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Let’s Take A Hike!

a group of people hiking in yellowstone

As Yellowstone’s summer season arrives, so does the influx of crowds, traffic, and human-generated noise. For many, this can impact the peaceful and restorative journey many visitors are hungry to experience. However, the notorious traffic snarls and congested boardwalks are a minuscule fraction of the park! The developed areas, which include parking lots, buildings, campgrounds, roads, and boardwalks, span less than 2 percent of Yellowstone’s vast 2.2 million acres. Our guides provide the key to unlocking the wild expanses of Yellowstone– providing you with an exclusive, safe, and ethical experience in our magnificent backcountry. We invite you to join the less than two percent of visitors exploring 98% of the landscape more than a quarter mile from a developed area!

Yellowstone Park Map

Less than 2% of Yellowstone is developed

Armed with plenty of food and water, high-quality spotting scopes and binoculars, and our sense of adventure, our hiking-specific tours depart at the crack of dawn. A strategic time that allows us to immerse ourselves in the park’s early morning landscapes just as the sun begins its ascent. This is a magical hour-when the park is stirring and almost devoid of summer crowds. We are afforded the extraordinary chance to relish a peaceful breakfast of freshly baked pastries as we quietly observe bison, bears, wolves, and other wild inhabitants in their native habitat. While the rest of the park’s visitors are still in slumber, we’re already on the move, eager to explore with only our feet, daypacks, binoculars, and all of our senses at the ready. 

a tripod on top of a lush green field

Our journey may start on a trail, but it’s not long before a fascinating animal track or a vibrant wildflower piques our curiosity, leading us on a new path. A bison trail guides us across a ravine and over the next ridge. The sounds of sandhill cranes and boreal chorus frogs fill the air, while evidence of beavers past welcome us to their riparian world. As we crest the ridge, leaving behind the sight of roads and cars, we step into a new realm–a Yellowstone untouched by the hustle and bustle of human activity. Here, an adventure of our own making unfolds, brimming with discovery and unparalleled opportunity.

a close up of a rock


a bird standing on top of a grass covered field


On this particular day, we select a flat-topped granite boulder (pictured below) as a picnic table overlooking a valley of lush green grass grazed by hundreds of wild bison. We revel in how we could not even sense the presence of another human being nearby, despite tens of thousands of visitors in the park on any spring day, and conclude we are seeing this valley as it may have been for countless decades, centuries, millennia. It is not lost on us that one indigenous link to the ecosystem is missing from this near-perfect setting. We imagine a small cluster of Crow tipis on the rise just above a sparkling mountain creek. In our imaginings, buffalo hides dry on roughly hewn stakes, meat is smoked over a low fire, and children play freely by the creek – skipping rocks and splashing each other. That would be perfect. 

a man sitting on top of a mountain

We invite you to come explore Yellowstone’s pristine landscapes with us—away from the roads—on a Day Hike, Wildlife Watching/Day Hiking Combo, or a Multi-day Backpacking Adventure. To quote a valued returning client, “Get away from the crowds, sleep under the stars, walk where the animals walk, and have Yellowstone Wild be your guide.” 


Blog text and pictures by Yellowstone Wild Owner/Operator, Emil M.

To learn more about Emil and the rest of the YW team, visit our “About Us” page

Summer 2024 Yellowstone Wild Naturalist Guides