A Backcountry Experience in Yellowstone National Park
Sunrise Pack Station specializes in horseback backcountry fishing trips throughout Yellowstone National Park. They offer a unique vacation experience. Whether you are an educationally-oriented family, a fisherman looking for a remote trout fishing experience, or if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of ordinary life while enjoying the wilderness of Yellowstone, Sunrise Pack Station can accommodate you. They provide professionally guided and accredited horseback trips inside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. Their gentle horses and mules will carry both you and your belongings to comfortable camps surrounded by the pristine scenery of Yellowstone National Park. Well-trained guides will prepare delicious meals, see to your comfort, and create a cozy camp atmosphere.
Sunrise Pack Station operates a low-impact, tent-based camp, due to National Park Service regulations and a “Leave No Trace” backcountry ethics. They provide warm zero-degree rated sleeping bags and a full-length pillow atop a ThermaRest sleeping pad for your sleeping comfort. Cots are available upon request. You will be housed in the Johnson Outdoors company’s latest design for four-man backpacking tents. The tent is called the Timberline SQ Outfitter 4, holding two people and gear with plenty of room. There is a sun shower for guests situated in a private area, away from streams to prevent soap from contaminating the waters of our favorite national park. At every camp, there is also a latrine where guests may refresh themselves and use sanitary wipes in a secluded area.
Because they camp in bear country, Sunrise Pack Station uses a variety of safe practices to keep bear interactions limited to viewing these amazing animals from a safe, respectful distance. They place the sleeping area 100 yards away from the cooking area, as recommended by experts. All food and scented materials stay in the cooking area, where they are hung from a “bear pole” high in the air to keep scents and bear attractants out of the animals’ reach and to keep bears away from the guests. Bears do not like large horse herds or groups of humans, so bear problems are rare. The hanging of the food and the clean kept camp help avoid drawing in any bear passing by.
Food and Beverages
Each day meals are prepared in the covered “kitchen” area of the camp and eaten as a group either at the large table or around the campfire. The menu will likely include tasty appetizers, steaks, salmon, an assortment of vegetables and scrumptious desserts. Dinner is cooked in the core camp area, where the bear pole is and the food is kept tables and chairs are set up, table cloths and dishes are set, the camp cook prepares his meals in a clean outdoor kitchen and he has been trained in food service and cleanliness. Once meals have been prepared and consumed the guides wash the dishes and discard leftover food in a separate garbage sack to help avoid bear problems.
Non-Angling Activities and Options
Wildlife viewing in the Park is unbelievable. Elk, deer, moose, bear, wolf, coyote, birds, and eagles all call Yellowstone National Park home. Hiking around camp, short day rides and relaxing are all available for non-anglers. The staff at Sunrise Pack Station is extremely knowledgeable about the Park’s history, ecosystem, and the surrounding area; they can entertain anyone!
Internet / Communications
There is no internet access while in camp and cell phone service is spotty while in the park. Be sure to check with your service provider prior to your trip regarding specific coverage in the area.
How To Get There
Anglers will want to fly into Bozeman, Montana (BZN), Billings, Montana (BIL), Jackson, Wyoming (JAC), or Idaho Falls, Idaho (IDA), depending on which trip you are participating in.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
Once the itinerary for the trip is planned, Yellow Dog will arrange for a meeting place and time with Sunrise Pack Station staff. All trailheads are within the boundaries of the Park.
Yellowstone National Park fishing licenses are available at all area fly shops and sporting goods stores, as well as at the Park entrance gates. You will need to present a valid driver’s license (or other ID) in order to purchase your fishing license.
Yellow Dog works directly with and recommends Kanna Travel. They can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact them at 855-739-3139 or [email protected] for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services, and trip insurance.
The crew at Sunrise Pack Station offers many different angling options throughout the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park. Options for single day fishing trips include cutthroat on the Upper Gallatin River, browns on the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone River and various other small creeks. For multi-day and overnight packages, Sunrise Pack Station offers trips into world-famous Slough Creek, Pebble Creek, the Lamar River, the Bechler River, Upper Fan Creek, and the Thorofare region of Yellowstone National Park. Most of the fishing takes place on small backcountry creeks and streams. Wading and fishing from the banks is the normal practice, along with the use of lighter trout rods – four weight and five weight – in packable, four-piece configurations. Most of the fish you will catch in the backcountry of Yellowstone are native cutthroat trout – colorful and feisty and almost always willing to take a dry fly.
Fan Creek (3 days)
This three day family-oriented trip will take you up to Fan Creek. This backcountry playground is a place for hikes, playing in the creek, playing with the horses or maybe trying to catch an early trout in Fan Creek. Your nights will be spent around the campfire enjoying stories or listening to the howl of wolves. The Fan Creek region has one of the few almost all black wolf packs in Yellowstone National Park.
Cache Creek (5 days)
On your first day you’ll ride 6 miles to the Lower Cache Creek site, where you’ll set up our home away from home for the next 2 nights. You’ll begin fishing as soon as you arrive in camp, as it lies right on the creek side. You’ll spend day two fishing up and down Cache Creek exploring the pockets and pools which hold nice vibrant cutthroat trout. Anyone who is not up for fishing can ride up Cache Creek for some photography as we climb alongside “The Thunderer” for some great alpine shots or the occasional buffalo, wolf, or bear meandering up and down the trail. Your nights will be filled with tales around the campfire, good food, and relaxation. On your last day, you’ll fish around camp while the guides pack things up and then head back toward home.
