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Slough and Pebble Creeks via Bliss Pass

I just completed a 6 day backpacking trip in northeastern Yellowstone, hiking up Slough Creek, crossing Bliss Pass, and hiking up Pebble Creek. In short it was a great trip. More pictures of this adventure are in the photo gallery section of the website.

The first day my dad and I hiked up the Slough Creek trail to the second meadow and set up camp at site 2S2.

This site was about a 1/4 mile hike from the creek proper and was a good campsite with easy access to fresh water, a nice cooking area, and flat spots for a tent. We spent two nights here and in my free time I fished Slough. The quality of the fishing here just can't be beat. I readily caught plenty of Yellowstone Cutthroats ranging from little 8 inchers up to the occasional 18" fish. Very enjoyable. I did see a few other anglers during the day and all of the campsites in the area were occupied.

On the third day we made an easy hike further up the Slough Creek valley to campsite 2S6 in the "third meadow."

This was a great site, sitting on a low shoulder above the valley with panoramic views for miles up and down the valley. The site again had easy access to water, a very nice flat area for tents and a terrific cooking area. Although I've read that fishing in the third meadow is supposed to produce smaller fish, I didn't find that to be true. Yes, there may have been a few 6 inch fish around (which I didn't see further downstream) but there we still plenty of nice big fat 16"-18" pure wild cutthroats. Again, the fishing was fantastic. We saw fewer people up here, but there were still a few other fisherman in the area.

Our fourth day started out with questionable weather which wasn't welcome since we planned to hike over Bliss Pass. We waited a while for rain to stop, but decided to go ahead and start over anyway. Hiking over Bliss is quite a hike, gaining about 2000 feet over four miles. Fortunately, the weather opened up for most of the afternoon and we were able to enjoy absolutely amazing views of mountainsides covered with wildflowers flowing off into magnificent panoramas. It was a world-class alpine experience. A big surprise was also to view from the top of the pass to the east overlooking Pebble Creek. The valley below was a quilted with beautiful meadows while the surrounding mountains were jagged and snow-covered. It's worth the hike up Bliss just for that view.

The fourth night we spent at campsite 3P3 which while perfectly acceptable was the least desirable of all our sites. The cook area was OK, and a trickle of drinking water was close by, but there were no flat spots in the area for a tent. Then night of the fourth was pretty exciting - there was a short lightening storm with incredibly loud thunder echoing back and forth in the tight valley, seemingly getting louder with each bounce off the mountainsides. We then had hail which for a while had me worried about damaging the tent.

On the fifth day of the trip I did some fishing around 3P3 (nothing too great, plenty of little 8"-10" cutthroat) and we hiked up Pebble Creek to 3P5. This was a very pleasant hike and we ended up at a very nice campsite. This site has beautiful views of the valley, is close to Pebble Creek, and has everything you'd want in a nice site. Since I'm always a bit nervous about lightening in the Pebble Creek valley, it was nice that the tent area was in a low area in a large stand of trees.

On the final day we hiked up the rest of the Pebble Creek trail, over the small pass to Warm Creek. After Bliss Pass, this hike was a piece of cake. I tried some fishing in the upper waters of Pebble, but found nothing. I don't know if the water was running too high, or if the fish in the creek migrate around, getting to the headwaters later after the snow melts and the high waters have subsided. Since I've found nice 16" fish in this section before, I'll go with that theory.

This was a great trip. The hike over Bliss was strenuous, but very beautiful. The two valleys were world-class gorgeous. And although we had very changeable weather, except for a few hours Sunday morning and evening, we had great weather.

Posted by Bruce on July 7, 2004 8:28 AM


Sorry, I am not very computer literate so don't know what URL is.
I made a similar trip many years ago. I was 45 years old so I remember the trip to be more strenuous than you tell it. I was new at the game and had way too much in my pack. I'm sure it weighed well over 50 pounds. I had a new pack and the buckle for the hip belt broke about 1 mile into the trip. We stayed at campsites 2S1 and 2S4 on Slough and 3P2 on Pebble. We went out to the trailhead by Pebble Creek campground. I still backpack into Slough and Pebble but not over Bliss(blister) Pass. I have day hiked up there and then to the top of the mountain. I thought I had made my last trip 2 years ago. I am now almost 58. But a younger friend(50) has talked me into going again. We are just hiking up to 2S4 and staying there for 3 nights. I plan on fishing all day from the time we are there. I truly love backpacking into Yellowstone. This will be my 15 trip. I wish I had started younger.

Thanks for your website. I enjoy reading about a place I love so much. I am now going back to finish loading my pack as we will be leaving on Friday.

Happy Trails,

Posted by: MIke Kelley on August 27, 2005 10:53 AM

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