12 Best Hikes in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is home to a stunning wilderness region that spans 3,500 square miles and is located mostly in Wyoming. However, it also extends into the neighboring states of Montana and Idaho. The greatest hiking routes in the park are dispersed over this wide wilderness area. This article will concentrate on the greatest day hikes, which are defined as long walks or excursions that may be completed in a single day.

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, lush forests, active hot springs and geysers, and serene rivers and lakes are just some of the natural wonders that can be found inside Yellowstone National Park, which has five entrances located in the north, northeast, south, east, and west of the United States. Beavers, bison, eagles, and ospreys are just some of the unique animals that call this region home, along with bears, wolves, and elk. It was the first national park in the world, established in 1872, and the reintroduction of the Yellowstone wolf population, which took place in 1995 and is now regarded as one of the most successful rewilding projects that have ever taken place. This area is a treasure trove of conservation history.

Unsurprisingly, Yellowstone is home to a plethora of great walks, excursions, and treks. As a result, the purpose of this article is to recommend a few of the Yellowstone trails that provide the most variety; these routes range in length from very short to very long, are dispersed around the park, and highlight various aspects of the natural world. It is important to keep in mind that Yellowstone is a truly wild area before you embark on your journey there. Because of this, you should bring maps, appropriate hiking gear (such as water bottles, a compass, or bear spray), and of course, always be respectful and aware of your nature, the wildlife, and your surroundings.

Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail

The Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail should be on every visitor’s agenda for Yellowstone National Park since it is without a doubt one of the most popular hiking paths in the park. However, you can expect to encounter a lot of people along this path.

Given the vivid hues, Grand Prismatic Spring is best appreciated when seen from above and in broad sunshine.

Because of this, I believe that the afternoon is the best time to hike this route that leads to a viewpoint.

The hike begins at the Fairy Falls Trailhead, which is located only a short distance from the Midway Geyser Basin parking lot. This is an easy, short route that follows a gravel road out to an observation platform that is reached by a short elevation.

You will be rewarded with breathtaking views of one of Yellowstone’s most well-known features if you choose to stand on the observation platform. If you want to get a better look at Grand Prismatic, you may also take a stroll along the boardwalk that circles Midway Geyser Basin.

Upper Geyser Basin and Old Faithful Observation Point Loop

The Old Faithful Geyser is Yellowstone National Park’s most well-known feature and attraction. It is interesting to note that Old Faithful is neither the biggest nor the geyser that erupts the most often in Yellowstone. However, it is the geyser in the park that visitors find easiest to approach and that exhibits the most consistent behaviour.

But if you go farther than Old Faithful, you’ll find that the Upper Geyser Basin is home to the highest concentration of hydrothermal features seen anywhere in the world! This walking tour of the Upper Geyser Basin in Yellowstone, which includes the Observation Point loop, is among the most enjoyable activities available in the park.

From the observation platform at Old Faithful, make your way up to Observation Point, which is located at the top of a somewhat steep ascent. This vantage point offers fantastic views of Old Faithful, and extra points are awarded if you can plan your visit to coincide with one of the volcano’s eruptions!

After that, go around the Upper Geyser Basin in a clockwise direction. Morning Glory Pool, Riverside Geyser, and Castle Geyser are three geysers that you really must see.

You’ll be able to discover a map of the geyser basin that explains the region’s scientific background and historical significance at the Old Faithful Visitor Center.

Lone Star Geyser Trail

Do not pass up the opportunity to go on the Lone Star Geyser Trail if you are interested in off-the-beaten-path exploration! There aren’t as many people at Lone Star Geyser as there are at Upper Geyser Basin and Midway Geyser Basin, which are both close.

Because fewer people make the effort to travel more than five miles round way to view Lone Star Geyser, you will have more time to yourself. After spending the better part of the day seeing Yellowstone’s more visited spots, escaping the throng is a welcome relief.

The hike begins at the Lone Star Trailhead, which is located on Grand Loop Road not far to the south of Kepler Cascade. The next part of the journey takes you through a thick pine forest along the Firehole River, and it culminates with the beautifully sculpted Lone Star Geyser.

The Lone Star Geyser is shaped like a cone and has an eruption rate of around once every three hours on average. It is considered to be one of the biggest in Yellowstone. When it does so, the water may shoot up to a height of 150 metres (490 feet), and it lasts for nearly half an hour.

Brink of the Lower Falls Trail

With a drop of about 310 feet, the Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is the highest waterfall in the park. It may come as a surprise to learn that Yellowstone’s Lower Falls are more than twice as tall as Niagara Falls.

The Brink of the Lower Falls Trail is a hike that leads you deep into the canyon, where you can get a great view of the massive cascade. Your trek will begin at the parking area located towards the end of the spectacular drive along the North Rim. The path descends an elevation difference of 250 feet while following a sequence of challenging switchbacks.

You’ll get to an observation point at the top of the Lower Falls cascade when you reach the bottom of the plunge. From this vantage point, you’ll get a fantastic view of the mighty waterfall that cascades down into the canyon below.

This climb has several challenging inclines, but the whole distance is less than a mile, so it is accessible to a wide variety of tourists.

North Rim Trail

Hike the more strenuous North Rim Trail if you want to see the whole of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. This hiking path travels along the northern rim of the canyon in a direction that is parallel to the scenic drive.

This trek begins at the parking lot that is located close to the intersection of Grand Loop Road and South Rim Drive. After a few while, you’ll make your way over the bridge that stretches across the Yellowstone River and onto the North Rim Trail.

You may see several of the best vistas of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone by taking the North Rim Trail, which will lead you to locations such as Brink of the Upper Falls, Crystal Falls Overlook, Lookout Point, and Grand View.

The walk comes to a finish at Inspiration Point, which has breathtaking vistas of the canyon.

In addition, you have the option of adding on short diversions to Brink of the Further Falls and Red Rock Point, both of which provide access to points lower down in the canyon.

The North Rim Trail provides hikers with a fantastic chance to investigate a section of the canyon on foot that the majority of visitors opt to bypass by car.

Uncle Tom’s Trail

In the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Uncle Tom’s Trail is a must-see because it offers breathtaking vantage points of both the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls. This trail is not very long, but it is quite steep, making it a difficult ascent.

The trailhead may be found in the parking lot that serves the Upper Falls Viewpoint. The trail then drops over three hundred stairs to the bottom of Lower Falls, which is located beside the Yellowstone River. The high steps do, however, provide various spots to stop and catch one’s breath along the journey.

When you finally make it to the base of the falls, you will be rewarded with breathtaking vistas of Yellowstone’s most impressive and tallest cascade. If you’re really fortunate, you could even get a glimpse of a rainbow above the falls!

Because majority of the route consists of metal steps, it is only available seasonally during the summer. This is done to prevent ice situations from occurring.

Fairy Falls Trail

The Fairy Falls Trail is often ranked as one of the top walks in Yellowstone that include a waterfall. The path begins at the Fairy Falls Trailhead, which is located close to the Midway Geyser Basin.

This fantastic journey will not only give you with views of waterfalls, but it will also present you with a breathtaking glimpse of Grand Prismatic Spring from higher up.

The first portion of the hike is along a broad and level route. The Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook is located at the top of a short ascent that takes you through some pine woodland. The views from this observation platform of Yellowstone’s most famous feature are not to be missed. You should prepare yourself to deal with a lot of people.

At this time, the majority of guests decide to turn around and go back. However, if you want to avoid the throng, keep going until you reach Fairy Falls.

The last portion of the trail leads you through a younger pine forest that is in the process of recovering from a fire that occurred in the late 1980s.

The entrance to the walkway leading to Fairy Falls may be found at the very end of the trail. This waterfall drops down a cliff face at a rate of 200 feet per second.

If you still have enough steam left in the tank, you may go a further half mile to reach Imperial Geyser and Spray Geyser. When compared to Yellowstone’s other, more easily accessible geyser basins, the crowds at these backcountry geysers are far less.

Storm Point Trail

Consider going for a stroll along the Storm Point Trail if you’re searching for an easy lakefront trail! This trip covers a distance of 2.5 miles and begins on East Entrance Road, a little distance beyond the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center.

The beginning of your hike will be at the Storm Point Trailhead. Before reaching the beaches of Yellowstone Lake, the walk takes you via Indian Pond on its way there. You will be rewarded with views of the enormous lake along the rocky coastline after you make it to Storm Point.

