Quite literally, there is no place on earth like the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
It is fire and ice. It is jagged mountain peaks and verdant valleys. It is acres of lush forests bathing mountainsides in vivid greens and stark sagebrush plains stretching to the horizon. It is the hissing and spewing of geysers and the serenity of meadows carpeted in wildflowers. Above all, it is a rarity in this day of relentless development — a wild and alive place where the people who live, work and recreate here can experience the unparalleled wonders of one of the world's last largely intact temperate ecosystems.
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is truly one of the last best places — 20 million acres roughly bounded by Montana's Interstate 90 on the north, I-15 through Montana and Idaho on the west, Wyoming's I-80 on the south and the Big Horn Mountains on the east. The GYE is a home to some of America's most spectacular lands, waters, and wildlife.
At the heart of Greater Yellowstone is 2.2-million-acre Yellowstone National Park, the world's first when created in 1872. Eight miles to the south are the awe-inspiring crags of Grand Teton National Park. Providing a protective wild cloak are six national forests, seven wilderness areas and three national wildlife refuges. These lands are defined by no fewer than 11 major mountain ranges — the Tetons, Wyoming Range, Salt River Range, Wind Rivers, Absarokas, Beartooths, Gallatins, Madison, Tobacco Roots, Gravellys and Centennials — that cross parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.
High on the Yellowstone plateau, America's three great western river systems are born. The mighty Missouri begins its journey from a small spring in the northwest corner of Greater Yellowstone and absorbs the pristine waters of the Jefferson, Madison, Gallatin, Yellowstone, Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone and Wind (Bighorn) rivers before its arrival 3,300 miles later in the Gulf of Mexico as the Mississippi River. The Snake rises in the southeast corner of Yellowstone and eventually helps the Columbia roll on to the Pacific. And the Green — "The Mother of the Colorado" — begins its watery trek to the Sea of Cortez on the flanks of the Wind River Range. They are the lifeblood of Greater Yellowstone.
If there is a single defining component to Greater Yellowstone, it is the unique and iconic wildlife that roam here — wolves, grizzly bears, bison, cutthroat trout, wolverines and more. Indeed, with the restoration of wolves in the mid-1990s, Greater Yellowstone today is one of the few landscapes in America that features all the wildlife that were here when the first European settlers arrived two centuries ago. Where else can one see a pack of wolves cavorting in a meadow, grizzlies pawing the earth for pine nuts, bison rolling in dust and elk eyeing the scene warily — sometimes all through the same camera lens?
And Thank You To Our Communities!
Our host communities are a very important part of CGY. We are thankful for the people who work, live, play and help conserve the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for future generations. In 2018 we over-nighted in Cody, Meeteetse, Thermopolis, Pavillion, Dubois and Lander. Our route stops included the towns of Burlington, Kirby, Shoshoni, Midvale, Crowheart and Ft. Washakie. To provide additional hikes, entertainment and route stops along the way we partnered with the Bureau of Land Management , Shoshone National Forest, Bureau of Reclamation, Wyoming Department of Transportation, Wyoming Whiskey, Park County Wyoming, Windriver.org, Fremont County Wyoming, Hot Springs County Wyoming, Wyoming State Parks, Eagle Spirit Fancy Dancers, Legend Rock, and Fountain of Youth RV Park. Among these giving communities are extraordinary individuals volunteering time for our riders along the way - we THANK YOU ALL!