Fording the Yellowstone River?

9:39 a.m. on January 15, 2010 (EST)
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My wife and I are planning a 80mile loop in Yellowstone for late August 2010. The loop entails fording the Yellowstone River near Thorofare, and near the south end of Yellowstone Lake, as well as numerous streams and creeks along the way. We're starting the loop from the south entrance road near Heart Lake, continuing west taking the south boundary trail to Thorofare, then north to the south end of Yellowstone Lake, then heading out west back towards Heart Lake. Anyone with experience in this area of the park? I've done my research, but nothing beats firsthand experience and advice. We have forded many rivers and streams in Montana, but haven't met anyone with any real experience in Yellowstone. I'm assuming the water will be pretty low in late August, making the fords more manageable. My wife ended up swimming the south fork of the Sun River in The Bob last June, so needless to say she's a little leary about rivers now. I'm ok with a swim, as long as it's relatively safe water.

7:05 p.m. on January 15, 2010 (EST)
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Welcome to Trailspace,

I'm not knowledgeable in the Yellowstone area, just wanted to say Hi.

We have several members who do have knowledge of that area, so hang tight.

Also have you considered using a Jeep, or just a Ford? (joking of course)

See ya around.

9:20 p.m. on January 15, 2010 (EST)
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So you are thinking of heading into this Great Thorofare Country late next

summer. Well, I have been all over this area and it is such great country! You will

absolutely love it. First here is my url to my photosite on this are ......

Since you are going in late summer and this winter so far with the below normal

snowpack in the area, you will probably not have any problems with the stream

crossings. One thing be conscience of is that this is bigtime Grizzly Country and

one will have to be mindful of your P's and Q's in Grizzly Country. There is also

several excellent books on this area by Falcon Press on Hiking in Yellowstone and

Hiking in the Teton and Washakie Wildernesses by Ralph Maughen and Lee

Mercer. I will be back in another time in the next few days when I will have more

time to give you more tidbits then what I do now. Hope this helps for now.

12:04 p.m. on January 16, 2010 (EST)
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440 forum posts
Re: Fording Yellowstone River

Nicely put question, Kleon. And I'm interested in the answer, too. (I'm trying to drag my rear end through that same neck of the woods sometime soon--soon being relative, of course.) Wish I could offer decent input.

Nice sandwich, btw. Just a snack, or was there more to it?

12:55 p.m. on January 16, 2010 (EST)
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42 forum posts
Re: Fording Yellowstone River

Kleon, now will try to reply with your questions on the crossing of the

Yellowstone River and other rivers in the area. Did you see my reply under Trip

Planning? First do think you will not have much of a problem in crossing the rivers

since your trip you said will be in late summer. And right now we have a low

snow pack. Now if you are going to be on the South Boundary Trail , the very first

crossing will be right at the beginning of the trip at the South Entrance where

one has to cross the Snake River. The last time I crossed here it was like knee

deep or so and not much of a problem. Then further on up on the South

Boundary Trail will be several more crossing of the Snake River. You should have

no problem but do choose your crossing with care. Also when at a crossing in

these parts, there might be an easier crossing right upstream or downstream

from right at the trail crossing place because of all the horse use in the area.

Also on the South Boundary Trail you will have a good climb over Big Game Ridge

and then up and over the Two Ocean Plateau which is both good Grizzly Country.

But again on the South Boundary Trail, since you will be going in the later part of

the summer, crossing of the Snake should not pose much of a problem. But if you

were going earlier in the season, it might be different espicelly right at the south

entrance. Next will be the Yellowstone River itself.

1:08 p.m. on January 16, 2010 (EST)
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Re: Fording Yellowstone River

Now as for crossing the Yellowstone River in the Thorofare. If you follow the

South Boundary Trail to the Thorofare, you will be going over Big Game Ridge and

past nice Maripose Lake down Lynx Creek to the Thorofare and the Yellowstone

River. Now where the trail actually crosses the Yellowstone River right down from

the confluence of the Yellowstone and the Thorofare River near the park

campsite of 6Y2 I believe is quite deep. I have crossed it some years ago at the

trail crossing point but now I prefer to find a better place. Again this trail crossing

place is quite deep the last time I crossed here. Now one could find an easier

crossing point maybe a short ways upstream or downstream. One other

easier crossing place in the area is actually right at the confluence of the

Yellowstone and the Thorofare Rivers. I have crossed here in late summer with

no problem. Now right upstream from the confluence there is a good bar that

goes across the river here and avoids the deep holes. Right down from the

confluence there is some deep holes in the Yellowstone River. And crossing of the

Thorofare River here in late summer should not be a problem. There is also a trail

that goes from the confluence to the main Yellowstone Thorofare Trail on the

east side of the river. It meets the main trail coming up from Hawks Rest, the

National Forest near the trees edge east of the Yellowstone River

Meadows. There are some maps which will have this trail while others will not.

Also Yell. NP does have a backcountry campsite near the confluence which is 6Y4

I believe. To Be Continued ....

1:22 p.m. on January 16, 2010 (EST)
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Re: Fording Yellowstone River

Hope This Helps. and if ay further questions or if anything is unclear then be free

to post and I will reply. No problem! Now I have been all over this country and do

want to help you as much as possible.

