We had the pleasure of backcountry horseback riding in Yellowstone National Park with Wilderness Pack Trips. This wasn’t the nose-to-tail trail ride that you see people enduring from the road; this was an off-trail wilderness experience. In a park that sees more than four million visitors a year, we saw no one. That’s how I like my Yellowstone!
Scroll down for the video experience.
Mike and Erin Thompson met when they went to work for Wilderness Pack Trips 23 years ago. They got married, bought the business, and had some kids — some of whom now help out with the guiding business.
We originally knew Erin as Anders and Finn’s art teacher (one of two art teachers that inspired them and cultivated their love of art). Getting to know Erin and Mike, and seeing Erin’s other passion was a real treat.
Wilderness Pack Trips leads both day trips and overnight adventures in Yellowstone. Since they have a history of low impact horseback riding in Yellowstone, Wilderness Pack Trips gets to take clients into seldom seen backcountry areas. On our trip, we went into a bear management area that required special permission to enter.
We started on the south side of the road near the Blacktail Plateau and wandered up to an old wolf den. Along the way we saw a badger, stupendous views, and end of season wildflowers: fireweed, asters, sulfur buckwheat, potentilla, and others.
We stopped for lunch in a treed area (shade!), sat on glacial erratics, and watched the horses Tex and Sunshine try to eat Anders’ sandwich. Then it was on to the wolf den, which hasn’t been used for awhile.
I have spent a lot of time in Yellowstone, but this was a unique experience for me. On horses, we were able to easily walk off-trail and explore a part of the park I probably wouldn’t be in on foot.
The boys did a great job horseback riding in Yellowstone, and Mike and Erin were thoughtful and compassionate with them. Mike showed them antlers elk had shed over past winters. We even found an intact skull and antlers.
While I will never give up my hiking shoes or cross-country skis, I can’t wait to go horseback riding in Yellowstone again.
Thanks to Wilderness Pack Trips for the complimentary ride. The opinions expressed here at TravelingMel are always my own.
12 thoughts on “Horseback riding in Yellowstone”
We rode horses in that area too and had a blast! This was before kids, but I think our daughter would enjoy it too now. Looks like you guys had fun!
Glad you had that experience, too. I am sure your daughter would love it — you might need another trip to Yellowstone/Montana :).
This looks like so much fun! We are hoping to visit Yellowstone soon and a horseback ride would be awesome!
Such a lovely way to explore the countryside. I recently rode in St Kitts, the first time in years and loved it 🙂
Love all your photos
I’ve always wanted to do this, and almost had my husband convinced last summer, but I’m the only one that loves horses. You’ve sold me that next time I’ll do it… even by myself. 🙂 PS: I used to be a trail guide in AK and miss it so much. I love riding!
Yes — go by yourself! :). Such a great way to see places.
My husband and I went on a 7 day backcountry trip with MIke and Erin about 12 years ago. It was the trip of a lifetime. These two are incredible hosts and guides. Such nice people and such a nice family. The wildlife and views were incredible at the higher elevations. We had a great time. I could not have picked a better guide or trip. The food was amazing. Erin is a great cook. The trip was well planned and managed. I highly recommend it. I would love an opportunity to come for another trip.
I hope you get to go out with them again! They are such amazing people and you can’t beat Yellowstone for an adventure.
Denise, Thank you for this lovely post! Mike and I really enjoy what we do; and meeting people who appreciate all that a back country trip holds, is icing on the cake!
Let us know if you are in the neighborhood! Erin
Mel- your boys would surely need longer stirrups this summer! My how they have grown! I will always treasure this day we shared with your remarkable family. Love, Erin
They definitely do! We loved that day, too. I hope we can do it again sometime. 🙂