This October I made it down to Bechler, the remotest corner of Yellowstone National Park. Bechler is a wild and expansive landscape of meadows, waterfalls and hot springs that really only lends itself to overnight or multi-day backpacking trips. The four-day itinerary took in over 25 waterfalls and two of the best hot springs soaks in the Rockies. The only disappointment was the lack of wildlife and that fact that is was surprisingly busy (full moon weekend in high season). Still it was recommended.
My itinerary took me from Bechler Ranger Station up to Ferris Fork, then back down the valley in order to detour to stunning Dunanda Falls. If you can arrange a vehicle shuttle it's well worth combining Bechler, Dunanda, Ferris Fork and Shoshone Lake into one of Yellowstone's great backpacking trips.
Bechler is all about its waterfalls.
Ferris Fork is one of the highlights, a junction of four rivers that has some great thermal features, a near-legendary soaking hot spring called Mr Bubbles and plenty of options for off-trail waterfall exploration. It's a two-day walk north from Bechler Ranger Station or south from Lone Geyser (near Old Faithful).
|Soaking in Mr Bubbles|
Dunanda Falls is the other great highlight, with several soaking hotpots at a perfect temperature right at the base of the towering waterfall.
Practicalities: I managed to pick up a backpacking permit the day before starting, which was lucky because most people book their permits six months in advance. September and October are the best months here; before September come prepared for boggy conditions and fearsome clouds of mosquitoes. Be prepared to wade thigh-deep across half a dozen rivers.
|A rare Bechler bridge; be prepared to wade elsewhere|
|The back side of Grand Teton from Bechler|