Now here near the confluence of the Yellowstone and the Thorofare Rivers, be on

the lookout for Wolves for their is a densite they use in the spring in times past

in the area. I have many times seen all kinds of wildlife in the area. I have

walked the whole river bank on the east side of the Yellowestone River from the

confluence to near 6Y6 park campsite and the trail there with no problem. This

is a wild experience with usually the rivers bars being covered with all kinds of

animal tracks. Just a few very minor water crossing on this east side of the river

from the confluence to near 6Y6 along the river bank off trail. But if you go north

on the trail in this the Yellowstone's Thorofare - just a few minor crossings. The

park campsite of 6Y6 is fabulous also which I would recommend. there is a

hillside nearby beneath the nearby Trident Plateau which makes an easy climb

up to and which provides a most excellent view from the top of this bluff. In this

mid to late summer period, Mountain Creek should provide no problem in crossing

also. Then further to the north Beaverdam Creek does not provide a problem

with crossing also. The onething to watch out for near Beaverdam Creek is the

swamp - marsh on the south side of the creek. The last time that I was thru here

it was really a mess. You will probably have to go off the trail and make your way

thru the best way possible thru the willows. There is a good campsite near

Beaverdam Creek. Then here near Trapper Creek about a mile off the main trail

near the Yellowstone River is a great park campsite which I totally recommend

which is 6C2. To be Continued ...

1:41 p.m. on January 16, 2010 (EST)
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Re: Fording Yellowstone River

Now for crossing the Yellowstone River right south of this south arm of

Yellowstone Lake. First let me say that this delta and marsh area of where the

Yellowstone River enters into Yellowstone lake is one good nice super wild area.

I have dayhiked into here and did see just Wolf and Huge Grizzly Tracks

absolutely everywhere! Now here right below Yellowstone Lake where the trail

crosses the river, there is actually two crossings of the Yellowstone River on the

map. The last time I was in here several years ago and in the fall, both

crossings were super deep and looked too much for myself. I did not use either

of them. This is where I crossed which proved to be an excellent crossing place.

If you have further questions on this then let me know and I will respond. Now

right between these two crossings of the Yellowstone River, on the west side of

the river is a park campsite of 6B2. This is where I camped. Right below this

campsite is or was a nice logjam in the river. But right upstream of this campsite

was a nice shallow ford of the Yellowstone River and right between both of the

main fords marked on the map. The trail heading by the south parts of the lake

comes to the river on the west side right near this shallow ford. If on the east

side coming up to this point, one will have to be aware and watch your

surrounding then hike down slope 100 feet or so to the river and this shallow

ford. But again this shallow ford is excellent and right between the two fords

marked on the map and right near the backcountry campsite of 6B2. Then from

here across the south arms of Yellowstone Lake to Heart Lake and out, there

are no other major fords. Since you said that you would be going in

late summer - the fords should be quite abit easier then in the early part of the

summer. This is such good vast and wild country in here. And be Bear Aware. But

I have been years in this country and am still in one piece. You will LOVE IT! If

any further questions then please ask and hope that this helps. On your other

post under Trip Planning, I gave a link to some of my photos of the area. Forgot

that Hawks Rest Area right to the south of the confluence is a nice place to go by

and see if one has the time. Also if one has the time, up Mountain Creek is

espicelly nice with espicelly the headwaters right under Overlook Mountain.

Have a Great Trip!

2:09 p.m. on January 16, 2010 (EST)
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42 forum posts
Re: Fording Yellowstone River

Now had to go get my Park Map for the correct park campsite numerals. And

here they are with my recommendations for what it is worth ....

6T1 and 6T2 - right near a crossing of the Thorofare River, both Excellent

Campsites. The Thorofare River here near these campsites is easy crossing in

late summer. I have even crossed in a place a short upstream in the springtime.

6Y2 - right near a deep crossing of the Yellowstone River. Campsite okay. If

myself would try to find a better crossing short ways upstream or downstream.

And have crossed right at the confluence nearby.

6Y4 - In the trees near the confluence, okay but in the trees. I love the

confluence area. ccan dayhike in any direction. Easy crossing here near the

confluence if one looks espicelly right up the Yellowstone and the Thorofare

River no problem. Downstream from the confluence some deep holes in the river.

6Y6 - Along the Yellowstone River - Excellent Site! I Love this site and have

camped haere many a time.

6D1 - Near the mouth of Mountain Creek. Okay campsite, quite a few trees

nearby. It is a wild here along the Yellowstone, nice meadows north of campsite

with good views north of mountain creek. Nice up Mountain Creek!

6C2 - Here along the Yellowstone River, away from the main trail - Excellent

Campsite! Have camped here many a time with good views of the mountain

peaks nearby.

6B2 - Next to the Yellowstone River between two deep fords of the river north

and south. A nice more shallow ford right nearby between the deep fords. In the

trees next to the river.

5E1 - Near the Beaverdam River - Nice Campsite! Delta area of the mouth of the

Yell. River really wild!

6A2 - 6A3 - 6A4 = Right on the Southeast Arm of Yell. Lake. All are

Nice Campsites but like 6A3 the best. But at 6A3 have to get water from a creek

near the Trail Bay Ranger Cabin or Yell. Lake. Great views across to the Absaroka

Mountain Peaks!

Again hope this helps and have a Great Trip!

2:01 p.m. on January 17, 2010 (EST)
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41 forum posts
Re: Fording Yellowstone River

Nice! Thanks alot man, nothing beats firsthand information. I'm buying a yellowstone map today to plan the trip and get the permit application sent in asap. Good to know that the rivers won't be much of a problem, nothing unusual about the fords anyway. Also happy to hear about all the wildlife in the area, that makes the miles fly by when you're seeing wildlife. I'm excited...... I get pretty stir crazy this time of year. Needless to say I pour over a lot of maps during these mid-winter months, just like most of the trailspace members I'm sure. I'll definitely use your campsite descriptions when planning, that's really great information to have. Alright, time to head into the rattlesnake wilderness to wind out the daylight. Thanks again for the excellent information.

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