Not in the Global Village: Thorofare, Arguably One of the Best Hikes in Yellowstone | Trekking Days
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Not in the Global Village: Thorofare, Arguably One of the Best Hikes in Yellowstone

by | Hotspots, North America

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Yellowstone National Park is a top location for those who want to distance themselves from anthropic environments. However, the degree of wilderness you will experience in Yellowstone varies significantly depending on the exact location. Today is the day we talk about one Yellowstone must-see hiking trail – Thorofare.

Why Thorofare rocks

When making a list of the best things to do in Yellowstone, it is hard for me not to include Thorofare. First of all, this is the place where you can be sure roads are at least 30 miles (48.2 km) away, and other individuals from your species are hard to find. For many, this is one of the most crucial things to know and love about Thorofare.

In the Thorofare area, you will not hear cars and other types of human-specific noises (except for the noises you and/or your group make). Depending on your speed, hiking Thorofare can take up to 5 days. It is said that the area is best to be visited during late summer or early autumn, as during this period it is less likely that you will have to unwillingly take a rain shower.

Thorofare is considered to be a challenging hike, with steep elevation gains and rocky terrain. Hikers should be in good physical condition and prepared for long days of hiking, as well as the possibility of inclement weather and other challenges that come with a true wilderness experience.

Trekking the trail

Thorofare Trail can be accessed from Yellowstone Lake. You can enter from Bridge Bay, take a boat ride to the other side of the lake and then pick up the trail. More specifically, from Fishing Bridge, you have to drive for about 8 mi (12.8 km) east along Yellowstone Tale heading toward Cody (Wyoming). The Trailhead will be on the right, past the Sedge Bay Picnic Area.

On the trail, you will see part of Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone River, and plenty of wildlife. If you are lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you see things), you may also encounter bears and/or wolves. Obviously, you should never get close to any member of these two species.

When and if you start to feel the need for additional human contact, you should keep in mind that there are several campsites located in very close proximity to the main trail. Most of these camping areas offer the conditions to make a campfire and prepare your food.

The Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone River (not on the Thorofare trail)

Your trekking adventure on the Thorofare trail will start on relatively flat terrain that gives good views of Yellowstone Lake, views that some may argue are particularly impressive during sunrise and sunset.  As you head south, you will engage in dense forests that hide much of Yellowstone Lake. Some may find this alpine jungle a bit intimidating, but I don’t.

Once you move past Yellowstone Lake, you will find yourself near Yellowstone River. I am not going to debate which of the two offers better sensations; lakes offer views that a river typically can’t offer, yet a lake will never give you the acoustic experience you will have from a river located in the middle of nowhere.

At the end of the Thorofare trail, you will find the Thorofare Ranger Station – an outpost constructed in 1914.  This place is known to be the farthest dwelling from any type of road in the continental U.S. Among other stuff, the station has a publicly-exposed message book where you can write something about your trekking experience on theThorofare trail.

Before you go

It is worth mentioning that Thorofare’s wilderness comes with a price. Unlike other places in Yellowstone National Park, this area has special travel restrictions. As such, if you are considering visiting Thorofare, you must know the conditions under which you can visit the area. For more information, check the park’s governmental website here.

Because of the remoteness of Thorofare, there are some important safety measures that you must know before doing a trekking day in Thorofare. You can visit the official Yellowstone National Park for more information here.

While Thorofare may be challenging at times, I would say it is well worth the effort. From the rugged terrain and impressive views to the sense of isolation and opportunity to connect with nature, many would say that Thorofare has it all they like in a hike.


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