20 Life-Changing Trips
© Cameron R. Neilson
Greater Yellowstone with Off the Beaten Path
Why We Love It: Off the Beaten Path’s strong relationships with area travel experts—the pioneering environmental activism of owners Bill and Pam Bryan and Cory Lawrence—mean that you’ll meet the best veteran tour guides in Yellowstone National Park, check in to the finest green hotels, and hook up with exclusive adventure operators. Responsible outfitters including Wildlife Expeditions, Hole Hiking Travel Experience Co., Barker-Ewing River Trips, and O.A.R.S. will customize your outings—and escort you to their secret stomping grounds for fishing, hiking, rafting, and more.
Where It Goes: This wilderness-and wildlife-focused trip begins in Bozeman, Montana; continues south to ranch land near tiny Cameron; leads you through the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park; and finishes up in Tetons-ringed Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
What You’ll Do: Take your pick of more activities than you can handle in three days at the sustainably managed Lodge at Sun Ranch, including horseback riding, bird-watching (look skyward for ferruginous hawks and long-billed curlews, two of 126 species on the property), and rafting or canoeing on nearby rivers. A hybrid car transports you to Yellowstone to explore the park with such expert naturalists as Mike Bryers, whose favorite spots after 27 years on the job are the thermal pools scattered throughout the 3,472 square miles of the park. (“They’re almost scenes from another planet,” he says.) You’ll also have the chance to ride the rapids down the Snake River; hike family-friendly trails in the foothills of Wyoming’s Gros Ventre Mountains; trek into Horseshoe Canyon and spend the night—or up the camping ante with a two-night kayaking, rafting, and fly-fishing trip on Jackson Lake. And come equipped for a safari-like trip to spy on the region’s impressive elk, grizzly, and wolf populations.
Where You’ll Stay: Opt