YELLOWSTONE INSIDER: BACKPACKING PEBBLE CREEK
One of our favorite places to backcountry camp is up Pebble Creek Trail. We love this area because not only is the mountain valley beautiful, but the drive to the trailhead takes you though the Lamar Valley which is filled with bison herds. And, especially for early morning visitors, Lamar is one of the best areas for bear and wolf sightings.
You can get into the Pebble Creek Valley from either the trailhead near the Pebble Creek Camp Ground or from the Warm Creek Trailhead. The route from the campground climbs the mountain through a beautiful mix of forests and mountain meadows filled with wildflowers.
Entering via the Warm Creek trail is steeper and climbs straight though a forest to the top of the valley. Both routes require you to ford the creek, five crossings along the entire length, so bring some extra footwear so you don’t soak your hiking boots.
Once you make the initial climb from either trailhead, the valley flattens and the hike between fords is quick. Although you can find fish in Pebble Creek, if you’re big into fishing a hike over Bliss Pass to the world’s best Cutthroat Trout stream, Slough Creek, may be well worth the effort.
We’ve camped at 3P3 and 3P4 and both were nice. 3P3 is mid-valley on a wooded bluff overlooking Pebble Creek. It’s almost impossible to find a campsite 100yds from your bear-pole but there is good water access with a spring right next to the camp. 3P4 is near the top of the valley on a bank overlooking the meadow. This year we camped there. You’re more exposed to the trail but the views are great and access to the river is easy. Both sites allow campfires and have good access to firewood.
Summers are busy and we don’t always have time to dedicate to a backpack trip. When we’re in the mood for a quick hike around the Old Faithful District of the park we like to head down the Fairy Falls trail to check out the social overlook of Grand Prismatic Spring and then continue on to Imperial Geyser–this year the park service is trying to limit the off-trail travel behind Grand Prismatic so observe the signs.
Another quick getaway is down DeLacy Creek to Shoshone Lake. You may see another group or two along the trail but there’s plenty of room to disperse around the lakeshore to find your own place to relax.
All of these locations provide a great place to site with nature and refuel with a Munk Pack before making the return trip.
Photos by Davin and Erica Stitgen. See more of their Yellowstone travels and beyond on their blog, The Show Starts Now.