Yellowstone. Many thanks to all the people whose posts and emails provided helpful information in planning.
I want to recommend — and give a big Thanks! to — the fellow who provided our trailhead shuttle: Wayne from Yellowstone Road Runner.
Wayne was punctual and reliable. We had arranged months in advance for Wayne to pick us up at the park’s South Entrance and take us to Nine Mile Trailhead, where we’d start our excursion. On launch day, my girlfriend and I drove from West Yellowstone all the way down to South Entrance; Wayne is located in West Yellowstone and so drove the same route. (Not a short one. Probably took us about 90 minutes, and that was early in the morning.) We had arranged to meet Wayne at South Entrance at 9am. We arrived at about 5 or 10 minutes past the hour and Wayne was already there. Which of course means that he committed to, and executed, a very early start.
Wayne was accessible and reliable in the months leading up to the trip. We booked his shuttle probably about four months in advance. At that time we set up a couple of dates on which to contact each other, just to confirm that everything was still on. No hiccups at all. This was a nice reassurance as we drew closer to what was (for us) a rather large trip, into which we were pouring so much effort planning.
The pickup and launch went perfectly. Again, Wayne was early to the meeting spot and got us promptly to where we needed to go.
One point I’d emphasize: Don’t blanch at the price. It was more than fair — and more than worth it. We paid $250 for the two of us. If that sounds like a lot, consider: We effectively occupied this gentleman’s whole day. Let’s say, up before 7am to get on the road by 730, latest. Wait for us to last-minute chat with the ranger. Then the long drive from South Entrance to Nine Mile: probably close to two hours with the traffic at that point. And then he has to go all the way back in the opposite direction to get out of the park to West Yellowstone. Through what would then be the park’s infamously slow traffic. That’s probably another hour and forty-five minutes, at best. Plus gas. And this for the final, key service that puts the months of planning to the road and gets your feet on the trail. More than fair. (I don’t know what Wayne’s pricing is for larger groups; but if I’d been with my usual, four-ape group of backpacking buddies, the per-person rate would look extremely reasonable.)
Finally, Wayne proved to be tremendously likeable and knowledgeable about the park. Our long ride to the trailhead was good fun in its own right. Wayne played a key role in launching one of the best backpacking trips I’ve ever done. When we return to this area, we won’t look anywhere else for a trailhead shuttle. I have no hesitation in strongly recommending him.
Oh, he also does taxi service to and from the Bozeman airport, among other things. If you have any shuttling needs out in this area, please consider calling Wayne.
Thanks for your time, and thanks as always for being one of the Web’s great communities.
Happy miles, children!