Into Wyoming!

Day 16: Big Springs to Grassy Lake Reservoir (70.8 miles, 2,796ft)

We started the day backtracking about a mile from the campground to the Yellowstone Branch Line Trail, a rail-to-trail that runs from near West Yellowstone down to Warm River. The surface quality was, to say the least, soft and quite rutted in sections—a bit slow, but flat.

Yellow Branch Line rail-to-trail

Around 10 miles into the day, we hopped over onto a dirt road that ran parallel to the rail-to-trail for a few quicker miles. We returned to the rail-to-trail as it approached Warm River and were rewarded with some wonderful views as we rode above the river.

Views of the Warm River
Defunct railroad tunnel
Watch for falling rocks!
More views of the Warm River

Further down the trail, we arrived at the Warm River Campground—a lovely little campground with water, pavilion, and quite a few campsites.

Warm Springs Campground

We climbed slowly on paved roads to the Targhee National Forest, where we continued on a rough dirt road, ascending gradually through forest and wetland. Along the way, we passed from Idaho into Wyoming.

Welcome to Wyoming

After a steeper climb we arrived at the Grassy Lake Reservoir.

Grassy Lake Reservoir

From the dam, we climbed steeply away from the reservoir, before descending to the east side, where we stopped at a primitive campsite along the lakeshore. (There was a bear box but no pit toilet or picnic table.) A few minutes later we Anna and the kids arrived, navigating to a predetermined point using Gaia GPS, and we settled in for the night.

Our campsite
Winding down the day
Silas the hiker


Sunset over Grassy Lake Reservoir

Into Idaho!

Day 15: Red Rock Lakes to Big Springs (34.6 miles, 1,108ft)

After a number of days without a rest day, we planned a short day into Big Springs—near the western entrance of Yellowstone National Park—to be followed by a rest day.

We quickly reached the Continental Divide and, after many days, finally crossed out of Montana into Idaho. We were sorry to see Montana go, but Idaho promised a couple of nice days of riding before Wyoming.

Leaving Montana and entering Idaho

The rest of the ride was more or less a gradual descent to Big Springs, with a wonderful mix pavement, dirt road, and single track trail. We were in by noon, excited to have the next 1.5 days off.

Exploring Yellowstone

David, Anna, Silas and Eleanor took the afternoon to drive into Yellowstone and explore the park. Little did they know that the driving the northern loop would be an eight-hour endeavor.

Mammoth Hot Springs
Silas, determined to hike all the way to the top all by himself.

Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon