Program Cost: $2875
The Bitterroot Ranch has an ideal location for horse pack trips in Wyoming’s spectacular wild land.
The route of your pack trip takes you over spectacular Wyoming mountain passes of between 11,000 and 12,000 feet and through pristine valleys with little human presence. The mighty rivers of America have their beginnings here as tiny springs. Each valley has its own distinct character with meadows of lupine in one and craggy cliffs in another. On longer pack trips we will camp in the same spot for two nights to allow guests to ride out for the day, hike, fish, or just relax. This wonderful adventure provides an opportunity to see the glorious, untamed western landscape which is unchanged since the early explorers first visited it.
Day 1 Arrive at the Bitterroot Ranch for overnight accommodation. In the evening you will meet your guide and prepare for your adventure into the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the largest intact wilderness areas left in the world (any gear you won’t need on the trip can be left at the ranch).
Day 2 Mount a well trained and experienced horse in the morning and ride into the remote Absaroka Mountain range with a string of pack horses carrying a week’s worth of food and supplies. By lunch time you will have left the last dirt road far behind as the route passes through alpine meadows filled with wildflowers, along sparkling mountain streams, and over mountain passes far above tree line with views that seem to stretch to eternity. It is not unusual to spend an entire pack trip without passing another person on the trail. Camp the first night in the green meadows of Teepee Creek and enjoy your first dinner cooked over the wood fire. A meal made all the more delicious by an appetite built by the day’s adventures.
Day 3 Today’s route takes you over the first mountain pass of the trip. As we ride above timber line there are often big herds of elk grazing on the tender grass. If you listen carefully you might hear the distinctive chirp of the young elk calves calling to their mothers. After a picnic along the banks of Bear Creek the trail runs parallel to the rushing water and gently climbs to the very head waters of the creek. Spend the night surrounded by dramatic mountain peaks and wide open vistas. You will very likely never want to leave this magical spot.
Day 4 The camp will remain on Bear Creek until the following day so you can ride out to explore this magnificent valley without the pack horses, or just relax and enjoy the country around camp. Today’s ride takes the group along the Absaroka Trail and over the highest pass of the trip. In addition to Yellow-bellied Marmots, Bighorn Sheep are often seen in these remote and little traveled stretches of trail well above the altitude trees can grow. In the afternoon the trail takes us back into the green meadows of Bear Creek.
Day 5 Climb out of Bear Creek heading eastward. In the morning you will traverse Nine Mile pass and cross into the headwaters of the East Fork of the Wind River. After admiring the dramatic peaks and high alpine meadows the trail takes you down a long, narrow valley ringed by steep mountains and thick forests. Tonight’s camp is situated on the edge of a lush meadow with a dramatic cliff face rising towards the sky on the far side. A lovely trout stream runs behind camp and offers a nice place to bathe for those that don’t mind the brisk temperature of water fed by freshly melting snow from the surrounding peaks.
Day 6 The camp will remain in the East Fork for an additional night to allow for further exploration of the area. If the lure of trout fishing doesn’t tempt you then todays ride will venture back into the high country, passing an abandoned shepherd’s cabin in an idyllic setting perfect for a picnic lunch. Sheep have now been replaced by grazing elk in the surrounding meadows.
Day 7 Today you will ride back out of the wilderness towards the Bitterroot Ranch. It is the first permanent human habitation you will have seen for six days. The trail gradually takes you from the meadows and forests of the mountains into the foothills and sagebrush plains below. Dinner and overnight back at the ranch.
Day 8 Depart the ranch in the morning after breakfast.