The area around Jackson Hole, Wyoming is home to some of the most famous scenery in the country. Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, the Jedediah Smith Wilderness—all provide opportunity for breathtaking experiences through America's vast and varied terrain. Backcountry hiking captures the spirit of our pioneering forebears. But let's face it, carrying your home and supplies on your back can put a damper on even the most scenic of hikes. Well now, you can unburden yourself with the aid of one tall, four-footed companion—the llama.
Several companies located in Jackson Hole offer "llamaneering" expeditions through the Yellowstone/Jedediah Smith region. Yes, that's right. Llamas are not just for farmers' market sweaters anymore. Take a guided backcountry trip through Wyoming's wilderness with a human guide and a llama providing freight service, carrying tents, poles, food, and supplies while you explore the area freed from the weight of all that equipment. Known for their endurance and gentleness, llamas easily take to the mountainous terrain and provide quiet companionship. (Plus, really, how cute!)
Hikes generally run three to five days and vary in difficulty, allowing you to tailor to your level. Depending on the company you choose, rates can start at $625/person. While backcountry hikes with llamas tend to start closer to mid-summer and run through September, at least one outfitter, Jackson Hole Llamas, offers single day hikes starting in June, for $125/person.
Along with these friendly beasts of burden, the companies generally provide most camping equipment, food and supplies, though it's best to check trip details and equipment lists when you reserve. Another company, Yellowstone Safari Company, provides llamaneering expeditions exclusively to Yellowstone. Trips are already beginning to fill up, so reserve yours soon!
Photo credits: Courtesy of Jackson Hole Llamas