Five Amazing Hikes to Enhance Your Yellowstone National Park Experience

With 1,000 miles of trails in Yellowstone, how do you choose which to hike? Whether you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly hike over gentle terrain or a strenuous rugged adventure there are numerous treks to choose from. Here is a look at some of the best to help you make your decision a little easier.

South Rim Trail

Most Yellowstone visitors see the park’s incredible Grand Canyon area from their car. They get out for a moment, quickly capturing a photo and then head to the next destination. They’re missing a lot. By taking the paved 2 ½-mile one-way South Rim Trail, easy for people of most all ages and abilities, you’ll be rewarded with even more spectacular views of Lower Yellowstone Falls and the colorful canyon and unique rock formations. By adding on Uncle Tom’s Trail, you can experience the roaring falls up close.

Lone Star Geyser

The trail to Lone Star Geyser follows the Firehole River and is also a fairly easy 5-mile hike that leads to this geyser that literally sits all alone. This is a great way to get out in the wilderness and view a geyser away from the throngs of tourists that surround Old Faithful. It erupts approximately every three hours and reaches up to 45 feet into the sky lasting for nearly half an hour. This is a perfect spot to enjoy a picnic while waiting for the show.

The trailhead is about 3 ½ miles southwest of Old Faithful at the parking area near Kepler Cascades.

Mount Washburn Trail

The Mount Washburn Trail provides some of the best scenery, wildflowers and wildlife you’ll find in the park including panoramic views of the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Lake, The Grand Tetons and occasionally even Old Faithful’s eruption. During the peak of summer, brilliant displays of mountain wildflowers include blue lupines, yellow violets, pink monkey flowers, red paintbrush and more.

This is a strenuous 11 ½ mile hike one-way that begins 4 ½ miles north of Canyon Junction, ending at Glacial Boulder on Inspiration Point Road. The Washburn Spur Trail takes hikers to Washburn Hot Springs and unique thermal features including mud puts.

Elephant Back Loop Trail

The Elephant Loop Trail is just four miles round-trip that includes an 800-feet vertical climb providing especially rewarding views that includes Yellowstone Lake as well as the Absaroka Range and Pelican Valley. It starts one mile south of Fishing Bridge Junction winding through a lodgepole forest – an area frequented by moose and elk. Along the way, look for obsidian in the rock for signs of the past frequent volcanic activity in the area.

Howard Eaton Trail

The Howard Eaton Trail begins on the east side of Fishing Bridge, following the Yellowstone River and winding through a beautiful meadow before leading hikers through the forest and sagebrush flats. A wide range of waterfowl and other life is frequently spotted here.