How to Find Grizzly Bears in Grand Teton and Yellowstone

Grizzly Bears Along Oxbow Bend

Important:┬áIt’s vital to remember that these are wild animals, and that your safety is not guaranteed, even with a ranger present. Bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem will react on instinct every time, and if you do not respect their space, you will find out exactly what that means first hand. Before venturing into areas like this, please show both …

Sleeping Indian Summit via Flat Creek

Hikers Descending Sleeping Indian

Distance: 5.5 miles Difficulty: Strenuous Best time of year: Summer, Fall The Sleeping Indian, known formally as Sheep Mountain, is often overlooked by many tourists due to it being located opposite from the Teton Mountains. Yet frequent visitors and locals develop a fond admiration for the mountain as, once the image is seen, it becomes a popular target to watch …

Should Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin be a National Park?

Sunrise Over Badlands

Driving along Highway 14/16 between Cody, Wyoming and the Bighorn Mountains for most people can be an excruciating experience. Mile after mile yields very little difference in landscape interest as the full stretch offers only a bland, sparsely populated high desert environment with only a small badlands hill sporadically placed across vast distances. As a result, many people would wonder …

National Trail to San Juan Lookout

Cholla Cactus and Mountains

Distance: 1.7 miles (one way) Difficulty: Easy Best time of year: Fall, Winter, Spring Last hiked: 2016 March At the western end of the South Mountains is the San Juan Lookout. It can be accessed via the road system or a short hike along the National Trail. At the western end of the trail, it peters out into a widening …

Bannock Trail

Bannock Trail on Rocky Ridgeline

Distance: 3 miles (one way) Difficulty: Strenuous Best time of year: Spring, Summer, Fall Last hiked: 2016 September The Bannock Trail is a great way to experience all the dramatic elevation change that Grand Targhee has to offer. The trail brings you through stunning aspen groves and up to rocky ledges that overlook massive canyons and basins in the Teton …

Alaska Basin via Devil’s Stairs Loop

Alaska Basin and Buck Mountain

Distance: 17.4 miles (round trip) Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous Best time of year: Summer, early Fall Last hiked: 2016 July The Alaska Basin is rapidly becoming a go to place for people wanting to escape the crowds in the Teton Mountains. Tucked away in the middle of the range, it attracts adventurous tourists from the Wyoming side, as well as mountain enthusiasts …

Kiwanis Trail to Ranger Trail Loop

Barrel Cactus in Desert Mountains

Distance: 4.6 miles Difficulty: Moderate Best time of year: Fall, Winter, Spring Last hiked: 2016 March The Kiwanis Trail has a fair amount of sentimental value for me. Aside from a single road trip just before I moved out west for the first time in 2004, the Kiwanis Trail in South Mountain Park was the first trail I ever went …

Day 30: Chilson Camp to Brush Springs

Lifting Fog in Desert Mountains

A 20 mile day would put me at LF Ranch a day early, and it would also reduce the newfound stress around my food supply. While I added in a few extra things since I knew I’d want to eat more, I neglected to factor in that I’d also want to eat more often, in addition to more in general. …

Day 28: Sunflower to Thicket Spring

Oak Forest Covering Mountains

Happy feet are high maintenance. Just when I thought I had them all figured out, I now discover that they’re not getting enough air to dry out properly. This has caused the muscles to become quite sore, making hiking once again a bit difficult. Fortunately it’s only on one foot, and I also know what to do about it. Airing …

Day 26: Eastern Four Peaks to Northern Four Peaks

The Four Peaks

Clean socks equals happy feet. Happy feet makes for happy hiking. That was my problem last night. My socks had gotten pretty dirty. Fortunately, despite climbing up the backside of the Four Peaks, I was still able to crank out a nearly 20 mile day thanks to my happy feet. I started hiking after doing my morning routine and the …

Day 16: Lower Oracle Ridge to Tiger Mine Trail

Lower Oracle Ridge

The day started off chilly with a colorful sunrise off to both the east and west, but I had very little time to stop and enjoy it. I was being picked up from the Tiger Mine Trailhead at 11am. That left me needing to hike about 11 miles in just over four hours. I downed the last liter and a …

Day 10: La Selvilla Campground to Grass Shack Campground

Sonoran Desert Spring

The climb up the south side of Mica Mountain was one of the more difficult parts of the trail that I remember from last year. In fact, it was one of the primary reasons I was toying with the idea of just picking up where I left off in 2015. It’s long, steep, brutally strenuous, and I simply wasn’t looking …

Day 9: I-10 (nearly) to La Selvilla Campground

Ocotillo and Yucca Plants

Today was finally the relaxing day I had been looking for, though I’m now waiting for my turn at a water spigot being used by a threatening amount of bees. Prior to heading out I noticed a mule deer very close to my tent. It only took a very subtle amount of stirring to send her bouncing casually through the …

Snow King Mountain

Balsamroot Wildflowers on Snow King

Distance: 2 miles (one way) Difficulty: Strenuous Best time of year: Year-round Last hiked: 2016 May Affectionately referred to as The Town Hill, Snow King receives a lot of local traffic thanks to its steep ascent, great views, and close proximity to town. In the winter, it also becomes a beloved ski resort where most of the summit trail is …

Defeated by Cream Puff Peak

Hiking Trail in Mountain Meadow

Distance: 6 miles (one way) Difficulty: Strenuous Best time of year: Spring, Summer Last hiked: 2015 July If the hike hadn’t been as challenging as it was, I might have felt a little demoralized by the name, but summiting Cream Puff Peak does not come easy for anyone, especially once the 6-7 foot wildflowers have grown in. This hike is …