Specimen Creek & High Lake (3 days)
This family oriented three day trip runs up into Yellowstone’s often overlooked Northwest Corner. A place not often seen due to being accessed only by foot or by horse. It is home to a variety of wildlife. Moose, elk, deer, wolves, and bear all reside here along with a wide variety of birds. Hawks, eagles, and owls are often heard or seen. On your first day, you will take a ride up the mountain and into your campsite, where you’ll stay for two nights, riding out for an excursion to High Lake on our middle day. The beautiful alpine lake currently holds the most pure genetic species of Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. On your final day, you will retrace the trail back to civilization.
Snake River & Heart Lake (5 days)
The Heart Lake area of Yellowstone National Park is one of Yellowstone’s premier places of beauty. You’ll begin down by the park’s south entrance and ride into a camp near the Snake River Hot Springs. These hot springs are just one of the thermal areas you’ll ride past in this region. One of your camps will be near the south end of Heart Lake where there is often the opportunity to see wolves, elk, and moose. One of the other camps will rest in the shadow of Mount Sheridan with its historic fire lookout on top and thermal basin near the base. In 1871, Civil War General, Philip Sheridan, sent out the Barlow-Heap Expedition which in turn named the mountain after him. Sheridan later toured Yellowstone National Park in 1882 and saw the spectacular mountain named after him for the first time. Discover the same beauty and grandeur Sheridan experienced 126 years ago thanks to men like him and General William Tecumseh Sherman, whose influence saved Yellowstone National Park from destruction by railroad monopolies and over eager tourists. Sheridan loved Yellowstone National Park and you will discuss what he and other generals did to preserve and protect this national treasure. This area is unique for its wildlife, thermals, and history.
Slough Creek (4 days)
Another hot spot in Yellowstone National Park’s fishing adventure is Slough Creek. Big fish, slow water, and spectacular scenery make this one of the most sought after places to fish. You ride in and set up one camp and then concentrate on fishing. By this time of year, the grasshoppers have come out and the fish feed on them heavily, so the fly fishing is sight fishing with great big flies! Some of the best hatches come off in the evening so, once you’re done eating dinner, feel free to go back down and fish till dark.
Lamar River (5 days)
One of Yellowstone National Park’s premier fishing spots, the Lamar River Valley, provides deep pools and large active fish. You will ride up the canyon, out of reach of the majority of the visitors to Yellowstone National Park, for some pristine fishing waters. Besides fishing, be sure to bring your camera. Wolves, bears, buffalo, and elk are all known to frequent these areas. While you’re here, you’ll discuss the Nez Perce Indians who traveled right through this area as they fled from the army in Yellowstone National Park in 1877.
Bechler River (7 days)
Come to Yellowstone National Park’s Cascade Corner and photograph the magnificent waterfalls. This time of year is spectacular in the park. Late summer provides the warm days and cool nights for an amazing time in Yellowstone’s Cascade Corner. You’ll ride to numerous waterfalls and overlooks to see spectacular scenery. Bring your camera to capture the people, horses, wildlife, and scenery. In the off time, relax in the warm waters of this area to rest your bones and rejuvenate your soul.
Boats and Equipment
Camps are accessed via horseback, usually with the support of several mules in a mule train. Sunrise Pack Station provides all camping gear, including tents, sleeping bags, pillows, inflatable ground pads, sleeping bag liners, and pillowcases. They also provide large duffel bags for you to pack your clothing and other gear in for the mules to carry. You will want to bring all of your own clothing, a headlamp, personal items, and your fishing equipment. Sunrise Pack Station and Yellow Dog will send you a packing list so you will not forget anything. Most people bring their own fishing gear, but rental rods are available upon request. Waders are optional, although recommended for the early season.
Remember that Yellow Dog’s services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the outfitter.
2020 Trip Dates
July 1 – 3 = Fan Creek (8 spots)
July 7 – 11 = Cache Creek (8 spots)
July 14 – 16 = Specimen Creek & High Lake (8 spots)
July 28 – Aug 1 = Snake River & Heart Lake (8 spots)
Aug 4 – 7 = Slough Creek (8 spots)
Aug 18 – 22 = Lamar River (8 spots)
Aug 25 – 31 = Bechler River (8 spots)
Fan Creek = $1,581.00 per person
Cache Creek = $2,635.00 per person
Specimen Creek & High Lake = $1,581.00 per person
Snake River & Heart Lake = $2,635.00 per person
Slough Creek = $2,108.00 per person
Lamar River = $2,635.00 per person
Bechler River = $3,689.00 per person
Alternative trips/dates can sometimes be scheduled with enough advanced notice and based on the outfitter’s availability. Trips typically require a minimum of 3 guests in order for the trip to be a-go.
– Fully outfitted / guided horseback pack-in & pack-out
– Use of horses, mules, and all tack
– All meals (including arrival and departure day sack lunches)
– Therm-a-Rest sleeping pads
– Zero degrees rated sleeping bags
– Large canvas duffel for personal items
– Transportation to and from the trailhead
– Sleeping cots (can be provided at an additional cost)
– Rod/reel (can be provided at an additional cost)
– Bear spray (can be provided at an additional cost)
– Flies or terminal tackle (BYO)
– Yellowstone National Park fishing license
– Yellowstone National Park entrance fee
– Alcoholic beverages (BYO)
– Gratuities for outfitting crew
– Gluten free menu ($100 extra per person)
– Vegetarian menu ($150 extra per person)
– Vegan menu ($200 extra per person)