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Heart of the Park
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Trip Info:
Duration: 5 DAYS  
Distance: 38 MILES 
Difficulty: 4/5

Cost per person: $1400 
$300 non-refundable deposit
AGES 18+

Trip Description:


Join us on a guided backpacking trip through the “Heart of the Park”and experience a little bit of everything that Yellowstone has to offer! 


We'll start at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, where we'll see waterfalls and thermal features.  Then, move on to experience backcountry lakes, mega fauna, solitude and massive wide-open valleys.

If you're seeking an adventure away from the crowds, or a challenging hike that very few people have the chance to do, this is the one for you!

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We will meet the evening before our trip starts in Bozeman, Montana at 5:00 pm, at a predetermined hotel. If the meeting is held at a different hotel than you are staying, your guide will gladly provide transportation to and from the meeting.  In this meeting, we will do a general orientation that will cover introductions, trip itinerary, safety precautions, pack fitting and group gear distribution. Most importantly, this is a chance to meet with your guide to discuss the personal gear and clothes that you plan on bringing; your guide will offer advice about what to bring and what to leave behind for a successful and comfortable trip.  This meeting generally lasts one hour.


  • Travel time from Bozeman: 2.5 Hours

  • Distance: 7.6 Miles

  • Difficulty: Hard (due to heavy backpacks and long mileage for the first day)

We will pick up you at your hotel in Bozeman, and start our drive south to Yellowstone. Once in West
Yellowstone, right outside the West Entrance to the park, we will eat breakfast and grab coffee before
continuing our drive. We will arrive in the parking lot of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, along
with hundreds of other tourists; but rest assured, they will stay at the viewpoint when we start our
backpacking trip. After taking in the unbelievable views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone we will
travel along the South Rim of the canyon, the views of the canyon walls are gorgeous and unforgettable. Soak up the views as you can because we will be leaving the canyon behind and heading deep in to Yellowstone’s Backcountry. Our campsite the first night will be deep in a forest along a remote creek. The guide will prepare dinner, and we will settle in for our first night in the backcountry!



  • Distance: 8 Miles

  • Difficulty: Moderate

With an early wake up, we will enjoy hot coffee and quick breakfast, then break down camp to move
deeper into the heart of the park. The destination for the day is the shore Wapiti Lake-- ask any local
hiker and they’ll tell you how remote and special this lake is! Once we get to camp, we can either relax
along the shores, or go on a small day hike in the surrounding area-- the options really are endless!



  • Distance: 5 Miles

  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate

After breaking down camp, we will head south to Fern Lake. Along the way, we will keep our eyes
peeled for wildlife, as it’s common to see elk, moose, bison, and bears in this area. We’ll also pass the
remote Fern Lake Patrol Cabin. The day will be spent experiencing an area of the park that many others haven’t even heard of. Once at camp, we'll settle in because this will be our home for two nights.


  • Distance: 6 to 11 Miles

  • Difficulty: Easy 

We will leave camp setup and travel around the Pelican Valley area with light day packs. Pelican valley is home to the Mollie wolf pack and to the last remaining herd of free ranging bison in the lower 48. This a special place and it will be easy to see and to feel why! We can traverse to remote hot springs or to Tern or White Lakes; again, there are many options. After we have explored the area, we will head back to camp and rest up for the next day!


  • Distance: 12 Miles

  • Difficulty: Hard (due to long mileage)

  • Travel time back to Bozeman: 3 hours (estimated arrival is 4:00 pm)


After a quick and hearty breakfast, and last pack up, we will hit the trail. This is the long hike out-- but
don’t worry the miles will go fast with our now-light backpacks. The possible wildlife sightings are
endless in Pelican Valley. We will cross one rolling hill after another, and as we look back at the path we

have come from, we can see Mirror Plateau, Pelican Cone and the surrounding peaks. The last few miles of trail will be through a forest. Once back at the van, we will eat a big lunch with fresh food and cold drinks. Hooray you have know traversed the Heart of the Park!

Trip Variations:

Nomadic By Nature always tries our best to follow the itinerary as closely as possible.  However, there may be slight variations based on the National Park Service permit system and the ever-changing dynamics of the outdoors. 

Gear Checklist 
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All backpacking gear is provided by Nomadic by Nature, including backpacks, tents, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trekking poles, group cooking supplies, and more.  

Click below to review the checklist of what is provided, and what you'll need to bring on your backpacking trip in Yellowstone National Park. 

Travel Logistics
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Due to the nature of the Park Service’s permit system, Nomadic By Nature will not know the exact dates of your trip until April.  As soon as we get our permit dates, NBN will notify you immediately.  We strongly recommend making your accommodation and flight reservations at that time.


All NBN backpacking trips will depart from Bozeman, Montana.  Bozeman International Airport is 10 miles from Bozeman’s downtown. We ask all guests to arrive in Bozeman the day before the trip starts, so they can attend the pre-trip meeting, which will be at 5 pm the night before.  If your flight is delayed, please reach out to Nomadic By Nature.

We strongly recommend NOT flying out the same day that the trip ends.  With long drive times and unpredictable wildlife encounters along the roads, it is hard to predict a precise time that we will arrive back in Bozeman.


Nomadic By Nature is not responsible for providing accommodation the night before the trip, or the night we return from the trip.  However, we have a corporate rate with the C'mon Inn in Bozeman.  Be sure to ask about the rate when you book with us!


By getting in shape before you start your backpacking trip you'll be able to enjoy your trip without worrying about aches and pains. Training for the trip not only helps yourself out, it helps the whole team accomplish the goal and stay safe and comfortable out there.

Check out our recommendations for training for a Nomadic by Nature backpacking trip.

Refund & Cancellation
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Cancellation policy is per person.

  • Cancel 30 or more days prior to trip departure, refund less the $300 deposit.

  • Cancel less than 30 days prior to trip departure, receive a trip credit.

    • Trip credits are for the full trip amount and are good for two years.

For more information, please see Terms and Conditions at the bottom of the page.

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  • Guests are no longer required to wear masks while in vehicles to and from the trailhead

  • Hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer are provided

  • All dishes will be cleaned using soap and bleach

  • All gear will be cleaned after each trip

  • Guests are asked to stay home if they are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms

Why Nomadic By Nature?
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It's a lot of planning and a big commitment -- you don't want to choose just any outfitter or guide to take you into the wilderness for a several day stretch. Our experience is vast, personally and professionally, and we want you to be confident in choosing Nomadic By Nature. To learn more about our background and passion for backpacking and the outdoors, click below to read our story. We have much to share and show you -- so we hope you'll join us for an unforgettable experience! 

Ready to Book?
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Send us an email at or reach out with a phone call at 707-479-8936, if you have any questions!

If you're ready to book, click the link below!

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