Along the path that winds through the green meadows, you’ll notice that there are vibrant wildflowers growing throughout the summertime. On the walk, there is a possibility that you may see marmots and bison. Good luck!

Trout Lake Loop

Do not pass up the opportunity to go hiking at Trout Lake if you are interested in seeing the local fauna in Lamar Valley and are searching for a trek that is not too long.

This scenic walk begins in the middle of Lamar Valley on Northeast Entrance Road. The trailhead is located near the Lamar Valley Visitor Center. The Trout Lake Trail, which is 1.2 miles long and makes a circle around the lake, is the ideal place to stretch one’s legs.

In this area, the chances of seeing wild animals will be really good for you. Bears, otters, and grizzly birds should not be overlooked, so keep your eyes alert for them. On this trek, make sure you don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

The meadows that are located all around the lake will be covered with an abundance of wildflowers throughout the summer months.

Dunraven Pass to Mount Washburn Trail

One of the most popular trails in Yellowstone National Park, Mount Washburn consistently receives high marks from visitors. At an elevation of 10,243 feet, the top of this path offers spectacular views of Yellowstone National Park.

From this vantage point, you’ll have a much better understanding of the vastness of Yellowstone.

Even though there are two different ways to get to Mount Washburn, the track that goes from Dunraven Pass to Mount Washburn is by far the most travelled.

Beginning at the Dunraven Pass Trailhead located along Grand Loop Road, you will climb roughly 1,400 feet over the course of 3.5 miles at a slope that is around 7% of the whole distance.

You will get to the lookout for fires at the peak of the mountain after ascending numerous lengthy switchbacks. Yellowstone Lake, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and Hayden Valley are all visible from this sweeping vantage point in Yellowstone National Park.

If the weather is fine, you may even be able to make out the Grand Tetons in the distance!

This trek gives lots of opportunity to observe animals, such as bighorn sheep, that you won’t see in other parts of the park. On this trek, you should be sure to have bear spray with you since there is a possibility that you may see bears.

In the summer, afternoon thunderstorms are very typical, so if you want to hike this path without having to worry about being caught in the rain or being struck by lightning, the best time to go is in the morning.

You may also take a shorter path to Mount Washburn by hiking from the trailhead located on Chittenden Road. This journey has a total distance of 5.8 miles round trip.

Bunsen Peak Trail

The Bunsen Peak Trail is another popular route that leads to the peak in Yellowstone. This is a moderate trek that covers 2.2 miles and has an average gradient of roughly 11%. It reaches almost 1,300 feet. The ascent to Mount Washburn is more difficult, although this walk is much less distance.

You will begin your ascent at the trailhead for Bunsen Peak, which is located close to Mammoth Hot Springs. From there, you will make your way up a series of steep switchbacks to reach a spectacular panoramic vista.

From the peak, you will get views of Mammoth Hot Springs, the Yellowstone River Valley, as well as the Gallatin and Washburn mountain ranges.

The majority of the trail is open, taking hikers through sagebrush and patchy pine forest settings. The trail is exposed. Along the same lines as Mount Washburn, I suggest beginning this walk early in the morning to prevent the possibility of encountering thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Avalanche Peak Trail

The Avalanche Peak Trail, which is the last summit walk on our list, is another popular choice among hikers. This trek starts near Yellowstone Lake and rises to stunning panoramic views of the eastern side of Yellowstone National Park.

This is the perfect tough trek to get away from the throng if that’s what you’re searching for! However, you should be aware that this path has an average elevation of around 20%.

The Avalanche Peak Trailhead can be found off of East Entrance Road, about 18 miles east of the intersection of Grand Loop Road. This is where the hike begins. The initial portion of the path will take you through a pine forest, and there will be several possibilities for you to see wildlife such as bears and elk along the way.

At a high height, the trail opens out onto terrain that is more exposed, affording hikers with views of the surrounding region. Even in the middle of summer, there is still a chance that you may find some snow.

It is possible to view a significant portion of Yellowstone National Park’s southeast region from the peak that is 10,568 feet above sea level. You’ll also get views of the mountain ranges to the north and south, as well as vistas of Yellowstone Lake to the west.

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