A terrain like Yellowstone offers itself to explorers of all levels of experience and desired activity.
Whether you’re looking to stretch your legs a bit down an old logging road leading to a geyser, trek to the largest lake in the lower 48 without a road leading to it, or summit a spectacularly steep, panoramic-views peak, we want to encourage you to get out and off the beaten path of Yellowstone.
From Easiest to Hardest, here is all you need to know to embark on four Yellowstone hikes that will have you seeing the Park through whole new eyes. The real scenic route in Yellowstone is just off the road, and just out of sight … this is our nudge to you to take it. Here are some good places to start:
This is an easy hike to a well-known and popular geyser. The name Lone Star was given to the geyser due to its solitary location and separation from Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin and thus has nothing to do with Texas, the Lone Star State, despite popular sentiment. Lone Star Geyser erupts every two to three hours and can spray water as high as 50 feet into the air. The trail also offers views of the Firehole River.
Good For Beginners, Great For Families Learn More
Shoshone Lake is the largest body of water in the lower 48 states without a road to its shore. Without the aid of automobiles, there are only two ways to access Shoshone Lake. Either navigate a hand-propelled watercraft from the nearby Lewis Lake and through the Lewis Channel into Shoshone Lake or hike in from the DeLacy Creek Trailhead.
This area is a popular backpacking destination — the full loop around Shoshone Lake runs over 23 miles and is usually completed over two or three days. From the Delacy Creek Trailhead, however, the lakeshore of Shoshone can be reached within 3 miles, creating a pleasant six-mile roundtrip hike. That leaves plenty of time to spend a full day at Shoshone Lake exploring the rocky beaches and soaking in the sun.
Classic Destination, Panoramic Views & Swimming Hole Learn More
This is a short but steep hike up Avalanche Peak with unrivaled views into the eastern portion of Yellowstone National Park and beyond. The trail does not contain many switchbacks, has some rocky footing, and the rapid ascent from the trailhead definitely gets the heart beating. Check trail conditions at a visitor center if hiking Avalanche Peak in June or early July. Lingering winter snow can make the short but challenging route much more difficult. Great views begin in just over a mile when then trail rises above the treeline and continue for the duration of the hike. The easiest portion of the hike is actually the final quarter mile of trail.
Good for Experts, Panoramic Views Learn More
The hike to Grizzly Lake, while short, contains two moderate climbs. With full sun exposure, the hike to Grizzly Lake should be considered a moderate route despite its length. Grizzly Lake is a pretty lake tucked between two ridges. The trail begins in a large meadow and crosses through two small meadows along the way to the lake. Look for wildflowers in June and July. The trail and Grizzly Lake are completely surrounded by forest severely burned in the 1988 Wildfires.
Swimming Hole, Moderate Hike Learn More