Time to complete: 1-2 hours
Seasonality: Spring, Summer and Fall (Check the Backcountry Office before heading out on the trail. Some closures may be in effect until late Spring.)
Dog Friendly: No
A short, family-friendly hike that quickly gives you a taste of the Yellowstone’s wilderness, wildlife, and panoramas.
The calendar says it’s spring. And while much to the high country still has snow, Storm Point is the perfect spot to stretch your legs and remember why you love getting out on the trail after a long and difficult winter.
What Makes it Great
Storm Point is a fantastic trail for families or anyone looking for a quick wilderness adventure. There are a few short uphill sections that are enough to get your heart pumping from exertion and altitude (about 7700’) – but not enough to deter the little people in your party. The trail is mostly flat, flowing across marshy meadows, through pines and onto the shore of Yellowstone Lake. You’ll get great views of Stevenson Island, the Southern Absaroka mountains in the east, and Mt. Sheridan across the lake. On a clear day, the Grand Teton will be prominent on the southern horizon.
Who’s Going to Love It
Anyone looking for a classic backcountry Yellowstone experience, without a long hike or a full day commitment. Despite its short length, the Storm Point Trail transports you away from the hustle and traffic of the East Entrance Road to the solitude of the lake shore. You don’t have to be an intrepid mountaineer to enjoy this trail – it’s perfect for most abilities and fitness levels.
This is also a great trail for an introduction to a variety of Yellowstone’s wildlife habitats. As you hike, watch for wildlife such as pine squirrels, marmots, coyotes, deer, bison and even black or grizzly bears.
The first distinct habitat that you will experience is the wetland around Indian Pond – home to a healthy population of ducks and geese. In the spring you can hear the unmistakable song of boreal chorus frogs. Also, take a few minutes to listen for the laughing call of the loon, which is considered a Species of Special Concern due to their declining numbers. The next habitat will be classic Yellowstone pine forest, followed by dry meadows and finally the beating heart of the Yellowstone ecosystem – Yellowstone Lake. The shore is accessible from various spots so kids can explore the sandy beach and chilly water. Storm Point’s rocks make a good spot for a picnic and home base for a few hours of exploration.
If you’re up for a little challenge, you can make this trail a loop. Take the lakeshore trail leading west from Storm Point, then turn north through the trees and back into the meadows bordering the road. There’s no marked trail through the trees but once you exit the forest you’ll be able to see the road and parking lot, and return to your car.
Directions, Trailhead, Parking
From downtown Cody take the North Fork Highway west for 52 miles to the Yellowstone’s East Entrance. Remember to bring your National Parks Pass, or you can pay the daily entry fee. Continue west about 35 miles until you see Indian Pond on your left and the Pelican Valley Trailhead on the right. Park at Indian Pond and follow the marked trail.
The weather can be tricky here (it’s called Storm Point for a reason), so be prepared. Be sure to bring food, water, sunscreen, bug spray and most importantly, bear spray. When hiking in the Greater Yellowstone, you should always hike in groups of three or more and make noise to alert wildlife to your approach. Services such as food, water and bathrooms are just to the west of the trailhead at Fishing Bridge.