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Yellowstone NP/Riding our horses in Yellowstone/day trips


I'm looking for specific info on which campgrounds/trail heads to start out at and which trails would be best.  We are staying outside the park close to the east entrance (Cody).  We'll probably only have 2-3 days to ride inside Yellowstone and prefer rides that are 5-6 hours long (riding a gaited horse and a fast-paced QH).  I do a lot of riding in the Bighorn Mtns, so our horses are in good shape for mtn riding, we have our negative Coggins and they will be shod.  We're looking at mid-July.  I'm trying to look at the info YNP's backcountry guys directed me too -- but it's always easier to ask someone who has actually been there!!  If you had 3 day rides to recommend to someone, what would they be?  And, what campgrounds do you start out at?  Any tips on the trails is appreciated.  Thank you!!  Melissa

Hi Melissa,

Thanks for your questions on riding in Yellowstone. Yellowstone does not allow any overnight camping with your horses at the public Park campgrounds, so you will have to trailer them in for the day rides.

One of my favorites and would be close to the East Entrance, is the Pelican Valley, 3 miles east of Fishing Bridge.  Use the Pelican Valley Trailhead, there is one trail that leads out about 3.5 miles then splits, so you could make a loop in the valley. Rolling hills, large meadows, thermals and wildlife await the ride.

Another pretty spot would be to the south of Yellowstone Lake, using the Heart Lake Trailhead an in and out type ride to Heart Lake, very pretty, some wildlife in the lake area and some pretty neat thermals and geyser. Also a hiking area and can be dusty.

Also like riding in the Lamar River area, using the Lamar River Trailhead, trails into the Cache Creek area or up the Lamar River and you could go off trail to make a sort of loop type ride. Open country, rolling mountains, ridges, wildlife and few people.

A lot of folks with gaited horse go to the SW corner, Bechler River area, as the ground is pretty flat and lots of waterfalls to see, much of this area does not open until late July due to wet conditions.  It is buggy!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.  Have great time...Mike

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Mike Thompson


I am the owner/operator of R.K. Miller`s Wilderness Pack Trips, Inc. Operating Backcountry horse back pack trips into Yellowstone`s Backcountry. I can answer specific questions on wildlife, scenery, fly fishing, camping, trails and horses.


I have spent 18 seasons in the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park. Riding over 15000 miles of the backcountry.

B.S. Animal and Range Science, North Dakota State University B.S. Education, Life Sciences, NDSU Past Instructor Yellowstone Institute

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