10 Best Backpacking Trips in U.S. Parks

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Location: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho

Length: 68 miles one-way via Nine Mile Trailhead through Thorofare Patrol Cabin to South Boundary Trailhead

Days on the Trail: 7 to 14

The Thorofare is a general term for the most remote region of massive Yellowstone National Park, and in its depths is the point in the continental U.S. that is farthest from any road, dirt or paved. So it’s no surprise that this last corner of what was once the vast American wildness is chock-full of wildlife.

True to its name, this area where the Yellowstone River bursts down from the high Absaroka Range and then mellows into a marshy complex of meanders before draining into Yellowstone Lake is an important migration corridor for the park’s wildlife—especially its most charismatic megafauna, the grizzly bear. Spend time back here and you are sure to see herds of elk and maybe even the area’s resident wolf pack on the prowl. That proximity to the primeval makes this the crown jewel of backpacking adventures in the national parks.

Dive Deeper: The historic Thorofare Patrol Cabin, which park rangers still use, sits midway through the trip (32 miles from the trailhead), a little oasis of civilization and the farthest human habitation from a road in the lower 48.

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