The Thorofare and the South Boundary Trail

HARD 10 reviews
#72 of 213 trails in

The Thorofare and the South Boundary Trail is a 67.5 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until September. Horses are also able to use this trail.

67.5 miles
5,754 feet
Point to Point




horseback riding

nature trips


trail running


bird watching





wild flowers






washed out

no dogs

5 months ago

fantastic wild country, while we did not see too many large mammals we did have 2 bison encounters and see some very large, very fresh grizzly bear and wolf tracks. I will go again.

7 months ago

Just finished the Thorofare in Yellowstone! 6 days 5 nights, roughly 70 some miles. This is a tough trail and will test your limits. Bears are out and about and we did run into a Grizzly, but he really didn’t seem to care too much about us, we used an air horn to scare him off! Beautiful untouched country, but to be quite frank, we saw more animals during the drive though than on the hike!! Bug spray is a must, atleast 3 containers/ person, the higher the deet the better

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The thorofare is one of a kind. The beginning is a mix of burn and alpine forest. This trail isn't necessarily hard, if you pace yourself. It's the distance that can be tough. Know your limits.

We went from the 9 mile trail head to 5E8 campsite in a few hours. Shortly afterwards one member of our four man party came down ill and was sick all night into the morning. So, we turned around and hiked out.

Our original intention was to do the thorofare and south boundary trail but a sick member just couldn't. We will return soon.

Overall, beautiful trail and nature. Highly recommended.

Beware the bears in the thorofare.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

i hiked the thorofare *not south boundary* trail as the yellowstone and snake rivers were completely uncrossable as of 7/2, due to all the snow most of the northwest received this past winter! so i will only be commenting on an out and back portion of this trail extending from nine mile trailhead to the thorofare ranger station and back again. the thorofare had a number of fords, and there were two fords that were extremely challenging and potentially dangerous due to the timing of my visit (very early) and snow accumulation this past winter - i would not recommend these in the near future for those without trekking poles and fording experience. the first of the two most challenging fords was beaverdam creek, about 17 miles in, just after campsite 5E1, which was my first night stay. I was happy to do this fresh and first thing in the morning, as i scoured the creek in about 100yds both upstream and downstream to find the best place to cross (i'm only 5"4' so this activity encompasses most of my fords haha) think 3 to 3.5 feet, with RAPIDLY, RAPIDLY moving water. the best place i found to cross beaverdam was about 100yds upstream, because the flow of the water was broken up by some land, making the very strong and deep current the smallest fraction in total of the actual ford. the second very challenging ford just before my second campsite, 6D2, mountain creek (maybe ~25 miles in? could be wrong, check with a map). this body of water - same story as the first - equally deep and equally swift currents. the best place to ford was quite a bit upstream - if you look on a map the ford would put you crossing the creek between campsites 6D2 and 6D3 (stock only), and you follow a deer path back downstream (75 or 80 yds) past 6D2 to find the trailhead again on the other side of the creek.

When picking up my backcountry camping passes i visited the canyon backcountry office to make permit accommodations. they were the most thorough and knowledgeable regarding trail, campsite, and river conditions, in my experience). my campsites were as follows:
5E1 - I covered 17 miles on my first day to be fresh for the challenging beaverdam ford on day two. this campsite was completely fine. i arrived here in the early evening, tired enough to fend off some mosquitos while i made dinner, hung my bear bag, and set up camp. you are right closed to the edge of a cliff that you descend to ford the creek, and finding a decent place to set up my 1 person tent was not the most straightforward, but i found a nook in the end. no real spectacular views or experiences to share here, BRING BUG SPRAY. My 30% DEET didn't put a dent in the constant companions i had on this trip!
my second night campsite i chose to stay on the other side of mountain creek, 6D2, as i would only have to travel 8 or 9 miles, set up camp, and complete the rest of the thorofare trail to the ranger station and return to 6D2 that evening with a daypack on me for next 13 miles. this was a nice campsite as mountain creek is right next to you for water stock ups. the following morning i was awoken (sore as all get out, for day two encompassed just over 20 miles 'strolling through the woods') by a couple of deer VERY surprised to see me stumbling/hobbling out of my tent a mere 15 feet from them! and again, the added benefit of this campsite was that the start of my day was challenging, and i was able to get the mountain creek ford out of the way first thing.
my last night on the thorofare was spent lakeside at 5E3 - my favorite site of the trek! i was able to trek a lighter ~12.5 miles and end the day by taking a dip in the lake between dinner and bedtime. let me tell you - it was heavenly relief to the quite stinky and sore individual that i was by this point on the trail. never underestimate the power of an evening duke dip, its a cure-all!
day 4 was just over 13 miles, back to my car at nine mile trailhead where i saw my car and almost started crying as i had been particularly hobble-y with some very sore feet for the last 3 miles of that day.

take aways from the trail: 8-10 miles a day is much more sustainable than 17-20. go with friends to lessen the pack load. BRING BUG SPRAY. LOTS OF IT! A mesh bug head net is a great addition to your pack! iodine tablets suffice for water purification as there is no cryptosporidium in the water along the thorofare. that, a filter or boiling will keep you safe from giardia. be ready for changes in weather at the drop of a hat, meaning bring clothes to cover cloudless, sunny skies to rain and thunderstorms, temperatures ranging from high 40s to low/mid 80s on my trip.

views: the thorofare trail is beautiful. forests, forests of recently burnt trees, to meadows filled with wildflowers and beautiful color and mountain views along yellowstone lake and river. the meadow trails get a bit narrow and were mucky from rain. the more wooded trails are wide, drier, and enjoyable.

wildlife: just before beginning the trek the firs

Sunday, July 21, 2013

This is a fantastic trail that is mostly un-hiked due to its location right next to the Yellowstone south entrance. The trail-head can be found a few hundred meters to the west of the Yellowstone park south entrance behind the horse corral. There is only a small sign that marks the trail-head making it a bit hard to find. Only a few hundred meters into the forest we noticed bear markings on trees. Bear bells, bear spray and being in a group of four or more will reduce the bear threat. Keep your eyes and ears open and there will not be a problem. It's also a good idea to let the rangers are the South Entrance that you will be hiking this trail and when you plan on returning.

This trail has some awesome scenery of the Polecat Creek, Birch Hills and the Grand Tetons to the South.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

This was the start of it all. I worked at a scout camp and we guided backpacking trips down the Thorofare Trail. All the way down the east side, the trail is pretty flat. Check with local conditions, but most streams can't be crossed until late June depending on runoff. I remember seeing the streams full of Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout during spawning. Truly cool. This is bear country! The tall Ponderosa Pines were the back scratches for the bruins and were covered with fur and claw scratches. I'll have to locate a picture of my size 12 Scarpas being dwarfed by a grizzly paw print.

Trail was used by equestrians as well as boaters.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Monday, August 15, 2016